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Molly Jacques41:45 with Molly Jacques
Molly Jacques talks about using creative freelancing to build the ideal lifestyle
[MUSIC] 0:00 Hi, everybody [LAUGH]. 0:04 Thanks so much, you guys [LAUGH]. 0:06 Hi, I'm Molly. 0:09 And first off thanks so much for all of you guys for coming. 0:10 Thanks to everyone at Creative South for inviting me. 0:14 I'm super humbled to be among some 0:17 other amazing artists that you guys get to hear today. 0:20 And I'm just really excited to, to speak to all of you. 0:23 I've never spoke at a speaking engagement with this many people, 0:25 so I'm a little bit nervous, 0:28 but I'm also really excited to kind of, share some of my knowledge with you guys. 0:29 My name is Molly Jakes, as, as they were mentioning. 0:34 I'm a hand lettering artist based in Detroit Michigan, so. 0:37 It's nice being down here and 0:41 having some really good warm weather and just a, a change of landscape. 0:42 I'm originally from the west side of Michigan, and I've kind of moved a, 0:47 moved around a lot and you guys will hear about that in a little bit. 0:51 But, today, the the purpose of what I'm going to be talking to you guys about is. 0:54 How to use creative freelancing to build an ideal lifestyle for you. 1:00 And I use that pretty lightly because I know freelancing isn't for everybody but 1:05 freelancing has been a huge part of my life and has, 1:08 has enabled me to build a life that I'm super excited about. 1:13 So what I want to do is I want to kind of share my life journey with you guys and 1:15 then pause on pivotal moments that have been really helpful for, 1:20 you know, building success helping me get work, maintain work. 1:26 And I'm just gonna, you know, talk to you about how I built my business, 1:31 how I get clients, how I maintain client relationships and then in the end, 1:34 I'll kind of cap it off with how I've, I've used all those things to create 1:39 somewhat a pretty stable income where I can like build a lifestyle 1:43 around that because you know, we all know we're more than like just what we do. 1:49 Like just our art. 1:53 We want to let our art seep into our life and 1:54 just kind of promote a lifestyle that we want. 1:57 So yeah. So without further ado, I'm gonna, 2:00 I'm gonna start at the beginning. 2:02 So I, like I said, I grew up on the west side of Michigan in a little farm town and 2:04 there wasn't a lot of art or a lot of culture there. 2:08 I love it, like don't get me wrong at all, I loved it but 2:12 there was some really cool people there. 2:15 A few artists that I grew up with and we kinda bonded and 2:16 were able to bounce ideas off each other and really. 2:19 Practise drawing and things like that and I got really into drawing and, 2:22 I decided that hey, I want to be an illustrator for a living. 2:27 And the reason that I wanted to go into, oh, that got a little bit louder. 2:29 The reason I wanted to go into illustration instead of, 2:33 say like fine art or sculpture or something like that is 2:35 first off I really enjoy drawing and that's a huge part of illustration. 2:38 And secondly, I really liked working collaboratively with. 2:41 Other people, and bringing, you know, my own creative talents to 2:46 someone else's idea and kind of bringing that idea to life. 2:51 And that's what illustration is all about, you know, solving visual problems. 2:54 And fine art is just totally a different side of that, which I totally appreciate. 2:57 And my husband is a fine artist and I love that. 3:01 But I, I work from a little bit more of an object, 3:04 objective viewpoint with, with my career. 3:06 So, so that's why I went into illustration and I went on two, 3:09 I went on to go to College for Creative Studies in Detroit. 3:14 Sorry, sorry, my ear piece is coming off. 3:19 [BLANK_AUDIO] 3:22 Sorry guys [LAUGH]. 3:27 I went on to go to College for Creative Studies in Detroit. 3:28 And you know that's where I met my husband. 3:31 I met a lot of cool friends there. 3:32 And this is one of those pivotal moments that I really wanted 3:34 to stop at because I know a lot of you guys, 3:38 some of you will probably have an education, in illustration or design. 3:40 And some of you might be self-taught I know a lot of you guys probably go online, 3:46 take online tutorials things like that, 3:50 maybe you have friends that you learn from. 3:52 So this is kind of a point you know in your life journey that hopefully can be 3:54 a little bit comparable to mine where I, I decided hey, I know what I wanna do. 3:58 I wanna get an education in it. 4:03 And the reason that college was really important for 4:05 me is not necessarily because of the technical skills that I learned. 4:07 Because a lot of it is, you know, 4:11 self motivated, and you do learn some amazing things at college. 4:13 Especially like learning the Adobe programs and stuff like that. 4:17 But, the main thing that was a huge asset to me was 4:20 the creative community at college. 4:23 Where, you are surrounded by people that are constantly influencing you and 4:25 you can bounce ideas off of each other. 4:30 You can, challenge each other and motivate each other and If 4:32 you surround yourself with people that are not like that or if you're always alone 4:37 it can get really lonely and sometimes you just don't progress in the same way. 4:41 And a lot fo the friends that I made at CSS I'm still really, really close with 4:44 and they're doing some really awesome stuff and you know a lot of them live in 4:49 California and we try to travel out and visit them all the time and it, it's been. 4:53 I can't even put a price on that. 4:58 So I had a great experience with college and I met my husband there. 4:59 So I, I kind of, I put a slide together. 5:03 Sorry it's a little bit pixellated. 5:05 This is kind of the stuff that I was doing in college. 5:06 I wanted to work editorially and do commercial illustrations and 5:09 stuff like that. 5:13 For awhile I was thinking oh, I want to do children's book Illustrations but, like, 5:14 I quickly learned that doing just children's book illustrations 5:19 is hard to do, which you totally can [LAUGH] do it. 5:23 But it's a little bit hard to do. 5:24 So, I really wanted to do editorial. 