The Creative Guide to Lockdown. Part Four: Take Stock

When you’re running a creative business or successful freelance career it can often be easy to neglect important admin tasks. Occasionally it’s useful to take a step back, reflect on what you have achieved and decide where you want to go in future. Try to work the following activities into your schedule.

Update your public profile

Think of your personal brand as another design job and treat it with the same respect. You want to create a great first impression and ensure you are sending out the right message. 

  • Go through everything you have online and check it is consistent, engaging and showing off your skills in the best way possible. Get rid of anything that is very old or no longer fits. 
  • Now would be a great time to freshen up your website. If you don’t have one consider setting up a Behance account and use that as a temporary portfolio. The more high quality work you have online the more likely you are to attract clients. 
  • Think about the type of clients you would love to work for and try to appeal to them. Make time for self initiated projects – especially if you are an illustrator. If you struggle for inspiration try searching for design contests or daily challenges. Instagram is a great platform for this. 
  • Above all enjoy the process of creating and don’t worry too much about what is ahead.    

Build a reference library

A useful and mindful practice if you have a lot of downtime is to produce scrapbooks or reference files for future use. Most of us have piles of magazines lying around that are full of inspiration. Start with a few box files and organise your cuttings based on your interests. It could be typography, illustration, food photography, animals, flowers, whatever you are interested in. Next time you get a creative brief you can save valuable time by having the reference at hand. If you prefer to do this digitally you can use Pinterest. Check out our page here for ideas.  

Check in with clients

Running a successful creative business is as much about building relationships with clients as it is building a killer portfolio. Take this time to reach out to current or past clients. Most small businesses will be going through a stressful and uncertain time. They may be in need of some creative ideas or need help connecting with customers. Set up a casual phone or video meeting and let them know you are keen to help out. You can always offer to defer payment or give them a discount on your usual rate. Being flexible and making an extra effort now could potentially pay off in the future.  

Establish new goals

It’s likely that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us for the rest of the year and even beyond. If you’ve already made goals and targets for this year it can be frustrating to see them not being achieved. Try to reframe your thoughts, stay positive and be patient. You may need to adjust your goals or lower your expectations in the short term but that doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed in future.