Going freelance in Tokyo can be a very scary leap, but if you go for it the possibility of doing work you enjoy and getting paid well for that work can go up drastically.

For this podcast I sat down with Jennifer Piatkowski to talk about her recent move into freelance design after working as a graphic designer for years. She has some fantastic advice for taking the leap out of a stifling job that isn’t paying you what your worth nor giving you the time to pursue other things and into something that allows you to live life on your own terms.

We talked about:

  • Confidence and how important it is not just for freelancing but for any kind of work
  • Whether you really have to be an expert to freelance (spoiler alert: you don’t!)
  • Making relationships and building a network in Japan that will get you jobs that you never knew existed
  • Finding a main client and getting a retainer so you can have both freedom and security
  • Taking care of your visa and understanding your working rights, and dispelling the myth of the self-sponsored visa (it doesn’t exist, find out more here)
  • Tokyo is full of opportunities where you can charge higher rates than you would ever expect to charge in the US
  • Tell people what you do
  • And have a contract!

You can find out more about Jennifer on Dribbble, Instagram @jenn.is.halfandhalf and on Twitter @Creative_Curls


Jennifer has been freelancing in Tokyo for the last few months. You could too!

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