Being forced to self-promote makes workers very aware of their strong suits as well as the amount and quality of work they can produce.

The modern work landscape is one that is constantly changing. Today’s office is no longer one filled with cubicles and fluorescent lights, and more and more people are striking out on their own and joining the freelancing world in order to have more control over their careers. PSFK shares stories from various freelancers, who comment on what they know now that they wish they’d known when they started out.

My first experience with freelancing came during my art school days. I had just finished my second year of Industrial Design when a friend recommended me to a group of three engineers who were developing a consumer product. With them it was a textbook case of brilliance on the technical side but it looked awful. They needed me to essentially make it pretty to show to potential investors. After guessing at a rough fee, I got to work producing some sketches and a presentation rendering. Didn’t sign a contract, nor establish a scope of work. Several rounds of revisions later and following the addition of making a solid model that turned into a molded shell model which could demonstrate how their mechanicals were packaged, I was feeling in over my head. I remember converting my apartment kitchen into a spray painting booth and pulling a few all-nighters to get the model work done. In the end they paid me a little extra but nowhere near the amount for what I delivered. It was a hard lesson in learning that a fundamental part of freelancing is setting boundaries.

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