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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 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