5:26 You can see, I was kinda doing hand lettering back in college. 5:27 I like to do, I was really good into like punk music and stuff like that. 5:30 So, I did a lot of gig posters, and I loved it. 5:33 So, that's You know, what, sort of, 5:36 sparked my, my love for combining illustration with hand drawn words. 5:38 And I was really excited about it. 5:43 So in 2010, that's when I graduated and 5:45 this, kind of, like, another, another pivotal point. 5:50 And I just, I wanna tell a little story, but I promise it's relevant. 5:53 Just a heads up, I think something that I like to do is I like to encourage people 5:58 to make decisions that might be kind of scary but 6:01 could potentially put you in a place where you can do great things in the future and 6:06 will get you to meet your goals. 6:10 So, in 2010 I graduated and I like had no idea what I was going to do. 6:12 I really didn't know anything about the business side of illustration 6:17 so my husband and I were trying to, we were trying to figure things out and 6:22 in 2010 in Michigan, as in like many other states in the United States. 6:27 Michigan had a really really bad economy. 6:32 The unemployment rate was insane. 6:34 It was like 10% and it stayed like that for many years. 6:36 It was really hard to get a job even if you were really talented. 6:39 Which at this point you know I was sort of talented, like it was there but 6:42 like I was a newbie, and I mean I'm still kind of a newbie but I didn't really know 6:46 what I was doing, what my direction was so I totally didn't get a job. 6:51 I was like job searching everywhere trying to do graphic design stuff, 6:54 I'm not a graphic designer I'm an illustrator so 6:57 just wasn't really meeting up and at that point I started looking into other jobs. 6:59 And sure enough I ended up getting a job back at CCS where I went as 7:05 I would recruit people. 7:11 So I would travel the United States and do presentations and 7:12 you know, get people psyched about CCS. 7:16 Kind of like help mentor people if they're interested in, in going to college. 7:19 But, when they offered me the job, I went back home and 7:23 told my husband, his name is Cody. 7:26 I told Cody, you know, I, I need this job. 7:28 It's stable, it's like a salary, and, you, you know, you have health benefits. 7:32 And it's insane. 7:35 And, but then we're were talking about it. 7:36 And I thought, this, this isn't what I want to do, like it's and 7:38 it's not even going to get me where I wanna go it's just something that's safe, 7:42 and I'm around art but I knew deep down it's not where I wanted to be. 7:46 So Cody was telling me hey, we should, we should like take the leap, 7:50 we should go and move across the country and go, to Los Angeles and. 7:53 I was, like, so scared, and I cried everyday up until the point that we went. 7:57 So we finally, you know, we finally did it. 8:02 And we, we went and, we took, like, we have, like, $5,000 to our name. 8:04 And we had, like, no job, no anything. 8:08 And so we moved to across the country, and it was so scary, but 8:11 it was, like, the best decision that I ever made. 8:13 And, you know, my husband went out there. 8:15 And I'm not sure if you guys are into, like, Painting and stuff. 8:17 My husband's a painter and he went and studied with, Jeremy Lipking out there 8:21 who's this amazing artist and, so we went out there, we made these great friends. 8:24 We became friends with Jeremy and his family, 8:28 and, I ended up finding a job out there that I was really excited about. 8:30 I had to do a bunch of odd jobs, you know. 8:35 No shame, like it's, it's going to get me where I wanna go, 8:37 to at least make ends meet. 8:39 So you know, I was a personal assistant for a fashion designer for a while, and 8:41 it was terrible, terrible. 8:45 But eventually, I found a job, and I'm assuming a lot of you guys 8:48 are into like stationery type stuff, and like maybe like wedding things. 8:52 If you do hand lettering like I do, you're probably into it. 8:57 So, I got a job at Sugar Paper in Los Angeles which is this awesome 9:01 letterpress company. 9:06 [LAUGH] It's this awesome letterpress company, and when I got a job, 9:07 they were really small. 9:10 It's a little bit, it's a little bit bigger now but 9:11 it was a really small company. 9:13 And, but the thing is, is I didn't get a job doing art there. 9:15 I got a job in the store. 9:19 But the, this is kind, I'm, I'm gonna wrap up this story in a second. 9:21 But this is important because I knew that by getting a job in their store that like 9:24 opened up opened up opportunities to potentially create relationships and 9:29 understand what they needed. 9:35 And potentially start freelancing for them or working you know in house whatever, 9:37 just doing something creative I knew it was going to get me where I wanted to 9:41 go but I didn't know exactly where I wanted to go but 9:45 it was important because that was this pivotal moment that taking a chance, and 9:48 like being really mindful of the jobs you do take, and like. 9:52 Sort of what your end goal is and trying to take things at maybe in 9:55 the beginning is not going to like Pay off but in the long run it will pay off. 9:59 So, sure enough I I started freelancing for them. 10:03 They liked me, they're awesome. 10:08 Like all the women there, and there's men there now. 10:09 [LAUGH] The, the guys, the, the people who did letterpress there were all 10:11 guys at the time, but it was such a great group of people and it just jived. 10:15 And they liked my portfolio so I worked full time in their shop, and 10:19 part time I'd go home, and you know, like five hours a night or 10:22 something, I would do freelance work for them. 10:25 So, this kind of brings me to learning about freelance. 10:28 This is when I was learning the ropes. 10:32 And this is kind of some of the stuff when I first started off. 10:33 The owners would create or design the projects and 10:38 then we had their head designer Erica. 10:40 She would design them and then I would do the lettering. 10:42 So this first started, you know, getting me into, okay, what does that look like? 10:44 What is even freelancing [LAUGH] look like? 10:48 How do I do it? 10:50 And I only had one client and it was Sugar Paper, and so 10:51 it kind of felt like I worked exclusively for them. 10:54 But it was a great point in my life, getting me to where I wanted to go, 10:57 because it, it helped me learn the ropes. 