4 Secrets of Successful Freelancing

successful freelancing | FOXY OXIE glam office

#BendTheRules of successful freelancing with these 4 tips, inspired by the 4 modes of the HP x360

If you are a freelancer – I'm looking at you photographers, bloggers, designers, stylists, brand strategists, social media specialists, writers, event planners – chances are, the phrase, "So, what exactly do you do?" is one you hear on a regular basis.

Don't you just love it?

Not far behind is my personal favorite, "So do you, like, actually work?"

Contrary to our oh-so-carefully styled Instagram accounts, we do not spend our days lounging around the house in sequined gowns, sipping (and snapping photos of) gourmet lattes, arranging flowers and brainstorming which Instagram filter to use on our #célfie.

But I digress.

More and more people are forgoing conventional jobs to explore alternatives that transform their hobbies and passions into full-time careers. The allure to #BendTheRules is hard to resist. What very few people realize, however, is just how much blood, sweat and tears go into making dreams a reality. 

With so many behind-the-scenes business details to coordinate, it's easy to lose motivation when it finally comes time to create. Here are four game-changing tips and tricks to keep in mind.

1. Design a workspace that inspires.

When designing my home office, I knew I wanted more than a designated corner of the house to help me balance a full-time job, an Etsy shop, a blog, multiple freelancing projects and personal projects like the #FOXYOXIEloveletters. I needed an environment that pushed me to dream bigger and work smarter – a workspace that served as a catalyst for taking my brand to the next level.

See, here's the thing: The majority of my waking hours are dedicated to working as a marketing professional in a corporate setting, and I love it – I truly do.

But as you can imagine, some days completing a menial task like taking a shower requires dedicated effort and inspirational talking-tos with the affected persona of a therapist, "Come on," I tell myself, "You can do this…" 

Sometimes I feel like I deserve an award just for breathing. 

That was back in the day when my freelancing was done from the comfort of my own bed. (Bad idea, I tell you!) These days I find myself gravitating toward my polka dotted corner, as if pulled by some invisible force, the second I step inside my home. 

Melodramatics aside, the immense effect our surroundings have on our ability to focus and create magic, if you will, are undeniable. There are many ways to foster creativity in your workspace, regardless of how small or unattractive it may be. Start by establishing a place for every item; clutter, both physical and mental, is a creativity-blocking beast that quite literally needs to be put in its place.

Take advantage of natural light, which plays a huge role in productivity. If working next to the window is not an option, invest in a desk lamp – or two.

Fill your space with imagery that inspires, energizes and motivates – whether it's pops of bright pink, gigantic gold dots of glittery goodness, typography posters reminding you to "Get it, girl!" or a moodboard for when that million-dollar idea strikes. 

2. Take small steps toward your ultimate goal.

Collaborating with brands like HP and producing creative and authentic content for the blog, all while managing a shop and taking on occasional design project (not to mention that minor detail of a full-time job) requires revolutionary strategic planning and maximization skills. Sometimes weeks go by before I can muster up enough energy to take another small step in the direction of realizing my ultimate goal, but in the words of Confucius, "It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop."

Similarly, do not take on every project that comes your way, or you will risk adding more checkboxes to your already overwhelming to-do list with little to no satisfaction in return. Your time and creative energy is precious; be selective in what you commit it to.

Learning when and how to say no was one of the biggest hurdles for me. Being the nice person that I am, I found it difficult to turn down friends' and family's constant requests to work for free. 

Now, before you call me a monster, there's nothing wrong with taking on occasional unpaid projects to help someone out; after all, who chargers their own grandmother, right? But you have to ask yourself if taking on this job – however minor it may seem – is really worth the time and your sanity, keeping in mind that you're already dealing with very limited time as it is. After all, you will likely have to sacrifice a paid project in order to help out this friend or family member. Once, twice, even three times may be okay, but when you find yourself spending every free minute working on "favors" – it's time to reevaluate.

Once you've broken down your complex dreams and ideas into small, manageable tasks, it's time to pursue them one-by-one! 

The HP x360 has the flexibility to #BendTheRules and keep up with all of my ever-changing needs. I can answer emails and craft upcoming blog posts in notebook mode, blast music in tent mode while I shoot the latest collection of FOXY OXIE art prints, practice hand lettering in tablet mode and Skype with clients in stand mode. My absolute favorite feature is its intuitive touchscreen technology – active regardless of which mode you're in. 

HP is all about bending the rules; this month the brand is going across the states with Meghan Trainor's #ThatBassTour, providing 'Megatrons' (otherwise known as Meghan Trainor fans) exclusive coverage of the tour and a chance to experience the action in a way that has never been done before. 

