Freelancer Focus 12th September 2008

freelance logo

Freelance DesignerFreelancer Focus is a regular feature, where freelance designers are invited to answer a series of questions about themselves and freelancing.
This week Belinda White (pictured left) is the freelance designer in question.

1. Your name?
Belinda White

2. Where are you are based (Country/Area)?
Newcastle upon Tyne

3. What type of work do you do? (design for print, web, multimedia etc)
All aspects of creative design – illustration, flash design, website design, packaging, advertising, retail display, literature, direct mail, logos and branding, magazines, presentations, motion graphics and flash games

4. How many years had you been working in the design industry before you went freelance?
20 years

5. How long have you been freelancing?
4 months

6. Why did you decide to go freelance?
Flexible working, I have two beautiful children, a four year old daughter and a one year old son.

7. How did you market yourself (find design work/new clients) in the beginning – (online portfolio/brochure/direct mail/email/phone etc)?
Website, direct mail, networking events, telephone calls.

8. How do you market yourself (find design work) now?
As above.

9. How did you decide what to charge? What was the process?
Work out all costs and outgoings and look at local market forces.

10. Do you work from home/have an office/work inhouse at design agencies?
Both.

11. How do you organise your workload, do you work long hours?
I have a bespoke Excel worksheet planner and I work long hours.

12. How much holiday do you give yourself?
None.

13. How do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?
Trade magazines, networking events, online.

14. What blogs, magazines, podcasts etc do you subscribe to?
Creative Review, Computer Arts, .Net, Design Week, Drum plus networking sites online.

15. How do you generate ideas/what techniques do you use to stimulate creativity?
Visits to art galleries, general design magazines including architecture, interior design.

16. What about the business side of things, accounting, invoicing, bookkeeping, how do you manage it?
I have a complex Excel spreadsheet set-up.

17. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone starting out freelancing?
Promote yourself as much as possible, try to find different business angles and network, network, network!

18. Would you ever go back to fulltime work?
Yes. When my children are older.

19. Any thing else you would like to add?
Its hard work, but great to feel in control. Plus I get lots of family time.

20. Where can we see some of your work (URL)?
www.arttia.co.uk

Freelancer Focus 11th July 2008

freelance logo

Freelance DesignerFreelancer Focus is a regular feature, where freelance designers are invited to answer a series of questions about themselves and freelancing. This week Teddi Deppner (pictured left) is the freelance designer in question. If you would like to take part please read my previous post. Any designer or illustrator can also take part in Design Case Studies.

1. Your name?
Teddi Deppner

2. Where are you are based (Country/Area)?
Sacramento, California, USA

3. What type of work do you do? (design for print, web, multimedia etc)
Primarily web design, with supporting services like logo design and small print design projects (brochures, flyers, identity materials)

4. How many years had you been working in the design industry before you went freelance?
Over seven years.

5. How long have you been freelancing?
Since 2006.

6. Why did you decide to go freelance?
I’ve always valued the idea of staying at home with my children during their early years. I have two children under 6 years old, and freelance is an excellent way to stay in the groove and bring in some income while nurturing and training impressionable young minds.

7. How did you market yourself (find design work/new clients) in the beginning – (online portfolio/brochure/direct mail/email/phone etc)?
I had an online portfolio, which brought in a few new clients, but most of my work came by word of mouth. Previous clients I’d worked with, friends and extended family or church contacts — people who knew I did web design were interested when they heard I was freelancing.

8. How do you market yourself (find design work) now?
Pretty much the same. Word of mouth usually brings enough clients to keep me busy, but occasionally I mention my work and drop a business card to people I run into casually who sound like they could use my skills.

9. How did you decide what to charge? What was the process?
It’s a work in progress. I’ve done the calculations that factor in annual expenses, taxes, desired profits and all that to determine an hourly rate. I’ve searched the Net to see what’s being charged for what quality work, what corporate web design salaries are like. With all that in mind, I consider at least two other factors: what is the client willing to pay (always a guessing game, but you get a sense for it after a while) and what is my time worth to me for this project? Some projects I charge more for simply because they’re not my favorite type of work. That’s my privilege — it’s the client’s privilege to look elsewhere for a cheaper designer on that project if they don’t like the quote. And above all, I *never* cheat the client or lie about my hours or break a contract. Trustworthiness and proven reliability is part of my “services”. If the client is willing to pay for that, then I don’t need to feel guilty charging more than the guy down the street. I know that I’m offering more than just the face value of a website.

