The following article was originally published on Upwork.com in 2019.
Ten years ago, Morgan Overholt began her career in a traditional corporate role. For almost a decade she endured long hours and office politics and was left wondering whether or not she was on the right path.
“I was nearing the end of another nine-day work ‘week’ plus a double holiday shift when I sat down with my boss for a meeting,” she says. “When I expressed my frustrations, my boss looked at me and coolly replied, ‘I’m sorry, but I just don’t have any sympathy.’”
“I felt dismissed, and quite frankly, deeply disrespected,” she explains. “In that moment, something inside of me snapped. I told her my heart wasn’t in it anymore, walked out, and never looked back.”
Today, Overholt owns her own graphic design studio, Morgan Media LLC, and finds many of her projects through Upwork. She loves the sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that comes with running her own business.
Do what you love and love what you do
When asked about why she likes having her own freelance business, Overholt says she enjoys the variety of projects and loves the work itself.
“I used to spend my summers as pre-teen in front of my computer learning HTML and Photoshop because I thought it was fun,” she explains. “By the time I got to university, people started offering to pay for my designs. It was a nice little side-hustle for an otherwise poor college student. Fast-forward 15 years and that little ‘side-hustle’ is now a full-time business.”
Overholt has enjoyed contributing to a wide range of projects, from user interface design, to personal branding, to technical diagrams for new technologies.
“I love gaining insights into these unique fields and working with my clients to become a part of their success,” she says. “I enjoy the fact that every client and every project is unique. The variety keeps me on my toes and makes the day fly by.”
Upwork as a matchmaker
Overholt says clients come to Upwork because they are in need of help. “They are not only seeking a job well done but also the comforting voice of a professional and the assurance that someone on the other end of that computer screen has their back,” she explains.
“Upwork is a two-way street. I am selective when searching for new jobs. I look for well-written posts, good reviews, and reasonable expectations because I want to know that my client is polite and able to communicate effectively. I tend to ask a multitude of follow-up questions before accepting an offer,” Overholt explains. “It’s almost like dating because you have to make sure that you are a great fit for each other. I like to think of myself and my clients as partners. I put myself in their shoes. After all, they are business owners just like I am.”
“I also offer high-quality work, quick turnarounds, and make myself as available as possible for calls or emails,” she says. “[In my experience,] the formula to a successful experience [on both sides] includes vetting, communication, and understanding.”
Encouragement to fellow freelancers
“It took me two weeks of submitting proposals before I got my first ‘bite,’” Overholt says. “When I first started out, I wrote my proposals earnestly and told my clients that I was new to Upwork but not new to the industry. I started out with small jobs and politely reminded my clients [at the end of each engagement] that reviews were very important.”
She says she faced a lot of naysayers when she started freelancing, people who worried she wouldn’t be able to make enough money. But she quickly proved them wrong: “I make more money freelancing than I ever did with my corporate job, and I don’t lose any sleep at night worrying about pleasing a boss or playing office politics. I believe freelancing is the future.”