Happy Friday everyone! I am excited about having my friend Angel sharing her story today. Angel is a designer from my home state, the good ole Sunshine State. Her and I connected over twitter & she has been a great encourager for me and Swell Studios. You will just love her!
1.) Tell us about yourself. When you aren’t designing, what do you like to do?
Hi! I’m a graphic/web designer and front-end web developer living in Orlando, Florida. Outside of design, I can be found on my yoga mat, volunteering, exploring the city with my husband, making (usually imaginary) travel plans, or catching up with friends over coffee or tea.
2.) What inspired you to get into design and then become a full time freelancer?
I’ve always been very creative, and I’m sure most designers say this. In middle-school, I could not be found without my sketch book. The summer before my freshman year of high school, I was flipping through the AJC college guide (not sure if they do that), and I saw an ad for the graphic arts programs at SCAD. I put it in the back of my mind because I was 100% positive I was going to be a neurologist at the time.
Fast forward to sophomore year of high school, I took an HTML class and fell in love with coding. I got into making Xanga layouts, which went on to MySpace layouts, and, from there, it was creating blog templates and graphics. My husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, was selling MySpace layouts for a huge MySpace layout site. From there, we decided to start partnering on design projects.
It wasn’t long after we got married in 2009 that we decided to make it our business. From this conversation, we founded Sevenality. I’m actually not a full-time freelancer yet, which many people don’t know! I still have an 8-4; however, it’s becoming apparent that I will have to commit myself full-time to designing soon, which is exciting!
3.) Did you go to school for design? If not, how did you learn that skill?
After all of that university talk, I never took a single design class. I am 100% self-taught in graphic design and web development. I learned a lot of basic skills from doing tutorials, which were few and far between back then. I also learned a lot from trial and error. I read a lot of design blogs like Abduzeedo and Smashing Magazine. I also practiced a lot, sometimes up to 10-12 hours a day. I lived and breathed design, and I still do.
4.) What advice do you have for any designer or individual(s) who want to own their own business? It’s a scary venture! What would be some tips for them?
There’s so many things that I could say! At the end of the day, I think a person knows in their heart if having their own business is right for them. For designers, I think knowing that it’s not always about being creative is key. I have an administrative background so I do a lot of the things no one wants to do in their business. I’m managing the accounts, am responsible for communication and scheduling, and manage the projects. As a solopreneur, you’re responsible for doing all of those things by yourself which can be overwhelming. I’m fortunate to be able to carry those responsibilities while my husband focuses on what he’s good at — which is being creative.
On those days when your inbox is full, your social media accounts are out of control, and your numbers aren’t adding up, you have to be able to believe in what you’re doing. If you can’t feel the passion for what you’re doing during the bad days, no matter if you’re a business owner or not, you may not be doing what you want to do. Do what makes you happy. Do what you love. It’s important to be able to pay your bills at the end of the day but you can do that and be happy. It’s possible!
5.) What have you found to be helpful & impacting ways to market yourself?
I’m very bad at marketing myself.
I really have trouble selling. I am awful at talking about what I do! Recently, I’ve learned that being honest and upfront is the easiest way to market yourself. My biggest selling point is being myself. I have an intermediate understanding of several industries so it’s easy for me to relate to fellow business owners who want to re-establish or build new brands.
6.) How do you want to continue to challenge yourself as a creative person?
I want to take on new projects in a different tone, if that makes any sense. I’m rebranding myself personally outside of Sevenality under Studio-404 as a stationer and designer focused on building the brands of women-owned businesses and bloggers. When I started out, my focus was on fellow bloggers and providing services for them. As I strayed from blogging, I began to focus on building brands for local businesses with my husband. Now that we’re doing well and I’m actively blogging again, I want to give my time back to fellow bloggers and women-owned businesses.
I’m also opening my first online shop which terrifies me but forces me to think outside of the box. I’m no longer designing within guidelines and that’s a challenge now!
7.) What are you inspired by on a daily basis?
Everything! I’m inspired by living healthy, connecting with other creatives, and spending time in the moment. I often get asked how I am able to always make time to do things considering how busy I am, and it’s because I really believe in nourishing my relationships. I am known for sending “thought of you today” messages and note cards because the people in my life inspire me the most.