Upon browsing Instagram one day, I was pleasantly surprised by some amazing and quirky ceramics in beautiful brown tones. It was one of those things that you don’t just double tap and move past. I had to learn more. Hence, my discovery of the amazing work of Kenesha Sneed and her brand, Tactile Matter.
(img via @TactileMatter)
Kenesha Sneed of Tactile Matter
First noted by several blogs for her motion design work, Kenesha has now added amazing ceramic art (with a goods store to match) to her repertoire. From pots to mugs to dishes, her style is modern and unique. She crafts her handmade housewares in her LA-studio. Here are some of my favorite current pieces in the Tactile Matter shop:
Incense Burner No. 1 | $52
Ring Handle Floral Mug | $68
Nude Pitcher No. 1 | $110
I can easily imagine having a chill work night while A Seat at the Table plays and incense is burning from my cute Tactile Matter holder. Nude, thick, brown and cultural.
You can shop Kenesha’s amazing work on the Tactile Matter website.
So, you’ve made the big jump and started your freelance career. Good for you! But wait, there’s no boss to tell you what to do, no nosey coworkers peeking over your shoulders when you wander onto Twitter. So who’s going to keep you in check?!
As a freelancer, you’re all alone to become a responsible self-employed employee so you better stay on top of shit! I’ve never really been the type to stick to times and plans, but this creating a daily schedule thing has really helped keep me on task and keep the work flowing! Here’s my schedule and tips on creating a daily schedule for freelancers.
MY FREELANCE DAILY WORK SCHEDULE
7:00 AM | Wake Up + Morning Coffee
Depending on what time of year it is, yep, I’m up before the sun. By habit, the first thing that I really do when I wake up is check my phone. I respond to texts and play a round or two of whatever phone game I’m addicted to at the moment. What I don’t do, however, is check any e-mails or work-related notifications at this point. This all only takes about 10-15 minutes, and by the end of it, I’m pretty much fully awake. I then take another 10-15 minutes to reflect, meditate, pray or whatever I’m in need of at the moment. After that, I head to the kitchen to make my morning drink. In the winter, it’s either tea or coffee. In the summer, I’m pretty much the iced coffee or smoothie queen. Either of these drinks get my energy up and brain flowing.
8:00 AM | Start Work
I work the best early in the morning. It’s when my brain is alert and I’m excited and motivated. This is when I start my first 2 hour work block. These blocks are what I’ve found most helpful in my daily routine. Not working for 8 hours straight is a perk of the freelance life. I start out by reviewing and answering emails, then beginning on work.
10:00AM | Quick Breakfast
Hey, a working girl has got to eat. Once the morning coffee, tea, or smoothie has worn off, it’s time for a quick breakfast!
10:30AM | Shower + Get Dressed
Even if you’re a freelancer and working at home, one thing that I’ve learned is key is not living in your pajamas for the whole week. Freshening up, putting on some comfy clothes, and actually brushing my hair keeps me in a more productive mood.
11:00 AM | Back To Work
Here’s when I get back to another work block. If I need a break from client projects, then I typically put a different task here, such as social media or general marketing tasks! This could be anywhere from scheduling tweets, planning a new campaign, browsing sites for inspiration, or shooting photos for sharing/posts.
1 PM | Lunch Break
Nom. Nom. Nom.
2:00PM | Back To Work
For some reason, this part of the afternoon is the hardest for me, but depending on the project, I’m still usually pretty excited and focused. Find some good tunes and push through this part of the day!
3:00 PM | Gym / Errands
One amazing part about creating your own daily schedule for freelance is the opportunity to do things in the middle of the day that others usually can’t. This is a great time for me to head to the gym (in my building so it doesn’t take me much travel time) or run to the grocery store during non-busy hours! Be careful with this exact time slot if there are schools in your area, because. . . bus traffic!
4:00 PM | Back To Work
This is my last scheduled work block in my daily schedule. I package up any things that are to be delivered before EOD and then go back to designing. I finish up this part of my daily freelance routine by noting any important to-dos for tomorrow.
