So I went freelance a couple months ago …
So after years of working fulltime for studios and slaving away on the grind I finally took the scariest jump in my career and went freelance … 2 months ago.
Basically my closest friends and family were constantly yelling at me to quit my job since it made me so unhappy. They endured the result of constant overworking and life imbalance for basically nothing and to them I’m eternally grateful.
The thing that really sealed the deal and solidified my decision came in 2 parts … I worked extreme overtime on a series of projects for multiple clients and our reward was 1k bonus which if you took the overtime hours and divided it came out to a little under 5 bucks an hour. And I knew the profit margins for these projects and the reward for loyalty to this company was basically a “here’s something so you won’t bitch, but we really really appreciate you but expect to never be paid more” … Now I should also state I have no animosity towards this company now but in the moment I was livid.
So annoyed and desperately in need of a break I took a trip to Vancouver to attend Blendfest. This might have been the best decision of my life and I will thank Jordan Scott (ps check out his awesome work) again for making me get my ticket early. Basically I got to hang out with a shitload of motion graphics artist and designers, I networked and talked with a ton of people. Everyone I met had the same thing to say if/when we talked about goin freelance and across the board everyone was like “you’ll be fine … the first year will suck, then the rhythm sets in” … so with a fire in my heart I came back to NYC a few days later and quit that day
June 21st was my final day and like all things major I had mixed feelings … I was surrounded by people who for better or worse were a huge part of my life for the last 6 years. I felt like my exit had impacted the environment. But I had my exit interview and went out for drinks with my coworkers (now ex-coworkers) and we somehow were responsible and I remember everything.
June 22nd … Day 1
The day I’ve dreamed about since I made the decision to quit was finally here. But also the first day of absolute panic. I had no real work lined up but solid leads and luckily enough for me I had friends that put my name into other studios and were kind enough to show me the ropes again. After getting some breakfast and going to gym I sat down and started sending emails.
No one responded other than the generic “thanks we’ll call you if we need you” or I’d go in for a meeting that would never really lead anywhere. After a month of this I started to really panic like an idiot, of course after a month things would be slow, I never realistically expected to just start working again immediately but regardless I was a mess
July 21st … Day 1 part deux
I got an email for a booking from a major company and my heart almost exploded out of my chest. After all the phone calls, emails and awkward meetings it was finally happening. I was actually a freelancer. So as a bright eyed and eager Mikey would, I went to work early and tried my hardest basically trying to set the pace. But I think I flopped pretty hard, the project was kind of a mess (due to client) and I never finished it but I was excited since it was my first step of being an real artist again.
Then it happened …
All of the sudden I had people inquiring about my bookings and I was getting emailed rather than emailing people. I got another booking, then another and then I doubled booked (like an idiot) but things were happening. I might bitch about the lack of sleep but I’m working and this is what I wanted. I know I have a long way to go but holy shit if I can keep this pace up I’ll be overjoyed. I just finished a round of projects and I’m gonna take a break for a few days but hopefully I’ll be right back at it. I think if anything I have more confidence than I had before and I learned a lot. Am I a pro freelancer now? …. Fuck no, but I’m figuring out the system and I have a better idea of what I need to do in order to move forward.
I know I started writing this more as therapeutic rant to quell the highly neurotic mind I have but if anything could be taken from this its this:
Stay the course, work hard, be kind and keep buggin the shit out of producers with just a hale storm of emails til they respond to you or block your email account. :)
P.S. I know I look stupid in this photo