Freelancer Focus 23rd November 2007

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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 Dean Rieck (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?
Dean Rieck

2. Where are you are based (Country/Area)?
I’m in Ohio, a midwestern state in the US.

3. What type of work do you do? (design for print, web, multimedia etc)
I’m actually one of those rare copywriter / designers. My specialty is direct response advertising, including direct mail, print ads, e-mail, Web sites, brochures, sales letters, and other sales materials. If you live in the US, you’ve probably seen my work at one time or another since I’ve done work for over 200 clients, including some big ones like Sprint, American Express, and Apple.

4. How many years had you been working in the design industry before you went freelance?
I went freelance back in the 1990s but I was only writing copy then. I became dissatisfied with the work some designers were doing on my stuff and decided to teach myself design. I had no intention of becoming a “designer,” I just wanted to be able to work with designers more intelligently. But I started secretly doing design for some of my clients and I found that not only did I make more money doing it myself, my direct mail and ads were working better. So I kept it up and now I openly offer both copy and design services.

5. Why did you decide to go freelance?
I wasn’t making any money in the jobs I had. I worked in radio, television, had a brief and frightening stint as an English teacher in Las Vegas (3 weeks and 3 days before I quit), and a number of other jobs. I fell into freelancing by accident. After quitting the teaching job, I called up a contact who ran a print shop. He said he didn’t hire freelancers and that was that. Until the next morning, that is, when he called back and said, “You know, maybe I could use your help after all.” So he gave me a little work and somewhere along the line I realized I was in business. I wasn’t earning much, but it was still more than I earned working full time. He was paying me a whopping $10 an hour, which was huge for me then.

6. How did you market yourself (find design work/new clients) in the beginning – (online portfolio/brochure/direct mail/email/phone etc)?
I did mailings, wrote articles for local business papers, stood in the kitchen and made cold calls, and really none of it worked too well. But I picked up enough work to keep going. My big advantage, if you want to call it that, was that I made such lousy money previously, freelancing didn’t seem all that risky. People I know with good paying jobs have a hard time with the transition because it usually involves a big dip in income for a while. Desperation is a good motivator.

7. How do you market yourself (find design work) now?
The most successful business generators I have are my Web site and the articles I write. I could (and probably should) be more aggressive, but I’m earning six figures a year and the phone keeps ringing, so I suppose I can afford to be a bit lazy. I recently updated my Web site ( http://www.directcreative.com/) and have significantly improved my search engine performance. I’ve also started the Direct Creative Blog ( http://www.directcreative.com/blog/) to give me a publishing platform to reach clients and prospects and anyone interested in writing and designing direct response advertising. My free newsletter, Rieck’s Response Letter ( http://www.directcreative.com/newsletter.html) is getting pretty popular too. Okay, so maybe I’m not THAT lazy.

8. How did you decide what to charge? What was the process?
In the direct marketing industry, freelancers are the big dogs. So it’s not like with other types of design where there’s a union suggesting fees or a local market establishing the going rate. I started out charging around $50 an hour because it sounded good, then raised it to $75 when someone told me I was cheap. After some more research, I discovered I was really cheap compared to others, so I kept raising my fees until I got to where I am now. Technically, I don’t charge hourly. I work on flat project fees. But for most copy projects, it’s the equivalent of between $350 and $500 an hour. I’ll charge about half that for design work. That may sound like a lot, but in my specialty those prices are moderate. There are specialties that pay even more. There are designers specializing in annual reports, for example, who make a fortune doing slick work for big companies.

9. Do you work from home/have an office/work inhouse at design agencies?
I only have one local client right now. Most clients are all over the US and some are in Canada, England, or Australia. So all the work is by phone and e-mail. Thus, I have no need to throw money away on office space. I have a comfortable home office and like it that way. No commutes. I can wear jeans and T-shirts. It’s convenient and a big time-saver. My only problem is having my cat walk into my office and start meowing when I’m in the middle of a phone meeting. That blows my cover and people know I’m working from home. Some people think you’re not really in business with a home office, so I don’t volunteer that information.

10. How do you organise your workload, do you work long hours?
I don’t have a set schedule. I do whatever needs done when it needs done. However, it’s not unusual for me to be working late into the night. I’m not a morning person. My most productive time is afternoon and evening anyway.

11. How much holiday do you give yourself?
I haven’t been on vacation for years. Last time I remember being away was a trip to San Francisco, which is probably my favorite city. A great place to walk and eat. Most of the walking is to find another place to eat, and with all that eating you need to walk it off, so the city works well for me. Frankly, I don’t like being away for long periods. I tend to relax around the Christmas holidays when work is slow anyway. And in the summer I’ll knock off early to cycle around the city. But my idea of relaxing probably looks like work to other people.

12. How do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?
I read journals and blogs. Fortunately, most of what I do is based on human psychology, which doesn’t change much. Printing technology, computers, software, and online technology is changing, but once the hype passes on new things, people discover that the old selling principles still apply. Selling is selling regardless of the mechanism or medium.

13. What blogs, magazines, podcasts etc do you subscribe to?
Magazines include DM News, where I was a columnist for 9 years, Direct, and Target Marketing. Blogs include The Copywriting Maven, ProBlogger, lots of DM News feeds, 43 folders, Seth’s Blog, and dozens of others. Thank goodness for Bloglines news reader.

14. How do you generate ideas/what techniques do you use to stimulate creativity?
Research. Asking questions. In fact, I use a questionnaire which you can see here. This helps me gather information from my clients. I got the idea from Don Hauptman, another copywriter, and adapted it for my own use. I put it online so I can direct my clients to it and tell them to have answers ready. I always have at least one phone meeting before starting work on anything.

15. What about the business side of things, accounting, invoicing, bookkeeping, how do you manage it?
I like to keep things simple. I use spread sheets to track jobs, income, and expenses. I know there are computer programs that could do all that, but my system works and it’s one less program I have to buy, learn, and keep upgrading. Simple is good. I’ve been using Microsoft products like Word and Excel, but I’m thinking of switching to Open Office which is free and a lot leaner and faster than those slow, hulking MS programs.

16. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone starting out freelancing?
If you have a job, stay there. Don’t announce you’re going freelance. Just do your job and start saving money and paying off your debt. Get those credit cards paid off. Don’t buy anything expensive. Save six months of living expenses or more. Live as frugally as you can. No debt and money in the bank is a HUGE confidence booster and will help you make better business decisions.

17. Would you ever go back to fulltime work?
Are you kidding???

18. Any thing else you would like to add?
Don’t act like a freelancer. The typical freelancer acts like someone between jobs and starving for work and that puts you in a bad position with clients. Act like a professional. Lawyers and doctors are independent professionals, but look at the respect they get. You should try to think of yourself that way. You’re the pro. Act that way and talk that way. And charge that way too. The way you see yourself has a big effect on how others see you.

19. Where can we see some of your work (URL)?
Right now I only have a few small pictures of my work on my Web site. I know what a lot of designers will think when they see my stuff: UGLY! Okay, but that’s what works in direct marketing. Pretty usually doesn’t sell. It’s like a holiday gift with fancy ribbons–no one wants to open it and tear the paper. But a gift in ugly paper–rip it open! Ironically, my lack of training has helped me tremendously in my line of work. There’s no pretence. It’s all business. My clients measure success with a calculator, so it has to work or I don’t get hired again. In my job, I’m either a genius or an idiot. There’s no middle ground.

