I started writing this blog post solely on my resolution for 2012 to grow my artistic community. But as I was writing it I realized it could come off negative just saying what I wish I could change about my job. So, now it’s kind of a full ode to 2011, the good and the bad.


Things I love about my job


#1. My Clients

One of the biggest joys in working as a freelancer is the direct contact I get to have with my clients. It’s gotten to the point where I have a unique relationship with each one of them and really feel a special connection with their business or music or what-have-you. I have been so blessed to have had the most agreeable, patient, encouraging clients that always pay me on time. Seriously, I couldn’t have been more lucky in 2011.


#2. My Blog

Rough Gems. has kind of been one of my only windows into the world. I don’t get a ton of interaction from readers, but the seldom comments I do get are a breath of life and existence. That sounds really dramatic…but if you sit alone in your home for 40+ hours a week working a technology based job, you kind of forget that there’s a world out there. Not only do I love that people look at my blog, but I love to keep it up. Posting is fun, enriching and stretches me out of my day to day projects. I love that this blog is whatever I decide to make it.


#3. My office

This is something small, but I love to have my own office. Half the time it’s in complete chaos, but it’s wonderful to have a space completely designated to making art. All my art supplies in one room and whatever I want to put up on the walls. A space heater was a lovely recent addition as well.


#4. Freedom to work whenever

Some people might see this as a downside, but I love it. Sometimes I stick to a really straight 8-5 schedule, but sometimes I don’t. I love having the freedom to work when I feel inspired, it is often relieving and allows for a very organic context to create in. It also allows for travel and taking days off when I need to.


#5. Growth

Running your own business is a challenge. That’s not the part that I love, what I love is the growth I have seen from this challenge. I guess I could be wrong, but I feel like I’ve grown a lot in the past year. Making professional decisions and taking my game the next level has been something I have had to continue striving for all year. This January I find myself in a much more confident, established position as a designer. Growth is also something I love about this line of work because there’s always plenty left to do. Getting better and progressing as an artist and a business person is a great adventure. It excites and inspires me to do what I do every day.


Stats and highlights from 2011: posted over 200 blog posts, designed my first font, was featured on Design Work Life one of my favorite blogs from New York, launched a new portfolio site, designed 7 album covers, developed 16 logos, designed and launched 9 websites, started an Etsy store, designed 6 tshirts, designed over 20 posters, started painting again, learned some flash programming at ThinkLabs and…started a new band!


New Year’s Resolution 2012


Being a freelancer is wonderful, but like any job, it’s not all amazing. The part that challenges me the most is the seclusion and lack of collaboration. My resolution for 2011 when I really started to hit the freelance world full time was to develop some kind of artistic community. I had no idea how this could happen, which is part of the reason I failed, but I desperately wanted it. I wanted feedback on my work from other designers, I wanted an understanding ear to rant to about my struggle with the latest project, I wanted all the things designers at an agency have without the agency. This is tough, especially when you just sit around waiting for it to happen and when all of your designer friends work at agencies.


This year I’m going to try to be a little bit more proactive. I’ve joined Dribbble and Behance, a couple of social networking sites for creatives. Those have been great and inspiring so far. They also are a great way for me to actually see that I’m not the only one in the world making art the way I make it. There are others like me!! (Sigh of relief!)


Another exciting thing in the works is a Graphic Design Club that will be starting small with just a few local creatives. Eric Smith (idrawallday) who just moved to Spokane in the past year has been the force behind this. I’ll surely be posting more info on this as it becomes more defined but I’m really excited especially since the people that are going to be involved are wicked talented.


I’m also really going to try to leave room in my timeline for projects to get feedback from other designers with enough time to actually do something about the feedback. This can be tough when deadlines are tight but I think it is really important and would make each project more rewarding.


That’s what I’ve got so far! Are you a freelancer or do you run your own business? Share with me other tips on how you stay connected. I would love to hear! Thanks to everyone for making this a great year for me and supporting me so much. Cheers!