Jane Reaction

Jane Riley of Jane Reaction is a Dallas-based designer, art director, blogger, and mother of two young boys. She operates her own full service graphic design studio, specializing in brand development, website + blog design, print design and art direction. Jane has worked with several publications including Kinfolk magazine and the popular women's lifestyle publication Verily magazine. Her clients include small business and creative professionals, and she has collaborated with hundreds of creative professionals around the world styling photo shoots, designing for print and launching websites. 

What made you decide to pursue a freelance career?

I decided to go freelance right out of school because my husband and I lived on the North Shore of Oahu and there just weren't a lot of job opportunities out there (like none). I knew I wanted to do graphic design and I didn't want to settle for a job that didn't have anything to do with that path. Freelance was really my only option those first few years after graduating so I just jumped in with both feet and never looked back. 

In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients? 

I blogged a lot. Way more than I do now. I blogged almost every single day for a year! That really helped people see what I was doing, what I was capable of and let people get to know me as a person. I blogged about my personal life, I blogged about things I was interested in, and I blogged about any design project that I was working on at the time. Another thing that I recently realized was huge in helping me get clients - I was really supportive and passionate about my friend's creative endeavors. By supporting and cheering others on I got more work. Once they got too much work they would refer people to me, or once they started getting more business people would ask them who designed their logo. Invest in your creative friends and clients and they will invest in you.

 

"Invest in your creative friends and clients and they will invest in you."

 

Verily Magazine | Art Direction by Jane Riley

Verily Magazine | Art Direction by Jane Riley

Verily Magazine | Art Direction by Jane Riley

Verily Magazine | Art Direction by Jane Riley

If you work from home, do you have any tips for being your most productive?

1. Create a space that is inspiring and comfortable to work in. Keep in mind functionality! Make a space that really works for you.
2. Get ready for work everyday. Don't go to work in your pajamas. 
3. Set regular work hours and stick to them. 
4. Eat breakfast before you start work in the morning. This is huge! I am way more productive if I'm not thinking of food the whole time I am working.

What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?

2 things - 
1. Perfecting the creative process... having a creative process that works for me and every single client I ever work with has been a challenge. I still make adaptations to the process every once in a while but figuring out a process that you can guide every single client through was difficult at first. When I first started, my process was never the same. I was all over the place and often felt like I was leading my client down an endless rabbit hole of design ideas. Now, taking a client through the process is a lot more smooth. We can both see a clear direction that the project is taking.
2. Owning that I am my own boss. I get really tripped up trying to make myself seem bigger and smaller than I am all at the same time. It's hard to find a balance between super confident and kind/authentic/humble. Especially for women! The world wants women to be both at the same time and sometimes it is very exhausting. 
Woodnote Photography | Design by Jane Riley

Woodnote Photography | Design by Jane Riley

Bleubird Blog Design | Design by Jane Riley

Bleubird Blog Design | Design by Jane Riley

What is your favorite thing about being a freelancer?

I love that I can work when I need to, and take a week or two off when I need to slow down and focus on my children (or myself). Honestly, I really thought all I ever wanted in life was to be a mom (and don't get me wrong, it is still my best work to date!) but it's not always the most fulfilling or fun thing to do. So, being able to have a career while being a mom has been the best thing for my confidence, happiness, mental health etc. I am SO thankful that I can work with fun, creative, interesting people everyday and still be a mom. It's seriously one of the best things!

Any tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details?

Something that has saved me tons of time and stress is a media kit. I never wanted to have a media kit in the past because I wanted to be able to give every perspective client a custom package and quote based on their needs. As the inquiries started flooding in last fall I knew that I couldn't keep doing that. It was too overwhelming to respond to everyone's email with a custom quote and then answer all of the inevitable questions that would follow. So I put together a media kit. Any time I get an inquiry I send them my media kit and let them know what my next availble date is. The kit is a 6 page PDF with information about me, what I do, how I work, how much I charge for basic services and has a FAQ page. It has been a huge time saver! 
Mother Magazine | Website design by Jane Riley

Mother Magazine | Website design by Jane Riley

Since you are your own boss, do you have any advice for maintaining a work-life balance?

