THE REALITY OF BEING AN INDEPENDENT CREATIVE: LONDON
We know it can be lonely as hell to work for yourself. But with independence comes liberation and so we teamed up with It's Nice That to tell the stories of our members and the sometimes hard truths of going freelance. Here is the article they published today; below are more soundbites.
Francesca Martorelli's advice took the encouraging route, "Everybody should find his own way of living in order to believe in his potential. Not everybody has to follow the same path and act similarly. We are unique in every sense. Be what you are meant to be. Act as you feel like. Find your dimension and administrate it properly", while Benjamin Swanson broke it down plainly: "I work, work, work, panic, drink, then work again."
Despite the challenges, our freelancers overwhelmingly embrace the independent lifestyle, no matter how difficult. Liam Owen may have summed it up best, "Anyone who is thinking about taking the leap and going it along - DO IT NOW! You will always wonder why it took you so long once you have done it."
Tell us your most honest anecdote of working for yourself.
Matthew Serge Guy, Copywriter.
"I said I'd use the downtime between jobs to write that great novel I was thinking of, or take up painting, or learn how to surf whilst backpacking along the coast of India. In reality I just used the downtime to create dumb websites about cats."
Hayden Peek, Art Director.
"I've got a 28 hour body clock. Forcing myself to bed at a socially acceptable hour when I'm not contracting is basically impossible. I make use of this extra time by making disrespectful electronic music."
Claudio Salas, Animator.
"I recently left an amazing full-time job in Los Angeles to move back to London to work for myself. At first, I wasn't sure I made the right choice but now, I wouldn't do anything else. I love working my butt off for a few weeks to then take a week off and then start the cycle again."
Jamie Young, Designer.
"When I was working for a startup company I used to make decisions on user experience, whilst on a Google Hangout, at the same time as I was folding baby clothes in my bedroom (and keeping one eye on the baby.)"
Benjamin Swanson, Photographer.
"I work , work, work, panic, drink, then work again."
What's the biggest annoyance or hurdle of independent life no one warned you about?
Liam Owen, Designer.
"You got to like your own company, as you spend a load of time talking to yourself!"
Will Baugh, Designer.
"In this saturated market place, its not always the ones that shout loudest that succeed. Appreciating skilled craftsmanship and quality is a subtle, yet paramount attribute when design considered. It's a cut throat world out there."
Tom Jennings, Illustrator.
"You have to do everything, EVERYTHING! Finding the work, scoping the work, doing the work, invoicing for the work, promoting the work, chasing the invoices that haven't been paid, sorting out taxes, chasing the unpaid invoices again so you can pay the tax. Everything. Actually doing the work is great when you have the time. Also your boss can be a total asshole and theres nobody to complain about it to."
Samuel Viani Bastos, Designer.
"To be honest, I'm not a big fan of working alone at home. Sometimes it can be good and very useful but I think it always depend on what kind of project you're working on as some projects won't progress if you're working on your own most of the time. My favourite place to work needs basically to be organised, clean, with the right brightness and quiet. Quietness is a very important element for me to properly focus when I'm working. It doesn't mean quiet in a 'silence' way as it's always good (and necessary most of the time) to have music with or without headphones. If I could pick a workplace, it would be somewhere close to nature. An office space by a river or forest would be amazing and probably helpful to create better."
How do you battle the inevitable loneliness that comes with being an independent creative?
Marco Bevilacqua, Illustrator.
"It's tough; some days you look at Twitter and the world is going by in this storm of coolness that you're not a part of. You haven't had a project for a while and you've just spent 3 hours on a drawing thats actually really shit. It can be mentally very frustrating and isolating. There isn't one definitive means of eliminating loneliness and you will have to find your own. For me, however, it usually involves just getting away from the studio for a while. If I can feel that i'm requiring contact from other humanoids, it means that I'm not focused on work. So why try and make it worse by forcing yourself to work? Go see a friend, call your mum, take the dog for a walk, consider getting a studio space with other people. Being proactive is the absolute key thing in this job. Nobody will do anything for you, you have to go do it! (I'm sounding like Shia Labeouf now!) And it applies to getting work and also to not going mad when you're sitting on."
Thea Glad, Animator.
"Keeping busy with personal projects is a great way to keep the loneliness away. And of course keeping your family and friends near helps too. It's amazing what a lunch break with a good friend can do to battle the loneliness!"
Mark Bain, Designer.
"Music, stepping away from the desk and going for a walk. Working in public spaces can help, but it can also be quite distracting."
Lilian Darmono, Illustrator.
"I get on the Slack chat group for motion designers when I get tired of talking to my cats."
Be honest, have you ever Skyped pants-less with a client?
Ian Sargent, Animator.
"No - but I did have a Skype call with a client once, where my camera was off and I think he had assumed his was too. Half way through the call he suddenly took his shirt off and just carried on talking as if nothing was different."
Tony Goff, Designer.
"I did once have a video call with someone while my washing was hanging on the door behind me."
Francesca Martorelli, Designer.
"I often put a jumper on the top of my pajamas to look more professional during calls with clients or collaborators."
Anything else you'd like to add?
Marcus Chaloner, Motion Designer.
"I can't vouch for working for yourself enough. I tell everyone I meet they should be doing it. I appreciate there are some people in some fantastic studios doing brilliant work full-time. But for me and a lot of people this really is the best in both a creative and personal way."
Josh McKenna, Illustrator.
"These questions are quite cheeky."