It's about that time of year that I really take a step back and absorb what has happened in the past year, both in my freelance career and personal life. I can say without a doubt that this year was the best so far for my career, as I hit several of my goals. I was able to stay 100% freelance, something that I wasn't so sure would be doable a couple years ago.
- The house. Something I could not even dream of accomplishing actually came to a reality this year. Me and my girlfriend had been renting 2 small bedrooms at a friends house for about a year but we wanted to move closer to family for personal reasons. I remember trying to rent with a company but due to their rules / guidelines, we were not able to get a place with them. This broke me as we would be further away and attempting to purchase an actual home was not something I thought was doable. I thought, how could I even do this while maintaining my current career? Could I even get approved with my non regular income? What if my operation collapses and I lose it all? Regardless of all these thoughts that came across my mind, we pursued the impossible and ended up purchasing a house relativity close to the location I wanted. This allowed me to have much more of an actual office for work as well.
- Worked on a variety of different clients than I had previously. Starting out, I was known for working on a lot of metal bands, and that has gradually expanded outward. I'm grateful for all of my clients and having the opportunity to create for a larger range really keeps each day fresh and new.
- Ended up getting several designs into new stores such as Rue21, Urban Outfitters, Spencer's, etc
- Yearly income increased by almost 1/3 compared to 2016
- Started a couple personal projects that I would like to expand going into 2018
- The biggest negative of this year has to be health related. Due to the natural of my work, I am constantly at my computer almost all the time. Because of this, I started having extreme wrist pains and going to the doctor confirmed that I have tendinitis in my wrist and elbow. This really was a wake up call that I need to be healthier in general if I am wanting to keep this operation going long term. Additionally, I have not be eating the best and paired with lack of exercise, it's all starting to really get the best of me.
- Additionally, because of working all the time, I haven't been able to spend the time I would like with family and friends. I have been trying to make it a habit to open more free time outside of my computer during these last couple months, but I really need to push this moving forward.
- Haven't been able to expand into other personal projects such as an online resource store, prints / tshirts, etc.
- My top 3 bands to work on of all time would have to be Alice In Chains, System of a Down, and NIN. I was extremely excited when I got emailed this year for System to work on some tshirt concepts for them. I worked on AIC in 2016, SOAD this year...I feel like I am starting to sense a pattern here (looking at you NIN).
- Another great moment was when the band Parachute had emailed me directly and wanted me to design some merchandise for their acoustic tour. I wasn't too familiar with the name, but as I was working on the project, my girlfriend had walked into my office and saw who I was working on. She was blown away when I said the band emailed me directly and this wasn't through a company or manager. These guys are easily one of my favorite clients to work with to date and it's always great to get that excitement feeling from loved ones when working on cool projects.
- Continuing with that concept, I also was asked to work on Metallica this year. This is the top tier band for my dad, so being able to show him what I ended up getting approved for them was surreal. This ended up being 4 approvals sold on tour and in a pop up shop.
- Other really cool projects I can tick off the achievement list is Panic! At The Disco, Korn, The Beatles, Katy Perry, and Good Charlotte.
- Focus more on proper health / exercise. This is essential and I am already starting to improve this now.
- Set more time aside for friends and family
- Attend more design and art related events. I would love to attend events like Weapons of Mass Creation and check out smaller events nearby in between those larger ones.
- Set up more passive income, whether that be a resource store, prints, clothing brand, etc. I have quite a few projects in mind, it all just depends on what I would like to pursue and how to go about that.
- Work on projects such as Nine Inch Nails, anything Marvel related (any kind of Infinity War or A4 merchandise would blow my mind), Warcraft, Taylor Swift, My Ticket Home, Cane Hill, Slipknot, Breaking Benjamin, 30STM.
Overall, this year was pretty solid. A lot was learned as always and looking forward to the future. I'm eternally thankful to all of my clients and loved ones that push me forward every single day. This is only my third year of freelancing full time, and I do not plan on stopping anytime soon, no matter what obstacles are thrown our way. Let's start 2018 off strong.