I am a mom to 2 really young boys (2 and almost 1) Honestly, there isn't a whole lot of balance going on over here, just a lot of surviving! haha! Any advice I do have is really more for the freelance mom:
1. Get a nanny or daycare or some sort of reliable child care ASAP! Do no rely on nap time or bed time to get your work done! I learned that the hard way. Several times. Sometimes a nap just isn't in the cards for your day and you have a ton of stuff to get done, so you either don't get it done or you stay up all night working. You deserve to go to bed at the same time as everyone else in your family, chances are you need sleep the most. 
2. Don't rely on your significant other to watch the kids while you get work done. I used to have my husband watch the kids while I finished up work that I wasn't able to get done while the nanny was taking care of our kids. The result was that we never spent any time together as a family. One of us was always working or getting something else done. I now only take on work that I can get done during my set work hours. 
3. Make time for dates and don't work at all during the date! Don't even check your email once! My husband and I used to be notorious for being on our phones constantly! We have really come a long way! We now go on a date once a week - we put our phones away and just focus on each other. It's made a huge difference in our relationship. I would say this goes for mommy time too - I don't even try to work while I am with my kids. I might check my email, but most of the time I just turn everything work related off and focus on being a mom.  

The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance designer are:

Excellent communication skills, confident, and organized.

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October Ink

Excited to bring you an interview with the boss ladies behind branding & web design studio, October Ink. Morgan Rapp and Jayne Swallow are childhood friends that re-connected over design and their passion to bring brands to life. On top of founding and running their business, both women have two beautiful children. Read on for incredible advice about design partnerships, running your own studio, balancing baby and career, and so much more!

Tell me about your path to becoming a freelance designer and business owner.

Morgan: Jayne and I grew up down the street together, and always did creative things together from scrapbooking, art classes, dance, and even formed a two-man band in high school.
If you were to tell me while I was in college I would be working for myself, I wouldn’t have believed you. I always assumed I would work for a corporate company and work 9-5. I majored in Communications, and minored in art, business, and sociology. Kind of a random mix, but actually it’s the perfect combination for what I do now. I think that if I could go back and tell my 18 year old self what to do, I would have majored in Graphic Design. But oh well. Haha.
Towards the end of my major I took a web design class and learned basic html, and then became obsessed with learning how to make design changes to my blogger blog.  Thanks to lots of google searches, youtube videos, and hours of trial and error, I able to teach myself the adobe programs and am self taught in both graphic and web design. Majoring in graphic design would have given me more of a jump start, but it’s totally possible with some extra hard work to teach yourself new skills and make your dream job happen for yourself.
Jayne: Meanwhile, I went to school for graphic design and started designing wedding invitations. That started to grow and Morgan began helping with design and marketing while we both worked our graphic design day jobs. Eventually we were working more on branding and web projects and freelancing separately, and decided to switch the focus of our business to client work and rebrand to October Ink.
Within a year of rebranding we were both able to quit our day jobs and work for ourselves full time. I walked out of my day job clicking my heels the day I quit.

In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?

J: I would say only showing our best work and favorite projects in our portfolio was huge for us. Sometimes as freelancers we feel like we need to show everything we have ever worked on, but tailoring down your portfolio to only your best projects will attract more of those type of projects you love. Quality over quantity is everything.
M: We have also fine tuned our client on-boarding process to make sure we work with clients who understand our process, appreciate our expertise and design point of view. Getting to know your prospective client before you decide to work together is huge when determining if me you are a good fit in order to catch those red flags.
Just because someone is willing to pay you doesn’t mean you should always work together. It is a little bit more time invested upfront, but it’s worth it if you want to attract good clients.

"...showing our best work and favorite projects in our portfolio was huge for us. Sometimes as freelancers we feel like we need to show everything we have ever worked on, but tailoring down your portfolio to only your best projects will attract more of those type of projects you love. Quality over quantity is everything"


You are both mom’s  to two beautiful children. How has becoming a mom changed how you work or the types of projects you take on?

J: It definitely makes me focus on what we really want and what's really best for business. We have to be crazy efficient with our time since we only have specific times of the day we are working.
It also has made us pickier with projects since we have to weigh whether a project is worth the time away from home and some late nights.

As a busy mom and business owner, what is your best advice for finding a work-life balance?

