For many people, New Year’s resolutions are a matter of willpower – eating and drinking less, going to the gym more often, saving money. And by their very nature, they’re unlikely to last beyond a couple of weeks in January.
But the change to a new calendar means something different to me going into my second year as a freelance designer. It’s a season where I can take a step back, look at the past year, and think about how doing things a little differently could help me out. So here are my top 4 resolutions for 2019!
Resolution #1: Link up with others in the creative community
Sometimes it can be hard working as a solo-freelancer with no one to bounce ideas off or learn things from. Online creative communities are a great way to help solve this problem and I love support I gain from Facebook groups and forum threads. However, I miss the one-on-one, real-time, actual human interaction from my years working in agencies, and so this year I aim to reach out to local designers for collaboration.
Sidenote: Glug events are an awesome way to connect with other creatives.
Resolution #2: Update the portfolio
This is probably on the top of every freelance designers “things-I-will-never-have-time-to-do-list” but should be moved to the top of the “things-to-do-today-list”. It’s very hard to set client work aside to focus on your own self-promotion, but it is extremely valuable for bringing in new clients/showing agencies what skills you have.
Resolution #3: Be Innovative
Often, it can be easy to get stuck with tried-and-tested design work and processes. It feels comfortable, a bit like the way when friends come round I always cook a stir fry, because I make a badass stir fry! But it’s so important to read new recipe books and get inspired, because you don’t know what awesomeness you might cook up!
But let’s face it. Being innovative involves risk. There’s a chance it could be a big fail. The key is to know the right time to innovate. A client who wants to grab attention in a new way, sure! A client who needs a piece of media for an event tomorrow morning, probably not the right time.
One way I’m looking to innovate this year is with new web build methods, and Oxygen Page Builder is catching my eye as a lighter and more flexible way to work with WordPress.
Resolution #4: Improve my workflow
Okay, so I’m going to go right out and admit it: I’m not naturally very organised. It comes with the territory of being a creative and it’s something I have been working to improve through school, college, university, my first job and now, as a freelancer. Thankfully, within the last year, my productivity and organisation skills have improved tenfold, partly because as a freelancer you just don’t have any other choice but to sort it out. This has led to me feeling waaay more relaxed and on top of projects – workplace organisation to me has become essential to my wellbeing.
I can attribute a lot of this success to apps like Trello and I have found it useful to have a calendar right next to my desk. But there is still work to be done, especially with that dirty word beginning with A… Administration. I’m sure most self-employed people hate invoicing and taxes but I feel it is especially bad for those in the creative sector as numbers and figures don’t tend to be in our nature. But, going back to that point about wellbeing, I have realised that my stress levels definitely increase if I put admin off and so hopefully 2019 is the year I can finally find my inner Summer (yep, that little kid from School of Rock).
…and on that note, there we have it! My top 4 resolutions for 2019 as a freelance graphic designer.