Bullet Journal for Freelance Lettering Work

Over the last year I’ve gotten deliberate about calligraphy practice, and the improvement has been remarkable.  With that, I have slowly gotten more commission work.  After a bit of deliberating, I finally took the plunge and got a brand new Leuchtturm 1917 (Goulet Pens, Amazon) for the newest part of my life, my Lettering Business.  I’ll walk you through my initial set up, and I’ll do a follow-up post in the next few months.

Since I’m new at this, if you have new ideas or things I should keep in mind, please let me know down below!

Are a freelancer and bullet journalist? Check out how I've set my journal up for my calligraphy business! // www.prettyprintsandpaper.com

My Freelance Bullet Journal Set Up

How I'm setting up my Leuchtturm 1917 for Freelance Work - more details on my blog! // www.prettyprintsandpaper.com

Here she is, my first ever Leuchtturm 1917 (Goulet Pens, Amazon) journal.  I’ve been watching Kim and Kara use theirs for a while and although I love my Rhodia Notebook, I wanted to give it a shot.  My favorite feature? Well, the page numbers. Saves this lazy gal from scribbling numbers inside.

Some inspiration on the first page of my freelance bullet journal // www.prettyprintsandpaper.com

Cover page. Lettering has been a recent joy of mine, and wanted to have something fun on the front of my bullet journal.  I have been so pleasantly surprised at how my life has turned out by leaning into my joy and letting that carry me through the discomfort, uncertainty, and fear.  I’ve been lucky so far to pursue things that really give me energy – this endeavor is no different.

One of the most important pages in this bullet journal will be logging my commissions and freelance work // www.prettyprintsandpaper.com

This work log is pretty important and will be where I keep a running list for the commissions I’ve gotten over the year.  This will be nice to reference once I get it filled in with the work I’ve already done.  The time on the side will hopefully help me gauge how much I should charge for different types of projects – and get me comfortable with charging money for anything, frankly! That might be the hardest part about all this. (if you have tips on how to get comfortable with that, y’all…. let me know!)

Another time chart! Since I freelance on the side this bullet journal spread keeps me aware of my capacity for projects // www.prettyprintsandpaper.com

Project Chart. No surprise that I put another time chart into my bullet journal – for such a visual person like me it helps to see what I’ve committed to.  This is not my full time job so it’s critical that I’m aware of what I’ve already signed on for, so I can follow through. It will be so cool to see how it fills up throughout the year! (I mean, hopefully…. right?)

See how I use this layout for teaching and for work!

No freelance gig is without expense, so this bullet journal spread will help me track my expenses for my business // www.prettyprintsandpaper.com

Expense Log.  No business is without some expense, so for tax purposes I will do my darndest to track my expenses on this chart.

Keep track of all the to-dos for your side business and freelance work in your bullet journal // www.prettyprintsandpaper.com

Task Lists.  The less-fun part about having a side gig is the paper work – it’s obviously really important even if it bores me, so I am logging that stuff down so I can work on it slowly and surely.  I also include other “good for me to do” tasks on the side like business cards.

There's so much learning involved with a freelance business, so I'm tracking what I want to learn about in my bullet journal // www.prettyprintsandpaper.com

Learning Log. Frankly I think I just need one of these for life in general (where I can add things like, “folding a fitted sheet”) – I’ve quickly realized how much stuff I need and want to learn about this lettering business, so I am logging that away, threading to a new page number where I elaborate on that lesson.

Example of a project collection in my freelance bullet journal // www.prettyprintsandpaper.com

Project Collections. I think each project will need their own spreads, of course, so this is one I’ve started for one of my projects.  So far I have jotted down the details of what I’ve agreed to, some major milestones, and drew out a time chart.  Again, I need to learn what time commitments I’m making per project type, so this will be extremely helpful to reference later. Each box is 30 minutes.  Below I’ll jot down major notes from the client and dates of meetings or other major things.

Using my bullet journal to outline potential brush calligraphy workshop possibilities // www.prettyprintsandpaper.com

Big dreams. So I’ve already been able to create some spreads in my bullet journal to plan out some big dreams, one of which is to teach a beginning brush calligraphy class somewhere in the Twin Cities this summer.  It helps to be able to just turn the page and start fresh to get my thoughts down.  Most of the utility of a bullet journal isn’t so much that I reference these pages, but to organize my thoughts AS I write it down.  It clears up my brain and frees it up for other creative problem solving.

So there you have it! That’s what I have so far – I’ll probably add a few more collections like a wishlist, techniques I want to learn, partnership I want to create, and more.  Like you might know, I don’t find it productive to agonize over all the possible spreads I’ll need.  These came to mind immediately and I set them up; as I use it more I will get a better sense of what new spreads to fill in.  If you have suggestions for what’s helped you in your freelance work, please let me know! I’d love to learn 🙂



14 thoughts on “Bullet Journal for Freelance Lettering Work

  1. I’m thinking about learning lettering and calligraphy with the eventual goal of starting my own business years from now so I’m going to be eagerly watching your business unfold. I don’t know if I have the a) discipline or b) physical ability due to arthritis but I’m am at the pondering stage. If your class is in the western suburbs and isn’t too terribly expensive, I’d strongly consider taking it.


  2. This is exactly what I needed! I’m a freelance writer and also do creative book writing and blog writing. I use many tools to help me (a time tracking app on my phone, Google docs to track income and expenses, and Evernote to hold notes and research). Even my writing is split across multiple places (Google docs, Schriever, multiple wordpress accounts, ….). I like all of these tools and they each fit a niche but I don’t feel like a have a clear picture of where everything stands on a particular project. (Let alone all the projects.) I’ve been playing with a status spread to help me snapshot where each project is at and set priorities for the near-term. I was also planning to split this out from my normal journal and put it in a dedicated writing journal. I like many of your ideas so I’ll be using a lot of them. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi @angie9091
      I have recently started freelancing as a blog writer myself. Would you mind sharing what time tracking app you use? Or any other helpful tips on freelancing as a blog writer. Thanks!

      Funny you mentioned splitting your journal into a dedicated one for your work. I split (not literally 🙂 my journal in half for that purpose and as I get more I will start a dedicated one.


  3. This is amazing! Thank you! As for fitted sheets: take the sheet, fold it in half (either way), turn the top of the piece nearest you inside out, so that the corners fit into each other open the same way, fold in half the other way inverting the corners in the same way, so they all open the same way. I then fold it into thirds, but I’ve got a weird thing about thirds.

    Nope, still doesn’t make sense. Fitted sheets are the worst, but if you keep everything in the matching pillow case, no one will ever know.


  4. Wow! This is helpful – I have multiple projects I’m engaged in (including consulting work I already handle, freelancing I want to get into, and other ventures..!). This is fantastic – I will give some of these a try!


  5. Oh, I really like that Learning Log! It’s so important to find the time to actually practice and study while working freelance, and I always struggle to squeeze that into my days or weeks. I’ll try your layout for that one!
    I really like the project progress bars, too – and how you keep everything simple at the same time. 🙂


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