Caffeinate, Create, Sleep, Repeat.

Are you a freelance designer? Really?

It has been a really busy month.
And my calendar won’t be getting any dandier for the next few weeks. Well, not until I finally take that week off next month anyway. But then I suppose I’d still be tugging my Mac along to work on some projects while on vacation.. .lame.

But don’t get me wrong; It ain’t like I’m starting to despise what I do, on the contrary, I am loving it more and more. From one project to the next, my fascination resembles that of a child’s toward the principles and technologies that unfold from my computer screen. I simply can’t have enough of it: designing, design webinars, best practices, eBooks, eCommerce, tutorials, forums, Web 2.0, HTML 5, javascript, open source initiative, latest web trends, CMS, CSS, aspx, xml, even that f*ckin’ SharePoint, anything and everything Adobe… aaargghh!

I had the rare luxury of a 15-minute coffee break which gave me time to reflect on how’s everything coming along juggling time between full-time employment, personal life & extra projects. Am I still the Jedi designer that I envisioned myself as, or have I become a pawn trapped in transition between a nine-to-five and building my design empire with most of my ‘me time’ lost in limbo?

Call me Darth Lance. Harbinger of dark circles and eyebags.

How do designers like us know if we are already ‘worthy’ to be called a freelancer? Is there a rite of passage that designers must go through in order to qualify as a freelancer? I’m sure there’s more to it than just getting several projects from different clients, or else, all of us are freelancers. There must be some elitist boundaries that separates freelancers from mere corporate creatives who gets ocassional ad hoc projects… What are the tell-tale signs that you are becoming a bona fide freelancer?

Well… here’s my top 20 list:

  1. Your body clock is a mess, you’ve lost your sense of time: you only sleep when the project you’re working on is either done or in-between reboots ‘coz your PC (eeewww!) or Mac crashed from being overused (yes, they do that too!). And because of this you have developed a biological eyeliner that Captain Jack Sparrow would envy.
  2. You’re never ever hungry whenever any Adobe program is in use, your only signal to eat is when your gut starts hurting and you had to get up because you thought you had to sh*t.
  3. You don’t see (or haven’t seen) in person more than half of the people you work with. They probably would be shocked to know how different you currently look like from the online profile picture that you’ve posted eons ago.
  4. There was a time when one of your clients accused you of cheating/hacking oDesk’s webcam monitoring system, because for three consecutive days the webcam shots sent to your client by the oDesk system shows that you’re wearing the exact same shirt.
  5. It’s been a while since you’ve seen the sun and basked under it.
  6. You get your news exclusively online, not on the TV, not on the radio, not on news papers or magazines, just online.
  7. You get withdrawal syndromes when you haven’t checked your email for more than five hours. All you could think about are the updates from the projects, quotation requests, approvals, and revisions that you might be missing.
  8. When you shop for clothes, you account pyjamas under ‘work clothes’.
  9. There are days when your personal hygiene regimen is summed up in a serving of hand sanitizer.
  10. Your collection of pyjamas is more diverse than your office shirts.
  11. You accustomed to attending conferences, seminars, interviews, pitches and meetings in your boxers.
  12. You have a customized mouse pad. Worse, you built one from scratch.
  13. You have more than one pointing device actively connected to your computer.
  14. Your best buddy at work is that fluffy wrist support stuffed toy on your desk.
  15. You can survive for days without water, but not without caffeine-laden drinks.
  16. You try to find time, usually on a weekend (when your clients are happily enjoying their personal lives), to shave at least once a week.
  17. You pay for gym/club membership and classes which you don’t have time to go to.
  18. You can’t work without YouTube, an RSS reader, Facebook or Twitter running on a browser tab.
  19. Your “internet friends” know more about you than some of your actual friends.
  20. In your idle time you seek online help for internet addiction. Well… that or wikipedia.

I’m a junkie… I’m becoming a full-blown freelancer.
How about you, have you experienced any of these?

Rockstar for hire.
I help businesses create memorable branding experiences for their customers.

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One thought on “Are you a freelance designer? Really?

  1. I’ve recently started a blog, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

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