Working from Home as a Graphic Designer

An Interview with Work From Home Graphic Designer

Starting this week, I will be doing a weekly interview series with people who work from home. I will be speaking with real people who are working as freelancers, home business owners, stay-at home mumpreneurs and home-based start-up whizzes to get tips, tricks and advices on how to succeed at working from home. For those who are thinking of doing something similar, these could be helpful. 

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For our first installment, Joyce Reyes shares her insights and her tips on how she is working as a graphic designer from home, while being a stay-at-home mum.

Can you tell me about your work as a Graphic Designer?

I do Book Cover Design, Logo Design&Branding/ Graphic Design For Print&Web/ Promotional Products/Magazines. I Work In Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop And Illustrator.

What inspired you to start working from home and how did you go about starting this?

I was pregnant at that time and had nothing to do. I wanted to earn even while sitting at home. A friend just commented on one of my Facebook posts suggesting I try looking at a website called odesk.com for freelancing jobs that I can do online. So I did, and the rest as they say is history.

What is your typical workday like at home? How many hours do you work a week?

I sit in front of my desktop for as much as 10-15 hours a day but the actual work really varies. Generally, it is is only 5 hours of work.

How is your workspace like?

It's just a corner in the living room. Our house is very small but my work desk is custom-made so it’s compact but functional.

Did you have any kind of training or schooling to do this kind of work?

Actually, no. I was a Management major so in a way, that helped with communicating with clients and keeping clients. For my Graphic Design skills, I taught myself along the way by watching Youtube videos. Since I have also always enjoyed painting and sketching and doing some side gigs as jewellery maker, makeup artist and tattoo designer, it makes a lot of sense that graphic design appeals to my creative side.

How do you get your day going? Do you have any tip on how to stay organised and productive while working at home?

I am very organised when it comes to clients' order. I list them all down. I schedule them by first come, first serve basis. Payment, of course is also a factor of importance. It's very important to track their payments, receivables, advanced payments etc. -  I got that all down. On staying productive, taking care of myself is sometimes a challenge because I tend to overwork. It is something I have to work better on. As for staying motivated,  I enjoy playing music while I work. I also drink about 4-6 cups of coffee for my caffeine kick. I do my best to keep away from distractions and basically just work, work and work.

How do you market yourself? Any tips?

I target small to medium scale businesses, start-ups who can't afford an agency. For some reason, church organisations just landed on my feet and 50% of my clients consist of various churches. These churches have people who have businesses so my network just keeps on giving. I have a serious overflow that I just work on. It also pays that I have also set up a portfolio online, my own website,  so my potential clients can see the work I do.

If you do not mind me asking, what is the income percentage you bring in?

I am the only earning person in the household. My partner is a trust fund brat! (laughs)

What’s the biggest challenge about working from home and how do you overcome it?

Since work is just there, it's hard to stop when there is still work. It's hard to tell yourself not to stay up all night and finish things. Family time sometimes suffer but you have to manage your time well. I am still adjusting after 4 years.

What are the biggest perks of being able to do this kind of work from your own home?

I get to have a lot of time with my child, even though she has a nanny and I am busy sometimes, I am still very much present. I can also go to work without going through traffic... or even brushing my teeth! The connections you also make around the world is great as well because my clients come from all over. Some clients would even send me packages of goodies as gratitude and appreciation for my work!

What advice would you share with others who are interested in doing something similar?

Expect to start at the bottom and know that you will not stay there. You are building your portfolio, experience so know that is the value of being at the bottom. I used to do $2/book cover jobs and I made sure I make the best $2 book cover because I will use it for my portfolio. I viewed it as building my portfolio while getting paid a little. It's all in the attitude. AND take care of your clients because you will only be considered a successful freelancer if your clients consist of 80% referrals.