The term freelance comes from medieval mercenary warriors, called “free-lance” because their lance was not sworn to any lord’s services, but was available for hire.
The assumption straight away is that a freelancer has the freedom to do what he wants, sleep as long as he wants and take time off whenever he wants. Yes ok, this may have been a small slice of what I experienced early on in my decision to go freelance but in reality, once the honeymoon period is over, we all know that freelancers have to work very hard in order to be even slightly successful. This is what drives me.
From my own, although brief, experience, leaving full-time employment was probably the best decision I ever made for my career. My decision to leave my secure, safe, job was not easy and I did deliberate for a few months before I took the ‘plunge’. I knew that the competition between freelance designers in Dubai would be right up there but I was determined to work my hardest to get my name out there and stand out from the crowd. Yes, this meant not only competing with other freelancers but also established design agencies.
Not having a strong portfolio was always a concern when I first started out. It’s was a typical Catch 22 moment: you can’t get clients without a portfolio, and you can’t build a portfolio if you don’t have any clients. However, strangely enough over the past few months, I found that none of my early clients even asked to see mine! Right now I’m very much reliant on people’s recommendations but over time my portfolio will become more of an essential asset as I look to get on board with some more established brands or look to sub-contract to other agencies.
I have purposely set the bar high for myself and only time will tell if it’s asking too much for just one person, but early signs show that there are plenty of potential clients and exciting work out there. A combination of an ever growing network and name recognition is what will help propel the business to the next level.