Corina Nika of Cocorrina is a graphic designer, hand letterer, and art director based on the Greek island of Kefalonia. She has been blogging under the Cocorrina handle since 2012 and has gained a substantial following on social media. Her wide-ranging list of clients includes Nicole Scherzinger, Ellie Saab, Identity Reel, Virgin Money, Sonix Cases, and many more.
What made you decide to pursue a freelance career?
I was lucky enough to have the support of my husband (boyfriend back then). I had finished school and after a surgery I was left for a few months without being able to work outside the house. So my only option was freelance. Just like that, my very first job ever in graphic design was freelance.
In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?
Since I can remember, I’ve always been very shy. I’ve never pursued my clients. I just started blogging, putting my work out there and people started liking my work and emailing me to do some design work together. Good for me, because as shy as I am, I would be still waiting.
"There’s no better thing than just about everything in being freelancer. It’s good to the soul!"
If you work from home, do you have any tips for being your most productive?
Stick to your schedule. No "oh I could have a nap", or "go for a walk". It’s good to be spontaneous every now and then. It sparkles your imagination. But a good schedule, like what time to be in your office working, when you take your breaks and how much, this is something you should truly and passionately stick to.
What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?
Definitely the first year of it. Economically speaking of course it was really tough. But also the feeling of being unsure about myself, my skills, my style. It would put me down a lot. I just had to realize that success won’t come in a day, and being hard on myself wouldn’t help. So I took everything step by step reminding myself to enjoy every bit of it.
What is your favorite thing about being a freelancer?
Ever since my very first job, I hated to have to go outside, to work for others and talk with people every day. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a very outgoing person. Maybe it was the fact that all my jobs had to do with services, but I love the fact that I can set my own schedule. Work in my pajamas. Work even when I’m sick from the couch. Take a day off if I need to. There’s no better thing than just about everything in being freelancer. It’s good to the soul!
Do you have any tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details?
Have an awesome husband who does all that stuff for you. [editors note: I wish!! JK love you Josh] I’ve never been too fond of all that, it ruins my creativity of course ahha! But thankfully I’ve got my dear hubby who deals with every little dirty thing.
Since you are your own boss, do you have any advice for maintaining a work-life balance?
Once again, sticking to your schedule. As long as you’re organized, taking 5 minute breaks every hour, starting and finishing a specific time, there’s no reason not to keep yourself sane. At some points I would neglect my schedule, starting work at 11am, finishing at 12am. Nothing worse than that. You can always make exceptions if needed, but those times should be really rare. My day life looks something like 7am - 5pm and that’s it. I don’t reply to emails after that, no work on weekends. Treat your work as you would if you were working in an office.
The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance designer are:
passion, organization, and determination.
Thank you so much Corina for your incredible wisdom!