When I started out, being a freelancer was the only option available and as a student of Industrial Design I was much more interested in presenting the products, rather than designing them. Then, one day, everything changed. I saw a website by Stefano Scozzese.
"That's what I want to do!" This job became my obsession and still is.
I decided to drop out of University to work on my own projects. It was 2010 - I had no money, no equipment, lived together with my girlfriend and it was hard to get by. That never stopped me though - rather it pushed me harder. I worked an entire summer as a lifeguard to buy an iMac and a Reflex Camera. When I started creating my first website, I barely knew what it was. I had never coded, just done some Photoshop tutorials.
I worked on my very first projects for free. Since I had no experience, it was the only way to start. It never crossed my mind to get hired, I wanted to be free to follow my ideas and learn as much as I could. Most of all, Stefano Scozzese was self-employed, and I wanted to be like him. It made sense. After these first projects, I found the first paid ones and it slowly became a full time job.
The best way to grow my business was doing everything by myself. I started working with a developer, because I wanted to work on design and photography only, but our perspectives were just too different. The best way to give life to my projects was to personally do everything, development included. So I started to develop.
I started working in a small town in Italy, between Milan and Venice, for small clients and businesses (most of them family run). People that demand you to "fix their PC" and set up their email accounts. Not exactly my main ambition. Anyway.
The downside of doing everything on your own, is that sooner or later this will start to overwhelm you. Managing every file, every client, dozens of websites. You are responsible of every mistake, always in charge, 24/7. You keep working and investing, your PC is never powerful enough, and get old in no time.
The first years are the toughest. But they pay off. When you start working all over the world, everything changes. When you think that 3 years before you were working as a lifeguard, and then a company in San Francisco pays you to go and work there, you know things are changing. And then becoming part of the CSSDA judging panel... :)
I'm obsessed with technology and from the very beginning I started investing in Apple products. At least every 2 years I change all my equipment. I'm also always looking for new software. If I find a better way to do something, I start over again. At the moment I'm truly impressed by InVision. Today I can't imagine my job without this tool.
What helped me grow was never being satisfied with my work. Every new project was the chance to go beyond my limits and improve my skills. My targets are almost unattainable and that always pushes me further. The highest quality has always been essential to me, and in the long run this has paid off.
Anyway, my portfolio is the most important part. At the beginning you struggle to find new clients. When your portfolio is strong, they find you. Having a good website is essential, and so were the awards I won over the last few years. Behance has also been important: it allowed me to work with an Indian Startup.
I've always had an extremely professional approach to my job. I believe that being a freelancer doesn't mean working by night, or on the sofa. On the contrary: working from home requires you to be very methodical. For a long period I started working at 6 am. I'm the kind of person that plans everything, years in advance, setting deadlines and objectives. My calendar is a nightmare, full of things to do every half an hour. But I believe this is the only way to reach my goals.
Now I'm in Sydney, collaborating with The Friendly Agency, working to create something completely different to what I've created so far.
I call this moment of my life "disruption".
It's the time to start over, break free from the past and move on to something completely different. Things happen if you make them happen, and now I'm working on the next step toward moving forward.