The following post is an excerpt from my new e-Book series, How to Become an e-Learning Freelancer. The three volumes in the series are designed to be easy-to-use, practical guides to getting your freelance e-Learning career off the ground. Learn more here!
e-Learning Designers are Creatives Too!
When most people hear the words “creative freelancer,” they think of artists, web designers, copywriters, and illustrators—but in my years in the e-Learning industry, I’ve come to realize that as e-Learning Designers, my peers and I fall into that category as well. As we build courses, assessments, and learning tools, it’s our creative side at work; there’s an art to producing effective learning materials.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with many different e-Learning professionals over the years, and have noticed that, like many creatives, our passion is in creating content that’s easy to understand and solves problems. Everything else that goes along with the work in our industry—the structure, the teams, the processes, the systems—is secondary to what we love doing: producing courseware that engages learners and presents information effectively. Let me spend my days creating and designing an online course, and I’m in my own professional bliss; put me in meetings all day, and I get frustrated pretty quickly.
The Business Realities of Freelancing
Several years ago, I decided to become a freelancer—like many creatives in my position, I was ready to focus on what I enjoy the most. I envisioned myself finally getting rid of all of the overhead of my day job and spending all of my time being creative!
And then reality hit.
As a freelancer, I found myself deep in a swamp of activities and decisions that were all critical to my success as an independent business—and all kept me away from my creative passion. I had to decide whether I was going to be an LLC or if I would incorporate. I had to spend time searching for new clients, marketing myself to them, and then creating detailed project estimates for them. I had to spend time designing a system for tracking income and expenses. I had to worry about Profit & Loss Statements. I had dreamt about finally having the freedom to innovate and push my own creative boundaries, and instead I was spending a lot of my time learning about accounting, marketing, and project management.
As I interacted more with other e-Learning Designers and other creatives, I discovered that the experience that I was having was pretty common. I discovered entire communities of creatives frustrated with the business side of their careers, and yearning for more time to produce content.
[This topic continues in my e-Book series, How to Become an e-Learning Freelancer.]