Why I started a side hustle as a graphic designer?

For me, keeping my regular income and earning some money from side hustles were a better option. Let me jump straight to my reasoning and explain why I do freelancing as a side gig.

Irem Aker
Irem Aker

I live in Amsterdam and have been working as an art director for the last ten years at prominent advertising agencies. In the last couple of years, I also wanted to start a freelancing career since I wanted to make extra income. Experts say that the best freelancers go about their work as if they were running a business. It is not just a good idea for everyone. For me, keeping my regular income and earning some money from side hustles were a better option. Let me jump straight to my reasoning and explain why I do freelancing as a side gig.

Why do I love freelancing?

Freelancing can be challenging, but freelancing is a great way to earn money if you treat it like a job and if the economy is doing well. I love choosing what gigs and projects I want to work with, and it feels good to earn extra money to make my future investments.  

When I was growing up, a freelancer was someone who did not have a job. Today, freelancing is no longer about finding a way to get by. A lot of businesses still rely on freelancers to get things done for them. If they’ve acquired new customers and they have to execute the job quickly or if they have too much work, they bring in freelancers.

Being a freelancer is no easy task. Not only do I have to be creative, but I also have to perform different roles and have to have other skills. Being a freelancer means that you have to be an art director and a client manager. You need to use critical thinking, creative thinking, and listening skills. You have to recognize the essential details in a project. You also have to set deadlines and lead the projects. These roles create various challenges in client management.

I have to be an art director and a client manager


You have to treat freelancing like a job. You have to put in the hours, and you can’t go surfing every morning, although it’s the dream for everyone. With jobs, you usually get time for big breaks, but with freelancing, it’s 24/7. You should be thinking of ways to improve a client’s experience or solve a problem they’re facing because clients will never want to work with you if you are not adding value. Taking on different roles while doing my job develops me a lot professionally.

It's easier to be a freelancer these days because of technology

If I were freelancing ten years ago, probably some duties such as handling my accounting, building relationships with clients, communicating with team members, tracking projects and tasks would be time-consuming. Right now, platforms and tools for each repetitive task provide me more time to concentrate on my work. Tools and platforms help me use my time more efficiently.

With freelancing platforms and tools such as Rimuut, Trello, Slack, and so on, I am now more equipped for handling my finances, budgeting, and managing time. So it is easier for me to switch between my two roles as an agency employee and a freelance art director.

My regular job helped me reach possible clients  

One of the best ways of having two careers is that they help each other grow. My regular agency career helps me find freelance clients, and my freelance career allows me to diversify my portfolio as an art director.
You can check out my portfolio here and contact me at [email protected].

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