11:00 So I started to understand, okay, how do I manage my time? 11:02 Like, when I have a full time job, how do I manage my time? 11:06 How do I work directly with clients? 11:09 Like via email, you know, even going in and having meetings with them. 11:12 How do I take their, 11:15 like the words that they tell me about what their vision is and how do I 11:17 put that on paper and solve those visual problems, cuz that's really important. 11:20 And if you're a freelancer and and then especially, you know, 11:23 the actual business side of things. 11:27 Like, how do I get paid, send out invoices? 11:29 And then once I do get paid, what do I do with that, like how do I file my taxes and 11:31 things like that that no one ever really talks about with the freelance side. 11:35 They like to talk about the creative stuff cuz that's the fun stuff, but 11:38 it was really important to learn those things, and 11:41 especially in a setting that was very nurturing. 11:43 Like, I wasn't working with like, a huge company where it was like, 11:45 a very intimidating art director or something like that. 11:49 It was with, sort of, my friends and 11:51 they were just kind of helping me grow as an artist. 11:52 And you guys, seriously like, I can't thank them enough at Sugar Paper because. 11:56 I don't even think I would've started doing hand lettering calligraphy if it 12:00 weren't for being a part of that atmosphere, and, 12:03 like, understanding what they wanted. 12:05 So I started learning, you know, market trends and, like, what people want, 12:08 like how I can create stuff, create a portfolio that, like, will actually sell. 12:11 And like, people will want. 12:16 And lucky enough for me, I, it's sort of a right place right time situation. 12:17 This is a little bit beforehand lettering kinda blew up, 12:22 like right now you see it all over the place, but 12:25 at this time nobody was doing modern calligraphy, it like was not a thing. 12:27 So I think I, there was like a few calligraphers, that I really, 12:31 really loved like Betsy Dunlap and Molly from Plurabelle. 12:34 Like, I think those were probably, 12:37 literally the only modern calligrapher's that were doing it back then. 12:40 And then me, who was, I was terrible, like, I was really bad. 12:43 I, I taught myself calligraphy and all this stuff was not calligraphy, 12:46 this was hand lettering. 12:49 So for those of you who don't know, 12:52 I guess I'll just give you a little run down, calligraphy and 12:53 hand lettering are different. 12:55 So calligraphy is with a calligraphy tools, it's like based on penmanship and 12:56 hand lettering is like illustrating letter forms. 12:59 So. 13:02 That's kind of a little glimpse of that portion of my life. 13:03 So I guess trying to apply it to your guys' lives just being 13:06 mindful of the jobs that you take, and knowing where you want to go, in general. 13:11 Like, what your goals are, and not just, like, settling on something because 13:15 you say, oh yeah this is making me a little bit of money on the side but 13:19 is it what you really love to do and is it going to get you to where you want to go? 13:22 So you know maybe reevaluate those things and take a job that like is humbling 13:26 that's not like your dream job but realize, oh yeah, like, I need to learn. 13:30 You know? 13:34 So I think that's really important when you're first starting off. 13:35 So, in 2011, that was just one year later, I, 13:39 I'm super close to my family so I really wanted to move back home. 13:43 And I'm, I grew up in the country so I'm not, I'm not a city girl. 13:47 And as much as I loved my job at Sugar Paper. 13:49 I started freelancing for them for a lot, so I knew that I could, you know, 13:52 I could work from Michigan and still work for them. 13:54 And I just wouldn't work in, in the shop. 13:56 And the apprenticeship that my husband had with that painter was kind of 13:58 coming to an end, and 14:02 he got a full ride scholarship to get his master's in fine art back in Michigan. 14:02 I'm like, perfect opportunity. 14:06 Let's, let's move back. 14:07 So, we move back to Michigan, and so, this time, through 2012, 14:09 this was the real deal. 14:12 So, this is when I actually started working full-time freelancing. 14:13 So, for this I just kind of want to talk to you guys a little bit about how, how 14:18 I started actually getting jobs and then, like, getting consistent jobs for free. 14:25 Like, not, like, buying advertising anywhere or 14:29 even working with an art rep or anything. 14:33 I did this all from my own home without knowing 14:35 without having any previous knowledge other than working just for Sugar Paper. 14:38 I never knew how to work with multiple clients. 14:41 How to balance all like getting you know, like 15 1099s at the end of the year. 14:44 It's really insane and very overwhelming. 14:48 So this year, in 2011 that's when I, I got back to Michigan. 14:51 I said, okay, I'm gonna like, I'm gonna get a DBA, I'm gonna be legit. 14:55 And so I did that and I set up a studio space that was specifically for 14:59 freelancing. 15:04 And this was still a time where the economy was really bad. 15:05 So I didn't have a lot, I did, I hardly made any money, but it's, it's cool, 15:08 it's was, I loved this memory of my life and, so on the side, when I could, my, 15:12 my parents are amazing, and they let me go back to their house and 15:19 clean their house once a week and they would like give me a 100 bucks. 15:24 And it helped me, me and Cody like pay our rent. 15:28 And, you know, buy some groceries and 15:31 do real life things instead of you know, living in a hole underground [LAUGH]. 15:33 Which my husband would probably like that because he likes being outside but, so 15:37 I'm, I'm really thankful for 15:42 that because I couldn't have done it without my parents. 15:44 But, this is when I started working with multiple clients. 15:46 So what I did when I got back from Los Angeles, I knew what, like, 15:49 the industry needed, at least the wedding industry. 