Finding your way around the digitalized world can get confusing. More and more people are becoming freelancers and the freelancing industry is rapidly changing. It’s an understatement to say that keeping up with it all is a daunting task.
Lucky for us, the members of the .ME family learned some key lessons in their journey. We are more than happy to share some of these lessons with you.
Now, buckle up and read on to find out more.
Lesson #1: Mistakes Are Inevitable – But We Can Learn From Them
For many professionals, one of the main obstacles is the fear of failure. And one thing we can learn from .MErs is just how precious failures and mistakes can be. In fact, they’re the main building blocks of success. By avoiding mistakes, we’re probably blocking out success itself.
When asked, Alvaro Parra from aparra.ME bluntly said he’d change nothing in his career path:
“I probably wouldn’t have done anything differently. In order to learn, you always need to fail and make mistakes. It is part of the learning process.“
Dwight Johnson from djinspires.ME encourages his followers by saying that mistakes aren’t a sign of failure. They’re a sign of growth. Per Dwight:
“You’re not failing. You’re growing.”
These words can encourage us all to step forward in your freelancing career and not be afraid of failing.
Lesson #2: Digitalization Is Here, And We Must Adapt
The world never stops changing. And with digitalization, it’s changing even faster. Adapting to these changes is a must for all of us.
Thanuja (a .MEr we enjoyed talking to!) says that keeping up with technology and trends, and always improving our skills, is crucial today:
„As the world advances into a new age of business, a key factor is to keep up with technology as many industries are digitizing their operations. Computer skills can be applied in career advancements, such as video editing or coding. I’m currently honing my digital skills and expanding my skills repertoire! In the future, I plan to gain more certifications, such as SQL and social media optimization programs.“
Gianluca Colaianni from gianlucacolaianni.me concurs, and has this to say about that:
„If you want to be at the top of technology, you never end studying. And, if you never end studying, you must be passionate about your work.”
Lesson #3: You Need To Create A Brand Identity To Grow
Brands aren’t just for international companies. Every professional wanting to stand out and be recognized has to have a personal brand.
.MErs know this. Alvaro Parra from aparra.ME said this about personal branding:
„At the end of the day, even if you are a motion graphics artist, you are still a brand. It is important to have a unique logo and cohesive aesthetics.“
We can’t agree more! A personal brand really allows you to stand out from other freelancers and establish your own online identity.
While we can’t read minds, Ognjen from Keemun.ME seems to agree too:
“Your personal brand is your ID card. If you want to be recognised for and through your work, then it’s time to create a brand for yourself.“
Lesson #4: You Have To Love What You Do
To become really great in anything, you don’t need just the smarts or the skills. You also need to be passionate about what you do. Why? Because passion is what drives us to push forward where others might give up. Passion pushes our limits and fuels us to be our better selves and fulfill our dreams.
Passion is especially important in creative work. Brent Galloway, a graphic designer from brentgalloway.me says:
“First find out what type of design work you obsess over, then find out how you can make a living out of that obsession. At the end of the day, your entire career will thrive off your ability to create, so you have to love doing it.”
You think Brent is the only .MEr who uses the word „obsession“ for how passionate we must be? Then you have to hear this! Alvaro Parra, a motion designer from Aparra.ME says:
“This may sound a little cliché. But in order to become good at anything, you first must love what you’re doing and genuinely enjoy the process. You even need to become a little obsessed with it (hopefully not too much).“
And we agree! So, be a little bit obsessed with what you’re doing. But not too much.
Lesson #5: Find A Way To Stand Out
The freelancing market is oversaturated with talent. So in order to successfully compete with thousands of others, you have to stand out.
Mariel Alvarado CommunicArte.ME thinks this is more than clear:
„Speaking of my industry, it’s clear there are many super talented independent creative professionals showing mind-blowing work in their portfolios. The graphic design industry is steeped in talent, and it’s crucial to stand out from other creative professionals.“
And one of the best ways to market yourself? Having a personal website and a portfolio definitely comes to mind. But more on that later.
Lesson #6: Big Dreams Start With Small Steps
We are all born small and weak, but we surely don’t remain that way. Career-wise, it’s the same thing. And we have living proofs all around us! Many extremely successful people started from nothing and made it. You just have to map out your journey.
Sara from SamSaraDots.ME teaches us that we can be anything we wish to be:
„I always like to say that you can be anything you wish to be and do anything you imagine only if you put your mind to it. Dream but take action the following day to make those dreams come true.”
