Today I’m celebrating two whole years of being on this wild, exhilarating self-employed ride. It seems like a very long time, and yet a very short time, all at once! As I reflect on the past 2 years, I thought I’d share some of the highlights, a few things that I would tell younger me, and also some plans for the future. (There’s also a little birthday treat for you at the end of this post!)
This year has definitely felt like one where I’ve felt more comfortable and confident as a designer, and I feel like I’m beginning to find my niche. I’ve had the privilege of working with some wonderful clients, which makes my job a joy. I’ve particularly enjoyed going back to my typography and lettering roots, doing lots of book typesetting and layout work, as well as designing and lettering a number of logos.
Advice for younger me
A friend asked me on Twitter what would I tell myself 2 years ago from what I’ve experienced, and I think I would break it down into 3 main things.
1) Work hard – There are no shortcuts when it comes to being self-employed, and success is unlikely to happen overnight. Work hard, be consistent, keep on putting out good work and slowly but surely, your business will grow.
2) Treat your clients as well as you possibly can – for me, this is a really important one. I want to treat all my clients in the best possible way, this means being honest with them – ie doing what I say I will – and also being generous with them both with my time and my expertise. Obviously this doesn’t mean undercutting myself or doing everything for free, but it does mean being kind and considerate in the way that I treat them and wanting the very best for them and their businesses.
3) Creativity takes courage – sometimes it can be really tempting to go for the ‘safe’ option when designing, particularly when it’s for a paid client project. But as designers one of the main reasons we do what we do is because we love finding creative solutions to problems, so why not be bold and just go for it?!
As I look ahead to the next year, I can’t wait. I’ve got a jam-packed few months coming up as we build up to Christmas, I’m hoping to get my Paper Cafe goodies stocked in local shops and some further afield (if you’d like a copy of the Paper Cafe wholesale catalogue, please ask!) and I’m also looking out for some Christmas markets and craft fairs to have a stall at. I’ve got lots of cool design projects in the pipeline including typesetting, book design and branding, which I can’t wait to get stuck into. And finally, and possibly most excitingly for me, I’ve got a big Portsmouth & Southsea design project which I’ve been working on for almost a year now, which I’ll be launching at the end of September, so watch this space, and if you’re following on Instagram or Twitter you’ll be the first to hear about it.
A little birthday treat…
To celebrate 2 years of being self-employed, I’ve got a little treat for you over in the Paper Cafe shop: any orders placed between now and midnight on Friday (8th) will receive a FREE A5 print of this handlettered ‘Creativity takes courage’ print. (Pictured above) There is no minimum spend, and the offer is available on both my Etsy and Cheerfully Given shops. I’ve also re-listed my Christmas collection in case you want to take advantage and get organised!