15:53 So at this point I thought to myself, 15:56 I don't necessarily want to work in the wedding industry, 15:59 but I get to be creative and I know I can make money doing it. 16:01 Maybe I should try doing this. 16:06 So, what I did is I handcrafted a portfolio based on what I knew was really, 16:09 really popular at Sugar Paper. 16:14 I didn't copy any of their designs by any means, but I used my skills that 16:16 I would help them with and I was just really objective about my portfolio. 16:19 And I think that's something as an illustrator you kind of have to do. 16:25 You have to understand, okay, how can I be creative, put a little bit of myself into 16:28 this, but realize this is, this is for a client, like this needs to sell. 16:32 And that's what illustration is about, unless I'm doing side projects that my, 16:36 are my own type of fine art then then you gotta do that. 16:39 So I crafted this portfolio that was based in the wedding industry 16:43 on modern calligraphy and hand lettering doing invitations and envelopes and 16:47 things like that and the wedding industry was just booming. 16:52 So what I did is I took those designs and because no one else was really doing it at 16:55 this time, I would send them to blogs that were relevant to the industry. 16:59 So, I have a few up here like Paper Crave, Oh So 17:04 Beautiful Paper what's that one up there Great Lakes Weddings, Inspire to Share, 17:06 you know, Design Sponge, like those types of places to get featured. 17:11 And sure enough I like got featured on those places, and 17:14 I think part of it is because you know I am, like, I love to hustle my work, but 17:18 I also think it's another, like, right place right time. 17:22 You know, like, that's when before there were a lot of 17:26 people doing this out there so people were excited to see it, 17:28 and people are still excited to see it, but it worked in my benefit. 17:31 So what we did is I tried to get featured and then I tried to create content on my 17:34 website that would always be pointing people back, like, 17:39 to come back to my website. 17:42 So using Pinterest, like Pinterest was just like getting really big then and 17:44 I jumped on the bandwagon and I was able to create artwork that marketed 17:48 specifically towards like my target market like, 17:53 women you know who have a budget to get married and event planners and stationers. 17:56 And people specifically doing that thing. 18:01 So I was really strategic about it. 18:03 And it worked because Pinterest primarily are those types of people. 18:05 At least when it started out it was mostly like crafty type people who wanted 18:09 to do wedding things. 18:14 So I create artwork content on my blog and put it on Pinterest 18:15 in hopes of getting repinned by some really successful bloggers. 18:19 And it happened, and lucky enough for me so it would get pinned a lot and 18:22 direct people back to my website. 18:26 So, free advertising. 18:28 So for you guys out there this can work now. 18:29 Pinterest and social media's a little bit different than it was you know, 18:32 back in 2011 but it's the same thing, it's free advertising. 18:35 It's amazing getting people back to your website if you market yourself in this 18:38 way, but just be relevant. 18:41 So, like, understanding who you're trying to sell to, where you wanna get featured, 18:43 and why you wanna be featured there. 18:46 Not just, like, randomly trying to, like, grasp at straws. 18:48 That's, I don't think that's a really good way to do things. 18:52 I think being strategic is a great way to do those things. 18:55 So, I became really mindful of marketing and 18:58 like doing, you know, illustration and freelance work in a digital age. 19:02 It's very, very different than it was, you know, back in like the 80s and 90s. 19:06 So, my professors at CCS, they, the way that they approached 19:09 soft marketing was very different than the way that I approached it. 19:13 So, okay. 19:18 A few more photos, and kind of the portfolio that I created. 19:19 These are a few, 19:22 like, wedding calligraphy that I did and wedding calligraphy was really popular. 19:23 And all the while, I knew, like, oh, good Lord, I don't wanna be doing 19:27 wedding envelopes, like, calligraphy on envelopes every single day. 19:32 Don't, there's nothing wrong with that at all, but I just knew that that's not what 19:36 I wanted to do specifically because of the, the client that I was working with. 19:40 When I was in college, 19:44 I always knew, hey, I really like working with people who are very straightforward. 19:45 They don't, like, beat around the bush. 19:50 They're not, like, so 19:51 emotionally involved and when you're working in the wedding industry, 19:52 you work directly with the clients so a lot of times you're working with. 19:55 I hear somebody laughing [LAUGH], so, I'm sure some of you guys have experienced 19:58 this, you're usually working directly with the client so A bride or a brides mother 20:02 and, I mean you want to create something that they're really excited about and 20:07 they love because its so special to them but 20:11 its way too emotionally like involves and then when they give you feedback. 20:13 They'll just be, like, oh, yeah I don't like the way that you did that I'm. 20:17 And eh, when someone gives you feedback like that, it's, it's not good feedback, 20:22 but you can't blame them because, you know, they're not an art director, 20:26 they don't understand how to give specific feedback. 20:29 Like, hey, you need to open up the counter space on that loop a little bit. 20:32 You need to like, adjust the spacing between these two letters. 20:35 And like, creative flourish that like takes up this negative space. 20:38 Like they don't understand that, which is totally fine, and I get it. 20:41 But that's one of the reasons I, 20:43 I knew I didn't want to work in the wedding industry. 20:45 [SOUND]. 20:46 So all the while thinking this, trying to like, brainstorm how can I, 20:47 how can I break out of the wedding, It's so safe, and it's so consistent, 20:51 like, people want wedding stuff, you like, always get jobs. 20:55 Like, even now, if any of you are interested in doing hand lettering for 20:58 a wedding, like It's a sure fire way to get, like, consistent work, 21:00 if you, if you love doing that, but you've got to have the right personality. 