Happy 1 year anniversary as a freelancer to me! It was 1 year ago today that I created my business cards, not sure whether I was going to continue trying to find a job at an agency without any portfolio or graphic design experience to speak of besides the graphics on my blog. I was terrified, but somehow convinced a few random people to give me work and teach me new things along the way. Sometimes I felt like I was flying, other times learning how to do graphic design while trying to establish my own business felt like pulling teeth. Hell, it still feels like that.
One of the hardest parts about the past year was my consistent indecision as to whether or not I planned on remaining a freelancer. I struggled with money, confidence, skill-levels and emotional turmoil for a whole year, which left me questioning whether or not I could even make it, and then again, whether or not I wanted to…
But it has been a year and I love being my own boss. I would love having a project manager as a partner in this business, but if I stick with it, it will come. There are so many kinks to be ironed out still, but here I am.
And 1 year later, it is time for me to really brand myself. I made some cute make-shift cards and a template website and have no real documentation for my business and well. You know what? There just aren’t enough hours.
In steps Lotta Nieminen though. In my first year as a designer, I have looked to Lotta’s work as a beacon of inspiration in the crazy times.
Lotta and her accomplishments are something that I dream of. Her minimal aesthetic inspires me to no end and while I spend my days photoshopping pictures of weed for dispensaries and before and after banners for plastic surgery centers, I dream of the day that I will collaborate with brands like Hermes, Volkswagon and New York Magazine.
Lotta’s work inspires me to not give up (even though I have thought about it so many times) on being a designer and to learn how to grow and expand my skills and connections. I cannot tell you guys how many times in the past year I have had a client tell me that they don’t like something I have done (sometimes nicely and sometimes not so much) and had to take a few deep breaths, hold back the shake in my voice and erase everything and start again. Being a designer, like being any kind of artist, is so incredibly frustrating and at the same time, incredibly freeing. Nothing will awake you like creating something, but nothing will crush you like hearing that the thing you have created is amateur or not good.
That’s why I love Lotta’s work so much; it speaks through simplicity, intention and skill. No doubt she faced many of the challenges that I do, being a young freelancer like myself. But she was nominated as one of Forbes magazines 30 under 30 and is widely recognized for her aesthetic.
So today, my friends, cheers to perseverance through hardship and cheers to finding the lights in your field, the muses that keep you going.