Featured Freelancer: Nik Jones, Brand & Marketing Designer

This week’s Featured Freelancer only recently joined the Freelance Heroes Facebook group and has since said on Twitter about her experience, “So I recently joined the #FreelanceHeroes group and I’ve not met a more supportive lot! So here’s me getting involved and being all hero’y… Happy Monday ya’ll ❤️”, That was when she shared her selfie (which is where her image above is taken from. Here she shares the story of her freelancing journey, which we ask freelancers to tell, as another way of supporting and inspiring the UK freelancing community. When you read it, how many aspects of this (and the stories of other Featured Freelancers) do you relate to with your journey? 

There’ll be lessons to learn from this week’s story too. Enjoy.


What is your name, where are you based, and what do you do?


Hello I’m Nik, I’m based in Somerset and I’m a Freelance Brand & Marketing Designer specialising in brand identity and marketing communication.


How long have you been freelancing and why did you decide to become a freelancer?


I spent 20 years in an admin/office management career I didn’t enjoy, 5 years ago I began an internship with a design agency, a year later I left my full time job.


What support did you have from family and friends? Did anyone advise you against becoming freelance?


I had one friend who called me a masochist when I told her about my decision and my boyfriend at the time told me never to leave employment – needless to say they didn’t last very long. The support network I had was within the internship I did, everyone in that group of people were incredibly supportive and were the reason why I decided when it was time to fly the employment nest.


Did you use any professional support resources in starting your freelance business?


I didn’t, I was lucky enough to have a great group of creatives around me at that time. I did look around for networking but always found them to be a bit too stuffy or cliquey for me, always looking though, and also thinking about starting my own.


How would you describe your clients or customers?


In the beginning of my journey it was a very different story to now. I generally allowed clients to walk all over me, lacked decent agreements and terms, and I burned out regularly. Now after hiring a Life Coach I’ve learned a lot, one of the main lessons was learning how to say ‘no’, and understanding my own worth.


Why do your clients/customers select you over your competitors?


I have heard clients say that I’m no-nonsense – I value honesty, integrity and enjoy communicating clearly, which I bring into my work. I really enjoy working with clients that are passionate about their brand and aren’t afraid to listen and take professional advice.


Is being a freelancer what you expected? e.g. Do you work more hours (or less) than you had first anticipated?


It’s definitely hard work, which is something I was expecting – but I can now dictate how I structure my days. ‘Working Smarter’ is a term that I never really understood until I went freelance, especially being a creative, when you hit that creative burn out and try and force work out of yourself, I’ve learned new ways of working that just wouldn’t fit into a standard 9-5 job now.


What app or website could you not run your business without, and why?


I try not to rely on apps. I’m quite a minimalist and I learned early on that constant notifications and getting emails after hours were a huge distraction – so I needed to learn to be more productive in the working hours I’d set. However, I do use Buffer to schedule some (not all) of my social media posts and Unsplash for all of my photography needs.


What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start a freelance business, specifically in your field?


Understand your worth. One thing that a lot of new designers do is head out there giving away their work for beans. This not only undervalues them as creatives, but undermines the entire industry. People these days want things quickly and cheaply, and the value for design and art is slowly heading downwards. Produce good stuff, understand your worth, don’t take any crap!


What are the most notable things you have learnt since starting your business; either about running a business or about yourself?


That I’m terrible at maths. I always knew it wasn’t my field, but since having to do tax returns, I realise that having an accountant is a godsend.


What is it about being a freelancer that you most enjoy?


I doubt I’ll be the only freelancer saying this, but the flexilibity is definitely the best bit. Whilst I enjoy structure, it’s good to know you can organise your schedule your way.


What do you enjoy the least about being a freelancer?


As well as the maths side of things, I have experienced some occasional low periods of work, which are testing times, but you learn to adapt and if you want it enough, you ride the wave.


What is your ultimate professional goal as a freelancer?


Professional and personal growth has been a huge one for me for as long as I can remember. Freelancing has not only given me the headspace to grow as a person, but also taught me things about myself that I would never have learned working for da man.


What one thing do you wish you had known before you became a freelancer?


I think the thing I hadn’t really thought about much was the low periods, when you don’t get work and you have no idea when the next job will come. If I’d thought about this more, I think it would have enabled me to finance properly in the beginning.

Connect with Nik at:

Website : www.helloimnik.co.uk
Twitter : www.twitter.com/hellonikdesign
Instagram : www.instagram.com/helloimnik_
Facebook : www.facebook.com/helloimnikdesign