Design Thinking

Why Freelance Life is (Officially) Awesome

Freelance life is awesome.
"Oh yeah?" You say, "Is it now?"
Yep. It really is!

I get asked a TON of questions about what freelance life is like. I'll take a minute here to indulge you in all my dirty little secrets :) Hint: Freedom!

It's been about 9 months since I quit my full-time gigwhich was fantastic and I was very grateful for by the way, but change really needed to happen. I've successfully managed to completely replace my full-time salary with freelance work, much of it being remote. In addition, I decide when to travel, and for how long. And I feel completely in control of the work that I take on. Note, I have a home office (which is amazing as I live in NYC and this is a rarity), but I also enjoy working from coffee shops and taking my laptop on the road with me. Plus, my clients now are hand picked and doing really incredible things. Basically, I wear the lady boss pants ya heard?

Ok so a little more as to why freelance is awesome. It's estimated that by 2020, 50% of our workforce will be freelance. Check out this article on Forbes to get the lowdown. That's a crazy huge percentage, and I think it'll be going up from there. Big corporations are literally trying to be more like startups. And the trend is only going to continue. People want more freedom, flexibility, and ownership over their own lives.

My recommendation to you: give freelance a shot. But only do it if you have at least 8 month savings in your pocket. I planned it all out, did my research, really took care of my marketing and systems, made sure I was nice to people, kept my portfolio top notch, and created a lot of connections with my 10 years of experience. Most of all it's about keeping your head on right as sometimes doing client work is almost like being a therapist and doing the right thing. My internal work (see my last post) has really paid off. So work has literally flowed to me *knock-on-wood* without me doing any outreach whatsoever. How great is that?

While freelance life is beautiful, sometimes it can be hard. I find myself sometimes working even harder than I have full-time. Other challenges are:

  • Setting boundaries so you actually DO get to take a day off
  • Making sure you have all systems up and running: contracts designed, online payment systems set up, automatic responders, getting all your marketing in order)
  • Dealing with taxes and tracking your business expenses
  • Getting into the groove of freelance, which took me a good 6 months
  • Saying no to work ... I've started to become a "no" person, but it's hard!

Otherwise? I say hell-yeah to freelance aka *freedom* life.

What's holding you back from jumping head first into freelance life? Leave me a note and let me know!

The Importance of Empathy in Branding


Brand matters. But the landscape of branding is changing at lightning speed, and many marketers are blind to this next phase in consumer culture. But open-minded design thinkers know what's up: weaving empathy into the branding process is encroaching on the design process faster by the minute.

What do I mean by this. No, it's not woo-woo metaphysical jargon. People are bombarded with ads, and are starting to really hate it. The idea that they are being sold to. But branding, the emotion of what they're connecting themselves too, is more alive than ever. Aligning ourselves with brands helps us define who we are to ourselves and those around us. What we crave is for marketing to HEAL us. Make things simpler for us, understanding our needs and wants rather than forcing us to break into a mold. It's not about selling at this point anymore. If a person sees you're selling, they're going to shy away. Why? Because they're looking for brands to give way more than they sell. And only in this way will marketing add to the value of branding from here on out.

The selling era is over. It's been way over for a while now. Giving is what's up. Design thinking involves giving true worth, beauty and usefulness. Giving provides empathy, helping those in branding connect to the people using their services, information or products. People don't want to be sheep anymore, they want to grow into who they really are. It's not just about researching how to get people to buy stuff. If a marketer is not giving something in return that's of true value, they're going to flop.

Taking design thinking seriously in business is necessary today for brands to be able to flourish. It takes someone who thinks not of the bottom line, but of the triple bottom line: people, planet and profits. A new world is one that empathizes with those inhabiting it.