I've been struggling with this decision for a few weeks now. I LOVE working on commissions, it is great to get together with someone and work together to put their ideas on virtual paper. Interacting with new people, sharing ideas, and working on projects that I may have never tackled on my own are wonderful. When I first started out I really struggled with pitching myself and getting new clients, it felt like I was trying everything and I would very seldom get a bite. Recently I stopped advertising, aside from posting my completed projects, and I've been getting more requests than ever. It has been a great surprise. I has also made me realize how much I have been underselling myself.
I had a rush job recently with a great client who was very vocal and had wonderful ideas, but when I took the project on I knew I would be devoting all my free time to it. I'm aware of my limitations, so I was fully prepared for the project, but it also hit home how little I was actually receiving compared to how much of myself was being put into the work. I still loved every second of working on that project but I got burnt out bad. I had another client lined up immediately after, which was fantastic, but I needed to be able to have a little of my free time back. Even after agreeing to take on the next project and letting them know how long it usually takes me to complete a project, this new client expected full time work without paying extra for the speed. There was no due date and, even after explaining that I have a day job and can't have an update every day, I still felt like I was being hounded for progress. If you have worked with me before you know that I provide progress updates at every step of my work process, I go above and beyond to provide multiple options, and I always do my best to accommodate any feedback I receive. I always strive to have an update every few days but sometimes things come up. Part of the reason I've kept prices are low is because I take my time with my work, this is not my full time job and I take my time, but I would by no means say that I am unreasonably slow with my work. I think the longest I have ever taken on a commission is a month and a half and most projects are completed within 2 weeks. The real kick in the teeth was when I delivered the final piece I didn't get so much as a thank you. The client never said anything in response. If someone is unhappy I like to know, it helps me improve if I know there is a problem and if it is an issue that I can fix right away I am more than happy to do so. This was the second time I have had this happen within the past year and both times with people who had no problem contacting me before that. To make matters worse, working on these projects were a contributing factor to me missing my window for applying for a job I had my eye on.
I'm not putting commissions on hold because of all that though, I do have a thick skin and you are bound to encounter people you cannot please and those people aren't going to hire you again. That's fine. Most of my clients have been a joy to work with and I'd never complain about this normally, if you are reading this you are not a part of the problem. I've had commissions open for 2 1/2 years without stopping, I have almost never turned a client away, my prices have barely risen at all since opening, I'm underselling myself, and finally most of the works I've created recently are not something I would be proud to put in my portfolio. That is all on me but I cannot continue down this path. This was a difficult decision for me to make since I really do need the extra income and I love working with new people. Will I reopen commissions? Probably. Do I know when? Short answer, no. Will things be changing? Absolutely.
I need to break free of my current style, I need to reevaluate my prices, I need to work on my own projects for a bit. I can't put a timeline on this yet but when I do reopen for commissions things will be different. I apologize to anyone this will inconvenience, if I am already working on a commission for you it will still be finished. If you sent me a request recently, this is why I had not yet decided what I was going to do. If you want to be notified when I reopen please either leave a comment here or send me a note and I would be more than happy to contact you when things are up and running again.
If you took the time to read this thank you very much, I really mean that and I am glad to know that you care. If you have any questions for me feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer!