This is a bit of first for me, I usually keep my personal thoughts off the blog except maybe my art tastes but this is a defining design career moment so I think it deserves a voice.
I have been self-employed since leaving university 3 years ago it wasn’t a choice I made, I sort of fell in to it after not getting a job right away and freelancing just seemed easier. I was so enthusiastic and bursting with creative energy when I left I said yes to everything! Starting with a poorly paid internship at an amazing retail market which I think very easily shaped the next year or so of my life. I ended up staying on the market which lead to me working with lots of different people from retail start ups to content marking agencies. Putting on all sorts of hats and at one point working 7 days a week in the summer just trying to find where I fit.
I don’t think I have ever, even to this day really felt I fit perfectly anywhere, don’t get me wrong I have loved what I do. Getting to help people tell amazing brand stories through design & stella content to engage people, is at times really rewarding. However there are some sad stories in there as well, lots of people I couldn’t help because they don’t have the money to put in to it yet, companies which want me to keep freelancing when they need me rather than when I could use the money. And of course, a familiar story to all those self-employed, chasing up invoices from people who have suddenly decided to take a convenient long holiday, or maybe their email has just broken…again.
I continue to work part time on and off to steady my cash throw and seem to be saying to myself more than ever can I afford to do this project and its usually the ones I really wish I could do that end up as a no. Self-empolyment & entrepreneurship is on a steep rise but at the same time it isn’t for everyone.
Readers of this blog will know I recently went to Blogtacular an event I can’t sing it’s praises enough; the keynote speaker Lisa Congdon had some seriously personal words that I think finally struck home with me. She spoke about the emotional & physical struggle of being a creative artist, offering up the big question of ‘What makes a good life?’. She is someone who came to a creative career later on in life and has had much success but it took it’s toll too. A life filled with vulnerable moments which came to a head before she made some serious life changes and embraced the struggle. Now she tells herself: If the answer isn’t hell yes, say no, allowing for balance in her life and some real personal as well as professional growth to happen.
So here I am three years in to a journey that I think has reached it’s first hurdle, I have many people tell me not to give up on what I do, which I think paints me in to a corner a little. The choice I am about to make isn’t to give up though, its to move forward. I am ready to start the next chapter, put down some roots and stabilise my life, staying creative always, but allowing myself some time for balance. No more 7 day work weeks. So I have decided to make this my last summer as a self-employed creative and to start seriously looking for a full time home somewhere. I will still be here, always at the end of the tin can and string to answer questions or help out on a truly great project. Design Curator shall still exist and I hope play a part in my next job role, which reminds me…
If you have any roles available that you think would fit my mixed skill set and get my creative juices flowing then get in touch! Hopefully I shall be celebrating my 25th birthday this September in a new home, optimism is paramount here I think.
So I am off out seeing the graduate shows that are popping up all over at the moment and taking a few minutes while I am there to reflect on my own journey and were I was 3, what seem like long years ago now.