21:04 [SOUND]. 21:07 So, this kind of brings me to, 2013 through present. 21:07 So I was doing that for a few years, and then in 2013, I had, 21:13 you know, this is a kind of another pivotal moment that, 21:18 I think a lot of you probably have questions about. 21:21 I was, I was [SOUND] addressed by an art rep and her name's Joanie Bernstein and 21:24 I think she, she found my work just on the internet which a lot of people just, 21:28 a lot of people do like on Pinterest or on social media. 21:32 And [SOUND] so she sent, she sent me an e-mail and 21:35 she's like hey you know, rep calling are you interested in working with me? 21:38 And, I know that Shauna talked a little bit about working with her wrap and it's, 21:42 she, Shauna actually contributed to my, 21:46 my blog like last year something talking about her experience with her wrap. 21:48 And, just a little side note for those of you who aren't familiar with my work, 21:52 I run a little column on my blog, this is kind of personal stuff, 21:55 it's called the freelance diaries and just talks about you know, 21:58 my little existential stuff and then also, hopefully helpful little tips and tricks. 22:01 [SOUND] So I, I was contacted by my art rep, Joanie, and 22:05 this was a really big deal for me because I wasn't the type of person who thought, 22:09 oh, if I just had an art rep, my life would be better. 22:14 I would, I would get all the work that I wanted, 22:17 I would have consistent pay, I didn't have that mentality at all, 22:20 specifically, because, I was already working full time and 22:24 I didn't necessarily need someone to get me art, like, to get me art jobs. 22:27 So I took a long time really thinking about it and I, a lot of times I'll tell, 22:33 you know, students if I'm teaching that if, 22:38 if you go into a relationship with an art rep. 22:40 Thinking that they're going to [SOUND] they're going to make your life perfect, 22:44 they're going to solve all your problems, and 22:47 I think that that is extremely foolish, extremely foolish. 22:49 And I think most artists don't necessarily think that way, but you might. 22:52 And when I first graduated college, I actually did that, think that way. 22:57 I thought, I could I'll get full time work if, If I just get an art rep. 23:00 So, so Joanie contacted me. 23:04 And I, you know, I went and talked to my, my mentor, Don Kilpatrick. 23:07 If you guys aren't familiar with his work, you should be. 23:10 He's amazing and he's the head of illustration at CCS. 23:12 And he's been working with Morgan Gaynin for, you know, like 10, 15 years. 23:14 And, so I contact him, I'm, like, hey do you have any feedback on this? 23:19 Like, what do you think? 23:22 Like, I don't want to jump into this willy nilly, 23:22 thinking that my life is going to be perfect if I work with a rep. 23:24 And, we went back and forth. 23:28 I talked with my husband trying to figure out, like, what the right decision was. 23:30 And finally I did, I decided I wanted to work with her. 23:33 And my, my experience with my rep is, 23:36 might be a little bit different than other people's. 23:40 And, like I mentioned Shauna's because she works with a really big art rep agency and 23:41 I just work with Joanie. 23:46 It's just her and we don't even have a contract. 23:47 Like we are just friends and we work together. 23:49 We don't work for each other and it's really really good. 23:51 [SOUND]. But 23:54 the reasoning behind me signing on you know, working with Joanie was, 23:54 there was a few different things first, I was, I was not very good at doing, 23:59 like, administrative things like, you know, following up with, like, 24:04 emails, on quoting and making sure I get paid correctly. 24:09 I, I could do it for sure. 24:13 Or invoicing and then managing the 1099s at the end of the year. 24:15 Like I told you, when I, 24:19 when I had to manage all that stuff it was really, really hard. 24:20 Like a lot of artists; some artists are very good at those types of things. 24:22 Especially designers who have their kind of type A personality but I just, 24:26 I don't have that. 24:30 I am very ADD so I'm scatter-brained and it takes a lot; I can do it and 24:31 I am a responsible adult but it takes a lot of energy and time and 24:35 time is money, you know? 24:38 So, so I, I was like, okay, Joanie can help me with this stuff! 24:40 She can take this, you know, load off my shoulders and I, in my mind, 24:44 that is, just that alone is worth giving her a portion of every job that I do. 24:49 Just the fact that she makes it so my taxes are easier at the end of the year, 24:54 that I get paid some, a substantial amount of money for 24:59 the jobs That I'm working on, and just being, you know, being there for 25:02 me like when I have questions, and like starting to understand licensing, 25:06 understanding like usage rights and things like that. 25:10 And so this was a really good decision for me. 25:12 And one of the, the main reasons why it was a good decision is because Joanie 25:15 helped me transition from the wedding industry to the commercial industry, 25:20 which is what my dream was, it's like, what I wanted to do, 25:23 I didn't want to work in wedding. 25:26 So, starting off, we, 25:27 we still did a few little wedding projects just to kind of keep things rolling. 25:31 And a lot of that was with previous clients that I'd already worked with, 25:35 event designers, things like that. 25:37 but she helped me start snagging jobs that I was really excited about. 25:39 So I have a few examples of -- just like a few of the pieces that I've done that I 25:44 got really stoked on. 25:47 The first one actually wasn't used. 25:50 That was for the Entertainment Weekly bird man cover. 25:52 They actually went and they went with an in-house designer I think who ended up 25:55 doing it,but I was really stoked because they asked me to do it and 25:59 I created you know concept art sketches for them and I still think it 26:02 turned out really cool so I like sharing it and I was just excited about it. 26:06 And then I have a few other ones, I did a cool project for 26:10 [UNKNOWN] where we like we filmed this video and a little side story on that, 26:14 that was that was something that totally went out of my comfort zone. 26:21 Like, I had to be on camera, they were filming me and so 26:25 I had to do a little bit of acting in that. 26:28 So if you guys are not familiar with my work, 26:29 you should go online and check it out, 26:31 It's kind of a fun little video and Cole Haan is sort of transitioning their brand. 