M: Working from home has been a huge blessing with the flexibility, but with 2 young kids it’s so tricky balancing work and family, and still something I struggle with. Some weeks I think man, I got this! And other weeks I get crazy overwhelmed and want to throw in the towel. Haha. It’s a constant juggling act I don’t think anyone has nailed down 100%.
One of things that have helped me is to do my best separating my time and being really clear on setting office hours for myself. When I home I am focused and present with my family and not checking emails or on my phone. When I intermingle the two throughout the day it’s harder for me to focus, I’m less efficient, and not able to give quality time to either my work or my family.
Also, give yourself grace and be patient with yourself. Sometimes I have gotten in the trap of comparing with other entrepreneurs who are making 6 figures in their biz and pumping out tons of content, client work, and coming out with a e-course a month. I’ve realized as a mom it’s ok to not be moving as quickly as other business owners and take things more slowly in your biz.
Will I look back and think, man, I wish I took on more projects? I highly doubt it. Kids grow up so fast and you don’t want to miss it. Find your own pace in your business and own it.

"Give yourself grace and be patient with yourself. Sometimes I have gotten in the trap of comparing with other entrepreneurs who are making 6 figures in their biz and pumping out tons of content, client work, and coming out with a e-course a month. I’ve realized as a mom it’s ok to not be moving as quickly as other business owners and take things more slowly in your biz."


Do you have any tips for being your most productive?

M: Creating a daily checklist of your to-dos and being organized helps so much with efficiency. One of our favorite programs is Trello. You can easily create checklists that are shareable and you can drag and drop tasks. It’s awesome, and free!
For years I would stay up late working on projects, but since I have tried to keep my evenings dedicated to family time, it’s helped a ton. Occasionally I will work an evening since that is my main time uninterrupted, but overall I try not to stay up too late, or I get major burnout.
J: Do one thing at a time. Sometimes I'll have 50 internet tabs open and waste tons of time just because I get distracted. I've found I have to close everything down besides what I'm working on to stay focused.

"Do one thing at a time. Sometimes I'll have 50 internet tabs open and waste tons of time just because I get distracted. I've found I have to close everything down besides what I'm working on to stay focused."


Do you have any advice for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details? 

M: We have found it beneficial in investing in a project management program to track time, invoicing and all conversations about a project. We use a program call Mavenlink because it helps save on paypal transaction fees, but there are so many good ones out there.
J: I also recommend carving out time to do your finances at least once a month. That way when tax season comes around you won’t have to be stressed about doing a year’s worth in one sitting.

You are a partnership. How do you work to keep your working relationship from interfering with your friendship?

M: Creating a contract and setting up expectations before you get into business together is essential for keeping your friendship, even when you get into business with friends. That way you talk about hard things like how you are going to split up finances, what happens if someone wants out of the business down the road, ect,. before you get into business together.
J: I think it's like any relationship - just have to keep open communication to make sure everything is good and then be flexible and keep the other's best interest at heart.

What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?

M: I was surprised by the learning curve with the running the business side of a creative business. We’ve realized that clients not only hire us for our creative skills, but they also value professionalism, organization, efficiency, and meeting deadlines.
You might be able to create a pretty logo, but if you don’t focus on constantly improving the client’s experience, you’ll create unhappy clients, you won’t create your best work, and you’ll lose business.

What do you enjoy most about working for yourself?

J: The motivation to do your best because you directly see the results from it. It's invigorating to work hard in something you love and see money come in from it to help support your family.

The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:

M: Drive, professionalism, and a teachable spirit
J: Hard-working, brave, passionate

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Erin Loechner

This interview is part of Freelance Wisdom's Mama Month - a month long celebration of freelancing moms. 

Erin Loechner is a midwest-based blogger behind popular lifestyle & design blog Design For Mankind. A former art director/stylist in LA, Erin’s been writing and speaking for years for clients such as The New York Times, Martha Stewart and Dwell and has created a following of over a million design-loving fans. She hosted a 2-year/24-episode web series for HGTV.com and has designed products for a number of companies. Erin's heartfelt writing and amazing eye for design has garnered her a loyal following that stands up to the test of time.

 

Blogging has changed a lot since you began 10 years ago, how do you work to stay relevant?

You know, the hardest work I do in terms of relevance, for me, is convincing myself that relevance is meaningless. There are millions of ways to stay relevant: writing about controversial topics, researching trends, incorporating search terms, linkbaiting your headlines, but none of these feel natural to me. None feel sustainable, either.
As a result, I'm very slow to spend my time looking at what's beyond the bend and, instead, I focus on what's here. What I love, what I have and what I see. What is true to me, what my life is like today. It's less relevance and more reverence, I suppose. But it's the only way I can enjoy what I do.

"I'm very slow to spend my time looking at what's beyond the bend and, instead, I focus on what's here. What I love, what I have and what I see."


