A common myth about freelancing is that it’s unstable, and you have to hustle 24/7 to get enough projects to survive. That was how this episode’s guest, PK, felt. When she had her son and started freelancing, she got burned by a client who refused to pay, and felt like she was constantly searching for a job. Now, she works with brands in her home country of India and around the world, and she has so much work that she had to hire other freelancers to help out!
Listen to hear how she did it, and what it takes to build a successful freelance career anywhere in the world.
When PK first started working in the fashion industry, she was single, had no children, and was 100% focused on her career.
“There were days when I worked from 9 in the morning to 9 in the evening,” she told me. But she didn’t really mind until she had her son.
Knowing she couldn’t go back to the demands of a full time job, but “longing to get back to work” after 18 months as a stay-at-home mom, PK took a chance and dove into freelancing.
It was a rocky start.
“I decided to take action and with the help of a friend, found my first project. I was so excited to get back to work, that I just jumped straight to working, only to be burned in the end without being paid. It was a long struggle, because I had the skills to design, but I did not know how to deal with clients, how to get paid, how to be successful… it felt like I was in constant search for a job, as after one project gets over, I need to think about finding the next.”-PKP, a Successful Fashion Freelancer in India
But once she learned how to manage the business side of freelancing, PK’s career took off. Now, she has clients in her home country of India, and all around the world–in the US, Australia, Switzerland, and beyond. And she’s not spending countless hours chasing down new work.
PK always dreamed of having a design agency, but never knew if she could afford the costs of having an office space and everything else that comes with a traditional business.
“I used to think that I could confidently say that I am a design studio owner only when I have rented out an office. But when the pandemic hit, I saw huge companies transitioning to a work from home model, which I was already doing. Only then I realized, you don’t need a fancy office. I can realize my vision, from the comfort of my home, which is great.
“Today my son is 8 years old and he peeks into my computer all the time, and keeps asking me to teach him how to design. I love this life.”-PKP
Poonkuzzhali Pk has been working in the fashion industry for about 15 years. After working full time for several years, she now freelances full time in surface pattern design, flat sketching and tech packs. In addition to her freelance work and tteaching in design institutes and online, PK is an amateur artist and mom to an 8-year-old boy.