Have the work ready:
Have your work (your best work) ready to show. Both personal and client. Having a portfolio is paramount as an artist, people don’t really want to know about you personally or how many struggles you have (because they have struggles too) they care about the art you create.
Spend time making mad cool personal shit and a portfolio / website / online presence that you can be proud of.
Have back up cash:
I can’t tell you how much stress this relieves knowing you’ve got your rent, living and just general life (video games & Doritos) expenses covered. Creativity doesn’t blossom in stress and desperation, it blooms in relaxation, space and lack of financial expectation….and Doritos!
Work your ass off:
I’m not saying you can’t have work life balance, but something that annoys me is the glorification of instant gratification. If you want something incredible in your life, you’re going to have to work for it. You’re going to get tired, you’re going to have slumps, you’re going to have doubts.
Plan a break, take the time, and come back fighting. Then keep creating. Keep making the cool stuff you love.
You know that old saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” well, they’re not wrong. Make pals on your social media profiles, network, make connections with clients / brands / businesses PARTICULARLY when you’re still working in an agency.
The connections you make are so vital to success when you do decide to bite the bullet and live the freelancer life.
WORST THINGS ABOUT BEING A FREELANCER
Self motivation, money stress, taxes.
Oh my god I HATE taxes!
Do yourself a favor and get an accountant, they’re honestly life savers. Other difficulties include being too close to the kitchen and that delicious bag of Doritos (I like Doritos, okay?) Also being too close to TV and all the fun things around the house. If you can swing it, I'd suggest co-working or arranging a shared studio space.
It really beats the loneliness and madness of being in your own head all day, which unfortunately is a burden that us creative folk have to deal with!
I’m lucky enough to have a studio with pals and even though I’ve enjoyed being at home I do miss my pals, coffee breaks and most importantly, general silly chat.
BEST THINGS ABOUT BEING A FREELANCER
Honestly there’s some downsides about being a freelancer, but none of them outweigh the fact that I can do whatever I want.
I can work on my own time and I can choose what I get to work on which is a luxury so few people have.One of the biggest draw cards of being a freelancer for me was the desire to not work for a month and travel. I could rant on forever about how amazing being a freelancer is, but the core of it is that nothing will ever beat the feeling of having complete freedom over your time and your life
Have I scared you off becoming a freelancer yet? Or are you fired up at the possibility of being your own boss?
To be honest, you should be a little scared. Nothing prompts taking action quite like lighting the fire under your ass! Yes it’s scary, yes it seems like a big task, but it’s one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done and i’d encourage anyone, particularly in the games industry, to give it a shot.
Just make sure you’re prepared 😎👊
About the author:
Stuart De Ville is a CEO at zappoppow.co.uk and the Co-founder here at
Game Dev London, he also hosts episodes of the GDL podcast.
He is also involved in #PitchYaGame on Twitter, an initiative to help indies showcase their games and get noticed by investors and publishers.
A self-confessed workaholic and stay at home parent to a 2yrld boy, we really don’t know where he finds the time to write blogs!