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climbing to get the camera

Working for myself means that it’s way too easy to work all day (and all night, and all weekend …) without coming up for much air. Sure, we eat lunch together as a family and try to take a walk and I put Elisha down for a nap during the day, but I can still seriously just get in the zone and work without thinking about my time. One of the reasons I wanted to work for myself was to be with my family, and if I let myself get caught up in too much work, I miss out on the whole point of being self-employed.

Finding this balance in my life has been one of the most difficult parts of my freelance career. It’s a double-edged sword, though, for when I’m interrupted too often while working (or trying to work) on a project, I lose my train of thought and any creative muse flies out of my brain only to be lost until I can get some quiet time to myself again. With a toddler in the house, my muse is often hiding until the wee hours of the night when everyone is in bed instead of during the day when there are games to play and books to read.

veggie

This delicate balance is precious—I love that I’m not missing out on the early years with Elisha and I love that I’m finally able to choose my own clients and nurture my own creative style once again.

I’m still in the process of figuring out what my work day and work week look like, even 11 months into working for myself. Settling into a routine has always been hard for me, and as Elisha grows and as our business grows and as we hope to eventually continue to grow our family, I have to constantly evaluate how I work and when I work and where I work. Every day is different in some ways—Mondays are errand days and Wednesday are late nap days because of Bible study.

face

These past few weeks have been crazy busy with client work, which is good for the bank account, but difficult for me to manage in terms of balancing my time. I finally had a moment to catch my breath with the boy today, and it felt nice.

drawing

drawing

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I haven’t written because I’ve been swamped with client work (don’t read that as a complaint, either). In addition to all the new work I have, I’m also knee-deep in writing a business plan for our letterpress shop. On top of that, even, I’m trying to clean up my portfolio site as well as combine that blog with this one. Oh, and redesign both sites to make room for all the new changes coming with the new year.

Fun times, right?

So, look out for some changes here (yeah, yeah … changes in activity, too). I’ll be redesigning this blog once I finish up Hello Nifty and put together a site for the letterpress print shop, Stubborn Press & Company, that we’ll be starting in 2012.

Enjoy a little sneak peak of my Hello Nifty update by looking at the logos:

It’s been an interesting year; I can’t believe I’ve been working for myself for almost an entire 12 months now. It hasn’t been easy. Finding a balance between working from home and enjoying my family was probably the most difficult part of it all, considering my husband and toddler and dog are all under the same roof while I’m working. It’s been worth every challenging moment, however—even the financially difficult months (and months and months), which unfortunately were more common than the financially easy ones. I’m glad that we waited until we had some savings before I started this adventure, but I will admit I naively thought getting the business ball rolling would be easier than it turned out to be.

Eleven months of stress and sweat and tears later and I can’t say whether or not I’ve entirely gotten the hang of things. I can say, however, that I look forward to what next year brings after all I’ve learned this year. I look forward to the new adventures of letterpress printing, too …

Oh, did you all know we purchased an old letterpress in August? I’m finishing up our business plan this week in hopes of getting a business loan to rent studio space and finish fixing up the old Chandler and Price New Series 10×15 printing press we rescued from being sold for scrap. It needs new rollers, feed/delivery boards, a foot treadle, and a bit of TLC. Since it’s too big to fit in our little townhouse, we also need some office space. We’re hoping to have everything ready for the new year so we can jump into wedding season with both feet. I hope to offer completely custom wedding stationery, announcements, and business collateral locally and sustainably printed on our C&P, affectionately nick-named the Mule.

Keep an eye out for more on updates on both Hello Nifty and Stubborn Press & Company.

If you’ve got a moment, you can even help me out with the logo design process, since I’m still in the drafting stage. I’m partial to the bottom two (the right is currently my favorite, but I’m really open right now). Check ’em out and please leave a comment:

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sorry for missing a post yesterday. i just couldn’t think of what would be a fantastic tutorial or other tidbit to share. i’m also suddenly busy with work again, which is (of course) a good thing. the sporadic schedule of a freelancer is still rather interesting to me; i keep hoping for work to pick up and become more regular, but i know there are some things i still need to work on personally first. i’m a little frustrated at how it seems nearly impossible to hear back from some of the freelance opportunities i apply to online on places like freelanceswitch or freelancefolder. i’ve sent plenty of applications and have only heard back from one. maybe two.

i guess i know i’m bursting with all of this eager, excited energy, but i still need to beef up my portfolio. well, i’ve got two pro bono websites in the wings and a non-profit site that i just met with the client for today.

