Meet Caroline, a TOP Cert web graphic designer who had always dreamed of following in her parents’ footsteps!
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into freelancing?
Hi my name is Caroline, I am 33 and I am a Graphic Designer. I studied eCommerce business at University for 4 years and then went into Graphic Design. I have built my company from the ground up, starting with designing my own website which acted as my portfolio for my graphic design services and then I stumbled upon PeoplePerHour where I got into freelance work.
What was your previous job before deciding to go freelance?
Before I went freelance I worked for the NHS in e-Procurement. It was a job that I was offered straight after University and I worked there for about 3 years. It wasn’t my dream job but it was paid work immediately upon graduating. I had always dreamed of working for myself and building up a successful business just like both of my parents had achieved in their careers. My job in the NHS was not exciting enough, it did not challenge me, I performed the same tasks day in day out and one day I decided enough was enough and I handed in my notice with no job to go to. The NHS was, ironically, making me ill! I look back now and don’t regret leaving my job. Taking on the task of a new and exciting journey of working for myself, even if it was a risk, paid off.
How did you come across PPH?
I came across PPH via a banner ad whilst browsing the Internet for a project I was working on at the time. I checked it out later on that evening and signed up. The way I saw it – I had everything to gain and nothing to lose!
What was your first job like on PPH?
My first job on PPH was to design a banner ad campaign for use on the Google network. The brief was something that caught the attention of potential customers, generated a good conversion rate, designed to brand guidelines and a good call to action. I always strive to do the very best I can for my clients and wanted to achieve a 5 star rating. I achieved my aims and my first client was very happy with the graphics I produced. I take great pride in my work and also being a TOP CERT freelancer on PPH with over 300 plus feedback ratings to date.
What is a typical day like for you?
I don’t sleep that well so I am always checking my emails and scheduling in work for the day/week ahead. I get my breakfast – eggs on toast, which is shared with my dog Oreo. I make a cup of tea or coffee and read through my emails again. My life is full of animals – dogs, cats and tropical fish. I have a fish tank in my office and “B-E” is my office Siamese Fighting Fish. I feed him Brine Shrimp in between replying to my emails, which he hunts down in his tank with great delight. I have no set working hours as such but I do aim to start the day by 9am. I never switch off from work and even at crazy hours of the morning I can be found replying to my emails with my phone on dim light and on silent. Working for various companies and individuals each day makes every day different and exciting. I work at least 12 hours a day on average breaking my time up by either working earlier in a morning or later on into the night. Some may say “why do you work such long hours when you work for yourself – you’re the boss!” Trust me, working for yourself is no easy task. I believe you have to put the time and effort into everything you do to get the most out of it.
How does freelancing compare to a 9-5?
I have done a 9 to 5 job and hated every single minute of it, apart from meeting a few lovely people along the way who I met at the NHS. I travelled 60 miles a day and the dark nights and mornings as well as the same old day in day out workload was soul destroying! Even though I now work at least a 12-hour day – there is no comparison. I put my heart and soul into my business and I go the extra mile for anyone I work for. I strive for perfection, as I believe in delivering the best quality of work for my clients. Being your own boss is amazing, I have the flexibility within my working hours and I manage my own time and my workload. I do miss having no one to bounce ideas off from time to time and the office ‘banter’ but the bonuses of working for myself and having the flexibility within my work outweighs any negative aspects to freelancing. Since leaving the 9-5 job and going self-employed I haven’t looked back.
What benefits have you found by using PPH?
PPH has assisted me in building up a great relationship with various companies over the years. I have worked with many varying businesses and organisations over my time on the platform and PPH has made the possibility of working for international companies a breeze. I used to have to pitch for a lot of my work initially but now I am finding that the work comes to me, which means that I have even more time to spend on designing for clients than pitching for jobs. The messaging workstream makes it easy to keep track of a job’s progress and also the payment tracking is very handy too. PeoplePerHour is a great platform to use and it makes managing my accounts easier at the end of the year.
What does your future hold? Where would you like to take this?
No one can predict the future! If they could, well, they may not be working at all. That said, I would like to think that in the future I will continue to build up my business, design for many more clients and only stop when I am forced to!
What are your top 5 tips for freelancers new to PPH?
1. Great communication is a must. Everybody likes to be kept informed at all times.
2. Deliver on time. No one likes people being late and the same goes with work. Don’t promise you can deliver something if you cant!
3. Time and effort. As with anything you have to put the time and effort into something to get the most out of it.
4. Creativity is key and it’s all around us. Draw inspiration from varying elements, even when I go for a run or walk my dog Oreo, I find myself looking at various landscapes, branding and colours – basically anything that can assist in design.
5. Go the extra mile! The client will appreciate and recognise the extra effort you have put in. Therefore, go the extra mile for your client.
What are your top 5 design tips?
1. Don’t rush designs.
2. Get the best software/hardware you can afford. It will be worth it in the long run.
3. Keep ‘on-trend’.
4. “If at first you don’t succeed try try again!”
5. Design creation is endless and inspiration can be found in the most simple of things!
What web browser do you use?
I have always used Firefox on an iMac with various developer plugins.
If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
A Lion and being a Leo I think its quite apt. I also have a Lion tattoo on my forearm. I have always had cats in my life and I feel I can relate to a cat on every level. Big or small they are independent but also work well as a team in a pack (or also known as a pride – I take pride in everything I do). Lions are strong and courageous but what is also notable is that at the end of the day they are just a big soft pussy cat inside, but should never be underestimated!
What do you think of Caroline’s story? Please leave messages of support for Caroline in our comments box below!
If you’d like us to feature your story, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.