The Secret Freelance Hours
Okay, let’s be real. I’m not the type that has a totally healthy sleep schedule. I wish I was the 9pm in bed type, but between my favorite TV shows, browsing the internet, cooking, Twitter, Instagram, and relationships. . .that just doesn’t happen! Often I’ll find myself bored around 9 or 10pm and get some work in until about midnight. This is a great time for working on things to better your freelance business / reach instead of working on client tasks. I’ve always been somewhat of a night owl, so as long as I don’t have to get up at 6:00am and prepare to sit in traffic anymore, it doesn’t really make my workdays harder!
Generally, I do actually do work on Saturdays and Sundays, but I definitely don’t pressure myself with a schedule. The weekends are time for house cleaning, laundry, brunch, date nights, and things like that. Anytime that I’m in the mood to work, I do! Because as I stated before, if freelancing is really the career for you and you’re in the right field and working with amazing brands, it’s not really “work”!
My Tips For Creating A Daily Schedule for Freelancers
- Use general blocks instead of assigning specific tasks to certain times such as “check e-mails” or “Pinterest for 30 mins”. Those types of specifics make sticking to a schedule harder, because it seems more robotic than free.
- Opt for a few batch days a month. These are days when your work blocks are filled with a certain once-a-month task for the entire day, to help them get completed and out of the way! Examples are blogging batch days, admin / finance batch days, and social media design / scheduling batch days.
- A freelancer’s daily routine should be based on their life or the life they want to live. It’s amazing because when it’s time to adjust, you’re the boss and can do that. If you need morning time with your kids, the weekends off, a set date night, a weekly girl’s entrepreneur meet-up, schedule around it! It’s all about a work / life balance and life is so important!
What does your daily schedule for freelance look like? Do you find that a schedule helps or is it hard to stick to one?
I’ll do a complete list of books to help new freelancers in a separate post, but here are just a few to get you started:
Diverse stock images are definitely a need that isn’t adequately being filled today. So naturally, when I first got word of BRWN Stock Imaging and what they were doing, not only was I excited to be considered for creating the identity, but excited for the venture as a whole! I absolutely love entrepreneurs that are filling the gaps, and it just so happened that I was friends with the lovely Porsha Antalan, founder and photographer.
For this brand identity project, I focused on a clean and modern style. We chose a palette and mood that is very inclusive and representative, as well as celebratory of brown shades and POC.
Okay, so you’ve made your decision and you’re ready to quit your day job to freelance full-time. Whether it’s design, writing, or any other creative skill, preparing to quit your job can be a scary thing. Especially when you’re an adult and paying adult bills. My simple advice to you all is do not do it on a whim! I get it. You’re fired up about future goals, you’ve made your decision, and you’re ready! But, are you really? Here are the 5 steps I took (and you should too) before quitting my job and beginning to freelance for a living.
HOW TO PREPARE TO QUIT YOUR JOB TO FREELANCE FULL-TIME
I worked full-time as a visual designer in a creative start-up space. It was an amazing job with amazing people, but I knew I wanted to be my own boss and make my own hours. As I secretly plotted on my exit, I chose to go a responsible route.
With rent for a Brooklyn apartment and various bills, I couldn’t afford to just quit on a whim without any backup. My advice, although it was tough and took longer than I wanted, is to save up enough money to cover at least 3 months worth of rent or bills. Experts recommend 6, but I’m not that patient, nor did I have anything close to that already in my account — thanks online shopping addiction. In my head, I figured that gave me two months to work daily at fulfilling my dreams as a freelance designer, and one month to find a new job if those two months weren’t working for me! Doing freelance work, nothing is guaranteed. There are slow months and there are busy months, so saving and being responsible are skills that you will need to survive in this world!
If you’re not good at budgeting or saving, I’d suggest signing up for a free account on LearnVest or Mint. They both have websites as well as phone apps. These tools allow you to note your income, budget and spending habits as well as savings goals. They can be connected to your credit/debit cards and bank accounts for super accurate tracking! Aside from personal finance tracking, you can also use one (or both) of these sites for tracking your freelance business income and spending!