10. Do you work from home/have an office/work inhouse at design agencies?
Currently work from home.

11. How do you organise your workload, do you work long hours?
I try to fit the bulk of my design work into my kids’ daily nap and play times. This gives me 2-4 hours a day as a starting point. When under time constraints on a project, I may work long hours — later into the night, weekends, etc. Our household is a geek place — my husband is a computer systems engineer / architect / programmer — so we don’t generally look at work as an 8am-5pm M-F sort of thing. We work extra when needed, and other days we don’t work at all. When I accept a project, I keep my preferred schedule in mind (no more than 2-4 hours a day, at the moment) and schedule things so I don’t have too many happening at once. I do a lot of personal Internet publishing projects, too, so it’s not just client time that I need to schedule, but all my computer-based projects. As the kids get older, I’ll have more time to devote.

12. How much holiday do you give yourself?
Holiday? What’s a holiday? Just kidding. We take family vacations (road trips, camping trips, day excursions) regularly — maybe 2-3 per year that are longer than 4 days. Maybe one every two months that are day or weekend excursions. Since I’m still so involved with my kids, we spend a lot of a time playing outside, going to the park, working in the garden, so I get time away from the computer whenever I need it.

13. How do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?
Primarily reading online. Blogs and RSS are great tools for this. I’d love to network with fellow professionals in my area again someday, join some local user groups, etc, but it’s not a priority right now.
What blogs, magazines, podcasts etc do you subscribe to?
Whew. Let’s see. No paper magazines, except spiritual types. A sampling of my blog subscriptions:
www.laughingliondesign.net/
www.moleskinerie.com/
www.davidairey.com/ (and his www.logodesignlove.com)
www.10e20.com/blog/
www.writetodone.com/
www.courtneytuttle.com/
www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/
www.webdesignerwall.com/
www.obsidiandawn.com/blog/

14. How do you generate ideas/what techniques do you use to stimulate creativity?
I often explore logopond.com, startdrawing.org, cssdrive.com, csszengarden.com, cgbrainchild.com and places like that for inspiration. Browsing the magazine section of a bookstore works, too. Then I sit down and sketch the ideas that appeal most to me for the project at hand.

15. What about the business side of things, accounting, invoicing, bookkeeping, how do you manage it?
Ugh. Not so fond of this side of things. But my business is small enough to do it all pretty easily through handwritten ledgers or Quicken Premier Business version.

16. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone starting out freelancing?
Be honest. With your clients and with yourself. Included in honesty (for me) is the idea of integrity — following through and doing what you say you’ll do.

17. Would you ever go back to fulltime work?
I’m not vehemently opposed to it, but it’s not in my current plans. Not at all.

18. Any thing else you would like to add?
Find a way to do what you love and keep working hard at it, and you won’t regret it.
Where can we see some of your work (URL)?
www.creativewebguru.com/

Freelance Focus 6th June 2008

freelance logo

Freelance DesignerFreelancer Focus is a regular feature, where freelance designers are invited to answer a series of questions about themselves and freelancing. This week Erin Behrenhausen (pictured left) is the freelance designer in question. If you would like to take part please read my previous post. Any designer or illustrator can also take part in Design Case Studies.

1. Your name?
Erin Behrenhausen

2. Where are you are based (Country/Area)?
Denver, CO, USA

3. What type of work do you do? (design for print, web, multimedia etc)
I basically do it all, but tend to do more print work than anything else.

4. How many years had you been working in the design industry before you went freelance?
I’ve been freelancing since I graduated from college 11 years ago. (yikes!) I’ve also been working full time at an in-house creative department for 10 years.

5. How long have you been freelancing?
11 years

6. Why did you decide to go freelance?
I haven’t cut the salary job umbilical cord yet, but ideally I’d love to just be doing freelance design work. There’s nothing better than working for yourself.

7. How did you market yourself (find design work/new clients) in the beginning – (online portfolio/brochure/direct mail/email/phone etc)?
I’ve left my business cards everywhere, scoured freelance websites and job websites, and encourage friends to drop my name to potential clients. I also sent out emails to small businesses and individuals, which usually resulted in people angrily telling me to stop emailing them.

