Robin Reetz is a Brooklyn-based writer and lover of travel and independent design. She currently works full time in fashion editorial and additionally serves as an editor at Clementine Daily as well as a few other home, fashion, and lifestyle-focused websites. She has lived in London and New York, and has worked with Refinery29, Anthropologie, Henri Bendel, Teen Vogue, Bustle, Darling Magazine, Nylon Magazine, and more.
In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?
I have a background in magazines and publishing, and that definitely helped in attracting my freelance clients. That being said, I always owe any "success" I've had in my freelance career and otherwise to my affinity for good old fashioned cold outreach. I've never shied away from cold emailing a professional contact, acquaintance, or even a general email on the website of a company I'd like to work with. Proactive cold calling has gotten me far with my freelance career, and helped me to grow my network.
"I've never shied away from cold emailing a professional contact, acquaintance, or even a general email on the website of a company I'd like to work with. Proactive cold calling has gotten me far with my freelance career."
Do you have any tips for being your most productive?
Eliminate distractions as much as possible, make a to do list and make yourself get through it, and finally (and perhaps most importantly), set daily work hours and make yourself stick to them. No doubt one of the greatest things about being a freelancer is the flexibility it affords, but don't let that flexibility prevent you from getting your work done. Ultimately, I always tell people that the way I've stayed motivated in the past as a freelancer is by remembering that when you freelance, no productive work = no money. That usually helps to keep me in line.
Tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details?
Don't be afraid to ask for or hire help when you need it. The first year I freelanced, I did my taxes myself. I figured out I'd be able to handle it fine, and since I'd always done my taxes in the past I didn't see why anything should change just because I was pursuing a freelance career rather than a more traditional full time role. A few months later and I learned I'd filed my taxes incorrectly, and ended up hiring an accountant to help me fix them.
Perhaps needless to say, every year since I've hired an accountant and it's helped make my life as a freelancer much easier. Otherwise, stay on top of your invoices by using a Google Spreadsheet and marking off invoices as they're paid – this will help you keep track of your income, and know who you need to chase for payment. I also set Google Calendar reminders to follow-up on invoices when needed.
The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:
Dedication, organization, persistence (and passion and drive and a great work ethic...the list goes on and on!)