Hannah Beasley, the graphic designer and developer behind Hannah Rose Creative, has a passion for helping creatives develop their brands. From business identity and strategy, to developing a logo suite and designing print goods, it is Hannah’s aim to create brands that are unique, memorable, and ultimately true to who her clients and their businesses are. When she’s not working with clients, she uses her six years of experience owning her own business to blog about freelancing, branding, and graphic design.
Tell me about your path to becoming a freelance graphic designer and illustrator.
I started playing around with design and development in summer of 2010 - I created a blog with Blogger and wanted to customize the look! Since I was totally new to the whole world of design, I googled everything and learned by practice. After a few years of learning and growing (and finally starting to charge for my work!), I realized that I wanted to focus on branding as a whole and help entrepreneurs define and refine their relationships with their clients. That is now my primary focus. I provide brand analysis and strategy, visual identities, websites, and print goods for my awesome clients!
In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?
This was hard at first! Because I started out doing work for free, the people I worked with weren’t expecting that much. As I progressed in my career, though, what became essential to bringing in ideal clients was putting out a solid portfolio with only the work I really loved. In addition to that, I tried to stay active on social media and created content for it that fit with my aesthetic. People who liked that look and feel would contact me about working together! I ended up realizing that finding good clients is almost completely up to me - it’s totally dependent on my own brand and the work I display!
"Finding good clients is almost completely up to me - it’s totally dependent on my own brand and the work I display!"
Do you have any tips for being your most productive?
I think the best advice I could give would be to balance work and personal time. It can be very easy as a freelancer to let work take over your life, especially when you are solely responsible for getting everything done within your business! Every time I let work take over, everything suffers. You need to take time for yourself, and you also need to make time to be productive. When you give yourself set times for both things your work will improve, you’ll be happier, and life will be so much more enjoyable! (I actually wrote a blog post recently on why and how you should set aside time for yourself.)
"Every time I let work take over, everything suffers. You need to take time for yourself, and you also need to make time to be productive."
What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?
My biggest struggles as a freelancer so far has been being consistent on social media and networking well with other freelancers. I’m an introvert (INFP if you want to get specific! ;) ), and I have a hard time being casual friends with people - I always feel like I need to get to know them better than that! I’ve seen and experienced, though, how great it is to make connections with other people who care just as much about their careers and being self-made as I do! As far as social media goes, it’s such an amazing marketing tool (as well as a fun way to inspire yourself and others), and it’s always worth it to pour time into creating content for it!
Do you have any tips for dealing with the nitty gritty business details?
One of my favorite tools to use is Dropbox! This is how I share files with my clients. As soon as I’ve booked a new client, I create a folder just for them in my Dropbox, and I put all the initial files in there (contract, timeline, and feedback guidelines). Going forward this is how I send them graphics we’re working on, and how they send me content for their website! (I wrote a whole blog post on how Dropbox can help your client process here.)
Dropbox Paper is what I use for client questionnaires. I love it because it’s so easy to use! My clients can open the link in their browser and immediately start typing out their answers. They don’t have to worry about opening up a pdf and trying to fill in the blank. Plus we can both see their answers as they type them (everything saves automatically), which adds even more accessibility!
I use Square for all my invoicing! It’s a little bit cheaper than PayPal, allows you to customize your invoices, keeps track of your transactions, and automatically transfers payments to your bank account. I love that it’s separate from all other transactions I make - because when tax season comes around, I have every single payment that I’ve received listed right there!
The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:
Confidence, endurance, and motivation.