Follow #ThatBassTour for a behind-the-scenes glimpse of everything from hair and makeup to choreography.

3. Work less, and play more.

Seems a bit counterintuitive, but stay with me; I may be on to something.

When you are a self-employed creative, your success depends on your ability to come up with and effectively implement fresh ideas.

Ideas stem from a combination of personal experiences, so it would only make sense that to generate new ideas, one must continuously be exposed to new experiences. Take a page from Albert Einstein, who said, "I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious."

I am a firm believer in lifelong learning, whether to enhance your career, develop new skills or simply for personal growth. Find a topic that intrigues you (travel, anyone?), and devour every book on the topic. Challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone – whether in your daily routine, your clothing choices or even something as simple as what you have for lunch. Look for new sources of inspiration that provoke your senses and stimulate your brain to break away from the thought processes ingrained in your brain.

4. Befriend your competition.

I know what you're thinking.

"Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer," right?


Oh sure, befriending fellow freelancers and creative types is a fantastic way to stay in-the-know about your industry, but even more import is forming genuine friendships with people who share in (and understand) your passion for creating – and the complexities that accompany it.

Instead of the typical I-win-you-lose attitude, find ways to collaborate, learn from each other, share resources, capitalize on each other's strengths, combine forces for projects you otherwise wouldn't be able to tackle for lack of time or skills, and most importantly, support each other – there is absolutely no reason why we can't all have a piece of the proverbial pie. 

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Do you have any questions about freelancing? Finding new projects? Establishing your own brand? Collaborating with other creatives? Balancing work and life? 

Leave your questions in the comment section, and I will do my best to address each one!

Disclosure »

This post is sponsored by HP in partnership with Collectively. All writing and opinions are always my own and never influenced by gifted products or any type of monetary compensation.




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  2. This was wonderful! I started to build my own desk to create the space I wanted. But I built the base and jumped the gun haha I am using it but never finished decorating it! Adding this back onto my todo list!

  3. I adore the colors in this post… and the advice! I’m sharing it in a female entrepreneur group I’m a part of! :) xox

  4. LOVE this! I need to work on creating a workspace where I feel inspired. My general spot right now is a corner of the couch and not only is that awful for my back, it’s right in the middle of the house where I always feel distracted.

  5. Wonderful post! I found this extremely helpful! I have overwhelmed myself with projects and found it hard to find the motivation to pull them off. I know where to start now! Thank you!!! Possible questions coming soon!

  6. My only question is where did you get all your adorable office stuff? I’m moving into an apartment with close friends in 3 months and I’m hoping to design my bedroom with pretty pinks and gold accents. I’d love if you could share where the storage boxes and accessories were purchased!
    Loved the article as well!

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  12. I agree that you have to set aside time to play so you can get more inspiration. I find that working out or going for a run is helpful and I feel more focused and can accomplish a lot more than if I just made myself work. Taking a break and knowing when to say “No” to additional work can be key to not getting burned out.

    I also love your idea about collaborating with competitors. We often think we have to always compete, but if we collaborate, share ideas, and learn from one another, we can do even more.

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  14. Awesome tips. As someone who also freelances and has a full time job, chunking my goals into smaller steps keeps me from feeling overwhelmed and burning out before I finish a project.

    • Hi Ana! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! It took me a long time to realize this tidbit of wisdom, but once I finally did, it’s as if everything fell into place (as cliche as it sounds). Do you have other advice you can share on finding balance?

      Hope to see you chime in on future posts! XOXO

      • As soon as I find balance I’ll let you know, lol! I think the best advice is to be kind to yourself, you can only do what you can do so no need to beat yourself up about a looming deadline or pulling an all nighter.

        • Oh, yes! We tend to forget that the world doesn’t stop so we can tend to our massive to-do lists. Life continues on. These past few weeks I’ve been rediscovering the freedom of saying “no” to things you feel like you have to say yes to… Wishing you luck with your own journey! XO

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  18. Ah all so true! Trying to make a little corner for my self here in a 1 bedroom tiny apartment, is really hard. So I accupy a corner of the dining room table for now, until my dream of owning a studio office space can come true… all glammed up in gold accessories and pretty organized boxes and folders, why does a photographer need all that?! I don’t know, but it makes me happy :)

    • Hi Viktoriya!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a moment to connect! We too live in a 1-bedroom basement apartment – key word being basement, as there are only three windows in our entire house! What you see here is just a corner of our living room, so I can definitely relate to your struggle!

      I’m always looking to connect with fellow freelancers and would love to get some input on your experience! What are some pain points for you as a freelance photographer? How do you find clients? Have you collaborated with other freelancers, and if so, on what sort of projects? How do you balance work and life?

      Looking forward to hearing from you! XOXO

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