The rush from getting that call from your client is intoxicating and in some ways addictive. Yes, they want you to come in and work with them next week. Do you have time? Of course you have time, you just need to move somethings around on your calendar, and re arrange some plans you made with your visitor from overseas, oh and that vet appointment at 10:30 has to be switched too. No problem though, your booked with the client you like the most and for a full week with potential for it to continue.
That is the life of the freelancer. We are not common but we are familiar in the survival landscape, we hunt, we forage, we freelance. Sometimes we’ll hammer away on a 14 hour sunday because the client is paying us to. Most of the time there aren’t too many questions to ask, besides, we’re here for a reason and must simply execute the task requested and clarify as needed. But soon this project will be over then you’ll be free to take a breather and enjoy the fruits of your labor on the beach in miami with a cool drink. Right… or at least a coffee at the diner on a late Tuesday morning after a big greasy breakfast while everyone else is working and your checking the listings for the next gig.
This is maybe a bit morbid but its certainly an experience many who have been in freelance can attest to. Truthfully, freelance services come in various forms, and it is up to the freelancer to define what kind of work he or she wants to pursue. In my experience as a freelancer I fulfilled long term roles for various clients coming in for project based work or to fill a reoccurring temporary need. The benefit of being in a city like New York is the vast number and variety of jobs, projects and industries that require graphic services.
The Advertising and Marketing world required a huge pool of freelance to achieve its goal of providing meaningful leads and sales to its clients. In the past agencies like Publicis NY used service bureaus like Capps Digital (Prodigious) to provide core services including pre-press and mechanical production. These services are necessary to meet the goals of exposure and generating sales for clients such as Proctor & Gamble, Siemens and Stolichnaya Vodka. Agents for these bureaus were valued to be ambassadors for this new service by fulfilling a liaison role embedded directly with the big agency production studios. An individual could develop a career understanding the value of the core responsibilities a studio production artist has in brand asset management, graphic design and production services.
The flexible situation of freelance has been a double edged sword, but the a useful avenue for attaining an appropriate work/life balance. It requires a great deal of discipline and patience. The discipline comes in the form of managing your finances and living within your means as well as utilizing slow downs as a means for refining and developing new skills.