What’s your business called?
Can you describe it in one sentence?
Graphic and web design
When did you start it and what inspired you?
I have been a graphic designer for over 25 years working for agencies in London and Essex. I went ‘freelance’ in 2002 and worked under the name Northsouth Design as a company with my husband (also a graphic designer)
We mainly worked as freelancers for other design agencies on a contract basis. After our children were born I started to move towards building a direct client base that allowed me to work from home rather than travelling into London and this was in 2007 so I usually say that ‘officially’ Northsouth Design started in 2007. I have always been inspired by design and have always wanted to work in the creative industry.
How did you find your start up?
It was just a natural progression after working in agencies. I loved my career and wanted to keep it! I had also been made redundant twice and I said I didn’t want this to happen again and wanted to control ‘my own destiny!’
How do you manage working around your children?
Both are now in full time education so I work during those hours and arrange all my meetings within those hours. I then do the school pick, any club runs and then depending on the work flow I sometimes
go back to work once they are home, juggle dinner and then settle back to work in the evening when I need to once they are tucked up in bed.
Can you describe a typical day?
Once the boys have gone to school I will log straight on to my computer, I have usually wrote a list of what needs to be done that day the night before.
Any urgent emails are sent straight away and then I will prioritise what work I need to do. This can however change throughout the day depending on when clients come back to me with feedback
on designs and on deadlines for print advertising. It is not unusual for me to be working on three or four design jobs during a typical day. I tend to get my most creative times during the evenings when I am not interrupted as much by calls and emails.
What have you found hardest?
The juggling and feeling guilty sometimes with having to go back to work after picking the children up.
Also believing that just because I work from home it doesn’t mean I am not running a professional business.
What’s the best thing about being self employed?
The fact that I can pick and choose my hours and attend any school events without having to ask for permission from a boss. I also love helping people in their own businesses and seeing them succeed.
What are your plans for the future?
To build my client base further and to expand on my services which will include CMS websites
What advice would you give for someone just starting out?
Well, being a graphic designer who has worked with lots of start ups I would definitely recommend they budget for a professional designer to help create their business brand identity. I have met so many people who think of it at the last minute yet really it is one of the most important things you can do when starting a business. The right look can make all the difference in a crowded market. Also network. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to advertise your business.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
As well as running my business I also co-run a local networking group for women called Networking 4 Essex Women.