8. How do you market yourself (find design work) now?
The same way. Only now networking has become a little easier with a larger client base. Also, I’ve joined a couple freelancing websites, which I DON’T recommend. Employers on those sites usually want you to do work for next to nothing.

9. How did you decide what to charge? What was the process?
Usually I charge by the hour, however I will also charge on a per-project basis. If I’m really interested in the work, I’ll offer to negotiate my rate if it’s too high for the potential client.

10. Do you work from home/have an office/work in-house at design agencies?
For my freelance jobs I work out of my home office. My full time job, as I mentioned before, is an in-house creative department downtown.

11. How do you organise your workload, do you work long hours?
I work regular hours for my full time job, but my freelance hours are sporadic.
Most of the freelance work I do happens on weeknights and during weekends.

12. How much holiday do you give yourself?
4 weeks

13. How do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?
Surf the net, attend occasional AIGA meetings, chat with other designers in town, read design mags.

14. What blogs, magazines, podcasts etc do you subscribe to?
A billion it seems. To name a few: blogs – Design-Muse, Design Observer, HOWDesign blog, ENN, Design Sponge, Decor8, Tiki Central : magazines – HOW, Print, Sunset, Entertainment Weekly. Not into podcasts.

15. How do you generate ideas/what techniques do you use to stimulate creativity?
A good cup of coffee usually gets the wheels spinning. But usually I either peruse through a HOW or Print mag for inspiration, or even just surf the net.

16. What about the business side of things, accounting, invoicing, bookkeeping, how do you manage it?
I try to keep everything digital as much as possible, as I’m a strong advocate for green business practices. As a result, I find it much easier to keep track of these sorts of things when they’re in my computer and not in piles on my file cabinets.

17. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone starting out freelancing?
Pimp yourself out. Seriously. Look everywhere for work – the net, friends, business associates, the newspaper, craigslist. Leave your card at coffeehouses. Start your own blogs and MOST importantly, give yourself a serious presence online – aka. your own website complete with resume, client list and portfolio. Do it right, don’t be half-ass about it. Make it look great.

18. Would you ever go back to full-time work?
Like I said, I’m still working full-time at present, in addition to freelancing. And honestly, I’m not sure I’m ready to leave the cushy corporate world just yet. My plan is to build up enough clientele to justify striking out on my own.

19. Any thing else you would like to add?
Lots of individuals, small businesses and even corporations will try to get you to do design work for next to nothing. Don’t subscribe to this mentality. Your time is valuable, just as much as theirs. Agree to only what you think is fair and worthy of your time. If the tables were turned, these businesses would do the same.

20. Where can we see some of your work (URL)?
My personal design site is at www.erin-b.com
My freelance business site is at www.villaindesign.net
And my blogs are at www.dorkusmilorkus.com and www.designgeeks.wordpress.com

Freelance Focus 16th May 2008

freelance logo

I am looking for more people who would be interested in taking part in Freelancer Focus please see this post for details if you are interested. I am also interested in design case studies too.

Freelance DesignerFreelancer Focus is a regular feature, where freelance designers are invited to answer a series of questions about themselves and freelancing. This week Rob Turpin (pictured left) is the freelance designer in question. If you would like to take part please read my previous post. Any designer or illustrator can also take part in Design Case Studies.

1. Your name?
Rob Turpin (thirty five years old, how did that happen?)

2. Where are you are based (Country/Area)?
Near Twickenham, SW of London

3. What type of work do you do? (design for print, web, multimedia etc)
Almost all design for print, a mix of work for small businesses, charities and work for the NHS.

4. How many years had you been working in the design industry before you went freelance?
On and off about eight years.

5. How long have you been freelancing?
Eight or nine months.

6. Why did you decide to go freelance?
I’d been out of Design for about three years and found the thought of going out to interviews a bit daunting, so I thought why not try and get some work myself.

7. How did you market yourself (find design work/new clients) in the beginning – (online portfolio/brochure/direct mail/email/phone etc)?
I was very lucky, I was helping my girlfriend at her shop and would sit at the front working on my Powerbook – my first client came from chatting about my computer.

8. How do you market yourself (find design work) now?
Word of mouth so far. One client, as long as you do a good job, seems to lead to another. So far all my work has come to me.