Prepare A Schedule
As a new freelancer, a lot of time is going to have to go into not only what you’re creating, but marketing yourself and administrative tasks too. If this is going to be a full-time job for you, then it’s a great transitional step to take. Otherwise, you’ll end up watching Netflix in your pajamas at 3am, because you’re living way too freely. When you’re first starting out, you’ll probably work more hours in a week than you did at your 9-5. You have to work hard to get to the work-life balance point.
I started with a plan of a healthy 8am-5pm schedule, leaving a block for a 1 hour lunch and a few 15 minute breaks, just as I had at my corporate job. Now that I have a steady stream of clients and more processes in place, I can better manage my time, and have created a schedule that fits with my lifestyle. We all know that you’ll end up working on a project deadline at 2am, but it’s nice to at least PLAN a healthy work schedule and then eventually work towards it.
Build Your Brand + Portfolio
Before you quit your job to freelance, it’s important to create your personal or business brand and website if you haven’t already (view my design services if you need some help). Ideally, you’ll also have a bit of a clientele base built up, to help with your portfolio. This will usually lead to some continuous referrals that will come along just when you need them. While you have alternate steady income, now is the time to do those pro-bono or concept projects to attract the type of clients you’d like, and build up your freelance portfolio.
Also, having the experience of managing clients (after work at your current job and on the weekends) can give you a taste of the work load before you do it full time. If you have a problem getting clients, then you definitely have some work to do before you tell your boss goodbye. (I’ll work on some tips for doing so for an upcoming Working Girls post)
Whether Pinterest, Behance, family, or friends, inspiration is very important for creatives. Sitting at a desk all day is not very inspiring and although sometimes new work is inspiring, sometimes. . .it’s not. Add a little time in your daily schedule to find a little inspiration!
Just as your freelance career was side-revenue to your day job, it’s always nice to have a backup for your freelancing. Perhaps you can knit or make jewelry and would like to open an Etsy store. Perhaps you’re an expert on certain topics and can create a niche blog that brings in ad revenue. Focus on some of your other passions and figure out how they can help support your freelance dreams!
I’ll be elaborating on some of these points in upcoming posts, but if you have any questions, please let me know!
What did you do to prep for becoming you quit your job to freelance?
Sometimes, you see a piece of art and it becomes a must that you find out more about the artist. I saw the work (Black Curl, 2013), online while browsing Artsy one day, and fell instantly in love. From there, I read up on and learned more about the powerhouse that is Lorna Simpson.
Lorna is an amazing artist that uses photography and collage techniques to create some of her iconic works. Her work is centered around racial and ethnic identity, including views of African American women. The great thing that I discovered while researching Lorna is that I’d recently seen one of her works in person!
Her piece Wigs, composed of 21 lithographic images was on display at the Walker Art Center in Minnesota. I visited during a random summer vacation, and her piece was one of my favorites. The installation of it spans an entire large wall and is so intriguing and full of culture. I had taken pictures of the piece, but didn’t capture the artists’ name, so I was beyond happy to discover it was Lorna. Thank you internet for re-discovery.
Lorna herself is beautiful, and resides in Brooklyn, NY. I’m very sad that I haven’t randomly ran into her yet. Waiting for the universe to make this happen.
My favorite pieces definitely hail from her “Ebony Collage” series, though. There’s something so whimsical about them. At the same time the photos used from vintage black magazines seem joyful, beautiful, and familiar.
When I initially created the Give Agency brand, it was a quick (personal) project that didn’t undergo much thought. It was a logo and identity that I’d created because I had a nonprofit interested in a design, with an executive board that felt like they needed an agency instead of just a freelancer.
Thus, Give Agency was born. Unlike some freelancer-created agencies, Give was never a front for a one-woman band. I actually did recruit key developers and project managers (and anyone else I needed) for that initial large project, and that continues to this day. Now, with many referrals making Give a real brand, I recreated its identity. Keeping the same logo, I added a bold color combination and customized patterns and textures to tell a story.
Although I don’t actively promote Give as a business, I still provide maintenance for existing sites and am happy to take on new nonprofit projects, as well as do several pro-bono projects under this brand per year.
