It’s been almost exactly a year since I went freelance – I’m not quite sure if it’s gone surprisingly quickly or slowly. I’ve done a quite ridiculous amount of work, had some rough months and been nearly constantly stressed from being over- or under-worked… but it was still totally the right decision for me and I’m really proud of some of the work I’ve completed – you can see it all in my portfolio.
Actually, I will be changing the way I work a little bit from next month because I have just accepted a part-time permanent job at the brilliant Sidekick Studios, so will only have two free days a week to take on select client work and personal projects. I’ve been working a lot with Sidekick over the last three months and their ethos, working style and client list are exactly aligned to the kind of thing I want to be doing myself. I hope it will let me focus more on doing what I like (designing!) and less on client management and emails, which are one of the big drags of being a lone ranger.
To celebrate a year of working for me, I put together this little infographic using data from my accounting software Solo. I haven’t put actual earnings in because I’m British, but in general it’s good to see I worked less and earned more than my last full-time job.
Sorry, been a bit slack on blogging lately. I’ve been having the traditional freelancer dilemma of going on holiday soon, eek, SO MUCH to get done before we go. The last few weeks have been ridiculous – not even in the showy-off get-me kind of way: in the 14-hour days, wrist aching, I need to learn to manage my time better, kind of way. Anyway, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel – off to Copenhagen and Malmo next week and I am looking forward to five whole days work-free. Once I’ve finished everything off over this weekend, anyway.
It’s all worth it though really because I’ve been doing some great projects that I’m very proud of. Here’s a look at some of the stuff I’ve been up to in the last few months.
LLUSTRE.com continues to keep me busy and it’s fantastic to see the site I designed pick up so fast from its launch in April. It’s grown massively with a wonderfully curated selection of sales and I’m so proud of the team there. Oh, and next week I’ll be selling some of my prints and posters over there so go sign up if you haven’t already!
I redesigned the web home of awesome kitty film series Simon’s Cat, and I’m also blogging for them every Friday so pop over and read my posts! I even got my own avatar drawn by Simon, amazing. I also redesigned the site of production company Tandem who manage Simon’s Cat: proof that one good job always leads to another (two, or three).
I love the odd non-webby jobs that are thrown my way, especially when I get to turn to illustration. I did this suite of wedding stationery for a very cool couple who wanted mini portraits and a woodland theme. She was the dream client and loved the result, as do I.
A little WordPress-based site and identity for food stylist Kate Wesson, designed to show off the photography to the fullest.
At the moment I’m working for another startup which is launching soon, a social weather-reporting app, a project for Red Bull with the ace Sidekick Studios, the website for a Masterchef winner’s restaurant and a coffee company’s website… and there I was thinking things might wind down soon…
Well, I’m one-and-a-half weeks in to working freelance now, and it’s been a little different to how I imagined in some ways. Here are some of my learnings…
Lazy new colleague
i) I’ve worked harder than I have in months (the cat has not helped at all, as you can see). This is partly down to exciting new projects and a renewed enthusiasm for what I’m doing, and partly down to a creepy sense of guilt whenever I do anything besides work during the day. I suppose that’s because there’s nothing to hide behind now – if I don’t do the work I need to, there’s no one else to blame or hide behind, and I won’t get paid. Unsurprisingly, that’s a pretty good motivator.
ii) I’m being much more disciplined than I thought I would be. I’ve been getting up at pretty much the same time as I used to, and I’m at my desk working by 9.30 until 6ish. I even worked on bank holiday Monday! But I need to get used to the idea that there will be quiet time too, and figure out how to use it productively.
My study and ‘mobile office’
iii) Working from home, it’s essential to have a proper desk chair, a coffee machine and a good internet connection (in that order). I also treated myself to a new (albeit refurbished) Macbook Air so I can work remotely and take it to meetings – it’s ever so light and pretty.
And check it out, my first piece of work has even gone live already:
The lovely folk at With Associates asked me to make a one-page design for their studio’s website, which changes every month as part of an ongoing experiment. The brief was completely open, which I think is every designer’s dream and nightmare rolled into one! All they asked was that is was colourful (no problem) and showcased some of their work and ethos.. oh, and I have one day to concept, design and write the whole thing, eek.
So I took a kind of crafty theme, and wrote some copy about how good digital work takes a lot of cues from traditional craftsmanship. I photographed and pasted in the ribbon to draw your eye down the page, and did some craft-inspired illustrations and some header type that looks like embroidery. Luckily they all really liked it! Have a look here.