For the first 12 years of my career, I commuted and worked in offices and cubicles, did the staff meetings and water-cooler socializing, and enjoyed regular performance reviews and promotions. But then Bundle o' Joy #1 was born, so I transitioned to telecommuting; working a few days per week at home whilst feeding and wiping a baby. A couple of years later -- after the arrival of Loinfruit #2 -- I left the brick-and-mortar Cubieland altogether, and have been doing freelance design/production online for the 12+ years since my last water-cooler-gossip gig.

     I'll spare you my at-home momming tips (for now), but for anyone interested here's a few tips about freelancing and home office management that I have privately stocked over the years, not unlike my secretly kept pair of crud-free scissors or the [only] travel mug in the house that doesn't dribble :


1) Keep clients in the loop. Respond quickly to all calls/emails, and send regular progress updates about their project. Clients love the synergy, and get quickly discouraged when days go by without hearing "how it's coming along."


2) Keep track of your billable time. Use a shiny new tracking app or fashion a quill and keep a written log, but know this:  you WILL NOT remember that hour spent researching 'smiling-and-concerned-and-elderly-and-ethnically-diverse' stock photos, or those 3 calls about text edits that updated the 2 previous calls about text edits.


3) Charge for what you do, and do what you charge. When billing hourly, keep it real; padding your hours or undercutting your time ultimately screws up everyone.


4) Keep organized backups and samples of all projects (even the beastly ones). Backups are always a good practice, and perusing your past work is a great way to do your own annual Performance Review. NOTE:  After your review, remember to give yourself a promotion, invite yourself out for happy hour, and buy yourself a round of drinks. Heck, get the calamari, too -- I hear it's miraculous here. You... you've earned it.


If you can't do it good, do it big.

If you can't do it big, do it in black and red.


- The best design quote from my printing instructor at college

Copyright © 2015 Liesel Donaldson. All Rights Reserved.