Select a language

Shutterstock Blog Shutterstock Blog

Think of the Children : 5 Freelancing Lessons You Can Learn From A 5 Year Old

When it comes to creativity and inspiration, there are few people who have more of them than a pre-schooler. That's why there's a lot we can learn from kids when we want — or need — to reinvigorate ourselves and our work. So break out the Graham crackers and get ready for nap time. Here are five ways you should approach freelancing more like a five year old. Child with Leaves by Denis Hsn Photography

Imagine More

Kids dream big. With limitless imaginations, there's nothing they can't see themselves accomplishing. They believe they can be the president, a princess, or even a dinosaur. Until someone tells them they can't do something, a child will always believe they can.

As a freelancer, you need to channel that imagination when you think about your pursuits. Can you be both a designer and a writer? Can you be an incredible artist and also make a living wage? The only reason you're not imagining more is because you're telling yourself you can't.

Playing Explorer by Warren Goldswain

Change Your Mind — Quickly!

Today, your pre-schooler wants to be a pilot. Tomorrow, he'll want to be a doctor. The day after, probably a superhero or a wizard. Children change their dream jobs in an instant, depending on what catches their fancy. They're flexible, creative, and not afraid to want something completely different.

Try to harness some of that flexibility. You don't need to switch from design to brain surgery, but you should be able to switch career paths with ease. Keep your portfolio up to date, have business cards at the ready, and stay alert for new opportunities and projects that could open up. A flexible freelancer is a working freelancer.

Kid Blowing Bubbles by Catalin Petolea

Find Fun in Anything

The world is full of chores and obligations, but a five year old doesn't see it that way. They see an opportunity to be silly, creative, and excited. Anything, from a car ride to Grandma's to helping with dinner, can be a game with the right point of view.

Bring some of that fun into your work. Engage your clients with "What if" scenarios to see how you can really create something different. Or challenge a fellow freelancer to a design race — the last one to finish their project buys drinks! Find a way to make your work fun, and you'll always look forward to the next assignment.

Young Boy Being Comforted by Suzanne Tucker

Go Ahead and Cry

Nothing is more volatile than a child's temperament. One minute they're as happy as can be, and the next they're sprawled on the floor, shrieking and sobbing. Those cry fests can be annoying to onlookers, but it might be just what a kid needs to work through whatever scary, strange, or upsetting thing just ruined their day.

As a designer, throwing yourself to the ground and screaming isn't great for business. But taking the time to vent your work frustrations may be all you need to get over your stress and move on. Find a good friend and complain about a current project. Or take a hint from the kids and just let it all out. Find someplace private, sob a little, then get right back to your work. No matter what you try, if you vent, you'll be feeling better in no time.

Little Girl Reading by Kylie Walls

Always Be Learning

A five year old is always learning something new. It can be why the sky is blue, or how to make a peanut-butter sandwich, or even where babies come from. They constantly learn new words, new skills, and new ways to interact in a very big world.

Like any child, a freelancer should always be learning, too. Seek out workshops, classes, and meetups with other designers. Read books and watch tutorials. Find yourself a mentor, or take a new freelancer under your wing. Share your knowledge and learn something new in return. Stay current and on trend, and you'll always find yourself with plenty of work.  

What do you think? Does channeling your inner child help you be creative? What other tips would you take from your favorite kid? Tell us in the comments!