stumbling into freelance

for any “creatives” reading this, you’ll know what i mean when i say it’s not easy diving into the truly competitive world of freelance graphic design. when i first started college (back in 2000), my fellow classmates and i were under the impression that we’d be successful designers, with lots of opportunities for amazing, rewarding careers. where creativity knew no bounds and had no limitations. little did we know that it would be such a competitive, and over-populated line of work. there are now more freelance designers than there are paid designers, which doesn’t make designing an easy job to get into. the good positions at design firms are rarely up for grabs, as those who hold such positions wouldn’t leave unless they had no other choice. being successful as a designer isn’t easy. there’s always someone else out there who’ll do the same work, for less money and in a shorter timeframe. crappy, eh? then there are places like Walmart and Vistaprint, and programs such as Microsoft Word that give non-designers a false sense of creativity. i went to college, paid good money in tuition, and worked my butt off for almost 11 years at a newspaper and design hub to now be an unemployed graphic artist. sigh. it wasn’t my choice persay. after working at a small newspaper for 7 years i was told that our design department (and every other one at every other newspaper across the province) would be shutting down, and that i had a choice to transfer to another city (about a 15 minute time difference in my daily commute) or take a severance package. i honestly debated the severance. however, being sensible, i decided to transfer my position to a design hub where over 40 designers would work, in shifts, mass producing advertisements for all of the newspapers & flyers from Ottawa to Windsor. i received a minor pay raise but by comparison, i was still earning far below the “average” wage of a graphic artist/designer. i needed a job and since i’d been with the company for a while all of my benefits, holidays, etc would transfer over so i figured why not! a few years after being there we realized we couldn’t keep up with the amount of work coming in so the powers-that-be decided to send work off shore – literally. they started sending design work to India, INDIA! really? we couldn’t afford to keep the jobs in Ontario, let alone in Canada? (rumour had it that the President of the company was building a new hockey arena, so we all joked that he needed to save money for that, which now seems feasible). as time passed more and more of our work was being sent off shore, so i suppose i shouldn’t have been surprised when 4 years after transferring there, and only a few months after finding out i was pregnant, i was told that again, i would have to decide between transferring and taking a severance package. this time the new location was 3 hours from home, yikes! i honestly didn’t have to think hard about my decision. i took a salary continuance (instead of a lump sum) so that i’d still have an income, sort-of, for the remainder of my pregnancy. it ultimately worked out,with my continuance ending a month before my son was born and my maternity leave/pay starting. however, i’m now at the point where my mat leave has ended, the cheques have stopped coming in and i’m without employment. for the first time in 13 years i’m jobless! it isn’t quite as horrific as i thought it’d be, although i feel guilty being at home with our son and not bringing in any income. hence my decision in starting to do some freelance design work. i’m hoping that with my experience in print work that i can at least bring in a little extra spending money for hubby and me, we’ll see.

SweetLittleMama_BusCards

i’ve done stag & doe tickets, business cards, logo design, brochures, pamphlets, flyers, rack cards, photobooks, posters, party invites, baby & wedding shower invites, the list goes on. if you’d like to check out some samples of my work, stumble over to www.facebook.com/sweetlittlemama … in the meantime, i’m off to let the creative juices start flowing. well, only until my son wakes up from his nap.

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