26:32 And so that was great and they were like, 26:37 supporting the arts of Detroit, which was really exciting. 26:39 And Joanie helped me get that. 26:43 I've done quite a bit of work for the Wall Street Journal and 26:45 those are really fun and great jobs to just learn from because 26:48 it's quick turnaround just because they print so often. 26:51 So this, the project that we did the words that popped in, I think it was 2013, 26:54 I think might have been 2014, don't really remember, but I did that over Christmas. 26:58 So that was kind of, like, one of those things that, being a freelancer, 27:04 you're like, oh I have to work over Christmas. 27:08 And it, it sort of sucked, but 27:11 [LAUGH] but I was, that was my first time ever working for the Wall Street Journal. 27:12 And if I would've turned it down, I wouldn't get consistent work from them. 27:16 And I do like a few pieces a year for them, so it's It's a great client to have 27:18 to keep coming back and on that note kind of the idea of maintaining clients and 27:22 you, you don't even have to be the best artist in the world. 27:28 If you are reliable, you work hard, 27:32 you can solve visual problems, and you are good, you don't have to be the best. 27:34 And you're pleasant to work with, you can maintain a great client relationship 27:39 just by having that sort of mentality and just being a good person to work with, 27:43 being humble, open to criticism, you know not being too emotionally connected 27:47 with your work that you, you start crying all the time. 27:53 When people give you feedback that's not even main feedback. 27:55 >> Which I understand that people do that, and I get it, I totally get it [LAUGH] but 27:58 so that was a learning experience for me and people will want to come back and 28:04 maintain a relationship with you because they know that you're reliable they'll 28:06 keep you on file on like their vendor list and you know that's, 28:09 that's kind of like the Wall Street Journal, what they've done with me, and 28:12 what they've done with a lot of lettering artists and it's cool because you know. 28:15 [SOUND] >> There's room for everybody, like, 28:18 they hire so many artists, but I still get work from them. 28:20 And it's awesome, because I get to see Shawna's work, and 28:22 a lot of other lettering artists that I follow. 28:25 Like, they get to do jobs for them, too. 28:27 And it's, is we're all big, one big happy family. 28:29 [LAUGH]. 28:31 And then last one, I did a book cover, and I've worked on a lot of other 28:32 cool jobs with Joanie that, like, >> I don't think I could 28:36 have gotten on my own. 28:39 On my own, like I said, I could continue freelancing, doing wedding stuff. 28:40 I was doing really well, but the night I worked on a European Nike campaign and 28:44 I don't think I probably would have gotten that without Joanie, 28:49 that's another long story. 28:53 That was a really interesting project because 28:53 we had to do it in eight different languages. 28:56 And worked, I worked with a team in Amsterdam. 28:59 So that was another a learning project of like being really being open to working on 29:01 different, you know, different time zones and just trying to be really nice when 29:07 you're working with the people because everyone was working around the clock. 29:12 And we, we all were emotionally invested into this project. 29:14 And so that was a great learning experience and 29:17 great you know for my resume. 29:20 To say, hey I did this. 29:21 >> Campaign for Nike, for Google Maps. 29:22 Just a side note, I got to meet the art director that I worked with on 29:25 the Google Maps project because she came to one of my workshops and 29:28 it was awesome because it was after we did this project and it's just really cool to. 29:32 To kind of, like, form relationships with the people you work with. 29:36 And, not only is it cool because, if you like relationships [LAUGH] 29:39 then you get to have a new friend, but also, you have like, a business partner 29:43 that's going to send work your way because they like you and you like them. 29:47 And you guys know that you can come up with content that's valuable. 29:49 So that's kind of, I loved working for, for Google Maps, did some stuff for 29:53 the New York Times and then I just that was a little personal project that I did 29:57 when I start just started, the back street thing we did it as a little email. 30:00 Promo, and that's when I just started working with like 30:04 a new brush lettering style that I was working on. 30:07 And which kinda of like, brings me to my next point about how for, 30:11 for actually getting work. 30:15 So for this last little one, the backstreet image. 30:18 I've, now, now I'm just thinking about Backstreet Boys. 30:23 So when, I created this because Joanie, my rep, was like, hey, you know, 30:26 I, I saw this thing on your Instagram. 30:31 You like, tried this brush thing. 30:33 Like, let's try that and let's kind of like, market that a little bit to some, 30:35 you know, different art directors and 30:38 different people that would potentially be interested in using it. 30:42 So I was like, heck yeah, I totally want to try it. 30:44 And, so I started building it up and then, so, what she does for 30:46 marketing which if you have rep they might do this a little they might do it similar, 30:49 they might do it a little bit differently. 30:53 What the way that we kind of get my work in front of clients 30:55 is that we will send out usually once a year, mailers. 30:58 So, like, we'll create mailers. 31:02 It's like, really expensive. 31:03 We usually cut, you know, cut the cost. 31:05 Like, she'll take a portion of it, and I'll take a portion of it. 31:06 And send it out. 31:09 But it's so much fun, because then you start seeing people on social media that 31:09 you didn't even know were, I mean, I wouldn't even know were on my client list. 31:14 Joanie kind of knows all my clients. 