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And oh boy, you can ask me any time how i’ve almost lost my mind. Finding balance when working from home can be super tough. I’ve found myself not leaving the house for weeks, staying in my pjs, messy hair, no make up and just working. Which, i know, to most will sound ideal, and… Read more »

And oh boy, you can ask me any time how i’ve almost lost my mind. Finding balance when working from home can be super tough. I’ve found myself not leaving the house for weeks, staying in my pjs, messy hair, no make up and just working. Which, i know, to most will sound ideal, and in a way is.

I’ve experienced the toughest stage of it, this week. With the moving, chaos everywhere, and working at the same time, i’ve been stuck inside, and it can just drive you crazy. Now it really changes from person to person on what refreshes them, but i believe there are a few things, that will do for most of you.

get pretty

This is my number one and first on the list. Nothing will you feel refreshed than a nice shower, putting something nice on, and get your hair done. Even if your cat is the only one to see you. You’re doing it for yourself, not neglecting the things that make you feel nice.

change your routine

From times to times. There are weeks that i eat breakfast in the living room, and others that at the balcony. Sometimes i take a shower in the mornings, others in the evenings. Switching your routine will make your days interesting, and why not get adventurous and do something for your self, or take a walk? 
take breaks 

Regularly! Even if it’s just after an hour or two. From five, to fifteen minutes, for a snack, a quick walk, or to sit on the couch, stretch and take a nap. You’ll feel much more inspired and less tired within your day.
make time to socialise  
No matter how your schedule looks, make sure there’s one or two days that you stay away from your computer / phone. For me it’s the weekend, and i make sure to make the most of it. See friends, go for a walk, visit a new place, do something different, interact and see people. 


meditate / exerscize 

With the last and most important, exercise. Signing for yoga classes has been the best thing i’ve done in a long time. Not only it gives me three hours in a week to change scenery, it also good for my body. Stretching and feeling more healthy, rather than rotting on the chair.

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This is definitely one sensitive post that i’ve been trying to write for quite a while now. Setting aside the creative part of being a freelance designer, scheduling is absolutely everything. From your workflow, to how you book your new projects, to how it affects your inspiration and creativity.
Originally, i was working with none of the below in mind, ending up stressing a lot about projects overlapping each other, or taking way too much. I’m not gonna say i’ve perfected my workflow, but i’m definitely on a good way. Changing and tweaking the way i work every now and then, helps the creative process in a huge way.


calculate project timeline

A great way to figure out a project’s timeline is from experience. Knowing how a project works, the steps, the time you need to complete it and how many revisions are needed. Break down the process into steps, and make sure your client knows beforehand the exact timeline.

have a design contract

A design contract, is not only to protect both sides, but it’s also to set some rules for the communication and collaboration. Among payment, rights and ownership, it’s crucial to mention the  number of revisions, turnaround time of the designer and most importantly the turnaround feedback time of the client. I know i have some guilty clients who might be reading this now, and guys, know that i still love you.

Stressing a bit more on how important this is, when booking projects, eventually you estimate the time projects will take. If the project takes more time, then two will overlap, creating a bit more stress and chaos. Well, this example was more like 1+1=2, but imagine working on 3-5 projects at the same time, or more like 6-8 different ones. Then timing, is absolutely everything when you book the next ones.

set the rules

I’ve heard quite a few different ways that designers handle feedback delays. What works for me, at least for now, is mentioning everywhere i can on my kits that delayed feedbacks might occur to having a delayed turnaround time from my side. Giving priority to the clients who are right on their time. Along the way, you might find that something else works best for you, or if you already have, i’d more than love to hear it.

design process sheet

Keep your clients always informed. Knowing what follows next, keeping them involved in the whole process from beginning to end, you will have them focused and dedicated to the project as much as you are. My design process kit, looks like a one page pdf, describing the steps from how to reserve their spot on the waiting list, the homework they have to do, when payments are due, the design process steps, to how we’re going to produce the final files.

Hope this one helps both designers, freelancers and future clients. If you guys have any topic that you want to hear about, feel free to mention it in the comments below. The Freelance Life series started more than a year ago (time really flies!), back when i was still trying to figure out my blog’s topic. It’s like a freelance diary to me, always learning and exploring ways to work with you guys.