It’s been a great week. I’m preparing for my move from Brooklyn to Charlotte so I’ve been pretty busy but also feeling extremely productive. The only down-side to all of this is that I told myself, no more online (or offline) shopping until after the move. But, that doesn’t keep me from browsing. As I’m assisting with a few interior design projects in the city, I’m constantly inspired by the things I find while working on them, and decided to mix in my work shopping and window shopping for this post.
Inspired by the Solace London Else Navy Dress, I immediately got a sense of modern luxury. It’s the type of space that I could see someone who’d purchase this dress in. Trendy and sophisticated, I began with a blue velvet couch that demands attention, with luxe investment accent pieces (and some affordable ones too) to match! I think style and design transcends, from clothing to interiors.
MODERN LUXE LIVING ROOM ITEMS:
Solace London Else Dress ($565) | 5-Arm Mobile Light ($2,000) | Ink Stain Vase ($93) | Rani Arabella Navy Fur Pillow ($995) | Forma Charme Black Leather Chair ($1199) | Feather Watercolor Paintings Set ($40) | Keelin Coffee Table ($215) | Brushed Metal Accent Table ($146) | Sklo Blue Glass Wrap Object ($550) | 3-Wick Candle ($165) | Mongolian Faux Fur Pillow ($44) | Jack Tuxedo Navy Blue Velvet Sofa ($1285)
I absolutely love the idea of creating a space that matches your fashion sense. Do you think that your clothing style and your home interior relate? Interested in transforming your space? Check out my interior services!
It’s official, I have decided that for my new apartment, I WILL HAVE A PINK SOFA. A nice light, blush pink. This is no longer just a thought or an optional idea. Although I took a trip to Charlotte to view apartments (you guys, I’m going to have a luxe apartment for only a fraction of what I pay now in Brooklyn) haven’t picked exactly which complex I’ll be moving into. I have it narrowed down to three, but I’m still pondering. This may mean that I don’t know my exact floorplan yet, but it hasn’t stopped me from going into interior designer mode and at least coming up with a theme.
Are you ready for it? It’s “Organic Mid-Century Modern”. Yes, I kind of made that up, but let me explain. I have an amazing, large thrifted record player that I’ll be using as part player, part TV console. It’s already beautiful, but I plan on painting the legs gold (because I’m on Pinterest way to much and think I must add a DIY touch to everything). So, that piece brings in the “mid-century”. The “organic” portion will come from the fact that I want lots of natural light and fresh plants. By fresh plants I imagine that I mean large banana leaf things, but may only mean succulents — I have to stick to what I can handle with this brown thumb. And to top it all of and bring in mid-century Palm Springs vibes? A pink sofa.
I’ve found a few amazing options ranging from DIY (buying pink slip covers or dying a white one pink) to way-out-of-my-price-range-but-a-girl-can-dream . Here are some that I’m currently using for inspiration:
KARLSTAD Pink Mid-Century Inspired Sofa Makeover via My Melodrama
Newport Tufted Sofa via Neiman Marcus
When it comes to the recent trend of us women ditching beauty supply packs of Milky Way and buying expensive virgin hair, whether Brazilian, Indian, Malaysian, or a million things in between, ladies everywhere are on the hunt for the best supplier. As someone who dyed hair weaves for clients (I was a colorist for about a year) on almost a daily basis, I got a lot of experience with the good, the bad, and they ugly when it comes to virgin hair and its suppliers. Hair vendors on AliExpress have recently become the most popular “cheap” option for obtaining this highly sought after hair. There are a few things that you need to know about buying hair on AliExpress (or anywhere else) before choosing ANY vendor (even the ones suggested), so I’ve rounded up a list of the best virgin hair vendors on Aliexpress and some tips on buying virgin hair, so be sure to read them below before you head over to the site! *Updated for 2017*
“Virgin Hair” x AliExpress
1. The Hair You Think Is Better Than AliExpress Hair, Is Probably AliExpress Hair
What I mean by this is that a lot of new “hair companies” find the cheaper prices of virgin hair on AliExpress. They then get a trusted supplier that they feel will leave their friends and clients happy, then up the price and pretend that it’s luxury hair that comes from the country of origin. I’ve seen this happen a lot on Instagram, and even some stand alone sites. If a company doesn’t have a website, or has an underwhelming online store, then most likely it’s a dead giveaway that they didn’t invest thousands of dollars on wholesale hair stock from Brazil. Use AliExpress yourself to cut out the $100+ charge from the middle man. Or, use a reputable (yet, sometimes very expensive) company such as Indique, Bella Dream, Sassy Mitchell, etc if you’re willing to pay that much anyway.