Do you have any tips for being your most productive?

Yes! My friends taught me about the concept 'golden hours' a few years ago, and it's transformational. The idea is that your body and mind are geared to work at a set time each day, and there is a 2-4 hour window where you are naturally at your most productive. (To find out when your golden hours are, figure out when you find yourself coming up with your greatest ideas, or when you have the most energy, or when you're the most excited about creativity. Those are your golden hours!)
Mine are in the morning, so I protect them with every ounce of my being! Rearranging my day to work during my golden hours means I can get more done in less time, because I'm not fighting with my body. I'm naturally alert, focused and creative in the morning, so it's easy to complete the tasks I need to. My husband, however, is a night owl, so he protects that time. Everyone is wildly different - the key is listening to your body/mind and figuring out what might work best for you.

"Rearranging my day to work during my golden hours means I can get more done in less time, because I'm not fighting with my body. I'm naturally alert, focused and creative in the morning, so it's easy to complete the tasks I need to."


What has been your greatest struggle as a self-employed business owner?

Swimming upstream. There are a million opportunities as a blogger, and there is never a shortage of products to promote, lifestyles to curate, topics to discuss. The inspiration abounds, but as an easily overwhelmed person, it's important for me to keep my blinders on and stay focused to what I want, rather than what others want from me. I'm a mother to a toddler and a soon-to-be adoptive parent, so family comes first in my home. It's difficult to turn down what feel like incredible opportunities because they either don't align with my current goals, or because they'd leave little energy and/or time left over for the ones under my roof. 
The Internet can be a frenetic place, so it's important for me to sometimes ignore the noise and pave my own way by showing up here, in real life, for the ones who love me at my worst and know me at my best.

What is your favorite thing about working for yourself?

Hands down, the flexibility and the quiet! I'm a disciplined introvert by nature, so I love that I can get what I need to get done on my own time, rather than having meetings where we talk about getting things done. ;)
I love that I can cater my schedule to a routine that works best for my family. Currently, that means getting up at 4:45am, sneaking out to a morning coffee shop and writing until a 8:30am yoga class, then home for the day! I like that, with focus, I can finish my work day before the rest of the house is up and running. Best of both worlds!

How do you continue to attract your ideal clients and partners?

I'm the worst person to ask this! I have an admitted tunnel vision where I blog what feels true to me that morning, rarely thinking about readers or stats or clients. But in a way, I suppose that's the best advice I can give --- put out work that you love, work that feels honest, work that feels true. That's attractive by nature.

Do you have any advice for balancing motherhood and your business?

This, currently, is my balance mantra.  This, too! And an old letter to my daughter I wrote about the subject. ;)

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Erin Gleeson

This interview is part of Freelance Wisdom's Mama Month - a month long celebration of freelancing moms. 

Erin Gleeson is the author of New York Times bestseller The Forest Feast and new book The Forest Feast for Kids. She is a Bay Area-based artist specializing in food-related photography and illustration. Her primary clients include magazines, newspapers, cookbooks, and restaurants. She has an MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York and teaches photography in Continuation Studies at Stanford University. 

Hello Erin, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! Can you tell us a little bit about your path to becoming a freelance photographer, illustrator, and author. 

I have been a freelancer since the beginning. I was an art major in college and knew I wanted to go into photography so I moved to New York City right after I graduated to be in the middle of it all. I had no money and a lot of roommates and I loved it!  After interning at a magazine, assisting several photographers, and doing lots of odd jobs to make ends meet as an unpaid or underpaid intern/assistant, I decided to go to grad school so that I could teach photography in addition to being a freelancer. I got an MFA in photography at SVA in NYC and then taught photography as an adjunct for 4 years at FIT in New York while freelancing as a food photographer, before moving to California for my then fiance's (now husband's) new job in 2011. 
Up until this point I was taking freelance photo jobs I didn't love to get by and a bit disheartened by my often unstable freelance career. There were so many times I thought I should stop and get a more dependable job in an office, but I was always so hopeful that the right kind of art-related freelance work would come, so I stuck to it. When we moved cross-country, I had to start all over to create a new freelance clientele for my food photography business, which was scary. It was, however, a really pivotal time for me because I suddenly had breathing space from my fast-paced city life and a few months "break" while unpacking and settling to think about what direction I wanted to take.

"There were so many times I thought I should stop and get a more dependable job in an office, but I was always so hopeful that the right kind of art-related freelance work would come, so I stuck to it."