Freelancer Focus 16th November 2007

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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 Helen McGlasson (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?
Helen McGlasson

2.Where are you are based (Country/Area)?
Fylde Coast, Lancashire

3.What type of work do you do? (design for print, web, multimedia etc)
author/illustrator/publisher of children’s picture books for 3-8yr olds

4.How many years had you been working in the design industry before you went freelance?
Erm – I didn’t! I started writing stories to go with some drawings I had been trying out, and it grew from there from hobby to business – I first started drawing regularly in 1999, having been told all my life by my parents and teachers that I couldn’t draw. My mother still thinks I can’t. They did all agree that I could write a bit though, so I still think of myself mostly as an author, whilst being most known for my artwork! Curious how perceptions can affect one.

5.How long have you been freelancing?
Since 2003

6.Why did you decide to go freelance?
I had customers lining up to buy my books, so I decided to publish myself – getting published through a mainstream publisher can take years – I didn’t want to wait that long!

7.How did you market yourself (find design work/new clients) in the beginning – (online portfolio/brochure/direct mail/email/phone etc)?
Mainly through offering writing workshops for primary schools – I got the phone book out and rang them all. I had a website (built myself with drop and drag technology – great for inexpensive start ups), and hawked my books around the local bookshops across South Cumbria and North Lancashire, about a 50 mile radius of home. Also got myself into the local paper a few times, and worked with a local vet on a couple of marketing projects that helped us both.
8.How do you market yourself (find design work) now?

This year I have re-branded, and re-launched, with a frogtastic new wagsite, new logo, artwork and product range. The process is still the same, but now I target bigger retail outlets nationally. I still offer the writing workshops, which keeps me in touch with the children, and is a great way of getting known, and being seen as “the expert”.

9.How did you decide what to charge? What was the process?
The books are priced at the top end of the price range for their genre. Two factors at play here – cost of production and high trade discounts mean there isn’t much room for maneuver in the price. I also want to be known for good quality products.

The workshops are harder to price: the Society of Authors recommend charges that a lot of schools just won’t pay, so I’ve found a price that schools are happy with and gives me a reasonable price for a days work. If you think of it in marketing terms, I’m being paid to market my products, and usually make good sales on books. It also gives bookshops confidence that I am creating customers for them.

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 have always worked a full 9-5 week, though that is creeping up to 8.30 – 5.30. I’ve often worked evenings when I’ve a particular project on, like the new website, or a new book.

Now that I’m so busy, I always “batch” my jobs, as it’s much quicker to do all the filing in one go, pay bills, create invoices, whatever. I’m now VERY strict about not opening my email inbox until 11am, allow half an hour to sift through, and again at 4pm. this has saved me large amounts of time!

I also write a list of what task I want to get done for each day, and order it, then tick off as I go – it’s the only way for me to survive, especially now that I’m very busy and my memory is not so good 🙂

12.How much holiday do you give yourself?
I find it VERY hard to give myself holiday! I have to write it in my diary and take myself out of the house on days off. I used to be able to have an afternoon off when I wasn’t too busy, but I’m finding that harder these days – bit of a compulsive worker!

13.How do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?
This is hard for me – I can only dip in to trade magazines, online newslettters and such. Skim reading is the only way forward. I’m not sure that I suffer from not being as “in touch” as I might be. I don’t worry about it, like I worry about other things. There’s way too much going on in publishing for me to keep up with, so I prefer to cosy down being an eccentric author/illustrator.

14.What blogs, magazines, podcasts etc do you subscribe to?
I get my quarterly hard copy of MSlexia (strapline: for women who write), but I don’t subscribe to any blogs. I tend to feel overwhelmed by my email inbox as it is, so prefer just to visit when I can and catch up. I’ve timetabled myself some time each week for this – Tuesdays!

book illustration15.How do you generate ideas/what techniques do you use to stimulate creativity?
As the business has grown it has become harder and harder to keep time for being creative – this is one reason why the frogblogdoglog is so great – it insists that I give some time each week for some creativity. I tend to have burst of intense creativity – this year I have spent eight months preparing my new products range, and will now spend the next two years selling it all. so the only new outlet will be the wagsite and blog, which is good for small intense bursts. Bigger projects, like a new book are a real struggle while balancing all the other business demands.

