This is probably going to come as a surprise to many – tomorrow (Friday, March 2, 2007) is my last day as a freelance designer. Come Monday morning, I’ll be falling into the ranks of a fresh start-up where I’ll assume the role of “lead designer”. Crazy, right? May-be! But let me explain why I would do such a thing.

Since I started doing freelance work just about a year ago now, I’ve been booked solid. In most cases for 2 or 3 months in advance. It probably would have been even longer, but 3 months was the farthest I would book. During a typical week I would receive anywhere from 10-20 emails requesting quotes or asking about my availability. And this was actually my biggest downfall. I never left enough time to manage leads and take care of odd jobs (software updates, small tweaks, etc.) and I have basically being working 7 days a week since I started freelancing. I did however, learn from my mistake and recently implemented a better timeline structure, but I’m afraid it’s too late. I’m beat!

Back in October I heard from a fellow Canadian designer who was looking for someone to handle his overflow as he was in the same boat as me. Totally over-booked with a slew of leads coming in every day. Obviously, I couldn’t help him out, but that’s not where our conversation ended. We kept in touch and discovered we had a lot in common. Then one day, he hit me with a massive proposition – to join a company he was forming and come on board as lead designer. After much debate and still with a little hesitation, I agreed. Once I settled on a decision, my confidence immediately started increasing and within no time I was completely stoked on the whole thing.

So here I am now, a few weeks after agreeing to change gears and join the team and about to head to bed before my last day as a freelance designer begins. I’m feeling great about things and definitely a sense of relief as I’m sure this new endeavour will allow me to spend more time offline in the real world. Something I’ve wanted for ages.

Oh, the company – right! There really isn’t much to say at this point, at least not from my perspective. I’m joining a team of designers and developers who have been hand picked to work under the Graphics.net banner. I couldn’t even tell you who I’m working with as I haven’t had the time to catch up with the new boss recently. I’m busy tieing up loose ends (and had a little family crisis recently which stirred things up pretty good) while he’s moving into a new home which is located where the office will be – Nelson BC. Obviously, I’ll be working remote, but I was asked if I would relocate. Anyway, once things get going and I’ve got my hands dirty, I’ll update you all on the company and how things are going with it.

Damn, I really think I’m incapable of writing short posts. I had intended this to be a quicky, but here I am rambling again.

Lastly, if you were hoping to have me take on a project of yours, fear not – Graphics.net will be taking on new projects all the time and there’s a good chance I could end up working on it. But I’m sure if you requested me, we could make it happen. At this point, there’s no way of contacting Graphics.net, so just sit tight. It’ll all come together in time.


Comments

Congratulations on getting appointed, "lead designer" quite an honor. I too am in the same boat as yourself, recently married and wanting to start a family soon, I needed to fall in ranks with a company that could offer me a solid paycheck.

You have to always keep one thing in mind, "Do what you can, do do what you love" I have been a longtime reader, I look forward to your posts in the future.

Congratulations to you Matt!!!! 🙂 I’m sure that you’ll fit in nicely at your new company. Funny…I decided to take the freelancer plunge myself today and will be announcing that shortly over on my blog. I’ll be sure to remember what you wrote today about handling leads and time management when I’m working with clients.

Best of luck to you again….

Well, you’ve mentioned something about a job @ company, but I thought, that maybe you reconsidered.

Congratulations and a lot of luck on the Graphics.net.

To be onest.. I think, you won’t totally give up freelance… it’s like an addiction 😉

But first things first – try to catch up with the family and life… 🙂

Wow. Wow. Wow.

I must say, that is one of the smallest and most ignored fears/thoughts of webdesigners heading solo. It’s easy to see how that would happen to you, mr. kickass master coder/designer.

We’re anxious to see how this all pans out, and what type of lessons you can pass on to us ‘others’ 🙂 Those of us 3 or 4 thousand steps behind you.

Congrats on the move Matt. I’m sure everything will work out fantastically for you.

Based on your Tweets yesterday, looks like you’ll get to enjoy the weekend even more before starting with Graphics.net 🙂

Thanks for the kind words of encouragement everyone. Much appreciated. 🙂

@Luke: It’s true. Even after reading countless articles on time management and general best practices for freelancers, this topic was hardly covered. I think I might have to fill that void and blog about some of the areas that I didn’t do so well with.

@andrzejk: I’m sure you’re right. But honestly, I’d love more than anything to simply put in an 8 hour day. I find that since I’m working so much, I’ve lost a lot of my enthusiasm for what I do, which is definitely a shame. I’m hoping to regain some of that with this move.

@Mike: Yes sir! I wrapped up my last project yesterday, so I’m taking today to tie up some other loose ends. Which means my weekend should be nice and open.

@Kiley: Nah, won’t be moving out to BC. That’s the other side of the country for us. Although, I hear Nelson is a beautiful little town.

Congratulations of the new position, Matt. Looking forward to working with you some time in the future. 😉

@Matt

I’ll say I feel your pain.

Just keep up the nice work, and GL on regaining enthusiasm 😉

Keepin’ my fingers crossed 😀

Asked to relocate to Nelson? Wow, that’d be quite the switch from southern Ontario. If you get the chance, take up the offer and fly out with your family to survey the scene.

While I personally wouldn’t want to live in Nelson, the ease of access to mountains, lakes, rivers, forests and piles of snow is mind-blowing. The views alone are worth the trip. Good strong coffee and steep streets too!

Many congratulations mate!

One of the problems with being a freelancer, as you said, is the ability to stop working at home: there’s little separation between the workplace and home, so it can be difficult to unwind. Hopefully working centrally for a company will solve that 😀

Good luck!

Matt,

in light of the e-mail exchange I "forced" on you many moons ago, I think this is a great decision you made.

All the very best of luck with the new venture! I’m sure it’ll turn out great.

Best,

Volkher

You can only go forward Matt, wish you all the best settling in your new job. I look forward to seeing how it goes, remember to take lots of pictures if you decide to relocate.

I was looking around for widescreen information and stumbled upon your pad (thanks for the WSGF lead) – Props all around

Im in a Multimedia Production and Design program at the college here in Nelson and its quite a stoke to learn Graphics.net is heading this way

The West Kootenays are a lot of fun, drop me a line if your looking for some local knowledge

Just commented on your Wii.

By the way, I had this dream of you actually working for Cuban Council (in case you know what is it). I also dreamt about being a freelancer but when I saw this post, I think I’ll change it.

Again, congratulations!

Good luck with the change. You’ll always be able to go back, but might not find another opportunity like this one!

Congrats on taking the job Matt. We could be doing some stuff down the road together so I’m looking forward to the possibility of working with you.

Good luck and catch up with you after I traveled to the far corners for the world this summer.