How I Became A Graphic Designer

Learn about how I became the kick-ass Graphic Designer that I am today, and am now running my own successful design business.


BEFORE

Here's an overview of my life before I became a designer. I'm freakin' so glad I became a designer because some of these dot points make me cringe!

  • Dropped out of Uni at the age of 17

  • Worked my ass off for minimum wage

  • Lots of unpaid overtime

  • Crappy bosses and jobs that had no meaning to me

  • I loved working on websites and anytime I got to express some form of creativity

  • I was always fantastic in art classes

  • I painted a lot and always found comfort from expressing myself through art

  • I earnt extra money through second jobs, and even at one point was a freelance face painter (I KID YOU NOT)

In my last corporate gig, I had finally found a job that I LOVED as an Event Coordinator for an Event Management Company. I really enjoyed all the visual marketing we did for conferences, and the creative side of putting that together. When the opportunity arose for professional development, I jumped straight into signing myself up for design school.



DURING SCHOOL


Shillington College, Brisbane Campus

Year: 2017

Course duration: 1 year


Lemme tell you something. I LOVED DESIGN SCHOOL SAAHHHHH MUCH.


If I could go back and do it again, I totally would. I met so many amazing people and learned so much from my amazing teachers.


But, it's f*cking hard work.


At the time, I was working a full-time job from 8am-5pm, then I'd rush into the city to do night school from 5:30pm - 10:00pm getting home close to 11pm. It was also the biggest year of corporate life, so there were heaps of times that I'd have to go into work early or do overtime.


It was the hardest year of my life, but I survived and it was so worth it.


One of the best skills that I learned at design school that has helped me in my business journey was the ability to take on board feedback. Whether it's good or bad, feedback helps shape your work but also your ability to communicate with people. My design teachers were fantastic Design Directors and the skill in taking on-board feedback has definitely shaped my ability to learn and grow as a designer.


“I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.” - Brené Brown

Here's some of the work I produced as part of my portfolio from design school:



NOW


What an incredible journey. I finished Shillington in 2017, so I have now been a Graphic Designer for a few years. Every day I get to work on something new and express myself through creativity.


I decided to create my own business, Brodi-Rose Creative Co, and have since reduced my hours significantly with my employer so I can do more work through my business. Running your own business is hard work, but it's so worth it. There are always things to do, but the great thing is that you're not working for anyone else; the harder you work the more money you will earn (in most cases).


Almost a year ago, I realised that my passion was in doing Brand Design for women in business, so I've been focusing my business on that. I highly recommend finding a niche in what you love to do and working towards earning an income soley on that.


My daily routine includes coffee, working on my business, working on client work like sending off concepts for review, setting up collaborations, having photoshoots to promote my business, and reconciling accounts.


"The braver I am, the luckier I get" - Glennon Doyle, Untamed


ADVICE


DO: Join as many networking events or groups as possible. Increasing your network will increase your net worth

DO: When you're first starting out, you may have to do pro-bono work for your portfolio. I did free design work and brand design for almost the first year of my business while I was still learning. I look back on those designs now and I can see how far I came. This is different for everyone, but if you are going to offer discounts or pro-bono work, only do it for people/businesses who are your ideal client. Repeat that. When you develop a style and want to start charging for your work, don't underprice yourself. Determine your running costs, and how many clients you want to work with per month and charge based on that.

DO: Think about earning passive income. What can you do to keep earning in your sleep? I sell templates for businesses.

DO: COLLABORATE. I hands-down hustled with collaborations in the first year of business, and I still see the benefits I did from collaborating with businesses from a year ago. But, before you dive into a collaboration you need to assess:

  • Is the proposed collaboration mutually beneficial?

  • Do you have a written agreement (the answer needs to be yes)

  • Have both parties outlined the benefits to each other?


Here I am at the Collab Hub X Social event in 2019 with a bunch of babes I can now call friends:



DON'T: You may not need all the gadgets and gear straight up (depending on your profession). Invest in the equipment you need to start a business, but don't go overboard. I bought a Wacom tablet that I don't use, so I could have saved myself $400 bucks.

DON'T: please please please don't look at other designers to compare yourself or your skills OR copy their work. We're all on our own journey, and comparison-itis doesn't help anyone! Look at other designers for inspiration on how they created their business and what they're doing that you can incorporate into your process (i.e. are they sending their client's heckin-good mood boards as part of their process - maybe it's a good idea for you etc).

DON'T: give up. It's hard work, but totally worth it. Write down your 'why' and every time it gets hard, remember why you're working so hard.


Check me out on Instagram:

Thanks so much for reading

Love Bro x

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