I’ve come to realize that making it as a freelance graphic designer is more about being calm than it is about being a good businessman and having a lot of work. You need both – but really, you need to be at peace more than anything. After all, worrying is counter-productive.
There have been times where I’ve lived fat, and there have been times that things have been very, very lean – but the one constant has been that I’ve always made it and that there has never really been a constant. There have been times when I’ve worked under market value, and times that I’ve made more money per hour than a lawyer.
As a freelancer, you have to get into the ebb and flow of the work and the lifestyle. You have to search, and you have to stretch – but you have to keep moving. If you’re flush with work, you have to squirrel away some dough for later down the line, and if you’ve got nothing to do, don’t go out and sleep on the interstate. When things are slow, work on your own business and your own abilities. Don’t stop moving, and don’t give up.
Work (and money and fame and fast cars) will come if you’re dedicated and work hard. But how you handle yourself in the lean or stressful times is going to determine whether you make it. Panic is not an option – nor is apathy. The work will come. It’s not going to be a constant, and if that’s the life you’re looking for, freelancing might not be for you. But it’s always interesting, and it’s a new job every day.