#14: Freelancing with a Chronic Illness, with Christy Batta

Today’s guest is Christy Batta, a freelance graphic designer I know in real life. Christy works primarily with nonprofits, creating or freshening up their brands, designing logos or print materials, and developing event materials. Christy was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, or MS, when she was just 23. A few years ago, when people were debating health care in this country, she remembers hearing a lot of rhetoric about “sick people costing more” and “sick people” driving up all our health care costs. The discussion of how people with chronic illnesses and diseases were being portrayed irritated her. She decided to start speaking out more about living with a chronic illness—and running a freelance business with a chronic illness—because she wants people to understand that so-called “sick people” are all around us and are contributing, valuable members of society.


Learn how working with a branding coach helped Christy’s freelance business. She was able to learn why her clients valued her and use that information to promote her business.

Christy shares how she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease, when she was just 23 and in graduate school.

Hear about the challenges of having a “hidden illness.” It often comes down to how much to communicate to people.

Christy has to focus on self-care to manage her MS, but these are lessons everyone needs: eat healthy, get enough sleep, don’t work 24/7. In fact, Christy says it helps her to see other freelancers not hustling nonstop because it validates that you can be a freelancer without working nonstop.

Christy talks about why she is now speaking out more about having MS.

Christy talks about how she got health insurance as a freelancer.

Christy describes how she uses “spoon theory” to manage her illness and why all freelancers should embrace the idea that we have a limited number of “spoons” a day, so we should be intentional about what we focus our energy on.

When freelancers take breaks and embrace a better work-life balance, they’re normalizing downtime for those freelancers who don’t have the “luxury” of working nonstop.

Christy is the co-founder of the Unofficial Hand Lettering Society of Silver Spring, a club that encourages people to doodle and color and create.

Biz Bite:

Create a Welcome Package for Your Clients

Welcome packages can set expectations and establish boundaries with your clients. Christy got the idea from her friend Rachel Wynn at Starlight Social.


Christy Batta Design

Unofficial Hand Lettering Society of Silver Spring

Christy’s Etsy Shop: Human + Kind

Human + Kind on Instagram

Starlight Social and Rachel Wynn


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