31:16 And like, you'll see it on social media. 31:18 They'll be like, oh, I just got your mailer and then I get so 31:19 excited cuz then I can, like, connect with those people and potentially get jobs. 31:22 Sometimes, you don't get jobs from it, sometimes you do. 31:26 But it's just a really great way to connect with people and 31:28 get your work in front of the right eyes as sending those mailers. 31:32 And Joanie also, she will take work like this, where it's, like, kind of new, 31:35 like, new work that we're just experimenting with and 31:40 she sends out email newsletters to potential clients. 31:43 So she'll, she has a really great database and she'll send out newsletters and 31:46 promotel my work and, you know, she only has like eight artists that she reps. 31:49 So we get a lot of attention, we're kind of spoiled [LAUGH]. 31:53 So I, I really like that about Joni, she does a great job consistently you know, 31:56 repping my work but kind of on a similar not for those of you, 32:00 when I was saying hey don't think having a rep is gonna solve all your problems. 32:04 I have to work with her. 32:09 So I am, I am so, I'm like very adamant about self promotion so 32:12 I, what I like to do is I like to be, you know, engaged on social media. 32:18 I know a lot of you guys are on Twitter for the Creative South. 32:22 I'm really bad about that. 32:26 I'm not good with Twitter. 32:27 Instagram is my drug of choice. 32:28 So, [LAUGH] I'm really present on Instagram and like, 32:29 have a highly curated profile where, like, I try to, you know, 32:31 promote images that are relevant hopefully and will get me work. 32:35 I mean it is highly curated. 32:40 If you guys follow me, that's awesome, but if you're interested in like, seeing, 32:41 like, a real little bit of Mali, er, you can do some snooping and 32:45 find my personal Instagram, cuz that's like, real stuff. 32:48 But I like to, I like to curate my my account to, hopefully, 32:50 make it profitable for me and for Joanie and for people to be coming back and 32:55 think, oh yeah, I, I wanna reference this image because I really like it even if it, 32:58 if it, if it is a personal project, then, you know, 33:03 they, they like that so I like to promote that way. 33:06 I actually do my own newsletter, and I really like to blog. 33:11 So I, like I said, 33:14 I do my Freelance Diaries column that I get really excited about. 33:16 I, I'm not super consistent about it, but 33:20 that's something that would probably help me be more profitable if 33:22 I was consistent about it and I did it all the time but kind of managing. 33:25 Managing everything can get overwhelming if you're, like, doing freelance, 33:29 if you're traveling, and you're teaching, and you're blogging. 33:32 It's a lot to do, but I love, I love blogging. 33:34 And it's a really good way, so, if you are illustrators, and 33:36 if you haven't considered blogging, 33:40 you absolutely should in understanding relevant content with your blog. 33:41 So, doing a post that people will actually appreciate. 33:46 Not necessarily always talking about yourself. 33:50 Maybe offering up tips to people that they will find it helpful but 33:52 they, you know, they can look to you for inspiration. 33:56 So, that's why, you know, on my blog I like to share things that, you know, they 33:58 are personal but, also stuff that other people will just get something out of it. 34:03 And that's a great way to gain a following of people that are not only art directors 34:09 and art buyers, and the people that are going to be hiring you, but 34:13 also community of other like fellow artists, like you guys, so I mean, 34:17 I'm just really excited to like, meet all you guys right now because I always like 34:20 recognize faces from social media, media, and blogging and stuff. 34:24 So, you're kind of like creating a community around what you're talking about 34:28 and which is, you know, it's really good for you and it's good for 34:33 the community because it's like progressing the art community and, 34:35 like, what people are all about and, like, challenging people for, like, 34:38 new ideas and getting better at what you're doing. 34:41 So, that's why, in a nutshell, that why I, like, that's why I really enjoy blogging 34:44 and then, lastly, for self-promotion, I have my, my online presence so 34:49 I have my website and having a website is extremely important. 34:55 Whether you're a beginner or intermediate. 35:00 Whether you have been doing it for 40 years, having a really good website is, 35:02 it's going to be so important for you guys. 35:06 And I know not, especially if, you know, some of you guys are illustrators, 35:09 a lot of you are designers, so designing a website is like, no big deal for you. 35:12 But if you're an illustrator, it's kind of a big deal, designing a website. 35:16 So, just to encourage you to, to get a website, there's so 35:19 many things out there that make it easy to create a really good online presence, 35:23 like, I used Square Space Which is awesome. 35:27 I'm sure a lot of you guys do too. 35:29 They're like, it's a great website to create, 35:30 you know, clean design, it's easy to navigate. 35:32 They're huge advocates of the community, so they like will sponsor me and 35:36 help me do what I love. 35:41 So, they will, they will try to facilitate a great like environment for artists to 35:44 flourish and create websites that are easy to upload your artwork, it's easy to blog, 35:48 it's easy to sell your artwork which I'm gonna talk a little bit about at the end. 35:52 And so yeah just having that presence and 35:58 being, having a presence on social media and being able to market yourself. 36:00 In also if you had a art rep, kind of both of you guys working together as a team. 36:05 Maybe since my art rep is a little bit more old school, she kind of goes about it 36:11 in that old school way, and then mixed with kind of digital age, marketing in 36:15 the digital age, it's just a really good combination because you meet people 36:19 at all different levels and you create a community around what you're doing. 36:23 Okay. 36:27 [NOISE] Ooh, okay. 36:28 So, I'm gonna, I'm gonna wrap this up here soon. 36:32 My thing keeps falling. 36:35 [NOISE] Is this falling? 