Interview With Grace Smith – Freelance Web And Graphic Designer

Hello everyone, today we have an interview with Grace Smith of Postscript5. In this interview we talk about how being active on blogs and forums can help your business and you’ll also get to know Grace better if you didn’t know her already. She’s very cool :)

PostScript5 - Grace Smith

Jon: Hi Grace, thanks for accepting the invitation for the interview. Can you tell our readers a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do?

Grace Smith - PostScript5Grace: Sure, I am a 24 year old freelance web designer from Northern Ireland. I had been freelancing casually for nearly five years, mainly as a secondary income while at University and then as a part of the 9-5’s but took the step towards a full-time freelancing business last August with Postscript5. This was also around the time I caught the web standards bug and bought every book on CSS imaginable! My main passion lies in user interface design where I am constantly challenged to innovate and develop.

Jon: A lot of people are contemplating a freelance career, but will not necessarily make the switch for various reasons and prefer freelancing on the side. Do you freelance full-time or you also work for a company/agency?

Grace: I currently freelance part-time (due to fact I currently have a substantial contract with a newspaper publisher) however I will be reverting back to full-time next year.

Transitioning from a full-time job to freelancing can be very scary but it can also be extremely exciting and rewarding. Personally I started doing both a full-time job and freelancing, it’s not fun and you work some crazy hours however it reaches a stage where freelancing full-time is the natural progression.

During this time I learnt the importance of building both my portfolio and contacts as well as networking both locally and online, the transition becomes a whole lot easier when you have a ready made list of clients and contacts!

Jon: What would be the single most important thing you learned since you started? Or a story about a mistake you learned a lot from.

Grace: One word: Communication! By far one of the biggest things I have learnt is that communication is the cornerstone of business, in the past I dreaded public speaking however through freelancing I have learnt to step outside of my comfort zone and push myself to become composed and confident when communicating with others, to the point where I now even teach IT classes in a local development centre.

Developing confidence in both your abilities and in the way you speak will leave such a lasting impression on those you meet.

Jon: Can you tell us what tools you use to run your business? (image editing software, CMS, invoicing tools, etc…)

Grace:

Jon: I noticed you were pretty active in the comments section on some blogs like FreelanceFolder, FreelanceSwitch and others. I’m curious to know how being active on blogs helps your business? Would you say it’s a good way to get new clients or is it more for exposure and branding?

Grace: I only took the decision to get actively involved in discussions on blogs and forums around two months ago, it wasn’t a decision to try to attract clients it was simply because I felt that after taking the time to watch and learn from others online, especially over the past year that I had some knowledge and insight to give back, however it has reaped some other benefits I didn’t expect.

Has being active online helped my business? Yes, without a doubt! In direct terms I have had numerous requests for work because I have been active and helpful on authority forums within my niche. Through this you can reach a whole new range of people who might be interested in your site and services and gain a nice slice of traffic in the process. The important thing to remember when using forums is that you have to add value to gain the trust of the community, spend time replying to questions and offering advice on subjects you are knowledgeable about.

Indirectly, commenting on other blogs is a great way of generating exposure and building your brand name. By adding insightful, well-thought out comments that add to the discussion you can be sure the author will take notice and if you consistently leave quality comments, other commentators will want to find out exactly who is writing these and therefore visit your site. Its a great way to connect with your peers in your industry.

Becoming community involved has three significant benefits; it can generate business, it can increase your brand exposure and it can help develop your own style of writing and improve your blogging.

Jon: You told me in an e-mail you were working on a new design for your site and you will also have a blog. When can we expect it to go live, and what topics will you write about?

Grace: The re-design is due to the fact I have completely outgrown my present site which has been online since March, I am aiming for a late January launch. I do have a range of interests but I will be focusing on entrepreneurship, social media interaction and brand building.

Jon: What’s in your Ipod? And if you don’t have one, why? (I had to ask) :)

Grace: I have a 5th generation video ipod and its jam-packed! I have a lot of comedy on there including Bill Bailey, Dave Chapelle and Arrested Development and of course a collection of Podcasts including Boagworld, FreelanceSwitch, The Web2.0 Show and Internet Business Mastery to name a few.

In terms of music I have quite diverse interests, however my current favourite artists are Lupe Fiasco, J Dilla, Roisin Murphy and Simian Mobile Disco, coupled with the entire back catalogue of Prince!

Jon: Grace, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions, it is really appreciated!

Grace: I would just like to say a huge thank to Jon for asking me for this interview!

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*note: I hope you enjoyed this interview with Grace Smith. We will have more interviews soon, if you would like to be featured/interviewed on FreelanceFolder, drop us a line.

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