Having a business besides freelancing is the best we can do. For ourselves, our business, and for the clients.
Being a freelancer as an illustrator, web designer, or translator means earning a living with commissions from various clients. Our goal is to generate the commissions that suit us and that appeal to us. We want to develop and improve in our profession and eventually be happy with what we do.
Pursuing a side hustle can be a valuable asset for freelancers in this regard. Having an extra pillar of income can give us the freedom to say No.
At the beginning of my career as an illustrator, I accepted every possible request. On the one hand, I had the time; on the other, I desperately needed the money. So I took a storyboard assignment from a big advertising agency without hesitation. And I did so even though I was aware that freehand drawing was not something I was particularly good at. It was a nightmare. Neither was I fast enough, nor could the quality of my loveless drawings meet the client’s expectations. Nightshift after nightshift, I tried to get the best out of it.
The final result was finally acceptable. But the road to that point was arduous for both parties. It should be clear that the agency has not contacted me again to this day.
Being able to refuse requests is essential for our business, so we can concentrate on offering what we like most (and, therefore, usually do best). But above all, it’s about fairness to the customer. Who wants to hire an unmotivated freelancer who only accepts the job to be able to pay her rent? A well-paying client has the right to the best version of us. Anything else borders on theft.