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the freelance life 

Answering an interview this morning for Laura, i was asked what was one of my biggest challenges as a freelancers and how i overcame them. And although there were quite a few downs and difficult times, one of the biggest challenges was my self doubt.  When stepping into the freelance life, without having someone to… Read more »

Answering an interview this morning for Laura, i was asked what was one of my biggest challenges as a freelancers and how i overcame them. And although there were quite a few downs and difficult times, one of the biggest challenges was my self doubt. 
When stepping into the freelance life, without having someone to guide you and especially when you’re a self taught designer, you are always going to self doubt yourself. Because you simply don’t know what you do is right, or wrong, if you’re good enough or if you know enough. Slowly i realised that no matter wether you’re self taught or not, we all end up learning things from scratch when freelancing. All is new, and we are building the steps one by one, discovering what works for us. When you become your own boss, you definitely gain a good deal of confidence. 
The only person standing in your way, is you. So choose being on team “you“. Nowadays, although  less, there are those self doubt moments, but it’s so much easier to get out of it.
01. get rid of negativity 
Oh, i know this one too well. When feeling down, being negative about yourself is the easiest thing to do. And the worst. Try to balance those negative voices in your head. What really works for me is to take a break and distance my self and my mind from what’s getting me down. 
Stop thinking, take a walk or take a nap. Distract yourself by doing something that will relax you, why not mediate? Eat something that will make you smile and do something that will make you happy. Once you’re in that good place, write a small list, top 5 things that you feel proud of. 
02. stop comparing yourself 
Most of the times self doubt comes from your need to compare yourself with other designers. And although i believe comparison is great to make you more determined and passionate, when it makes you feel bad about yourself, just stop it. We are all different, and work in different ways. 
Focus on writing your own history, discovering a way that works best for you, expanding your skills or perfecting them. Choose to to put more thought into yourself in a positive and constructing way. 
03. surround yourself with people who know you well
Not to have them tell you how awesome you are, but remind you the things you will forget. I’m so lucky to have my husband at those times. He knows me better than anyone, always bringing me back to my sanity. It’s very important to wrap yourself with positive and inspiring people to look up to and to be inspired by their positive spirit. 
04. choose a path and go with it
In my first year as a designer, i was doubting myself 24/7. Was i creating the logos as i should? was my process as it should be? what files should i have? I was googling and searching desperately for someone to tell me what i should have and what i should do. 
In the end, i ended up going with what i knew at that time and getting the work done. Slowly,  my process and way of working developed depending on my needs. What i’m trying to say, is that when you doubt yourself about something, just leave it to the side. Do what you gotta do, and you will get it right along the way. 
05. understand what makes you doubt yourself
Creating awareness about what triggers it, is pretty crucial. Is it your lack of skills, is it just your mood? Once you can identify what triggered it, it’s going to be easier for you to get over it. When you’re being emotional, everything will seems more tragic, but when you see everything with logic, knowing why you feel the way you feel, you’ll be able to overcome self doubt in just a second. 

Being a minimalist doesn’t only have to do with your style or what clothes you wear. It’s really a much bigger concept than that. It’s something that has really helped me keep up with my working schedule, which can easily get super crazy.  Growing up, i definitely wasn’t a minimalist in any way! Not in… Read more »

Being a minimalist doesn’t only have to do with your style or what clothes you wear. It’s really a much bigger concept than that. It’s something that has really helped me keep up with my working schedule, which can easily get super crazy. 
Growing up, i definitely wasn’t a minimalist in any way! Not in terms of organisation, state of mind, really, anything. Freelancing was what made me become a bit more organised and figure out things that worked better than others and what’s helping inspiration flow. 
Cleanest office is the best. Having just a few things, basically the most important ones. I don’t keep all my tools on the desk in order to create more space and room to breathe. There’s my hand cream, a succulent in a white pot, a lamp, a small metallic tray where i keep my watch, a few other things and a place for my magazines and organisers. 
It’s really basic, organised, clean, the white desk makes it all very light and airy. But most of all, there are only things that i use daily, all the rest is neatly organised in a drawer. 

My theory on this is that if i haven’t used something for a month, then it’s gone. Either to the drawer or to the trash. I’m super brutal when it comes to things. I’m zero emotional or attached to them, and can throw something i just bought just because i don’t use it and don’t need crap in my life. 
It feels that all that junk piles up not only in front of you but in your head and emotionally as well. Once you remove it, you’ll feel tones lighter. That goes from the things you have on your desk, to the things you own, to the closet, and even your computer itself. Each month for example, i clean up projects i’ve wrapped up, pictures, personal projects, anything that i don’t work on now and move it to my External hard drive. 
Categorising helps you have peace of mind, trust me. From categorising you drawers (ex. brushes and painting tools, post it’s & notebooks, stationary), to categorising your folders by client name, you hard drive by years and months, to creating client folders in your email. 
Being organised like that, saves you time when working. You know where everything is, you’ll never spend more than 1 minute looking for it and it’s easy to keep track of things. You’ll never find yourself freaking out or forgetting stuff if you have it all under control. 
If you want to work like a boss, you have to have the boss tools, and know what helps you work. From your design tools, tablet, brushes, to the calendar. Theo and i have been working with Mac’s Calendar lately where we share events and things to do so we can always keep track of our schedule. Having the calendar on both mac, iPad and iPhone reduces all that stress on whether i’ll forget something, or if i’ll have time for this and that. 

