1. When did you realise you wanted to be a designer?
At the end of year 12 when I had to select a UNI degree. I excelled at art and woodwork and looking for some way to blend these together I stumbled across Industrial/Product Design. It was about 5 years after when I was frustrated about how long an idea took to prototype that I stumbled into graphics.
2. How did you get started and what was the biggest hurdle you overcame?
I started graphic design when I was in transition. Leaving a large international design company and looking for a more personalised, purposeful gig. I started helping friends as a freelancer and also landed a fulltime job (however I still didn’t identify myself as a graphic designer). My biggest hurdle continues to be mindset. Back then it was my mindset of contentment doing the small seemingly pointless jobs – which was of course my training ground to perfect my craft.
3. What’s been your most successful way of getting clients?
Word of mouth. Getting clients to do a small testimonial video at the end of a job – then I overlay the design work throughout this video and post on socials. The combination of seeing and hearing what I solved continues to be an excellent way of getting new work.
4. How do you get clients to stay with you and use you for more work?
I follow-up. A few months after the new brand I check in. Just an email to see what’s working what’s not. They soon realise that they need further support to outwork their brand.
5. Do you ever have issues with clients paying late? How do you manage that?
Sometimes. Automatic reminders work well when you personalise the message.
I went so far to say “I hope your week is going well – mine is terrible. Kids can’t eat, bills can’t get paid… we are a small family business and you paying on time makes a massive difference to my family”…. you get the idea. It worked every time!
6. What does your typical work day look like?
Fill my cup – check the calendar – important calls – design – admin.
I’ve found that going for a beach walk or fish before the work day begins sets me up for success. The better I feel the better work I do. I’m not a robot so I’ve had to rearrange my calendar to reflect it.
Next is check about what is scheduled for the day, and a quick email admin check.
Then time to get into my big rocks: branding, design
After lunch I schedule the less important work of admin – calls and follow up.
Then playtime with the kids 🙂
7. Any piece of advice/wisdom that you’d like to give the readers at This Design Life?
There is a place to be honoured for the great work you do. Working harder isn’t going to result in greater satisfaction. Rearrange your calendar to block out ‘meeting free’ days. Take beach walks/bush walks so you can focus on your big goals.
I’d also recommend looking at productising your service business – so it’s easy for clients to understand your offering and your process. That’s exactly what I’m doing atm and I can see joy at the end of the business runway.