I should preface this: I never went to design school. I never liked the idea of paying someone to teach you how to be more like them. I’ve always found it more informing and inspiring to find mentors and those you look up to for inspiration and go on the interwebs and find design tutorials. Nobody can teach you how to be you, but you can find ways to bring the best out of yourself without paying out the ass for your education. Nothing against design schools, it just wasn’t the avenue for me.
That said, design schools teach you a lot about the technical aspects of creativity. You can learn everything thing there is to know about Adobe (that it’s not just huts in Arizona), make some good friends, network, and all that good stuff. One thing they never teach you though is how to get your money. Money isn’t the reason to get into graphic design (trust me, it really isn’t) but it’s important that you get what you’re due. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve gotten screwed (and still get screwed occasionally) because as a freelancer, I had no idea how to send estimates and invoices, make contracts with clients, and just keep everything in order. That was all stuff I had to learn on my own through trial and error. A whole lot of errors.
Now there are a ton of resources available that can help make life easier for freelancers, beginning and established. One I’ll address here is Wave. Wave is an all-in-one solution for any small business that needs an online invoicing solution. Everything is left in the cloud and you have access to all your invoices, estimates, billing records, receipts and etc. in one place. You can send invoices and reminders (!), and they recently partnered with Swipe so you can accept payment directly from the emailed invoice via credit card or Paypal (a premium service). All this shit is free.
There are a lot of services that are both premium and free, but Wave is by far the slickest and easiest. I’m not getting paid to say or write this (I wish I was), I really do endorse Wave. Check them out and stack your loot.