1. When did you realise you wanted to be a designer?
At the end of 2016, I went through quite a big shakeup in my life and decided that it was time to really put all my time into something I was passionate about. That thing turned out to be graphic design.
2. How did you get started and what was the biggest hurdle you overcame?
I got started at 16/17 years old and spent all of my free time at college learning how to use Adobe Illustrator to create artwork and t-shirt designs for my band. Six years and a couple of non-design jobs later I decided to go freelance full time. That initial decision was definitely the biggest hurdle to overcome. It’s a life-changing decision to set up and run your own business for most people and I’m still finding that some days are harder than others. There’s always something new to learn.
3. What’s been your most successful way of getting clients?
Social media and word of mouth have been most successful for me up to this point. I spend quite a lot of time learning new practices for various social media platforms to get the best out of them. Its a lot of effort but has definitely been fruitful in the long run.
4. How do you get clients to stay with you and use you for more work?
I’ve found that offering a variety of services will help and also making sure your clients are aware that you are available for more than just a logo design for example. That doesn’t mean try and upsell them all the time but, I’ve found they appreciate knowing they can come back to you to help them solve other problems. Building a strong relationship with clients through calls or meetings will also help you build trust. This trust will increase the likelihood of a client coming back since you’ve become the least risky option for them.
5. Do you ever have issues with clients paying late? How do you manage that?
I begin by getting at least a 50% deposit and a signed contract before the project begins. This means that both parties know what to expect and how the process goes from start to finish. By setting the foundation out clearly I’ve found that I’ve had to chase fewer clients for payments.
If it does come to having to chase a client for payment beginning with a professional email reminder is the way to go, give them the benefit of the doubt first. After that then its time to put your foot down. Early preparation and laying good foundations first is the best method in my opinion.
6. What does your typical work day look like?
I get up about 7 am, eat a good cereal breakfast and shower followed by any sketching that I need to do that day. I find my creativity levels are highest early in the day or very late at night so I tend to get all my creative client work done first thing.
Then after a few hours of creative exploration, I’ll stop for lunch and then get on with admin and social media work. Now, this structure isn’t too strict and I mix it up fairly regularly to keep things fresh.
7. Any piece of advice/wisdom that you’d like to give the readers at This Design Life?
Give yourself enough time to walk away and go to sleep before deciding a design is finished. Looking at work with fresh eyes can give you a totally new perspective.
Connor Fowler is a brand identity designer from the UK, focusing on creating timeless pieces that solve problems. Since 2016 Connor has quickly grown his online presence using social media through expertly crafted content to share knowledge and his process.