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FAQ’s on being a Travelling Designer.

As I wrap up my very short travel blogging career so I can focus on other things I have some posts that I’d like to stick on here. I thought I might like to get interviewed like a pop star in Smash Hits magazine I do answer the same questions about my work as I’m meeting tonnes of new folks, usually with the adage of “woah, living the dream” which is growing on me. Here are those questions!

Q. How many hours do I work a day/week?

A. Pretty simple, my current situation allows for it to be calculated in terms of the place I am v’s the money I need to be there. I’m not saving hard, paying any debt or are tied to any big or long term contracts in the U.K – although Netflix, Audible and Google Drive are essentials for me! I run the business as a sole trader, allowing me a bit more freedom but less of the entitlement from the UK government. And as I’m making western wages living in a cheaper country has been really easy on the purse strings. Working 8 hours a week had been enough to spend another week in Asia, 3 meals a day, accommodation and the rest for leisure! Moving to Sydney however, means that I am in with the big dogs, albeit on a freelance contract. So I am making AUD which is really necessary in Australia and I still get to be selective with what days I work to give me a good balance.

Q. How do I find the clients?

A. Well I had some from working in Scotland which have generally been through word of mouth and those guys have been perfect to work for with no obligations either way. It comes as fairly irregular pieces and with no real deadlines. My favourite client is another designer who started up himself. He has excess work and he throws it to me with a clear brief and he is the best at paying for sure. Also nice to be able to talk with another designer on email rather than switching to client speak all the time! In this vain I’d like to do more collaborations and hoping that the future allows for that! There are online job banks like Upwork but they haven’t been so fruitful for me. In Sydney, and I guess in most big cities, I can be working with creative talent agencies. Yeh they take a fee but they have the connections I do not. I don’t have to register as self employed to work with them, in fact some require you to be “an employee” but at the moment that isn’t a real issue.

Q. What’s the best bit?

A. People speculate but it is controlling all of my time. Being able to jump in and out of projects and tasks in a day is more productive for me. I feel like I do better in little stints at the computer so I spread my working day out over the full day. This allows me time to have nice meals, go for walks, see a sight, speak to a stranger, read and even nap which I am now becoming more accustomed to!

Q. How much did it cost you to start up and what kit do you carry?

A. I previously worked on my 21” iMac. Not suitable for life on the road (even though I’ve been known to take it to jobs in an Ikea bag on the bus), I opted for a 13” 2012 MacBook Pro. I went for older so I could do some tinkering. The later models are solid bodied and so I can’t get into them to max out the RAM or hard drives. In this Mac (my boyfriend) I’ve got 16GB of RAM and I removed the disk drive and replaced that with the 500GB intel drive that was already in the laptop. I added a 60GB solid state drive to run programs and startup etc on. It is a little dream. The refurbished MBP was around £650 + £50 for the SSD and I bought 2 x 4GB RAM cards around £40 each.

I also invested in a rugged 2TB external drive {see point 3} and I have Google Drive (as I have Google everything else) 100GB for £1.49 per month. This along with Skype {free} and Adobe Creative suite which I share with a friend and email {free!} I am fully set for working. I didn’t bring a graphics tablet with me and sometimes I do miss it, especially for illustration jobs but I do have my Magic Mouse {for a little online gaming!) and I have 2 pencil cases of art supplies to keep me occupied plus a tonne of notebooks. I have went through 6 A6, 2 A5 and 2 A4 book in 9 months – the debate now is where to ship them for safe keeping!

Q. So where do I sign up?

A. Well here is the hard part, I can’t do it for you. There are plenty of sites that you can find remote work on. The thing is that not everyone has the skills to apply to these kids of jobs. I am all for learning new skills though and if you’ve got the inclination go for it. The roles are getting more and more varied across the digital nomad platform. Plenty of guys can give you advice on how to get set up and have written intensively about it.

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