20: Laura Anne, Graphic Designer

Laura Anne is a Graphic Designer from British Columbia, Canada.

Laura Anne

Laura Anne

You can find her here:
Website: http://laura-anne.com

  1. Hi Laura, tell me who you are and what do you do as a freelancer?

Hi Jernej. As a freelancer I do a lot of t-shirt graphics, signage, logos and illustrations. I have a lot of clients who also want tattoo illustrations.  I’ve also done art for software development companies and authors as well.

  1. How long have you been working as a freelancer now?

My first job out of art school was designing Yellow Page ads. I did that for three years before I started freelancing. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years now. *whew! Time flies!

  1. Why did you decide to become a freelancer? Did you think about it for a long time or did your decision come suddenly?

I always knew when I was young that I wanted to be an artist. But unlike other kids who were drawing horses or cars, I was doing newspaper layouts and drawing up menus. I knew I wanted to start freelancing after the first couple of years working for Yellow Pages *yawn. The work was really boring but it paid pretty good.

  1. What is your competitive advantage, which makes your clients hire you?

I think my competitive advantage is that I have a variety of skills. And I know how to communicate with people.

  1. Who are your competitors? What do they have that you don’t?

My competition ranges from self taught “hacks” who will work for almost nothing, to artists that have also been doing what I do for years, and everything in between.

  1. Are there a lot of freelancers in your business?

When I look around the internet there seems to be a lot of freelancers doing what I do. But I would say that only a small percentage of them are actually of a caliber that I would call “professional”.

  1. What do your clients expect from you?

Customers expect great art from me. As well as they expect me to know any technical specifications that they have no idea about. Such as web file formats, specs for screen printers, etc.

  1. Who are your typical clients?

My typical clients are mostly business owners. But there are also a lot of clients who want a special portrait of a loved one or a tattoo illustration to take to a tattooist. I’ve also done some wraps for sign companies.

  1. How has your business changed over time?

My business hasn’t changed much. Just how I do my art. I used to do everything by hand. And once upon a time I used to have to make “mechanicals” for the printer. And have art for drum scanning into colour separations. Now it is all done on the computer. Much easier!

  1. How did you gain your first customers?

My first customers were before I went to art school. I used to go door-to-door to downtown businesses during the Christmas season and offer my “painting” services for seasonal window painting. That was great experience. How to paint “on the spot” as well as how to deal with customers.

  1. John Wanamaker said: Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I do not know which half. Do you gain your clients by advertising or in another way?

I actually don’t do too much advertising. I have a website that doesn’t rank very well. 😉 I have a yellow page listing and a FB page. I have a list of regular clients and word-of-mouth has worked pretty good so far. But I do keep planning on sending my “book” to some book publishers. As soon as I get around to it.

  1. The biggest marketing challenge that you deal with?

SEO for my website seems like the biggest challenge.

  1. Do you hire outsourcing service providers for services, which you believe are a waste of your time?

I don’t hire to many service providers unless there’s something that is way out of my expertise. But, no. Not very often. Right now I’m working on an animated logo. I’m pretty sure I can figure it out. 😉

  1. How does your typical working day look like? What do you do when you are not working? How many hours/days per week are you working?

A typical day for me is after getting everyone off to work and school, I do a workout, then get busy at my computer. I usually go through my emails first. Then decide my priorities for the day. I usually work. 4-6 hours a day. My eyes can’t do much more than that at a computer.

  1. Which books would you recommend to freelancers?

Books I recommend to freelancers are “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards. For anyone who wants to be an illustrator and learn how to draw. And any books that showcase great illustrations. My favorite artist is Graeme Base. So I have ALL of his books. Yes. They are children’s books. 🙂 For those who are strictly all about design, I suggest looking through the Logo Lounge set of books to see what great logos really look like.

  1. What would you advise someone who has an idea, but no money?

I would advise someone who wants to get into the business but has no money to do what I did. Take out a bunch of student loans. And go to a good school. It’s pretty easy to spot those who have “self-taught” themselves design.

  1. What was the best business advice you received?

Best advice I had was from an art teacher in college. he said two things to me…. “all of your drawings are very CUTE! Why do you make everything that way?!” and “learn how to sell yourself”.

  1. What do you often dream about when you’re not working?

I am always dreaming about a dream vacation to Southern Europe.

  1. Top 3 mobile apps on your smartphone?

The top three mobile APPS on my phone are FB, Mail and Messages.

  1. What do you do in your free time?

My free time… I like to cook and bake, ride my Harley, and take my kid to soccer. LOTS of soccer. lol.

  1. Your last vacation?

Can’t remember my last real vacation. Camping I guess.

  1. Business plans for the future?

Business plans for the future are to finish the children’s book I started. The writing is done. I have to do the layout and illustrations. One of these days… one of these days… and chalkboard signs. LOVE them! Started on a few. Just need to find more time.

  1. Your plans for the future?

My plans for the future are for my hubby and I to get a sailboat and do some travelling.

Laura’s work and references: