Featured Freelancer, Lisa Johnstone, Graphic Designer

Featured Freelancer, Lisa Johnstone, Graphic Designer

Orginating from Canada, Our 13th and latest Featured Freelancer is Lisa (Leese) Johnstone, a Graphic Designeer and Illustrator from Sittingbourne in Kent. Now, I’ve never met Lisa (apart from on twitter and in Freelance Heroes), but her answers indicate a very competitive and determined spirit, which has no doubt helped her to grow over the last 5 years, and will continue to do so as she moves towards a full-time freelancing role. It’s not all glamour though. This is Lisa’s story… What is your name and what do you do? Leese Johnstone and I’m a freelance Graphic Designer and Illustrator. How long have you been freelancing and why did you decide to become a freelancer? I’ve been freelancing since 2011, when I decided to retrain as a Graphic Designer but was still working in marketing. It was a good way to start honing my skills gradually. Luckily I got a job as a Design Assistant almost straight away, but continued to freelance around working and studying. I was a busy woman! What support did you have from family and friends? Did anyone advise you against becoming freelance? My husband was hugely supportive (and still is), helping me study and giving up our holidays and weekends for the first year of my MA to make sure I had time to complete my work. One senior coworker warned me that I would never finish my MA as he had tried to complete 3 (!) and failed – if anything that made me more determined. Did you use any professional support resources in starting your freelance business? The (now) gov.uk website to...
Featured Freelancer: Sean Hargrave, Freelance Journalist

Featured Freelancer: Sean Hargrave, Freelance Journalist

Sean Hargrave is one of the most experienced members of the Freelance Heroes group, having freelanced for over 18years. In this latest Featured Freelancer edition, Sean gives a very honest account of the highs and lows that he has experienced as a freelancer, and also introduces us to “frenemies” and why you need to be cautious of them. This is Sean’s story… What is your name and what do you do? I’m Sean Hargrave and I’m a freelance journalist with a bit of script writing and copywriting thrown in. How long have you been freelancing and why did you decide to become a freelancer? I’ve been freelance for 18 years now. I was made redundant from The Sunday Times in 1999 which is the best thing they could’ve done for me. It gave me a kick up the behind to back to freelancing which I much preferred to working in their office – I’d freelance for two years previously before being offered a job at the paper. What support did you have from family and friends? Did anyone advise you against becoming freelance? I was single and so had no family to support at the time, so the decision was really down to me, plus I had no real choice about going freelance. People were generally pretty supportive. Some people will always tell you to play it safe but there are plenty of people who will always encourage someone to give it a go. The ones you have to watch, I find, are ‘frenemies’ whom you know through work and pretend they will give you plenty of commissions but...
Featured Freelancer: Elizabeth Harmon, Social Media Consultant

Featured Freelancer: Elizabeth Harmon, Social Media Consultant

Over the years I’ve read many tips on freelancing, such as which tools to use, how to get new customers, etc. Bournemouth-based, Elizabeth Harmon, sums this all up together perfectly when she writes “You’re in charge of everything and so it’s important you’re organised.” Her other tips, like all our Featured Freelancers, come from her own experiences of freelancing over the last 3 years. The following is a snapshot of those experiences. Enjoy! What is your name and what do you do? My name is Elizabeth Harmon and I am a Freelance Social Media Consultant. I provide a complete range of social media services to clients, from providing advice and creating a social media strategy, to writing content (e.g. social posts, blogs), managing social media accounts, reporting and training. How long have you been freelancing and why did you decide to become a freelancer? I initially worked as a Social Media Executive in the hospitality industry, which I absolutely loved. However, I wanted to develop my skills further so I moved to a Social Media Agency for a short time. As well as having a crazy commute, it just wasn’t the right fit for me. I wasn’t initially sure what I wanted to do, but I had done some freelance work previously in my spare time and this helped me to make the decision to go it alone. It was the best decision I made and I have now been a full-time freelancer for over 3 years. What support did you have from family and friends? Did anyone advise you against becoming freelance? I already had some basic experience with...
The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Hashtags

The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Hashtags

Friends don’t let friends #use #too #many #hashtags During my social media training courses and consultancies, I’m almost always asked the questions “what is a hashtag?” and “when should I use one?”, and the concept of hashtags is probably one of the more challenging lessons of anyone new user to twitter or instagram.  As succinctly as I can, here are the answers to those questions: What is a hashtag? Wikipedia says “A hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content.” It’s a specific conversation topic. For example #MWL17 (Marketing Week Live), #BBCQT (BBC Question Time), #FACup, #UKBusinessLunch, etc. It’s a chance to offer a view on a particular topic and to be part of a conversation. What is it not? This (taken from an actual tweet)…  When should I use one? A hashtag is a specific conversation. It’s a group – be it 50 or 5000 people – talking about a particular topic, rather than just making a noise that can reach a wider number people. Note, I said “number of people”, not “audience”. There’s a big difference between the two. Once you’ve learnt this, here are some more practical steps for their use. Before you add a hashtag to your social media posts, use the search tools to understand how it’s currently being used. Ask youself why you are using it? If it’s only because you want your tweet to be seen by more people, then is it worth it? One article I read on...
Featured Freelancer: Karen Arnott, Graphic Designer

Featured Freelancer: Karen Arnott, Graphic Designer

Each week, a Freelance Hero steps out from behind the social media profile pic to become a Featured Freelancer and share the story of freelance journey. This week’s Featured Freelancer is Cambridge-based, Graphic Designer, Karen Arnott, who is one of the more experienced freelancers in the group. This is Karen’s story… What is your name and what do you do? Hello, my name is Karen Arnott and I’m a graphic designer. I work with small businesses providing a range of web and graphic design services from brand and visual identity development right through to complete website builds. How long have you been freelancing and why did you decide to become a freelancer? I’ve been freelancing for 12 years. Initially, it wasn’t a decision I actively made – I was happy in my role as Design Manager in a busy Marcom team.  My team was relocated to the US just as I was about to go on maternity leave, so I chose to take redundancy instead of relocation. Many colleagues were made redundant around the same time and while I was getting used to being a mum, they were busy setting up businesses of their own. This lead to a ready-made client base because several of my ex-colleagues wanted me to design the visual identities for their fledgling companies. What support did you have from family and friends? Did anyone advise you against becoming freelance? I started my freelance business while I would have been on maternity leave, and having received a redundancy package so there wasn’t urgent pressure to get it going financially. However, juggling clients and the needs...