Interview with Freelance Graphic Designer Hayley
Coming from the beautiful and vibrant city of Melbourne, Hayley never fell short of the same description. Her quirky and fun personality radiates on her works - from textile design to minimalist yet professional business cards!
Cool Wow Collective got the chance to ‘get personal’ with this amazing girlboss and learn more about her journey as a freelance graphic designer.
TELL US HOW YOU ENDED UP HERE AS A FREELANCER? WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?
From the get go I knew I wanted to be my own boss. I was pretty determined to live life how I wanted to. I couldn't stand the thought that every day and week would feel like groundhog day. But surprisingly, before making the move to freelance I stuck out working full time for 6 years 😅.
A few months after TAFE I landed my first full time job ( yep, you heard right! No uni and no debt for life and still got the career of my dreams - it's doable people!). Once I’d moved to Melbourne, I tried my hand at freelancing for 3 very poor months. I got many knock-backs, many smoke bombers (did the work and did a runner) and worked many underpaid long hours. I learnt so much of what not to do and what to do (tip to new freelancers - get the deposit before you start any job)! Then I had a few more full time jobs. Stable money seemed like the better alternative at the time. However, it was like bad dating - it was all good in the beginning but after a while it just wasn't for me, they weren't my "type".
After 6 long years in the industry I had a tonne of experience and knowledge under my belt and felt like working for someone else’s business was coming to a close - I had learnt and grown all I could. While still working, I took a holiday, had many epiphanies, came back, and quit my full time job. I took the exciting but also terrifying leap into full time freelancing in May 2018.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START FREELANCING?
Like most, travelling and seeing how the other half lived - boss babes and hustlers I mean, really opened my eyes to what life could and should be like again. Life is far too short. Cheesy but true! I wanted to work with likeminded people, brands and businesses. I wanted to know what I put my heart and soul into was for a good purpose. I read a fair few self help books like the "The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K" and it helped reinforce what Ive wanted all of these years. Thank you Sarah Knight!
IN THREE EMOJIS, DESCRIBE YOUR LIFE AS A FREELANCER...
👩🏼💻 🙄 🥰
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR BEFORE YOU STARTED FREELANCING? ANY TIPS ON OVERCOMING THIS FEAR?
No money coming in and no stable income. And a lot of the hesitation comes from mindset - something I am still working on it myself. There are lots of great podcasts and books out there so educate yourself and get into the habit of owning money and not let money own you!
To overcome the fear it’s good to have a part time job even and wean your way off work until you have enough cash coming. That’s one lesson I have learnt the hard way….SAVE SAVE SAVE where possible so over Christmas especially you have some extra cash stashed for the quieter times.
NAME THREE QUALITIES THAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED AS A FREELANCER
01/ Self Discipline and time management
02/ Great networking skills
03/ Remember why you are doing it because it will get really tough at times and the universe will test you, but when you start to feel overwhelm or over it all ask yourself why. Why did you become a freelancer? Why did you start your own business? This helps ground you and reminds you of the life you left and what you want you life to really look like.
WALK US THROUGH A TYPICAL DAY IN THE LIFE OF YOU?
I start my day usually with a walk (with a pooch if I'm sitting one at the time or yoga or a sleep in cos I can) no two days are the same for me and that’s how I like it! My incredible other half usually makes me a fancy coffee or I have a cup of tea. No fancy breakfasts for me usually just a bowl of cereal - the occasional Melbourne brunch but usually an excuse to get out and make those client coffees.
I'm finally in the habit of getting up and dressing properly as its so easy to stay daggy and in "comfy" clothes all day but I feel more productive if I look and feel good.
By writing my to do lists the night before or even on a Sunday I've started mapping the week out when I'm extra busy. I try to start my day by getting the mundane tasks out of the way. As it still is just me I am also my accounts, admin, financial, marketing, everything gal so start with emails, Xero etc.
I also trust how I am feeling that day (deadline depending) and work on the area of creativity, whether it be research for a mood-board, illustration projects or something deeper like a full re-brand I will work on what I feel I'll be most productive with and do well.
I find myself working in all areas of my home not just the studio. Outside is my fave in our little courtyard in the afternoon. I usually get snacky around 3:30-itis time and take a mini break and usually get my most productive in the late afternoons and evenings. Before clocking off and spending time with my other half when he gets home from work.
I actually have many favourite clients but possibly one I have just completed when writing this.
It was for the super lovely Amanda from The Loop Market (bespoke and handcrafted bridal hair accessories). She wanted more than just words to describe their hiring process. Anita from Wordfetti crafted a whimsical story from what is normally a pretty normal process and I got to illustrate those words with line drawings that visually told the hiring process.
The challenge was to create something so simple but spoke a thousand words. These illustrations needed to be versatile in the way that they needed to work with or without the copy beneath them but also work on other marketing collateral other than the website.
I started with a more in depth illustration with more detail and we worked together to simplify the design from there. It's always easier to take away than add later on. I digitised the hand drawings so that can be scalable without losing their resolution.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT FREELANCING?
The freedom - feeling like I'm in control of my life. Get to work with like-minded people businesses and collaborate with some pretty awesome people. It's a lifestyle that’s not for everyone because its hard work and that's made me realise just how resilient and driven I can be. You're also forever learning, about yourself, your business, what you like and don't like.
WHAT SUCKS THE MOST ABOUT FREELANCING?
Knowing that there will be tough times, there will be good and bad clients and experiences, but they just help you grow and learn what not to do next time. The feeling like you never stop working or never truely switch off cos your business is your baby! But again, it comes back to mindset, training your brain and putting boundaries in place.