A commerce student turned freelance designer, a college fest changed Vidhi’s perspective on what she wanted to do ahead in life. She worked hard to get into one of the best arts college, and later joined a good advertising agency. However, the working hours overwhelmed her and she quit the firm.
Later, she found her way into freelancing and there was no looking back for her since then. She recommends good networking, cold emails, and LinkedIn to get quality leads. As a freelance designer, she lays emphasis on having integrity and working with a USP to build niche. She cherishes the flexibility that freelancing offers but also misses working in a team and getting more perspectives.
Calling it a wonderful journey till now, she is happy in the space that she currently is in. She would sign fewer NDAs and would focus on one thing if she had to restart her career. Doing her best to maintain the work-life balance, her aim is to create good work that makes lives easier for people. Agreeing with her thought of living a worthwhile life, we wish her success for the future.
Read Vidhi’s journey of embracing freelancing:
1. Introduce yourself to us?
Hello! I am Vidhi Dedhia, a freelance designer from Mumbai. I come from a typical Kutchi (Gujarati) family. No one in my family comes from a creative background as such. But my mum and dad are creative in their own little ways while doing everyday things. We are the masters of jugaad!
When I was young, my school projects used to be the fanciest because my dad put little science tricks and made it look super cool!
2. Why did you choose the field of design? How did you get introduced to this field? What fascinates you the most about your career choice?
I was studying at Narsee Monjee for my 12th and also preparing for C.A. entrance exam. At NM college, there is a fest called Umang where I was a part of the core team for creatives. We used to design the entire look of the fest including the look of walls, the brochures, etc.
It drew me in and then I started looking out for colleges that taught art. Dived deeper and found out what I really wanted to study was commercial art. Later, I found that the best college around was Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Arts. I Studied for the entrance test my entire vacation and got in!
The most fascinating thing is that, if your basics are strong and aesthetics are good, the world of design is huge! You could literally do anything. I started with mainline advertising. While, it is still the closest to my heart, I, later on, went to do lots of digital, websites, packaging and logos. One can even go ahead and do merchandising. Photography, typography, lettering, set design are other easy reach things to do.
My newfound love is ceramics. Basically to sum it in a line – if you’re good, there’s no start that is far too out of reach.
3. Why did you choose to freelance? When did you begin to freelance? Were you planning it, or how did it happen?
I was working at one of the best mainline advertising agencies. The work was great, however, the working hours were not. I think I got three years’ worth of experience in a single year! I ate, slept, thought of only work. Won good awards. However, it kind of burnt me out. I just quit without any plans for the future.
Took a small break. After a week, an acquaintance got in touch with me for some design work and since then, there was no looking back! It has been a wonderful journey.
4. Talk to us about, how do you market yourself as a freelancer?
Networking and building good client relations are of utmost importance. My first few clients that I worked with have in return given me so many other clients, I can not stress enough! Follow deadlines strictly. Do good work. Always give a little more than you promised. It could be anything, a small brand guideline or visual ideas on how to expand things.
Apart from that have a good portfolio. Send cold emails. Use linkedin – this has given me a lot of international clients I get to work with! And keep talking about your work to everyone you meet, you never know who will be your next potential client.
5. How do you price your services as a freelancer? Any essential points that a new freelancer should know of?
Always talk in detail about the project you’re going to take on. Once you know how much time, effort, research its going to cost you, you can charge accordingly. As you start getting better at something and you know that you can do a particular thing in a more refined way, you increase your rates!
6. As a freelancer, speak about having integrity as an essential characteristic? Tell our readers about being original, giving credits, and having a USP with your work and services offered.
Integrity is 100% important. It sets tone for future engagements as well. Take inspiration, but add your style to it. If you are referring to someone else’s work or sharing it on your profile, give due credits. If it’s a group project, do mention what are the parts you worked on specifically.
Having a USP that you work with, creates a niche for you. It gives you an edge over other freelancers.
7. What is the one major pro and/or con of freelancing, according to you?
A pro is being able to work on projects you like to work on, specially on the basis of your own time and schedules.
There are no major cons, but one could say sometimes you miss having a second opinion on your work.
8. What do you do to polish your skills as a freelancer?
I use PINTEREST! Another way is to work with other artists from time to time, it brings in a fresh perspective to your work.
9. How do you ensure productivity? What are the critical points to keep in mind to ensure efficiency?
Maintain discipline and a schedule. Try and have a time-table, follow it as much as possible. Do not wait for inspiration to strike, keep working. Inspiration will arrive when it has to.
10. Have you turned down a potential client? If yes, why?
A lot of times it happens that you don’t have enough time because of prior engagements that you already have with other clients. Sometimes when you know the client isn’t sure on what he/she wants, its best to not pick it up until there is a clear brief.
11. What mission and vision do you have? How do you want history to look at you?
History looking at me isn’t something that I have in mind, but making good work that makes lives easier is. I want to ensure a good work life balance. What is life if not beautiful to look at and indulging in art.
12. What would do you differently if you had to begin your career again? What would you focus on once you restart?
I would sign fewer NDA’s. Apart from that, I would prefer to pick one thing and be the best at it eventually.
If you are thinking of shifting to full-time freelancing after reading Vidhi’s story, read our blog on Financial management for Freelancers to ace your financial planning using effective techniques.