Donovan Answers More Listener/Reader MailJuly 7th, 2009 |
Had a few questions come in via email I thought I’d answer here, so, without any other intro, here goes…
DC: Hello, my name is Danielle C. and I am currently a student majoring as a Graphic Designer with and emphasis in Illustration. My Professor gave me your name so I could ask some questions about going into a career in design.
DB: That sounds fantastic, and sure, I’ll even answer them on the site for others to read. Since others may read this too, the chances of me being honest just went up dramatically.
DC: How did you get started as a freelancer?
DB: Someone I worked with asked if I did any work outside of my day job, and that was about it. I was contracting for Union Pacific Railroad as their web designer, and was told it was not a conflict of interest, so freelancing was fine. I actually liked having a different client to work with and thus continued freelancing. I consider the end of my freelancing to be when I actually incorporated my business, but in reality, running a small shop is very similar.
DC: How early did you start doing your freelancing work? Did you do any sort of projects while your were in college?
DB: These questions already are not going well for me. I said I started freelancing while at a job, and you just reminded me that I may have started before that while still in school. Oh well, yes, I did a few freelance projects there too. Not sure why I don’t count them. When in college, my sister had me do a poster for a group she was in, one of the departments had me do a poster for them, and I did some other miscellaneous projects as well. Nothing I ever sent out invoices for, even though a couple of them paid me. Most of the client work I did in college was through a studio run as a class and working part-time for the print shop on campus. My last semester I picked up a part-time job at an ad agency. Client experience comes in many forms, with freelancing being just one of them.
DC: How did you go about get your work noticed?
DB: Always talk to people. Most of our business now, and in the past, has been referral based. I also have, and still do, volunteer to do some projects that are either fun or for a good cause. Some of these have led to me meeting new people or doing work that has gotten recognition. These are always considered bonuses though. If the volunteer work isn’t fun or rewarding enough to do without the chance of future work, then I’ve turned it down. Volunteer projects that are done only for future gain never seem to have the love put into them that leads to any real gain anyway.
DC: How do you balance your time –- free time versus work?
DB: This is a constantly changing method for me. Currently I find making sure I have at least one day a week completely void of any work is a great benefit no matter how busy it is around the office. The best work doesn’t always come from having more time to do it. More often it’s being in the right mindset to create, and that works best when I’m not burned out. I also currently try to set a time to be home, and I don’t do any work after that.
DC: Thank you for your time.
DB: Not a problem. If others out there have anything else to add, or find that they have advice on these topics to share, I encourage them to leave comments below.