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Image by Yen Vu

Life as a Freelance Designer

I remember literally doing a painting of cheese while working for Whole Foods Market, and thinking to myself "this is not quite what I meant when I said I wanted a creative career".

It was a great opportunity full of countless lessons ranging from the mastery of hand painted sign-making, to navigating office politics, but it wasn't quite as fulfilling as I had hoped for. After Whole Foods I found myself in another office from 9 to 5 and for the first time ever I even had my own cubicle. Well, it was an open floor plan but you get the picture.

Two months into this new designing position I realized this company had many perks but like my previous employment lacked the necessary wiggle room to let me grow into the graphic designer and artist I knew I could be. After a year in, I gathered enough courage (or frustration) to quit my job and start my own business; Jasleni Art & Design.

My last day at work was a Friday, and by the following Monday I already had two clients! To be fair I had been doing freelance work on the side for a few months so I wasn't completely starting from scratch, but still, quitting a stable career job with air conditioning and medical insurance for a leap of faith is scary.

The truth is even when everything falls into place entrepreneurship is not for everyone.

Being your own boss is great; you get to decide which 18 hours of the day you work.

No one is going to be a more demanding boss to you than you. No one else is going to expect you to answer every e-mail right as it arrives, and set crazy expectations all the time, but you. Having your own business requires self-discipline, self-compassion, motivation, patience, flexibility, organization, creativity, and oh yea, money to keep it going.

Like anything else in life, owning a business has its pros and cons:


  • I wake up and work whenever I feel like (so long as I meet my deadlines of course).

  • I don't have to request vacation time, which has allowed me to travel to 4 countries in the past year alone, and since I work right from my laptop, I can take my work with me.

  • My work is limitless in the sense that I have the room to explore any project that interests me and if I don't like the projects that come my way I simply turn them down. I get to truly be creative and play with as many shapes and colors as I like.


  • Financial stability is tricky. As a freelance designer it's hard to know how much work you'll have at any given moment. My suggestion is to always do a good job, make sure your clients are happy, and then ask for reviews. Word of mouth has been essential to me and my business.

  • Working from home all alone, while convenient is also a little lonely.

  • Having your own business is a big responsibility much like having a puppy. You have to put effort into it everyday to make sure it does well.

My advice to anyone wanting to start their own business is to do your research, talk to other professionals in your industry, make a thorough plan, and once you feel like you've got a clue, don't over think it, just go for it. Having a business has its challenges but for me it has been one of the most liberating, and rewarding decisions I have ever made.

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