Thank you to all of you who stopped by and left a little question for me. I’ve compiled all your questions into two FAQ response posts. Many of you seemed to be interested in the freelance side of things, which is all very exciting. I’ll do my best to answer your questions, but don’t hesitate to leave a comment if I’ve missed an aspect you wanted to know.
Reader Question: I’d love to know how you go about gaining clients you’d like to work with (other than via word of mouth).
Answer: Gaining a solid client base is one of the trickiest parts of freelance and the honest truth is that it just takes time…lots of time (you probably didn’t want to hear that). It’s also a lot of word of mouth…I know…sorry. When you finish one project and share it, you’ll most likely gain others very similar to it. Word of caution – share wisely. Say no to projects that don’t grow your brand in the ways you want and say yes to those that are spot on…even if they don’t pay as much. Be picky and super selective. When first starting out, I did a lot of collaborations with like-minded creatives that allowed me to grow a mini portfolio filled with my passions and design aesthetics. I actually still do this from time to time. Another thing you can do is seek out the brands/people you want to work with and pull a few work samples specifically for them. When they see you’ve gone over and beyond just to show them your capabilities, you’ll most likely development a great connection and maybe even gain a paying client. Keep going.
Reader Question: If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
Answer: Love this question. I’d like to think I’d be a pretty bad ass storm chaser 😉 A millionaire beach bum also sounds appealing.
Reader Question: At which point in your life did you realize that this was the career you wanted to pursue? And how did you know that this is what you wanted to be pursuing?
Answer: I’ll first point out that my job description is in a constant state of shifting. I adapt to my growing skill sets and passions as time goes on, so there is no need to choose only ONE thing. To answer this question, I knew that I would be pursuing a creative career during my second semester of college. At that time, I was enrolled in the school of Nutrition at Purdue University (I know…what?) and dying of boredom. During Christmas break of the first year at school, I was talking with my cousin about her experiences attending an interior design program. She seemed so excited about the class curriculum and you could just tell she had found where she needed to be. I became insanely jealous that she was pursuing a form of art and not a bit worried about her career choice being financially sustainable. The money side of things was the only thing that had been keeping me from attending art school in the first place. That winter break I decided to choose passion over money and went back to school a week later and transferred into Graphic Design.
Reader Question: This is awesome! I am a first year graphic design student and I wonder if you could give me some advice? For one, I am having a hard time getting good grades and my designs seem very amateurish. I wonder, is this normal?
Answer: I will say that you’re either cut out for design school or you’re not, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t creative or that you won’t succeed in todays creative world. I remember school being soooo competitive and just darn TOUGH. I remember all my classmates feeling like public enemy #1. Here’s another instance where I’ll say, keep going. You cannot let the pressures of your surrounds talk you out of doing what you love. Work harder, stay later, do more sketches, speak louder, blog more, share more, more, more and more. Art school is going to be brutal, but know that everything you experience in school will only create a better buffer for what the real world has in store. The main thing I learned from art school is that in the world of graphic design you have to be insanely driven (ideally really organized) and you have to have an incredible eye for detail. Those two things alone will make you stand out.
Reader Question: I remember reading in an interview you did once about how when you started out freelancing, you were doing projects for niches that you didn’t want to be doing, like girly blog designs, etc. How did you transition to the (fantastic) style that you have now and attract the customer you do want when your portfolio didn’t represent that? Did you just do a lot of concept projects?
Answer: I will be writing a full length blog post on this very soon!
Stay tuned for more answers to more questions in a week or so. Didn’t want this post to become a book 😉