2007, a year full of emotions in the professional and personal. I didn’t have much luck in the first part of the year, i lost a client that guaranteed me about 6.000US$ per month; and also one of my designers abandoned me… luckily, in the 6 remaining months i recovered my clients and even exceeded the ammount, and i discovered that i’m good enough in my work to depend on someone. If you want to know how i did it, here’s my year summary!
JANUARY: if you want to survive, be independent
Part of the job i did for Funrise in the last 2 years.
2007 started badly, i lost my best client (Funrise) due to adjustments in the staff and changes in the company policy my contact was fired, my main source of income since the last 2 years dissapeared in just 1 day. I was living in Germany, renting, paying a mortage in Spain and with almost no income… with this rythm of life i needed an income of about 6000US$/month, a tough month.
Month lesson: never depend on just 1 source of income. Even if it’s a good job, abundant and well paid, don’t leave behind the rest of the clients… think in long term.
FEBRUARY: the best attack is a good attack
Design for the launch of POG’s (Discs for the latins)
After regreting for a while, i started again, thanks to the work i did for Funrise i have a very complete portfolio, so i decided to attack instead of waiting for the clients to come.
Measures i took:
- I started to redesign SOSFactory, oriented more to businesses than small users.
- I worked on corporative material to send by mail to my target companies.
- I started this blog to assure income by publicity; a plan B for the future.
- I kept doing the rest of promotion tasks i usually do.
- I sent emails to old clients to say hello and be seen.
- Crossed my fingers…
Month lesson: when things are wrong, stay cold, analize the problem, look for solutions and follow them… after that keep working and hope for the best.
MARCH: if there’s no work outside, work inside
At the right, the new logo and mascot of SOSFactory (under development)
The good (or bad) of being a designer is that you always have work to do in your own corporative material: the portfolio, card, the blog… while clients came i dedicated to this tasks:
- I made a complete update of SOSFactory’s portfolio, i got rid of old works and replaced them with with other of better quality.
- I wrote some articles and tutorials to promote SOSNewbie and i uploaded them to directories and other webs about tutorials. The monthly income of the blog is about 90US$.
- Revised a bit of CSS, i started learning PHP and studied in depth the way WordPress works.
- I practiced my drawing and searched for new drawers in case i needed them in the future.
Month lesson: if there’s no work, work on your marketing tools.
APRIL: the value of a withrawal on time
Mi girlfriend and I, this month was tough in the personal.
MAY: proximity with the client
Mi friend Chris, a client from Canada whit whom i worked since long ago traveled to Spain for an urgent order. It’s the first time i work face to face with a client, and surprisingly everything was really easy and relaxing, there was even time for fun. I found out i work for people, not for email addresses.
Being freelance and working through the internet has many advantages but it also has it’s negative side, it’s cold and solitary, that’s why it’s important to talk with the client once in a while, even through messenger.
Month lesson: never forget the human factor of your work.
JUNE: search for team mates
He was good huh? what a pity
I had a very good designer in his job, very very good… but also very problematic. He was with me since long ago and helped me grow, the problem was that he demanded commitment at the time to collect, but not at the time of assuming responsibilities.
After many concessions from me, mainly for fear to lose that extra quality, he told me he found something else… he abandoned me. That month was very stresing since i had to work for two.
Month lesson: Bad companies wont stop being a bad company no matter what you do. Look for alternatives and stay alert.
JULY: talent is overestimated
The new designs of SOSFactory, did someone doubt that the quality would decrease?
When the worst happened, i found two designers with the right attitude. Also surprisingly, my quality in that area was getting better more than i thought. Now the 3 of us make the work relaxed, in a more creative way and with the same technic quality… i work more, but i’m happier.
Month lesson: talent is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.
AUGUST: hunting the first client
This was the first design for a professional
In 2007 i discovered a new very profitable market, professional blogger; a blog is a very powerfull marketing tool because of it’s immediacy. Once the order is finished, it’s not hard to convince the blogger to make you some publicity, if the blog has a good audience, other bloggers will see you.
Month lesson: if you want to introduce yourself into the market, get your first order and try to be seen in the sector. After that it’ll be a lot easier.
SEPTEMBER: take care of the client that takes care of you
Header design for John Cow and it’s Halloween and Christmas versions
The header i designed for Johncow attracted several clients, and to compensate this promotion i designed the Halloween and Christmas versions for free. Which kept attracting more clients; among others Tylercruz, which also gave me more clients.
For the first time since i started this business, i am the one who chooses the clients, not the other way round.
Month lesson: when the publicity that a client makes you attracts more clients, compensate him so he keeps doing it.
OCTOBER: while more expensive you are, the better you are
3 years ago i charged 50US$ for a logo, now i charge 500US$
As i have a lot more work than what i can make, i can afford the luxury of rising the prices, extend the delivery dates, choose the orders… i realized that while better conditions i demand to my clients, they treat me better.
Month lesson: appreciate yourself if you want your clients to do the same.
NOVEMBER: not all is up to you
Designs i made for Inxile-Entertainment, a strange case
I can’t give much information, let’s say that a web of my network, the one i barely work in (paradoxes of life), because of factors totally away from my will, it transformed into an authentic phenomenon, producing about 1300US$/month due to publicity.
Month lesson: in every business extern and uncotrollable factors have influence.
December: the next time will be better
To the right, the new version of SOSFactory
This blog is my second important website after SOSFactory. After a year of intermittent work, the traffic is of about 1300 visits every day, with peaks up to 4000 visits per day, a lot more audience than SOSFactory in the same development stage.
Month lesson: make everything as best as possible, then keep on going, the next time will be better.