This quiet time in the woods allowed me to be free and creative in a way I hadn't been in a long time and from that I came up with my idea for The Forest Feast.  It began as a personal food blog project and was a different aesthetic for me, as I started incorporating my watercolor illustrations and hand lettering into the photography, which I had never done before. I think this aesthetic was somewhat unique in the food blog space at that time, and people began to notice. About 6 months in, a literary agent saw my blog online and reached out to see if she could help me turn it into a book. I remember feeling like I wasn't ready and that this was something I hoped to do in the future (not yet!!!), but my agent reassured me, I dove in and  the book came out in 2014.
It became a NYT Bestseller the year it came out which blew me away. This book has really opened a lot of doors for me and I am so grateful. Plus, it was a total dream project to work on for a year.  My second book, The Forest Feast for Kids, came out earlier this year and is an adaptation for children of the first book. My third book, The Forest Feast Gatherings, is my biggest project to date and is a book full of menus for entertaining. It comes out this September (2016). In the past year I've also had a line of stationery and gift items come out, all featuring watercolors and photography from my books, and I am working on other food-related Forest Feast product collaborations. I still teach photography, currently at Stanford in Continuing Studies; I like the combination of freelancing and teaching.

You are a mom to your adorable son Ezra. How has becoming a mom changed how you work and/or the types of projects you take one?

I am working about 3 days a week now, so I have to be pickier about the jobs I take on. When I was starting out in New York, I took any job that came my way, and ended up shooting a lot of events, which I don't love to do. In the past couple years I have been able to phase out that type of work and focus on Forest Feast related work, which feels like a huge luxury. The blog has really opened up a lot of opportunities for me to work and shoot from home which is great as a parent. I partner with brands for posts on my blog and am able to do it all from my little studio at home. 

Do you have any tips for being your most productive?

Deadlines! I work my best under deadlines so if I am not given one by a client, I try to give them to myself. I'm also an avid list-maker. A couple things that help me save time are Gmail's Boomerang for scheduling emails (so that things can go out first thing in the morning, even if you're writing late at night),Latergramme (to schedule Instagram posts), and Google Shopping Express /Instacart (grocery delivery!!). When Ezra was really small and I carried him all the time, I used my iPhone and Mac's dictation feature for sending emails, which was faster than making time to sit down and type with 2 hands.

What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancing mom so far?

The work ebbs and flows. Some weeks are simple and 3 days of work feels like plenty, but some weeks are jam packed and I have to go up to my studio after Ezra goes to bed at night. I don't really have a 9-5, and since I work from home, the lines get blurred between work and life. In the beginning we had a nanny who came to our house part-time, but I quickly realized it was too distracting for me, and hard for him to see me pop in and out constantly. Daycare has been much better for everyone.

Do you have any advice for creative women hoping to attract a book deal?

I highly recommend working with a literary agent. They do take a percentage but I am convinced that mine paid for herself many times over by negotiating on my behalf. An agent can open your options up exponentially and introduce you to many more editors/publishers than you might be able to find on your own. Plus, my agent continues to bring in new opportunities for me beyond the book and is a constant support in all I do to grow my brand. If you're looking for an agent, look in the acknowledgements of books you like– authors usually thanks theirs.

What is your favorite thing about being self-employed?

Being able to travel whenever I want!

How do you continue to attract your ideal clients and collaborations?

I think the more good content you put out into the world, the more people will keep you in mind and reach out. I get a lot of emails daily from PR companies hoping to partner with my blog and most of them don't fit. But once in a while there is one that does. Luckily I haven't had to do a lot of reaching out lately, but I used to send regular emails to clients I wanted to work with to keep them thinking about me.

"I think the more good content you put out into the world, the more people will keep you in mind and reach out."


As you know well, freelancers are just as much small business owners as we are creatives. What are your tips for managing the nitty-gritty components of your business? 

As a freelancer I think it's ideal if you can be open with other freelancers in your field to know what everyone is charging and how they are negotiating contracts. I am part of a group online that is very open about this, and we share business ideas, which is so helpful. Make sure you're not undercharging! There are also digital agencies popping up to partner influencers (bloggers, etc) with brands, which I am considering doing since my head is more on the art side than the business side. (Sometimes I think I should have gotten an MBA in addition to an MFA!). I'd love to have an agency handle the negotiation and paperwork side of working with clients so I can focus on the art.

As a busy mom and business owner, what is your best advice for finding a work-life balance?

