reality

Ok. Here we are at Friday again. I am working on many projects for many upcoming events, finishing up design projects and paintings due. I have delivered art this week to a dog day care and I have already received new commissions as a result of dropping that order off. Things really are moving in the right direction. I am a busy lady! “She must be raking it in!” you think. But want a reality check from a freelancer? Someone that is “doing it on their own?” I know many of the people that read this are either doing it themselves, or want to. I just want to give you a glimpse of how it can really be. (NOT for all, but I know for many of us “doing our own thing” people out there this is common story.)

A typical week: Today I got an email from a dear client who asked me 2 weeks ago to hold a $300 check, he still needs me to hold it. Yesterday, I got an email from a design boutique that I worked my butt off two weekends ago for that said I may or may not have my $420 check by mid week next week. Call if I don’t get it by Wed. Thanks. Last week I bounced 3 checks because the day I was told I could pick up a $450 check and I went to pick it up (1 hour round trip) I got there and was told it had accidentally been mailed. I got it 3 days later. This was all design work. As far as painting, well I get half up front and get the rest upon delivery. My painting clients are awesome! I have about 8 paintings in line, but because of design jobs, I have put them in back of the line, therefore no money until I get to them. I have a festival this weekend where I should make a decent amount of money, but there are no guarantees. I have done these fundraisers before with much success, I have also walked away after 8 hours with nothing. (ok, that only happened once, but still ya never know.) I love, LOVE what I do, which is the ONLY reason I keep slugging away at this day after day. Because that not knowing when the money is coming? Well, I won’t sugar coat it, that can really suck. And for any of you that didn’t know? My husband freelances as well. Double suck. There should be a law that states artist cannot marry each other. Artisits MUST marry an accountant or lawyer, ya know someone STABLE! Kidding!!

Now, as I write all this, you may think I am down, sad, even bitter. No! On the contrary! Even with all the down sides, the up sides FAR exceed the negatives! Plus, there is a real high when we do make it each month without a phone shutting off, or the gas company calling…again. When that check comes in at just the last minute to cover the bills and mean we can eat? That rocks! Is living like this for everyone? No. Does every person working on their own experience this? Absolutely not. I quit my fulltime job without a dime in the bank, better planning might have helped. I tend to be a jump right in kinda gal – not always the smartest thing. I tell you these things to help you plan, to give you a glimpse that while working for yourself can be scary, but mostly I want to tell you that with passion for what you do, it WILL persevere over the bad things. And in time, those bad things, like waiting on money all the time, will go away because you cannot fail if you do not stop trying. And with all this, I consider things going really, really well. People love my art and buy my art. I make people smile with my art. That, to me, defines success, not my bank account.

And taxes…let’s just say I owe the government my firstborn….

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