2. AliExpress Is Based In CHINA
This means that there are going to be some things you should pay attention to when it comes to shipping. All of the vendors I recommend take usually only around 3 days to express ship hair bundles free to the US. However, for one bundle, one lace closure, or other single products, pay attention. They may charge around $20+ for shipping on these, or choose a free shipping method that takes anywhere from 10-25 days. Be sure to look at the shipping amount, method, and days before making any order in any store on AliExpress.
*2017 Update*: A few suppliers have now opened warehouses within the US! This means that you can get your virgin hair from Aliexpress even faster. The options now allow you to choose from China or US for the hair vendors that have it available.
3. Is This Authentic Virgin Hair From The Country Of Origin?
Obviously, Brazilian hair and Indian hair do not originate in China. Therefore, the hair from any of these vendors on this site is not (to me) guaranteed to be truly authentic or even truly virgin, regardless of what they say. If it was “unprocessed”, you wouldn’t be able to choose color options or receive bundles that are all the exact same pattern. For me, for those last two reasons alone, I actually prefer that the hair is processed, so that all of my bundles match. HOWEVER, what is important to me (and most people) is the hair quality (that it is actually 100% human), that it’s true to pattern, that it can be used with heat tools and dyed, and that it lasts for a long period of time. If those are your main priorities when shopping for hair, then you may now (finally) continue on to my suggestions for hair on AliExpress.
My Choices for Best Virgin Hair Vendors On AliExpress:
Make sure any shop you purchase from on AliExpress has a high rating (diamonds or crowns) and a great feedback score (96% and above). If it’s one of the best virgin hair vendors on Aliexpress then they will usually meet that standard. Also, check the feedback on the individual product that you want to buy. A vendor might have previous positive feedback on other hair products or virgin hair bundles, but a new item they are offering may not be as good.
Also, the hair bundle pictures may be unique to the store, but be aware of stock or stolen images. These occur most often in the wig section, with photos of celebrities that don’t wear these brands of virgin hair. For a more accurate look, search the reviews from YouTuber’s on the AliExpress hair brand that you’re interested in purchasing!
For maintenance on my virgin hair I generally stick to conditioners and co-wash, as shampoos seem to dry both my real hair and my virgin hair extensions out. I use Herbal Essences Hello Hydration. Occasionally though, it will be time to shampoo, and for that I use this Garnier Whole Blends.
I really hope that this roundup for the best virgin hair vendors on Aliexpress and the tips help! Comment below with any questions or feel free to e-mail me!
*I am now offering a $1000 e-commerce web design and development special to my readers looking to have their own online virgin hair or beauty store. Simply be sure to mention this article when you write in. View my branding and web design services here.
– xoxo, Lindsey
I wish I could say that I had it all together on January 1st, 2017, but the truth is far from that. I didn’t wait to start new beginnings, as those had been in the works since December, so I was in the midst of a load. Between running an agency, freelance projects, and figuring out my goals for the year, I was a bit busy. The hardest thing to do? Determine my voice.
Who do I want to be? What do I want to speak on? Who do I want to represent? And then it hit me. I want to just be me. You see, in the blogging world, girls like me aren’t represented much. We’re too worried about conforming. Conforming to what should be the norm for being a professional in our field. I’m a female, and I’m a designer, but that’s not my “niche”. I love glitter and cursive script, but that’s not my aesthetic, and it shouldn’t have to be. I want to empower young female creatives, especially those of color, that want to create but are forced to be the “token” in workspaces, if they’re allowed in at all.
But how? Courses? No. Coaching? No. Living? Yes. Through leading by example, sharing my life, experiences, and things as they come and go, I just want to prove that it can be done. I want to continue to push the #GirlBoss movement, and let people know that you can be successful without going by the book and following trends. To do so, I’ll have to push myself. Hold me accountable.
Sit back, and learn something.