Ideas are always drawn from things that I see and hear people say. Drawing from our everyday experience is central to what we do in Frog world. I tell the children that the stories AND pictures are a bit true and bit made up, and like to get them to compare the cartoon Frog with a photo of the real frog. It helps them to learn that they Can do it. It’s so sad to hear six and seven year olds say they can’t draw! I spend a lot of time on this aspect in my workshops, getting them to feel confident about using their own experiences for reference.

16.What about the business side of things, accounting, invoicing, bookkeeping, how do you manage it?
Thorny issue – I have accountants who are great, but the monthly bookkeeping is a chore. Once I start I quite enjoy it, but I do tend to put it off. I would like to find someone to do it for me, but at the moment it’s still important for me to keep control over what is happening with the accounts. Being organised is the key, and doing it each month so it’s not too much to do at a time. I cant do excel, so I keep an old fashioned book. its what works for me, and that is the thing – a) to DO your books, and b) do it in a way you understand them!

17.What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone starting out freelancing?
Keep your receipts for EVERYTHING – its so much easier later.

  • Know your market.
  • Do your market research.
  • Know who your competitors are.
  • Be utterly professional in all your dealings.
  • Believe in yourself 200% – confidence is so much more marketable and saleable than lack of belief. If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect anyone else to believe in you. people are buying you as much as your product.

18.Would you ever go back to fulltime work?
I haven’t the patience for managers who can’t manage, can’t put up with office politics, and don’t suffer fools – guess that’s a NO!

19.Any thing else you would like to add?
I feel very privileged to do what I do, but I do work very hard. Deciding to set up in business requires a leap into the dark. There have been three such leaps for me, and each has taken growing the business to the next level. I think to succeed you need to have a supportive family/partner, and business support of some sort as well as your own unshakable belief in yourself. Some finance helps, but I do believe that working to a shoestring budget helps you to be more creative in your solutions, than if you had money to throw at a project.

20.Where can we see some of your work (URL)?
Wobble your whiskers along to www.frogthedog.com to see what it is we have so much fun doing.

Freelancer Focus 9th November 2007

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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 Christine Mercier (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?
Christine Mercier

2. Where are you are based (Country/Area)?
I’m based in Dubai, but constently travelling. I work with clients in Canada, the UK, India, the UAE, Moroco, France, Tunisia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

3. What type of work do you do? (design for print, web, multimedia etc)
Mostly, I work through the line, creating branding solutions including corporate id’s and marketing solutions. For agencies, most of my work consists of advertising, but for individual clients I work on full branding exercises.

4. How many years had you been working in the design industry before you went freelance?
I had been working just over 5 years in the industry.

5. How long have you been freelancing?
I”m about to celebrate my 3rd year of independence as a freelancer.

6. Why did you decide to go freelance?
I wanted to be more in control of my own destiny and my own time – Choosing the clients and when and where to work on them. I never liked being in one place for too long, so this has given me the opportunity to get more stamps in my passport.

7. How did you market yourself (find design work/new clients) in the beginning – (online portfolio/brochure/direct mail/email/phone etc)?
In the beginning, I actually ‘pitched’ myself to potential clients. I would see a brand in need of help and call them for a meeting. It was nerve racking at first. Especially when i had no contact within the client’s business. But in the end, it paid off.

8. How do you market yourself (find design work) now?
Now most of my opportunities come through word of mouth – referrals coming from existing clients. I’ve worked with enough agencies and individuals overtime that I’ve managed to build a healthy reputation for myself. (Knock on wood)- I haven’t had to do any cold calling in quite some time.

9. How did you decide what to charge? What was the process?
I typically look at the industry standard. I’ve worked out a template that I use to estimate for all projects that considers the amount of time that each step of the process should take, and then try to stick to it. Never thought I’d say this – Time sheets are actually important, even as a freelance. It’s the only way to know if you are truly profitable.

