1 Year Freelance


I can’t believe it’s been a full year since I quit my 9-5 to work for myself. I remember on my first day of self-employment my head was swimming in a cocktail of fear and potential. I was wearing a romper with bare feet and potting plants for my office in my backyard. As I was getting my hands dirty with soil a man working for the city came by to examine the abandoned house next door. He asked me about the feral cats living in the crawl space. He then advised me to paint my detached garage and informed me that my shoulders were uneven. He told me I needed a massage and he’d be happy to give me one. I politely declined, went inside and locked the doors.

Since then, I’ve spent this year navigating the bumpy waters of freelance life – from getting clients, efficiently managing my projects, and keeping careful account of my finances to constantly pushing myself as a designer and honing my craft. I’ve gone from finding my niche designing wedding invitations to calling it quits and focusing on small business identity and design. There has been lots of stress – the kind that gently gives me the nudge I need to keep going and the bad, typically irrational, kind that leaves me in a heap of tears. There has been an equal amount of joy too – like the projects that make me excited for Monday. And of course, writing and signing my own paycheck is always fun.

I love being a designer but if I’m completely honest, when I review this last year of freelancing, I can clearly see that what sparked the most passion in my life wasn’t my career itself but sharing the journey of it. I found the most joy in documenting, designing and sharing the details of my life – from my design process to what I’m wearing and eating to the big things like the Nepal / Everest Base Camp trek. Sharing my experiences here is what makes me the happiest.

So a year later, I’m still swimming in excitement (mixed with just a little bit of anxiety) about what’s next. My shoulders are still uneven and I probably do in fact need a massage, but I feel like at least my head is on straight.

The first year:
• Month 1
• Month 2
• Month 3
• Month 4
• Month 5
• Month 6
• Month 7
• Month 8
• Month 9
• Month 10
• Month 11

  1. Congrats on your first year of freelancing! It’s been awesome to watch you grow and read about your experiences here on the blog. I have no doubt that you will continue doing amazing things, and I can’t wait to read about them!

  2. Margie

    Happy anniversary, Kathleen. I hope you know what reading your blog means to me; the inspiration you give me. I wish you continued success. And, since we’re all no-holds barred, I totally read honing as horny. 😛

  3. congrats on making it a year! wishing you lots more hugely successful ones!

    (and a decent massage. from a licensed therapist.)


  4. Congratulations on reaching your one year mark. That’s great. I just gave notice at my studio and I will be joining you out there in the wide open. Thank you so much for sharing. It makes it so much easier for the rest of us when there’s an authentic narrative happening. I wish you the best in years to come.

  5. congrats on your first year being a huge success! keep up the phenomenal work – you inspire me to build up the courage to quit my day job…

  6. Congrats! I look forward to more of your freelance posts 🙂 And anxiety+excitement= anxitement. Which is worth it just for the combination of letters.

  7. Congrats! I look forward to more of your freelance posts 🙂 And anxiety+excitement= anxitement. Which is worth it just for the combination of letters.

  8. You’re killin’ it. And your writing has gotten really strong. I’m so proud of you.

  9. Madam, you are the proof. You embody the dream of in-house designers everywhere. Your journey is one that pours hope on the hearts of the desk-shackled. You have jumped from the thorny nest on the high cliff. You have flapped you wings. You soar 🙂 Thank you for including us in this, your first year.

  10. Wow, I can’t believe it has been a year either! Congratulations on taking that plunge (jealous) and all that you have accomplished in the last year! It is really inspiring and I have so enjoyed reading all of it on here. Cheers!

  11. Congratulations! I’ve loved reading about your inspiring journey.

  12. Nicole

    You make it seem so easy! You know, assuming someone has tons of talent and hard work 😉

    Yay you!

  13. Meg

    Hurrah! Weird how time flies, yes? Weird how you feel like going back is not even an option, mmmmh?

  14. Go you! What an accomplishment. I so admire you for taking the risk to do what you want to do.

  15. Your blog always inspires me, especially as I made the jump from 9-5 to freelance two months ago. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has moments of fear in doing so. And seeing your success gives me hope that I can meet with similar success!

  16. Congratulations! That is a fantastic accomplishment and I loved reading your posts!

    The way you communicate has just gotten more unique and more beautiful as time progressed.

  17. Katie

    congrats! i’ve really enjoyed reading about your freelance work, and all of your adventures.

  18. Katie

    Congrats on a year! I hope you continue to have success and I have loved your posts documenting the process

  19. Dom

    Congrats on year one!!! a huge milestone really worth celebrating!! 😀 I hope your clients have the same stellar experience I had working with you for many more freelance years to come!! : ) xo woot!!

  20. Whoa, has it been a year already? Congrats Kathleen. I hope this year’s success is just a taste of what is yet to come.

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