i’ve also got some wedding invites to silkscreen. it’s a lot of work (work i should probably have started by this time in the evening, to be honest), but they’re going to look so great when they’re finished. i just don’t know if i have enough room in our townhouse to lay them all out to dry—150 invites, 150 RSVP cards are a lot of little sheets of paper!

anyway, i’m still struggling with my identity, i think. i feel like i really need to figure out what it is i do best, what it is i’m happiest doing. i don’t think i know the answer to that yet.

i love the web.

but i also love illustration.

i also love photomanipulation and image editing.

i also love silkscreen and printmaking.

i also love sewing.

so. uh. which is it? should i focus on one? all? none? is there something i’m still missing in this puzzle of my life as a self-employed creative?

i don’t know yet. i’m not sure. i feel like the picture was clear, but after what feels like rejection after rejection (silence can be just as heavy as an email negative), i’m beginning to question whether or not i’m good enough at what i think i’m good at. i think i just need more examples of what i can do—i’ve been designing for the web for almost 10 years now, people. 10 (and that’s not counting the few years before that i taught myself HTML and built my own blog as a high school student). i’ve also been drawing and printmaking for that long, too.

i hate feeling stuck. it’s the worst feeling ever.

i hate realizing that i have all of this passion, this potential, but i feel like it’s being wasted. on nothing.

someone notice, would you?

i’ve got a lot to give here, you see.

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2011 Calendar by GINNIP

2011 Calendar by GINNIP

I seem to have disappeared. My apologies for not being regular about my blog posting lately come wrapped in a candy shell—last week I announced to my office (my wonderful, awesome office) that I would like to pursue my own business as a self-employed freelancer. I’ve been sitting on that egg for a long time—almost 9 months, if not more. I didn’t want to wait until the new year, especially because I want to make the transition as painless as possible for both my coworkers and for myself. The moment was bittersweet, but everyone at work has been supportive. Sad, but encouraging at the same time.

I can’t complain about that, can I?

So, 2011 is going to be the start of a very big, very new, very exciting adventure for hubbs, the babe, the dog, and I.

It’s still a little scary; there are a lot of what ifs and what if nots hovering around in the back of my mind. However, I do believe it’s not only possible for me to make a living as a freelance designer and maker, but I believe it’s the best choice for our family.

I’ve wanted to work for myself as long as I’ve been a designer (that’s 10 years now, by the way), and I can say I finally reached a point where it was time to either pursue my passions or put them away and forget about them in hopes of stumbling upon new ones. I’ll admit that starting a family has changed everything for me, especially my connection to home. Going back to work in an office six weeks after Elisha was born was hard. For everyone. We’ve all managed amazingly well, I’d say, but there is still a burden for home that nags in my heart every day.

I also have felt the urge do more than just organize information as a designer; I’d like to make more visual art in the form of printmaking, cards, and other such things. I feel like I have so many ideas and so little time to express them. I’m finally making the time.

I don’t think I’ll end up disappointed.

I’m trusting that God is leading us in the right direction, that He has big plans for us and the kind of freedom that self-employment brings. I know it will mean more work, not less, but it will be a different kind of more. It will be challenging. It will be expensive. It will be a new kind of hard, a challenge that I look forward to. I want to be able to look back in another 10 years and see God’s faithfulness written all over it, too.

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elisha working

elisha working

i’m basically back to work full-time again, 9–5 in the office with a lunch break long enough to let me eat and feed the baby. it means i have to pump twice a day, which i loathe, but for now it’s necessary for our family. we need both the income and the insurance while hubby is finishing school and the baby is growing.

i absolutely loved 9–1 hours while they lasted and would probably be willing to pay the hefty price it will one day require to have my own set hours back. by that, of course, i mean working from home on my own freelancing. i thought going back to work would be easier … i had this ideal vision in my mind of how it would all work out on this side of labor and delivery. i was wrong.

i’ve always known that one day i’d want to be home with my children. i did think that things would’ve worked out by now so that i could do so, but that’s not the case. now, i feel a sense of urgency to get on my “master plan” of sorts (hence, this new site). i don’t want to quit working—i love what i do; i love design. i just want to work near my family. right now, however, with the hubby still a student, i have little choice but to keep us afloat in an office working for an awesome, understanding company. my job is really great and everyone i work with knows how family life is. as much as i love my desk and its windows, however, i loved working from home more. these past three months have taught me that, if nothing else.

this is the beginning of me working towards that goal for myself and for my household.

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