Top 5 Tips for Freelance Fashion Illustrators

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Happy Holidays My Loves!!

I hope you've all had the most amazing time celebrating with your families, eating delicious food, and catching up on sleep. With 2017 quite literally around the corner, and so many thoughts swirling through my head, it feels like the perfect time to reflect on the past 2.5 years of running Travel Write Draw full-time. I've had so many ups and downs, SO many highs and lows since quitting my corporate design job in NYC, that it feels only right to share a few tips that I found enormously helpful throughout this time in my life. And let me begin my saying as a *disclaimer* that I'm entirely aware that no two lives are the same. What works for me may not work for you. But at the very least, you can use this list as a point of reference as you prepare to kick some serious ASS in 2017!! So here goes it...

My Top 5 Tips for Freelance Fashion Illustrators:

1. Write Your Mission Statement: One habit I picked up while working full-time was goal planning. It was part of our bi-annual reviews with our managers. We had to map out our goals and to-do's from two weeks, to 3 months, to 6 months, to 2 years. It coincides with "defining what success looks like to you" and it is super important. If you don't know where you are going or what you hope to achieve, how can you expect to attract clients who do? When you are direct, determined, clear and purposeful about your work, you are doing 50% of the work for the clients by showing them how brilliantly you align with their brand. For me, Travel Write Draw has always been about (you guessed it) travel, fashion, and illustration; it's about where these three passions of mine intersect. My career mission is defined by these three passions and ultimately all the content I produce and clients I attract fall into this intersection. Start 2017 by defining your freelance career mission statement, produce portfolio work from there, and watch how the clients come to you.

2. A Structured Schedule: This point isn't entirely specific to fashion illustrators, but it is however one of the most important pillars of my "survival guide". When I first left my corporate job, one of the hardest adjustments I had to make (apart from not knowing where my paycheck would be coming from week to week) was not having an office to commute to 5 days of the week. The lack of structure was almost paralyzing. It certainly didn't help that I was living in a shoebox in the West Village where my bed and desk were a half a meter apart. But once I moved to my place in Williamsburg, and gained 3 separate rooms outside my bedroom, life started to become more manageable.

I joined Classpass this year and every Sunday I would book my morning workouts for the week. Monday at 9 AM was boxing, Tuesday at 8 AM was pilates, Wednesday at 8:30 AM was hip hop yoga, and so on...and by the time I finished my workout class and walked home to shower, my client emails were rolling in and ready to be answered. It might seem silly but having the structure of these classes kept me sane. They got me out of the house, cleared my head, made me feel good both physically and emotionally, and ultimately became the framework of my schedule. Whatever it is, be it exercise, walking your dog, meditation, or a coffee run, starting your week with structure will help you to stay in balance while weathering the unpredictable ups and downs of your freelance career.

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