10. Do you work from home/have an office/work inhouse at design agencies?
I have a home office in Dubai for when I work on my own clients. When I work with agencies, it’s best if I’m in their offices. I’ve traveled a lot now in order to understand cultural insights of the countries I’m working it. It’s surprising how much we assume we know compared to what the reality actually is.

11. How do you organize your workload, do you work long hours?
I work hard when I need to, but balance it with a healthy lifestyle as much as I can. I learned very early on that with a home office, it’s important to go outside and come back before starting work. Go to the gym for an hour, or go get a quick cup of coffee- Anything to symbolically separate your ‘home life’ from your ‘work life’. Working in your pajamas may sound attractive, but is completely counter productive.

12. How much holiday do you give yourself?
I go home to Canada twice a year for 2 to 3 weeks at a time. But even during my ‘holidays’ I take on smaller contracts in order to keep the network busy. Nothing heavy – I usually cut the workload significantly. But enough to give myself good rejuvenating time.

13. How do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?
Most of my friends are part of the industry so it’s hard not to hear/see what’s going on. I’m big into magazines and books, and independent websites and blogs. I look at a lot of fashion and editorial work for branding and advertising ideas. Architecture is also a huge influence, especially when working on projects in the Middle East.

14. What blogs, magazines, podcasts etc do you subscribe to?
My fave pod Cast is the R3-30, which is a Canadian independent music show. As far as design is concerned, my bookmarks list is very very long, and I tend to view it and add to it weekly if not daily. I always recommend www.thefwa.com as a great start to seeing fresh web approaches, and also to find links to other sites of interest.

15. How do you generate ideas/what techniques do you use to stimulate creativity?
I doodle. All the time. I met Milton Glaser once and all he told me is that to make it in this industry you must learn to draw. I’m no Picasso, but I make a point of keeping a sketch book that I doodle in several times a week if not every day. I’ve realized how much drawing for the sake of drawing really helps develop new and different approaches to a communication challenge.

16. What about the business side of things, accounting, invoicing, bookkeeping, how do you manage it?
It’s definitely not my strong suit, but am working on it. I do all my own invoicing and book keeping, but am currently considering hiring a freelance accountant to help me better plan the financial aspects of my work.

17. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone starting out freelancing?
Keep drawing. Stay happy. DON’T GET AN EGO! People like working with nice, easy going people who are excited about the work. Doesn’t matter if you’re the most brilliant person on the team – they’ll never hire you if they don’t like you personally.

Having said that: Have a bit of Bitch inside you. Learn to stand up for yourself and what you know is right when is needed. The last thing you need/want is for people to think they can walk all over you.

18. Would you ever go back to fulltime work?
If the right opportunity came along – and it would have to be hella right. My career goal has always been to start my own small shop, but I just don’t know where to do it. The independence and freedom would be very hard to give up.

19. Any thing else you would like to add?
As freelancers, it’s very important to keep a creative community around you. Something to keep you inspired and keep you going. It can be very lonely working in an office by yourself, so go out there and find people that tickle the right side of your brain.

20. Where can we see some of your work (URL)?
yet to be updated, but: www.christinemercier.com

Freelancer Focus 2nd November 2007

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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 Milosh Zorica (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?
Milosh Zorica

2. Where are you are based (Country/Area)?
Belgrade, Serbia. at the moment I’m moving (or it’s more appropriate to say ”have just moved ”) to london, UK. but really I’m a very
nomadic person.

3. What type of work do you do? (design for print, web, multimedia etc)
Web & corporate ID. been in print for a while too. but now print is about 10-20% of my production.

4. How many years had you been working in the design industry before you went freelance?
about 5-6 years.

5. How long have you been freelancing?
4 years

6. Why did you decide to go freelance?
Freedom was the only (or at least main) reason for me. being able to work whenever and wherever i want.

