Lets start with the basics. In a nutshell, can you tell us what you do?
Simply put, I’d say design, but that can mean a few different things.
I assist most of my clients with graphic design, from creating a unique style and brand for print materials, to website design, where I can help create an online presence for clients (hello, it is 2016!). I’ve had the pleasure of working with a large variety of clients, from cupcake shops, quilting magazines, wedding photographers, and large corporations. I’m also so lucky to work with lots of other girl bosses and go-getters from across the world, who have helped influence me as well.
Can you tell us how you got to where you are now? What has the journey been like?
I’ve always loved being a creative, especially as a kid (“crafternoon” is my favourite time of day after all) and was intrigued with the idea of technology, and felt design was a perfect way to merge the two. When looking at universities after high school, I was drawn to Thompson Rivers University for a few reasons. It was far, but close, from my hometown, had the university “lifestyle” I wanted to experience with dorms and students from all over, and, surprise, a design program. I walked away from those two years with great technical skills and amazing connections.
From there, I was in limbo land, I had a design diploma and felt my life could go so many different directions. I decided to do a mix of “this real-world-thing” and “getting my school on”. I was so fortunate to start working part time at a small design company, where I immediately began learning the ins and out of working directly with clients. I worked alongside some like-minded ladies and quickly realized that running a business as a woman was not only do-able, but was the route I wanted to go.
Alongside working part time, I was also completing my degree at Emily Carr University, where I had the chance to see the design world in a different, more conceptual way. The mixture of all of these opportunities has been a huge influence in the designer I am today.
After a few years of balancing both school and work (no sugar-coating here, it’s tough, but worth it) I decided to travel for a few months, and came back refreshed and ready to give just freelance a try. I’d realized that the lifestyle I wanted to live was one filled with travel and independence, and freelance design has allowed me to do so.
I’m a big believer of not thinking too much into the future, but for now, this is exactly where I want to be (or back on a beach in Spain, I’ll take either of those options).
What types of obstacles have you experienced on your journey? How did you overcome these obstacles in order to keep your dream alive?
A few months ago, I’d come across a podcast where the speaker, Sean Wes described this one concept as a freelancer that has really resonated with me.
As a freelancer, you no longer have free time, but you have freedom time, and I quickly learned this when I started off. It was so easy to work evenings and weekends, I couldn’t tell the difference between a Tuesday and a Sunday, and taking a two-week vacation meant checking my emails daily. It was difficult to find a time to completely separate myself from work, as my life and job had all blended together (good thing I love what I do).
However, what this meant was I now had freedom time… I had the flexibility to take Tuesday morning off for brunch with a friend, even if it meant me working later into the evening. Or I was now able to pack up my laptop (+ work) and explore a new country for two months, but understanding that I’d have to work a few hours a day. I’ll take that over a 9-5 any day.
Tell us what a typical day looks like for you:
Currently, I have a little office set-up in my place, which really allows me to separate my work from everything else, and it’s where I spend the majority of my morning in. Whether I’m checking up on emails while having my morning breakfast, or finishing up a few to-do’s while drinking tea, it’s me + and my laptop having a P A R T Y (+ music constantly playing, or course!). Everyday is different, but most afternoons I’ll head out (and to make sure I leave the house) whether it’s to run errands or set up a coffee/work session with a client, freelancer friend, or just myself.
If I’m working the majority of the day from home (depends on the to-do list) I tend to designate one larger job for the afternoon. By the time dinner comes around, I’m normally ready to socialize and try to meet up with a friend or two. While most people have been out and about the whole day and want to go home and relax, I feel the complete opposite and enjoy getting the most of my day.
What do you value most about your career as a freelance designer?
One of my favourite parts of being a designer is the broad range of people you get to work with and meet. You get the insider scoop on so many industries, and it’s a great opportunity for collaborations between different people. I’ve also had the chance to do design work for many of my friends (reminds them why they keep me around!) and also become friends with new clients as well.
I think Emily McDowell said it best, “Being an artist is like being yourself for a living”.
Do you ever experience “creativity blocks” or the feeling of being uninspired? How do you overcome these frustrations?
Totally! I’ve found that if I’m starting a logo and need to be on top of it creative-wise, there are a few things that help. I don’t want to feel like I have to stop in the middle of another project “to just get it done”, so checking off some to-do list items first makes me feel like I’ve already been productive. I also find that I’m the most creative in the early afternoons, so don’t have to pressure myself to work on those in the mornings or evenings. Lastly, sometimes it’s great to just step away from the computer, whether it’s just to grab a quick coffee, and realize that if it doesn’t get done today, it’s ok.
What advice can you offer to us about pursuing creative ambitions in both our personal and professional lives?
Go for it.
But realistically, know that it takes a certain kind of motivation to pursue creative jobs. Your work ethic is so important in not only getting things done, but also showing others that you’re committed to doing a great (+ efficient) job. So much of me being able to do what I do, is because of word of mouth. If you do great work, others will want to promote you, and the cycle keeps on going (high fives and happy dances).
photo credit: Kezia Nathe
Okay and finally, what guilty pleasure can you not live without?
I am obsessed with BOOMCHIKAPOP popcorn, it may have been the branding (+ naming) that first had me intrigued, but once I opened up a bag, I was hooked. Whether I’m having a mid-day snack break, or bringing it along for a girl’s night, it’s my go-to. (I also won’t admit how many bags I’ve finished solo….)