004: Going Solo: Life as an Independent Designer with Dan Beltran

Dan is a multidisciplinary creative with over 5 years of experience in professional sports and brand development. He collaborated with clients such as Hyperloop One, Portland Trailblazers, Seattle Sounders FC, Major League Soccer, Nike and Adidas.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

[1:00] Dan talks about what it was like leaving a great job with all the benefits and stepping out into the world of freelance. “It is definitely a leap. It is something you sort-of have to follow your heart and do.”

[2:11] Dan shares what he learned so far as a freelancer. “It is a lot different than you would anticipate.”

[2:39] “I found so far with freelancing that I spend less time working, but the time that I do spend working is infinitely more focused and driven than the time I would have spent in an in-house role.”

[2:57] “I got used to pay every two weeks. It is something that I had ingrained in my mind since when I began working. When you freelance, you find that the payment is few and far between, but the size increases. You have to reconnect your brain to say I am alright with not getting paid every two weeks. That used to be the standard that I held myself to. I should be getting money every week, but you realize quickly that it doesn’t matter how often you get paid as long as the sum of the payment is equal to what you theoretically would be making.”

[3:38] Dan talks about the importance of networking. “Your network is your net worth.”

[4:20] Dan shares his most challenging thing that he had to deal with while working as an Independent Designer. “I think it is coming to the realization that if you’re not marketing yourself along side your design.. you will not bring in new business. The ability to market yourself is the key to being a successful freelancer. People don’t realize that they can be the best designer in the entire world, but if they are not telling the world what they are doing and showing the world the product that they are putting out, nobody will know.”

[4:56] “You have to be your best advocate and you have to empower people to believe in the brand of you.”

[5:11] Dan shares his networking tips.

[6:09] Dan talks about pricing your work. “What it comes down to is how well you can translate the money that they are willing to spend on the project to the value that you can provide.”

[8:55] “A lot of times you will find that clients are willing to pay you what you ask for if it means that they are going to get what they need.”

[9:07] Dan talks about billing clients. “I use an online resource that was referred to me by a friend called https://invoicehome.com.”

[9:49] Dan shares tips on how to prevent clients not paying you for your work. “Before I begin any work, I want half of the deposit upfront. So that way you have skin in the game. That half will not be refundable if they decide to backout of the project. So they have to know that they are getting into something that is going to sting them a little bit if they decided to backout. Also, I don’t provide the final files until the payment has been received.”

[10:43] Dan shares his time management techniques.

[12:32] Dan talks about his process of selecting best clients.

[14:32] Dan shares tips and tricks that can simplify your workflow. “Knowing all the hot keys saves me so much time.”

[18:13] “The main difference for me about freelancing versus being in an in-house role, is that in an in-house role, your boss or your team sets the objectives. When you’re freelancing, it is all on you. If you’re not getting good clients, it is on you. If you’re not communicating well, it is on you. If you feel like you’re not progressing in your career, it is on you. I think that ownership really is the essence of what makes freelancing beautiful, because if you fail, it is on you. If you learn, it is on you. It is all on your shoulders.

[19:23] The student mentality is the most important part. The minute that you feel like you’ve reached the top, that’s when you’re at your rock bottom.”

Resources Mentioned:


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