What it’s Really Like to Freelance

What does their day look like? Do they work in their pajamas?

Whenever we hear that someone is a freelancer, our voyeuristic tendencies come out! To answer these burning questions, we reached out to Gabrielle, a Skillshare teacher with over 13,000 followers. She shares what a typical day for her looks like, how she takes advantage of her most productive periods, and also offers tips for those interested in launching their own freelance career.

Freelancer Gabrielle

Tell us a bit about your profession. What are you currently working on?

I am an artist and teacher. My favorite subjects to draw and paint are portraits, characters, and pretty things. I like to balance art projects with teaching projects, as I love doing both so much!

Today I'm working on a portrait piece that will be made into promotional content for a painting app. I am also working on creating a series of small art pieces for my future online art shop. And of course, I'm always working on my next Skillshare class!

 

What tips would you offer someone who is interested in launching their freelance career?

Always be improving upon your skills. Never stop learning and pushing yourself in your craft. This is something I like to live by. Because the better we get, the more people will take notice and want to work with us. So I think it's important first and foremost to continue to refine our skills.

Then also, we have to educate ourselves on growing a business. Skillshare is great for this! I've picked up lots of helpful tips from the business classes.

Also, don't expect overnight success as a freelancer just starting off. For me, it took me years of getting myself out there before things ever started to really pay off.

Finally, diversify your sources of income. With art, you can teach on Skillshare, upload to print on demand sites, sell originals, sell art resources, take commissions, etc. Think of all the ways you can branch out with your craft. Even make a list of ideas on a piece of paper. Then start taking action with each idea and you'll see how they grow. This diversification will help you stay financially stable, since things aren't always super predictable with a freelance career.

What is a typical day like for you?

At this point, I've accepted the fact that I'm a night owl, ha! So I allow myself to sleep in so that I can work late. I get up around 10, get a cup of coffee, and head to my computer to get caught up on emails and messages. Then I check my priorities for the day and I get started on whatever project is at the top of the list. I'll often also spend some amount of the day learning new skills or putting some work into other, smaller side projects. Throw in a dash of general procrastination in there, and that's my day!

When are you most productive? Least productive? Have you been able to arrange your schedule to take advantage of these periods?

Thankfully there is great freedom with my job. I'm most productive in the late afternoons these days. And it works perfectly for me and my husband, who also has a late schedule.

When am I least productive? I don't think it's a time thing. I'm least productive when I let fear stand in my way. It's easy to be scared of failing on a project. So honestly, I'm least productive when I am in that headspace. I am really most productive when I cast that fear aside.

What (if any) misconceptions do you think people have about freelancers?

Perhaps that our jobs are always easy since we are doing what we love. I love what I do and I wouldn't trade it for anything else. It is rewarding and fun, and sometimes even easy. But not always. You have to train yourself to be every part of a business. So for me I can't just be an artist- I have to be the marketer, the web designer, the secretary, the accountant, etc. and sometimes that can be a lot to juggle!

What is your favorite part of being a freelancer?

I love being able to break from my work and go hang out with my cat! Just kidding! My favorite part is being able to do what I believe I was created to do. I'm not stuck at a job wishing I could go home and paint. I'm able to paint and create and share that joy with others.