9. How did you decide what to charge? What was the process?
Well, roughly I thought about the salary I had when I was last in a full time design job and tried to match that to an hourly rate. It does vary a lot though, depending on the client and the job sometimes I will charge a flat rate for a piece of work, an hourly rate or a daily rate. I also offer a discount on invoices that are paid before their due date. It always helps with the cash flow.

10. Do you work from home/have an office/work inhouse at design agencies?
I work from home.

11. How do you organise your workload, do you work long hours?
I’m nowhere near as organised as I should be. When I am busy I find myself working stupid hours long into the night.

12. How much holiday do you give yourself?
It’s important for me to have a normal working life, so I think I have pretty much a normal holiday allowance of twenty days or so. Saying that, I do work weekends, bank holidays…

13. How do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?
Keep my eyes open – it’s all out there.

14. What blogs, magazines, podcasts etc do you subscribe to?
freelanceswitch.com, computerarts.com, gomedia.com, Design Week, Creative Review (occasionally).

15. How do you generate ideas/what techniques do you use to stimulate creativity?
Often its things like the tutorials on GoMedia or Computer Arts. Following a tutorial can give me a great idea for something completely unrelated, or maybe it’ll inspire a personal piece of work which will then end up in a clients design.

16. What about the business side of things, accounting, invoicing, bookkeeping, how do you manage it?
Shhh, I don’t.

17. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone starting out freelancing?
Be confident in your own work, and don’t make the mistake of believing everyone else is doing something better than you – they’re not!

18. Would you ever go back to fulltime work?
Oh no. Never.

19. Any thing else you would like to add?
It’s all in the hips.

20. Where can we see some of your work (URL)?
www.thisnorthernboy.co.uk

Although there isn’t actually any work up yet!
graphic design work

Freelance Focus 2nd May 2008

freelance logo

I am looking for more people who would be interested in taking part in Freelancer Focus please see this post for details if you are interested. I am also interested in design case studies too.

Freelance DesignerFreelancer Focus is a regular feature, where freelance designers are invited to answer a series of questions about themselves and freelancing. This week Joseba Attard (pictured left) is the freelance designer in question. If you would like to take part please read my previous post. Any designer or illustrator can also take part in Design Case Studies.

1. Your name?
Joseba Attard (pronounced yoh-seh-bah)

2. Where are you are based (Country/Area)?
North Devon, UK

3. What type of work do you do? (design for print, web, multimedia etc)
Mainly design for print although also some website work

4. How many years had you been working in the design industry before you went freelance?
4

5. How long have you been freelancing?
Since 2005

6. Why did you decide to go freelance?
I was burning out running a design studio, and decided to take a break. Working from home gave me the flexibility I needed.

7. How did you market yourself (find design work/new clients) in the beginning – (online portfolio/brochure/direct mail/email/phone etc)?
Online portfolio and signed up to a couple of directories

8. How do you market yourself (find design work) now?
Send out emails from time to time to various agencies but to be honest I only tend to think about marketing myself more when I’m not very busy. (I don’t recommend this by the way).

9. How did you decide what to charge? What was the process?
Well, my work for various design studios gave me a good indication of how to price up jobs. I don’t put mark-up on print, but I do charge if I have to print manage a job. Some jobs I charge by the hour but for the bigger jobs I’ll quote a job rate.

10. Do you work from home/have an office/work inhouse at design agencies?
Work from home but have also travelled to agencies to work at their premises from time to time.

11. How do you organise your workload, do you work long hours?
I try and work 9-5 but as some of my clients are abroad with different timezones, I tend to keep an eye on emails etc throughout the day.

12. How much holiday do you give yourself?
I build it into my work schedule. I’ll take a holiday if I need one during a quiet spell.

13. How do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?
Magazines (creative review, computer arts etc) portfolio websites, blogs and forums, generally looking around at what styles and trends stand out in the crowd.

14. What blogs, magazines, podcasts etc do you subscribe to?
Huck and Stranger magazines. No blogs or podcasts though.

15. How do you generate ideas/what techniques do you use to stimulate creativity?
I usually head down the road to the beach, go for a surf and think about ideas in between sets. If there’s no waves, I’ll sit on a rock with a thermos flask sketching out ideas. I always carry my camera with me too to snap any inspirational design I see on billboards/posters etc.

16. What about the business side of things, accounting, invoicing, bookkeeping, how do you manage it?
I do all the quotes and invoices myself, and at the end of the tax year I pass on everything to an accountant. I try and keep receipts for everything business related.

17. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone starting out freelancing?
Never sit still.

18. Would you ever go back to fulltime work?
Possibly, but I’m not sure it’d be in design. If anything it’d nice to take a break from the screen. Before I was a designer I worked as a shepherd in Shropshire!

19. Any thing else you would like to add?
Don’t be sensitive. Take advice from people in the know. Also treat each job as if it were for your own marketing.

20. Where can we see some of your work (URL)?
www.joseba.co.uk

Freelance Focus 18th April 2008

freelance logo

I am looking for more people who would be interested in taking part in Freelancer Focus please see this post for details if you are interested. I am also interested in design case studies too.

Freelance DesignerFreelancer Focus is a regular feature, where freelance designers are invited to answer a series of questions about themselves and freelancing. This week Jacob Cass (pictured left) is the freelance designer in question. If you would like to take part please read my previous post. Any designer or illustrator can also take part in Design Case Studies.

1. Your name?
Jacob Cass (20 years old)

2. Where are you are based (Country/Area)?
Newcastle, Sydney, Australia.

3. What type of work do you do? (design for print, web, multimedia etc)
Logo Design, Branding (ie. letterheads, business cards, stationery). I also dabble in web design.

4. How many years had you been working in the design industry before you went freelance?
I am still a graphic design student however I am freelancing at the same time to pay my bills.

5. How long have you been freelancing?
Let us put it this way, my first paid job was when I was 16.

6. Why did you decide to go freelance?
I never really decided, I more of fell into the design world. I first came across the internet when I was about 11 and I put a webpage onto the net at that time for my basketball team (ah good ol’ Frontpage) and ever since then I have loved the design world. Kinda weird I know.

7. How did you market yourself (find design work/new clients) in the beginning – (online portfolio/brochure/direct mail/email/phone etc)?
At first it was all through word of mouth and referrals however I just recently started Just Creative Design, which is a blog focused on graphic design and I have been receiving work through there as it has made my blog/website show up in search engines. I am currently #1 on Google for ‘logo designer newcastle’ which sends great targeted traffic. online portfolio at Just Creative Design.

8. How do you market yourself (find design work) now?
As I am a full time student, I really am pushed for time like the rest of us so I don’t market myself any other way other than via the internet and word of mouth however I do have an online portfolio.

9. How did you decide what to charge? What was the process?
I have read blogs and discussions on these matters to help me decide what is the best price. It also changes depending on the client and the project at hand of course.

10. Do you work from home/have an office/work inhouse at design agencies?
Work from home and love it! Everything is in my room, it has my bed, office, tv, desk, storage, phone, scanner, printer, sound system and fridge. There really is no reason for me to leave! How is that for productivity?

11. How do you organise your workload, do you work long hours?

I work all over the place and I usually juggle a couple of projects in the same day as I do not like working on one project for one long time. This helps the project and myself stay fresh.

12. How much holiday do you give yourself?
Too much. We are very privileged here in Australia, with the beaches, sun and great outdoors so I make the most of it. However as much as I love Australia, I also love traveling too. I have been over to 20 countries so far and I am booked to travel to 14 countries over Western Europe in June this year which I can’t wait for as you can imagine. You can read a bit of my travels and view some pics here.

13. How do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?
I am subscribed to many many blogs which I read on a regular basis. I also receive email newsletters and my professors at university also keep us in the know.

14. What blogs, magazines, podcasts etc do you subscribe to?
I am subscribed to about 40 graphic design blogs which I try to keep up with – very unsuccessfully… there is so much quality content!

15. How do you generate ideas/what techniques do you use to stimulate creativity?
Brainstorming is my best technique and sketching. If I am ever stuck I refer to my how to boost your creativity post that I kind of wrote for myself 🙂

16. What about the business side of things, accounting, invoicing, bookkeeping, how do you manage it?
Excel sheets keep most of my data, along with online records.

17. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone starting out freelancing?

Don’t under value yourself. Many starting designers do this and in the end, do it quite rough!

18. Would you ever go back to fulltime work?
Never have done full time work in my life and don’t look forward to it.

19. Any thing else you would like to add?
Thanks Tara for letting me have this opportunity to share a little bit about me and the freelancing world!

20. Where can we see some of your work (URL)?
You can check out my graphic design portfolio here. Thanks!

This post is from Graphic Design Blog