Don’t Hide Great Ideas | Life of a Freelancer

 

Freelance Sharing and Networking | Allocco Design and CraftsIt’s no secret that my favorite part of college was being an RA. All the bulletin boards, event promos and social gatherings–it was my own little piece of heaven. The reason I bring this up is because of some wise words I received in an RA meeting. I remember having a great idea early on in the year for an event I wanted to co-host in the future. During a group brainstorming sesh, my boss asked if anyone had any event ideas. I eyed my co-RA across the room and my boss asked what we had up our sleeves. I probably replied something like “Oh, we just have an idea to team up later in the year.” My boss’s paraphrased response…

“We’re a team, don’t hide great ideas.”

Freelance Family | Allocco Design and Crafts

Those words have really stuck with me, especially as a freelance designer. I know I’m not alone when I say that I tend to hoard my ideas. I’m afraid that if I share what’s on my mind, someone will steal my plans and be more successful than me. I’ve had a hard time in networking meetings that encourage collaboration because I’m meeting with business owners who I compete with. Why would I share my secrets with someone who can quickly turn around and run with my ideas and vision?

What I love most about my boss’ words was the part about a team. Our RA staff was SOLID. We worked well together and trusted each other. We offered grace and constructive criticism, humor and confidentiality. We stopped calling ourselves a staff and just went with family (cheesy but true). I could share ideas with my RA family and know that they would work with me to build an even better product.

And that right there is the key.

Share Ideas Freelance | Allocco Design and Crafts

As freelancers in a competitive business, we’ve got to find ourselves some freelance family.

Right now I have a nice little freelance family. Jared, KimJenny, Whitney, Jordan, Meg, Corinne, Andy, Keri, Josiah, Steph–all brilliant creatives and planners. I love sharing life and work with them because sharing makes us better artists. We critique one another, pitch ideas and offer honest feedback so that we can all grow and develop our craft.

Sharing exposes us to all sorts of ideas and designs. Sharing helps us identify good design and bad design. Sharing helps us critique others better, but even more than that, it helps us critique ourselves better. The more we share, the easier it is to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in our own work.

You should see the iMessage chat Corinne and I have going (okay, fine I’ll just show it to you).

Freelancer iMessage Chat | Allocco Design and Crafts

We’re both on the freelance train, so we are constantly sending over design concepts, price negotiations, resource questions, mixed in with our chats about running, cats and New Jersey. She pushes me to create better art and try new things.

We learn and grow through experience, conversation, practice and collaboration. My freelance family reminds me that I’m not alone. We open up the floor for ideas, complaints, struggles and “Aha!” moments. We encourage creativity and ingenuity. The sky is the limit!

Families don’t hide ideas, they make dreams reality.

Life of a Freelancer Blog Post | Allocco Design and Crafts

Exhibit A (pictured below): Jordan and Meg. These masterminds behind Jordan Imhoff Photography are two of my favorite people in the world, no kidding. Two years ago I had a heart to heart with Meg in her kitchen about my career. She was the one who said “Christen, what if you started your own business? What if you designed full time?” Years later, it came time to decide whether to take the plunge. Meg called me and affirmed me. She told me she believed in me. She even offered her home as a space to figure out what my next step was. I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about that phone call. Anything is possible when you surround yourself and share life with people who believe in you.

Jordan Imhoff Photography | Allocco Design and Crafts

I’ll be real. I know I’ll still have a hard time sharing everything with strangers at networking events (and I honestly think that’s OK). But I also know that I will be 100% transparent with my freelance fam because I wouldn’t be where I am without them.

I encourage you to find some good confidants and collaborate, brainstorm and create some great art. Life’s better with good peeps on your side.