Nodari, a video game developer from hagrid.ME believes that dreaming big is important for succeeding. However, you also have to start small. In Nodari’s words:
“It’s awesome to dream big, but when you are just starting out, chances of making a 100 player multiplayer game, with thousands of weapons, would be close to none. Start with something you can handle and actually get it done and out to the public!“
Lesson #7: No Excuses For Not Having A Website
Not every freelancer has a personal website. Maybe you don’t either. But let us give you a few reasons why you should definitely change that.
To quote Luka from lukapsd.ME:
“Wanting to be noticed and taken seriously in this day and age and not having a website, or at least some kind of an online portfolio, is almost impossible. … making excuses for not creating a website doesn’t make sense.“
Of course not all people are developers or programmers. But the truth is you don’t need technical expertise in order to make your own website. Gianluca Colaiani, a talented software engineer from gianlucacolaianni.ME, had a tip for this particular topic:
„In case you have no technical knowledge, then I suggest you use drag and drop type of website building tools that can help you create a great website – without a line of coding. There are really no excuses not to have a website today.”
Cheers to that! There are so many great website builders that you can quickly set up a professional, easy-customizable website. No coding required! So, what are you waiting for?
Lesson #8: Exploring New Territories Leads To Opportunities
One of many benefits of freelancing is having virtually limitless choices to choose what you want to do.
A common mistake is not exploring these options enough. A while ago, we asked Rose Lin from roselin.ME whether she would change anything in her career path so far. And she told us:
“I would be braver to explore more new stuff. ... I felt that I was settled in my own comfort zone, so my view was narrow. Had I had the chance to embrace uncertainty and try new things, I might have discovered my interests earlier and/or be on a completely different path. Changes are not only challenges but also opportunities. I’m happy to be where I am today but wish that I could have explored more when I was younger.”
Sure, Rose Lin is a data scientist, but this applies to all professions. Luka from lukapsd.ME emphasizes that if you are a designer, you should always strive to explore your real potential by testing your limits:
“Get out of your comfort zone and try designing things you never imagined doing. If you’re a print designer, try animation. If you’re an illustrator, try branding.”
We agree with him. Gabriel Marino, a film director from gabrielmarino.ME seems to agree with Luka as well. He says:
„As a creative, you have to flex your muscles and seek different solutions in order to get noticed. Try to find a different angle or medium. Acquire different skills and learn how to use various tools, even those you don’t think you’d necessarily need. Because by widening your horizons and expanding your path, you’ll grow as a creative person.“
Lesson #9: Showcasing Your Achievements Is (REALLY) Important
As a freelancer, one of the most important things is to present your work to the world. A good online portfolio helps you attract your clients’ attention and take your career to another level.
Rose Lin from roselin.ME believes having a personal portfolio can help you no matter the professional background you come from:
“I feel that having a personal portfolio definitely helps, no matter what role one’s in. It provides a structured way to demonstrate your skill set, your identity, and your interests. I just find it worthwhile to show myself to the world. I think that’s the propelling reason for me to create my own site.”
So keep track of your achievements, and put them up for the world to see. Not only can they help you market yourself – they can also keep you inspired. At least that’s what Anita from alfianita.ME said:
„I’d record all my achievements from my jobs, key projects, and results to show my contribution. It’s good to keep track of this and artefacts. One forgets about these achievements over time and it’s hard to showcase on a resume. They also represent a good source of personal inspiration.“
Lesson #10: Websites Should Be Personal. The .ME Domain Is The Way To Do It
The members of the .ME family come in all shapes and colors. But one thing they have in common is .ME – the truly personal domain.
According to Inan, a designer from uix.ME, the benefits of choosing a .ME domain revolve around the fact that:
“It’s short, simple to communicate, sounds personal, it has no immediate association and therefore is flexible, and has a global appeal.“
Other .MErs agree. Alec Giorgio, a New Media artist from alecgiorgio.ME, is one of them:
„Social media is nice but having your own website makes you stand out from the crowd. That’s why I created mine, and I think having a .ME domain really adds a personal touch to it. Having a unique personal website lets the viewer know you put care and thought into your work.“
To wit, a .ME domain name truly allows you to say: This is me! This is what I’m about!
We rejoice in seeing the countless success stories of .MErs, and are encouraged by them. And, who knows? Maybe someday, you’ll become one of them!
We’re always happy to share the lessons we’ve learned from our .ME family with others. We hope, dear reader, that these lessons will help you in your freelancing journey. Be sure to read the success stories from the .ME family and be inspired by them.