After years of having my photo equipment under my bed in the city, I now have a little studio space (converted garage). Having a separate space has really helped me. Even if it's just a corner of a room or a walk-in closet, having a place to go that's separate can be key! Having a baby has also helped me work more regular hours. He eats dinner at 6 and goes to bed at 7:30, so I know I have to fit my work in before that (and hopefully not after). I used to be a real night-owl, so becoming a mom has given my days a better structure. No matter what, he's up at 7, so I can't pull an all-nighter.

Fill in the blank: The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are: 

Passion, business sense, and perseverance. 

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Courtney Knight

Credit: Julia Saltzman

Courtney Knight is an illustrator and maker based in Portland, OR. Courtney graduated with her BFA in Illustration from Lesley University College of Art & Design in Boston, MA. She is currently working on illustrating books, freelancing, and an array of wonderful personal projects. We love Courtney's uniquely whimsical illustration style and look forward to watching her career blossom.

Tell me about your path to becoming an illustrator.

I grew up in Coeur d’Alene, ID and also spent a year in Winthrop, MA when I was ten, where my aunt and I would go to the water and draw the sail boats which then lead me to go to art school in Boston, MA at Lesley University College of Art and Design graduated in 2014 I eventually made it back to the west, now in Portland, OR. When I was younger I would make up drawing games and force my cousins and brother to draw with me- “You have the green gel pen you can only draw green things.” Now I’d like to think I’m more open with color and concept.
Right now I have a contract to illustrate a couple children's books, collaborations with books and textile design, consistent commissions drawing people's homes, and a shop stocked with originals while working on personal projects and working in the workshop at Tanner Goods.

You are in the beginning stages of your freelance career, how are you working to get noticed and land clients?

Work feeds more work. Instagram has given me connections to work and solid friend groups. Just recently I was asked to be a part of Define Magazine since the founder was talking with a woman that had photographed me and my work a year ago- we met through Instagram and lived nearby each other at the time. I think it’s incredible that I was a part of this conversation, that she thought to recommend my work just from that day of collaborating together. Sending out mailers is also a practice that is important and I need to do more of, it’s a reminder that you exist, this is my work, and I am available. Also trying new things out of my comfort space like going away on an artist residency, talking on a podcast, keeping pen pals, going to new social gatherings.

Do you have any tips for being your most productive?

The “it’s never enough” sentence fuels me to work harder, there’s always more to make. Leaving the house. Start at a coffee shop on the weekends. On weekdays head to studio after my other work. Know what time of day you are most productive- when the sun is out is when I can get the most done, when it’s dark I shift to relax or social mode. Keep a schedule. Write everything out in hierarchy of priorities. Take small breaks with walks. Have a group to meet and critique with consistently helps keep me accountable.

What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?

How to balance all my jobs. Figuring out timing of what I can realistically get finished in a day and leaving the studio or stop work to sleep. Lately I’ve been lost with what I want to spend my time with since I am interested in many projects- making clothes, children’s products, children’s books, editorial, journaling - I’m tripping over all the ideas that don’t get made fast enough.

What is your favorite thing about freelance?

It’s sending out a part of me that I am already doing and someone wants to pay me for it?
Each time I draw, it’s a secret I’m giving out. I’m attempting to be transparent by sharing this vulnerable internal thought or joke and I hope people get it. It can be exhausting but it’s my way of analyzing myself, which is important to move forward.

Where do you draw your inspiration?

Surrounding myself with people who constantly inspire. I go over to their houses and ask them to show me everything they are working on, any future projects, current inspirations. My closest people feed me. Going to comedy nights. Reading poetry. People watching/awareness in public settings and keeping them in my sketchbook for later.
Credit: Julia Saltzman

Who are your dream clients?

Land of nod, Chronicle, Penguin Random House, NY Times, local shops.

Do you have any tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details?

Make all the lists. And trap yourself in a coffee shop with nothing to work on but the business details. I procrastinate on this part, I just always want to be doing the making. I file my out-of-shop work using postcards in a tin box, I draw a mini version of the project with the due date and transaction details and file it under the client name.

Since you are your own boss, do you have any advice for maintaining a work-life balance?

Have a separate studio space. Make coffee time with a friend who will also want to get work done. Schedule work/play time (feel guilty during whichever one you choose. Try to let go of guilt, balance better tomorrow) Learning to say No has been a new happening for me this year which is a wave of calm.

The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:

Ambition, transparency, wit

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