My 2020 Freelancing Experience

Hey everyone! I wanted to share my experience freelancing this year and maybe have some of you also share your “year in review”!

I started 2020 with a goal of going FT freelance, even before COVID. I am a designer and just absolutely hated my commute and full time 9-5 office life in Los Angeles. I was loosing 2 hours per day just driving and dealing with office politics is just so annoying.

I gave my 2 weeks notice to my FT office job on March 9th 2020. Yeah, great timing. Within the next week, things got real and the company had me spend my last week of employment WFH - then requested I stay on a couple weeks longer. WFH was enjoyable for me, so I agreed. Then they proposed I stay on as part time freelance, which again I was fine with. But that fell through as the pandemic crises worsened and I was essentially unemployed for the Spring & Summer.

I spent the Spring sewings masks. I was one of the first people to offer them on Etsy and made a good chunk of change selling these masks in the early days. For each 1 sold, I donated another one to local healthcare facilities. This kept me super busy. As we transitioned into Summer, I got a ton of work from FIVERR. Although they take a ton in fees, I was super busy with some reoccurring clients for flats and tech pack. I put my prices up enough to make it worth it even with the fees.

Come August, my original workplace contacted me again and had me on for 3 days a week. I even negotiated a higher hourly rate which was great. My former head designer who had left the company contacted me and gave me a freelance client that she didn’t have time to work with. My other co-worker who still was working at the original workplace also sent me a client. Both clients only need a couple days of work per month, but things were adding up! FIVERR work slowed down, but was still busy.

Going into the holidays, my FIVERR work pretty much died off. Here in January, it remains slow. My original workplace continued giving me work, except for the month of November. But now in January they no longer have the budget for me.

So 2020 was a pretty big rollercoaster. I am proud of myself for making it through my first year of freelancing. I love the freedom. I love working from home. I like being in charge of my own schedule. I am dreading filing my taxes and assuming that my big chunk of change in savings will go to my 1099 taxes. I am feeling challenged to find new clients, especially as the economic outlook here in the US is still unstable. I have also had a lot of “fake it till you make it” moments, but seeing a photo of a clients first sample that turned out just how she wanted from my tech pack def was a high point!

Id love to hear your stories from 2020 and how you are planning to make 2021 work for you!


Love hearing your story! 2020 was def a rollercoaster of a year!


Good for you. You’re talented and willing to put on the work. Thanks for sharing.


The best thing you can do is contribute to a SEP account. It allows you to contribute more towards retirement, based on your earnings. Look into it! My freelance experience has been the opposite unfortunately. I live in the midwest and when COVID started affecting retailers MANY closed and MANY lost their jobs. I was looking for freelance in an area where many jobs were no longer available. I am currently exploring career changes because I just havn’t had the work available to keep me afloat like I have in the past. Ill look into FIVERR, thanks for mentioning them!


Thanks so much for your response! Ive been contributing to a Roth IRA for a while, but have never heard of the SAP until now! I will def look into it and see if it would fit my new career path better than my current plan!

Ive always been tempted by the mid-western jobs because the lower cost of living, but seen other friends experience the same job droughts whenever a company folds or has massive layoffs. That sounds really tough! I hope you are able to find the right path.

Apart from just the money, FIVERR has helped me build up my portfolio with lots of different types of projects. Ive really improved my tech flat skills this year. I totally recommend it, just be sure to make your prices high enough to offset the fees. I think it is as high as 20%.

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I was able to get an in office freelance job from style careers. I got to the office for the interview, and no one had masks on, so I interviewed in a mask. They offered me $10 below my rate and I took it. I worked in a mack all 9 hours a day, while no one else did, and they chatted and talked and so on. It was very uncomfortable. I knew I wouldn’t be there long because it wasn’t the environment for me. They did pay me, and that was that.

I’ve been called for freelance from a few people, but you just never know if its a scam or not, so its tough.


Yikes! That really sucks! The mask thing especially seems dangerous.

I’ve learned to take the interviewing process very seriously. I want to interview the company as seriously as they interview me. I have fallen into similar type traps before. Now I know that if I see any red flags in the interview, skip them! If the interviewers seem disorganized, are late, don’t have the questions to ask you, are milling around looking for the head designer to talk to you, etc. Usually it is a sign that the entire organization is unorganized and badly run.

I’m sorry you had a bad experience, but hopefully you gained some insight and it will help you avoid bad employers/clients in the future!

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Haha, I would love to buy some masks from you on Etsy, however, that would give away your anonymity.

I’ve always wanted to try FIVERR, but when you start out, it looks as though everyone already on there is so talented, has high ratings, and you start to think you have no chance at being chosen for a job. I’m glad you’ve been able to get some work from there!!

I actually stopped selling masks after the summer. A bunch of people set up big production lines and were beating me out on variety and price on Etsy. At the beginning, I would list 20 pieces and they would sell out in under 30 minutes. It was wild! But like I said, things started slowing down a lot in the summer when there was tons of competition. Once gas stations and Target was stocking them, I took down my listings. But - there are tons of great Etsy sellers with all shapes, colors, and styles of masks. Id encourage you to support anyone on there!

FIVERR does certainly take some time to build up. Basically being the cheapest until you get a few reviews and build up a reputation. Although, I am currently dealing with the most frustrating customer of my life! Pulling my hair out over here. But at least it is all virtual, not like they are calling me with 10 more revisions every day (although they asked for my phone number.eek! No thank you!!)