Well, well, well. I made it. I'm still alive. I can still pay rent. I am not living in a cardboard box nor am I being bankrolled by sugar daddies. This is very cool.
Here are some things I've learned during this first year of self employment:
- Motivation is hard to come by; waiting for it to arrive before getting to work is a fool's errand.
- Commissions are very similar to design work in terms of creative satisfaction. More than I thought. Therefore, they now occupy the same space in my mind and are prioritized accordingly.
- Though I don't know exactly where I'd like to take C&B in the coming months or years, I have determined that my ideal situation would be to shift my income from mostly client work (invoiced hourly or project based) to mostly product sales or licensing contracts. Said another way, I would prefer to make the majority of my income by selling personal work.
- Thus, I would really like to create more personal work. This needs to be higher priority.
- Mental health is the most important tool for entrepreneurs. If it's poor, business suffers. Work on your shit.
- Getting out of the house daily is a necessity. Even if it's just a walk around the block.
So, if I had to identify some goals for the next year, I would say this:
- Create more. I've already begun carving out time each weekday for some personal creation time.
- Get aforementioned personal work seen by more people. Instagram, markets, shows, etc. Get it out there.
- Continue to prioritize mental health.
- Take more vacation.
- Remain flexible. Things will change throughout the year and I would like to be able to roll with those changes.
Notice that none of those things are numbers-based. I don't want specificity right now; I want lifestyle changes. I have absolutely zero interest in pulling an all-nighter on anything work-related ever again. I played that game a lot in my teens and 20s. As I creep farther and farther into my 30s, I'm realizing that there is almost nothing I enjoy enough to lose sleep over and there is definitely nothing important enough in the illustration/design world to lose sleep over. Perhaps that seems like a no-brainer but until very recently, I considered myself a workaholic and determined that my dream job was going to be something that I would be thrilled to work on at 3am.
I don't identify with that anymore.
In fact, my dream job may actually be one in which I can work as few hours as possible and still earn a living wage.
...the more you know.