7. How did you market yourself (find design work/new clients) in the beginning – (online portfolio/brochure/direct mail/email/phone etc)?
At an early stage I had a solid network of connections established while used to be an employee.

8. How do you market yourself (find design work) now?
Referrals, word of mouth, social networking sites, forums, attending events/conferences/exhibitions, direct contact with people and
businesses I think might be interested in cooperating with me.

9. How did you decide what to charge? What was the process?
There are plenty of factors included in forming the price. client’s size/type and location (since I have a very global pool of clients I can’t charge the same to a small business in colombia and a major league player in UK/russia/US/israel), kind of work and how much it’s worth to the client. I really try to avoid charging per hour. how much money I need to cover my expenses plays an important role as well.

10. Do you work from home/have an office/work inhouse at design agencies?
All of above! at the moment i’m giving a try to sharing an office with other guys doing the same or similar work. so for it goes well and is a lot of fun.

11. How do you organise your workload, do you work long hours?
Depends on where i’m and what I work on. time zone difference is sometimes kinda major headache (my dear USA clients, it’s nothing personal, it’s just business). I have both, busy & quiet periods.

12. How much holiday do you give yourself?
Anywhere from a few days to a few months a year. but in reality, I almost have no holidays.

13. How do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?
Blogs, magazines, forums, etc.

14. What blogs, magazines, podcasts etc do you subscribe to?
Used to be subscribed to various medias online and offline. but really no time now.

15. How do you generate ideas/what techniques do you use to stimulate creativity?
I like sketching a lot. I also like to look at work created by other people. The best ideas I get in a metro/bus/subway or while strolling around the city.

16. What about the business side of things, accounting, invoicing, bookkeeping, how do you manage it?
I do pay a lot of attention to the business side of my work. but, my administrative stuff is a real mess.

17. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone starting out freelancing?
Network like crazy, keep your clients satisfied and have ”can do” attitude.

18. Would you ever go back to fulltime work?
Should a nice opportunity arise, yes. honestly i prefer a few months contract here and there.

19. Any thing else you would like to add?
Design is is a lot of fun. it’s not a job or career, it’s lifestyle.

20. Where can we see some of your work (URL)?
miloszorica.info is going to be online soon (after 2 years working or
pretending to be working on it). www.coroflot.com/miloshz .

Freelancer Focus 26th October 2007

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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 Richard Baird (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?
Richard Baird

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

3. What type of work do you do? (design for print, web, multimedia etc)
Print and Web

4. How many years had you been working in the design industry before you went freelance?
0

5. How long have you been freelancing?
2 Years

6. Why did you decide to go freelance?
I always wanted to have full control of a design project from concept to final artwork and knew I wouldn’t get that at a consultancy for a few years.

7. How did you market yourself (find design work/new clients) in the beginning – (online portfolio/brochure/direct mail/email/phone etc)?
I started with a website and got every free online portfolio.

8. How do you market yourself (find design work) now?
I write design articles for magazines, try to get design related quotes in news papers and word of mouth

9. How did you decide what to charge? What was the process?
By working out what I ideally wanted earn per year and divided it up into a hourly charge and added an extra couple of pounds to make up for the time I don’t have work.

10. Do you work from home/have an office/work in-house at design agencies?
I work from home but often work in-house with other design consultancies.

11. How do you organise your workload, do you work long hours?
Sometimes there isn’t work for a few days and other days I work 10 hours a day. I often work with clients and manufactures abroad so have to adjust time I am awake.

12. How much holiday do you give yourself?
None

13. How do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?
The internet, Computer Arts and Design Week magazines.

14. What blogs, magazines, podcasts etc do you subscribe to?
I don’t subscribe to any particular publication but do write my own blog.

15. How do you generate ideas/what techniques do you use to stimulate creativity?
Pencil and paper.

16. What about the business side of things, accounting, invoicing, bookkeeping, how do you manage it?
On a monthly basis I write up all of the months financial activities.

17. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone starting out freelancing?
Be prepared for the lowest of lows but the highest of highs.

18. Would you ever go back to fulltime work?
Never designed as a fulltime employee but would never say no for the right price in the right company.

19. Any thing else you would like to add?
Recently featured in Design Week under business insight.

20. Where can we see some of your work (URL)?
www.workinprogressdesign.co.uk blog – www.richardbaird.blogspot.com/

Freelancer Focus 19th October 2007

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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 Sarah Elizabeth Yates (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?
Sarah Elizabeth Yates also known as Sazzelli / faunagraphics

2. Where are you are based (Country/Area)?
Manchester/Sheffield United kingdo

3. What type of work do you do? (design for print, web, multimedia etc)
Design for Print, Web graphics, Illustration, Photography, any graphic design – cover all areas

4. How many years had you been working in the design industry before you went freelance?
Have worked In a Printing/Design studio for a year and then went into Freelancing

5. How long have you been freelancing?
I have been Freelancing for 3 years

6. How did you market yourself (find design work/new clients) in the beginning – (online portfolio/brochure/direct mail/email/phone etc)?
marketed myself by the internet, meeting people, and showchasing my work online.

7. How do you market yourself (find design work) now?
I update my website, and keep up to date with all the newest freelance jobs that need doing. I also get alot of clients through freelancer websites.

8. How did you decide what to charge? What was the process?
I decided what to charge through asking other friends who have been in the graphic design industry longer, they started cheap and now my prices change depending on the job. but i always make sure that i meet my client halfway with what their budget is and what i need to pay my way.

9. Do you work from home/have an office/work inhouse at design agencies?
I work from a home studio, which has all the equipment I need to fulfill the jobs i have.

10. How do you organise your workload, do you work long hours?
I organise my workload by asking the client when he wants work finished by and i make sure i keep on track of what needs finishing in what time. I do sometimes end up working right through to the late evening, but i enjoy it because its a passion as well as a job.

11. How much holiday do you give yourself?
This year i have been on holiday 4 times, and i take my laptop and graphic tablet with me so i can work on design jobs on holiday if i need to.

12. How do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?
I keep my eye on graphic design websites, and subscribe to graphic design magazines, so i can keep my eye on all the latest happenings.

13. What blogs, magazines, podcasts etc do you subscribe to?
I like to subsribe/read Graphic design blog, Freelancers.net, Graphic design forums, advanced photoshop magazine, computer arts, and many others, having internet access allows you to read endlessly into graphic design.

14. How do you generate ideas/what techniques do you use to stimulate creativity?
I carry a sketch book everywhere with me, if i think of ideas i write them down straight away, i also paint large murals and run graffiti workshops so giving other people ideas helps me fuel my own.

15. What about the business side of things, accounting, invoicing, bookkeeping, how do you manage it?
I keep all my account and marketing on my computer and i do it myself, i use excel to manage money side of things

16. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone starting out freelancing?
Don’t think you cant do it just because you dont have experience in the design industry, build up your portfolio yourself in the evenings, get it online and sign up to freelance websites, hand out your buisness card, drop off a flyer with your skills on it at local shops/buisnesses. Keep at it and if you go through a quiet stage just keep creating your own work to showcase on your portfolio. Read and learn as much as you can about maintaining your own website.

17. Would you ever go back to fulltime work?
I wouldn’t want to go back to full time, i find freelance design much more achieving even if you aren’t on a set wage.

18. Any thing else you would like to add?
I’m a 3rd year degree student in graphic design, and i also did the BTEC in graphics, I would like to say that I have a lot of clients as it is, from all over the world and so i want people to know they can make it as a freelancer too, If they put 110% into it and have the passion, there is no need for this 2 YEARS INDUSTRY experience.

19. Where can we see some of your work (URL)?
www.sazzelli.com www.flickr.com/photos/sazzelli