Last week I had the pleasure of catching up with the fabulously talented Jessica Morgan of Jessica Draws (and Buttercup Belle’s second October sponsor). Jessica is a huge inspiration to me; not only for her mad skills, but for her ability to take the plunge and start up her own (incredibly successful) business. I’m all about empowering women, and Jessica is up there with the big dogs. So it is with great pleasure that I introduce y’all to her in this little spotlight post. Enjoy!
What is it that led you to start up on your own business, Jessica?
I’ve always been lucky enough to work in the Design industry. Since I graduated from my degree in Graphic Communication, I’ve worked as a surface pattern designer creating gift wrap designs and greeting cards for a major UK greetings company and from then I went to work as a web and mobile app designer at another company. It was great experience and I learnt a great deal but throughout it all I was freelancing in my own time, working for anyone who would take me. The idea was to build up a decent client base and then go it alone, which is exactly what I did in June 2012 and I’ve never looked back.
What did you find the main difficulties were in going it alone?
The main issues when leaving full time employment are the obvious things like earning enough to live, finding clients and keeping motivated without a boss to tell you what to do. I just made sure that I went out of my way to get in front of as many people as possible. Have the challenge of finding work is getting to know people and getting them to trust you. I said yes to everything, even if I didn’t know how to do it at the time and slowly but surely but a great reputation and a loyal client base. Soon enough the work was regular enough that stressing about paying bills wasn’t as frequent.
What’s been your shining moment since starting up Jessica Draws?
It’s difficult to pin down a specific experience because the last two years have been a bit of a whirlwind. But I can say that working for myself has definitely enriched my life, beyond just knowing that I’m doing something I love. It’s given me much more freedom to work with the clients that I actually get excited about working with, freedom to enjoy life a bit more with the flexibility that comes with being self employed. It’s also a gigantic thrill to come to the studio every day because I never know what kind of inquiry I’ll get and from who. It’s always refreshing that every day is completely different from the last.
What would you say truly inspires you?
That’s a difficult one too. I draw inspiration from so many sources everyday that it’s hard to pin them down. (Although it’s easier now with Pinterest). I enjoy scouting through social media sites to see what people are up to and discovering new ways of doing things or new ways to approach a design brief. In terms of running a business, I attend some networking events that always leave me feeling inspired. I get motivated and inspired by the stories of business owners and their experiences and the sheer drive and enthusiasm I see at those events. That always pushes me to want to do
more and be better.
What’s a typical day in the office like for you?
Usually I arrive at my studio around 8:15, make some coffee and toast and spend an hour going through my emails, a bit of admin and my social media accounts. This will get pushed back to lunchtime if I’ve got a deadline that day but I always take time to catch up and engage with people online. Then the day is determined by who needs what done and when. Some days I’ll work on one solid project for a client all day, or it’ll be 5-6 projects throughout the day. It really depends. I do try and get out and meet a friend for lunch at least once a week or get outside for at least half an hour during the day to give my brain and my eyes a break.
What does the future look like for Jessica Draws?
At the moment thing are changing quite a bit. My husband Dave and I are adopting a puppy this month so I’ll be moving the studio back home. It’s an exciting time and I see a lot more fresh air in my future. In terms of my work, I’ve been really fortunate to get some amazing clients on board recently such as IMS Consulting and Cardiff University, as well as some amazing new businesses launching in the area so I’ll be a busy be for the foreseeable future. No plans at present to start employing although I will keep working with my wonderful bunch of freelancers that I commission from time to time to help me with the work load. Flexibility and quality of life are definitely things I’ll be focusing on, as well as our new addition to the family of course.