Starting this year with rebrands, i found myself working on about 6 at the same time. It’s not something new to me, as i love challenging myself and working under pressure. As i’ve mentioned before, multitasking makes me more focused and creative. Kinda odd i know, but whatever works  best right?  So i had to… Read more »

Starting this year with rebrands, i found myself working on about 6 at the same time. It’s not something new to me, as i love challenging myself and working under pressure. As i’ve mentioned before, multitasking makes me more focused and creative. Kinda odd i know, but whatever works  best right? 
So i had to come up with an idea on how to manage all the projects, and get into each brand’s mood, keeping track the brand’s plan, process, key words, style and all the little details. 
As if i was looking for an excuse, i got myself a lovely paperblanks journal (i know i’m super traditional in that way). 
The two first pages are blank, to write the project’s titles and page numbers and on the fourth i started writing down everything for my first project. Turns out, this is a pretty magnificent system for those who work on a lot of things at the same time! Here’s how my spreads look like now: 



Left Page
Project’s Title
What we’re working on (business cards/logo/letterheads etc)
A few notes from the client’s questionnaire
Key words from the moodboard
Project’s plan (ex. How the logo will be designed)


Right Side

Printing images and recreating the moodboard
Writing key words and taking notes on each image
Slowly, adding images from the project’s process
(helps you to visualise the final concept) 

I think you get the idea! It’s so much better than having pieces of paper here and there, or searching older emails to see what you said with your clients. Just write everything down, and have a visual “journal” of the project’s process. Plus it’s super creative and fun! 
And of course, definitely helps you manage your time. Working on about 20 different things at the moment, it really keeps my head in its place. There are quite a few other things that i’ve figured out that help me freelancing and i’ll be sharing them on upcoming TFL posts.
moodboards are from existing, new projects

The past week and last three days have been a great learning experience for me. I’ve written about comfort zones again in a previous tfl in general, but what about projects that are completely our of your league?  I bet some of you have experienced being proposed a dream job or project in which you… Read more »

The past week and last three days have been a great learning experience for me. I’ve written about comfort zones again in a previous tfl in general, but what about projects that are completely our of your league? 
I bet some of you have experienced being proposed a dream job or project in which you lacked knowledge or experience. Or simply, you’re just simply starting from scratch. That’s pretty much how i started freelancing. Everything was so new to me,  and i was experimenting, discovering, learning all from scratch. Ever since, i learnt that you never stop learning, and once you get the opportunity, don’t be afraid or disappointed, just grab it and you’ll figure it out along the way. 
And trust me, not everyone was born with the knowledge or experience. It all begins with first step out of your comfort zone and simply being determined. And a few more things
Don’t be afraid be ask questions or for help
Do your research, emails and google will be your best friend
Know your limits, know when research is not enough and experience needs a long way to go. 
Don’t let anyone question your opinion, but don’t act like a know it all either
Be honest, willing and determined 

You see what i did with the bees in the cover? Nothing pays off more than working hard. Most of the emails i receive is about sharing that little secret, on what i do. What courses i took for graphic design, what brushes i use, what paper, process etc.  And although i totally get how… Read more »

You see what i did with the bees in the cover? Nothing pays off more than working hard. Most of the emails i receive is about sharing that little secret, on what i do. What courses i took for graphic design, what brushes i use, what paper, process etc. 
And although i totally get how those can be helpful to those who are just starting, let me spoil the magic for you. There’s no secret. No specific courses i ever took, no specific brushes. I could letter on all kinds of brushes, from pen brushes, to watercolour, on any kind of paper. The secret lies on working hard and practising daily. It’s like taking over a specific subject, and working on it daily. At first everything you do is going to be crappy (unless anything you touch turns into gold). Day by day, it’s going to get better. Doesn’t that make sense? Can you imagine how far you’ll have come after a whole year? 
That of course, i think applies to just about everything. From blogging, to lettering, to aesthetics, graphic design, any kind of new and old skill. You shouldn’t let go of any day, and just keep practising. All that it takes is love and passion on what you and the rest will come. 
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