36:36 Sorry guys. 36:37 [LAUGH] I'm going to wrap this up here in a second. 36:38 So, building an ideal life. 36:40 So this kind of is like pulling it into full circle. 36:42 So one more thing on top of freelancing that I do is that I supplement my income. 36:45 So supplemental income is gonna be really important for you guys. 36:51 You, you could be like you know, the best designer in the world and 36:55 I feel like you should still like participate in supplemental income but 36:58 definitely if you're a newbie at every level. 37:01 So I do a few things. 37:03 What I do first, I teach, and this is not really a passive income I have to travel 37:05 but again it's kind of like blogging where I get to like create this community 37:09 around what I'm doing, I get to meet new people and bounce ideas off of them. 37:12 It's, teaching is fantastic and if you're good at what you do and 37:17 your skills are meaningful to other people you could make a really good living off of 37:22 just teaching if you wanted to, so I love teaching. 37:26 And who knows maybe some of you guys have like taken my workshop before so 37:29 I'm not sure [LAUGH] but so I travel around and I teach and 37:33 its a cool way that I get to travel and so that's one of the things that I want with 37:36 my ideal life I wannabe able to travel Travel. 37:39 Workshops, teaching gets me to be able to travel. 37:42 Crafting this ideal life out of freelancing. 37:45 So, next, I sell stock art. 37:47 And I can do it on my website. 37:49 You can create, or use relative platforms like creative market, and 37:51 it, it works really well. 37:55 You can license stock art if you're an illustrator. 37:56 It's a great way to create something, be creative, and this is personal stuff. 37:59 So you're not creating for a client. 38:02 You're creating you know, to be creative. 38:04 And this is awesome cuz you get to make money off of it after, 38:06 like, after you finish working. 38:08 So residual money is always a good thing. 38:11 I teach online classes. 38:13 Now a few of you guys said, who didn't even know me, said, oh yeah, 38:15 I kind of recognize you. 38:18 You probably recognize me from my Skillshare class. 38:19 So, I teach an online Skillshare class where we do modern calligraphy. 38:22 And it's been awesome, so Skillshare, you know, 38:25 been a great source of passive income for me, where I've created this class, 38:29 and I, I get a paycheck each, each month, with royalties, which is awesome. 38:34 And then lastly, I have fonts. 38:39 So, I, I design typefaces and I work with a font designer and 38:41 we kind of collaborate and we create these like fun fonts and that is a great way to 38:45 get to be creative, and create content that I can use in my own stuff. 38:49 And, I can get, you know, residual income from that. 38:53 So, doing all these things combined with freelancing, gives me like, 38:56 a stable, a, like a stable income that I can rely on. 39:01 Because freelancing is totally not for everyone. 39:05 You gotta have the right personality. 39:07 But if it is, if it is right for you and you do have that personality, and 39:10 you combine these things, it can be, you know, it can be something that 39:13 completely changes your life and you can form your entire lifestyle around this. 39:18 Like traveling, having a flexible schedule. 39:23 I'm using that lightly. 39:25 And just working on creative stuff that you're excited about. 39:26 So that kind of wraps it up. 39:31 I, I, I know I, I went on for a little while. 39:32 So thank you guys so much for coming and listening to me talk. 39:36 I really hope that you can apply some of this knowledge to what you guys do. 39:39 Hopefully, no matter what level you're at maybe you've been, 39:42 you just started off, or you've been doing it for 40 years, but you need to kind 39:45 a just like revamp the way that you assess marketing, or something like that. 39:49 Hopefully you can apply it to to what you guys are doing. 39:52 So thanks so much. 39:55 Do you guys? 39:56 We can. Do you have any questions. 39:56 [LAUGH]. 39:58 [APPLAUSE]. 40:00 Can we do questions? 40:01 Just a few. 40:03 Cool. [LAUGH] Yeah? 40:04 >> So whenever you work with clients, do you mainly deliver, like, 40:06 digital files of what you do? 40:09 >> Yeah. 40:11 >> Or do you deliver, like, hard pieces? 40:11 [INAUDIBLE] >> Yeah. 40:13 I do, I do all digital files. 40:16 The old school illustrators used to send original artwork to have to be 40:18 photographed or scanned or whatever. 40:21 So, that's what's really cool about doing what I do is that I can work from wherever 40:24 I want, so, you know, my husband and I, we're moving back to the west side of 40:27 Michigan and get to live in like a little farm town again. 40:30 And I can just like work from home and send digital stuff, but when I was going 40:32 wedding, I sent actual, which was also another stressful part about it because 40:36 then you have to like understand logistics and like getting things to people, 40:40 so, that's another reason I didn't really like doing wedding stuff. 40:43 Yeah? >> When you worked with your rep did they 40:46 allow you to do your own marketing and 40:49 take on your own clients or did you 40:53 have to kind of send everyone contacting you on Twitter or whatever to your rep? 40:59 >> Yeah that's a good question, 41:01 he was asking if I have to always go through my rep right? 41:02 >> Yeah. >> Yeah, I, I mean, like I said, 41:04 I do a lot of my own marketing. 41:05 And we don't have a contract, so like, we're kind of like on the honor system. 41:07 I, like, sometimes am too nice for my own good when it comes to stuff. 41:11 So I, I would always go through my rep. 41:13 But not necessarily because I feel totally obligated, because technically I probably, 41:16 I take side projects sometimes on my own with family and friends, but it's more so 41:20 because she makes it convenient for 41:24 me and, and I know that I'm gonna get the best price if I go through her. 41:26 So I just will always go through her. 41:29 >> Yeah. Does that answer your question? 41:32 >> Yeah, that makes sense. 41:32 >> Cool. 41:33 Any other questions? 41:35 Cool. 41:39 All right well thanks so much you guys. 41:39 [APPLAUSE] [LAUGH] Have fun. 41:40
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