Meet Jack, a witty father of two who just also happens to be a TOP CERT graphic design freelancer! He works in his attic and only comes out for a daily dose of his favourite breakfast cereal, Coco-Pops!
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into freelancing?
I spent years working in commercial printers, design agencies and even an Architectural studio. Due to working in the pre-press rooms in the bowels of large print factories it was difficult for me to meet with clients, therefore, most of the work was conducted through sales reps with little or no idea about design. As a result I couldn’t communicate new ideas to clients or find their real needs for projects.
What was your previous job before deciding to go freelance?
I was a studio manager at a large commercial printer. My responsibilities ranged from design to prepress production and all of the complications that can go with that. However, it means I am extremely knowledgeable in what happens to designs when they reach ‘the other side’. I can confidently inform my clients of the best and most economical way to get a job to print.
How did you come across PPH?
Whilst looking online for tips to gain more clients I discovered PPH. I hadn’t even realised sites like this existed!
What was your first job like on PPH?
My first job was a simple poster design. I won the job by offering 2 jobs for the price of one – as I had no experience or reviews on PPH I had to do something to stand out in a competetive market. It must have worked as I won the job within minutes and since getting my first good review I found winning work from then on was much easier!
What is a typical day like for you?
My day starts with trying to persuade 2 small children into their school uniforms and off out to school. After this, the day becomes a much smoother (and quieter) operation.
I then answer any emails and work out a relaxing and easy plan of work for the day. Within 5 minutes, the original plan is in the bin when a client drops an emergency job on my desk! The rest of the day is spent juggling my tasks so all my clients and I meet our deadlines. almost certainly, a working lunch is on the cards, and usually a working dinner. The day may end quite late into the evening but I’m happy knowing that all my jobs will be completed and completed well.
How does freelancing compare to a 9-5?
Well it’s definitely not a 9-5 job that’s for sure! With a 9-5 job it’s usually carrying out soulless work you’d rather not do, wishing your time away and before you know it you’ve been stuck for several years. I studied Graphic Design at University (achieving a first class honours, ahem) and hoped to secure a job straight away. Wishful thinking. I soon realised that to achieve my goal I would have to make my own fortune as a freelancer. I work long hours but I’m doing the job that I love and set out to do. Plus I love being attacked by my 2 boys when they zoom in from school!
What benefits have you found by using PPH?
Plenty of work. Safety in the sense that PPH are there to help me.
What does your future hold? Where would you like to take this?
A few more grey hairs probably. I’d like to build up this business into something a little more. I don’t want to be Alan Sugar or anything, but my 7 year old son has already expressed an interest in design. It would be great to leave a legacy for my children!
What are your top 5 tips for freelancers who are new to PPH?
1. Get your foot in the door. Once you get your first 5 star review work is much easier to win!
2. Create a great portfolio.
3. Be clear about what you will deliver and when.
4. Keep a diary or a list of jobs and when they should be completed by.
5. It’s important to eat well and keep hydrated. Therefore, eat at least one bowl of Coco-Pops a day.
What are your top 5 tips for your particular role? (for example, if you are a writer, what are your top five writing tips, if you are a designer, what are your top 5 design tips, etc)
1. Find out as much as you can about the customer’s requirements. Asking questions about their business and audience is always helpful.
2. Do the difficult tasks in the morning. Straight after your Coco-Pops!
3. Keep up to date with design magazines and websites. Good artists borrow, great artists steal.
4. Don’t start any work without a deposit.
5. If a job is becoming stressful, take a break. I don’t take many breaks as it results in me being rugby tackled to the floor by 2 small but very strong boys.
What web browser do you use?
If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
A House-martin. I spend long periods of time in the loft (it’s OK though, I had it converted into an office).
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