Graphic designers often ask how I made the switch to self-employment. Here’s a quick overview of that period in my life in 2004/05.
I was working as publications officer for Myeloma UK, a cancer charity in Edinburgh. My responsibilities included print design, print buying, and managing the web content.
In 2004 I resigned in order to travel the world. At the time I had no intention of returning my previous role, and was in fact considering a life teaching English in Asia, but in 2005 after months of eye-opening experiences abroad, and when I made it back to Edinburgh, a replacement designer hadn’t been found. So I asked the chief executive Eric Low if he wanted to hire me as a part-time contractor, working three days per week and invoicing at the end of each month.
He agreed, and we worked that way for around 18 months — until the charity grew so much that a full-time designer was again a necessity.
Starting out with a retainer client was vital to my success, and while those three days per week brought in just enough cash to get me by, they allowed plenty of time to work on the build of my website and blog (my main self-promotion tool).
My speciality has since changed from publications to brand identity design, and although it’s been a number of years since I’ve worked with Myeloma UK, I still keep track of how the organisation is doing. It’s fantastic to see what a difference it’s making to myeloma patients.
Don’t let the naysayers win
When I talked to friends about starting my business, one or two said I wasn’t experienced enough, and that I should stay in employment until later in life. If you’re considering making the switch from full-time employment, you’ll probably find these very same people, but don’t let them bring you down.
With passion and commitment, you can make a success of anything you set your mind to.