I'm often asked how I made the switch to self-employment. Here's a snapshot of that time in my life in 2004/05.

In 2002 I started working for Myeloma UK, an Edinburgh-based cancer charity. I was responsible for print design, buying, and web management.

Myeloma UK wristband

For quite a while I’d been thinking of travelling the world to see new things, so in 2004 I resigned to go on an adventure. The year after, following some amazing experiences, Edinburgh drew me back and, as it turned out, Myeloma UK were yet to find my replacement. So I asked the chief executive Eric Low if he’d hire me as a part-time contractor, where I’d work three days each week and invoice at the end of the month. He agreed, and things carried on like that for around 18 months until the charity eventually needed someone full-time.

Looking back, starting in self-employment with a retainer client was vital, and while those three days a week brought in just enough money to pay the bills, they allowed plenty of time to work on building my website and blog (my main self-promotion tool).

It’s been quite a few years since I worked on any projects for Myeloma UK, but it’s brilliant to see the difference the team continues to make for people with myeloma.

Your path as an independent designer

When I spoke to friends about starting a business, a few said I didn’t have enough experience, and that I should stay in employment until later in life. If you’re thinking of making the same switch, you’ll probably hear the same, but don’t let the naysayers win. If it’s what you really want, you can make a success of anything you set your mind to.

Update: 2017
Being an independent designer.