Freebie Friday: "Be Bold" Free Desktop Wallpaper!

I love this simple and to the point phrase. So often it is easy and safe to stay within our comfort zones - but you have to be bold to make life interesting. Hope you enjoy these free downloads - place one of these color combos on your laptop screen and be reminded to make bold life choices!

The colors are inspired by my fall collection of paper goods & accessories launching in October!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! I am excited to see the new Stuart Murdoch (Belle&Sebastian) film God Help the Girl tonight :) 

Xo, Jess

Freelance Wisdom: Beth Mathews

I am so excited to bring you this weeks Freelance Wisdom column! Beth Mathews is a lovely and talented graphic designer hailing from Nashville, TN! You will probably recognize her wonderful color palette project from your Pinterest feed :) Beth is a total sweetheart and sent over some incredible advice - hope you enjoy and learn a little something! 

In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?

I feel lucky in that I had enough employment years under my belt to have some built-in clients when I first went freelance.  I remember heading out the door at my last agency job with a box full of my things and my boss at the time said “hey! are you free next week? I have a job for you.”  I don’t think I could have asked for a better start.

Do you have any tips for being your most productive?

Productivity...what a word.  I’m still learning how to master this.
• Respond to those lingering emails you marked “important” first
• Return any voicemails
• Close your social network tabs
• Keep a running doc of your “to-do” list.

What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?

Payment structure has been my biggest struggle as a freelancer so far.  It’s a scary thing to have your payment left into the hands of if/when a client can put a check in the mail.  I also now 100% understand the saying of “when it rains, it pours” with projects and payments!
Also, no one ever told me that I would work more as a freelancer.  

What is your favorite thing about being a freelancer?

There’s a poem by Mary Oliver that I really love called “Instructions for living a life” that I like to tie into my perspective on being a graphic designer.  She writes:
“Instructions for living a life. / Pay attention. / Be astonished. / Tell about it.”
I’m fortunate that most days I get the opportunity to tell other people’s story through art and creative solutions for a living.  What a gift!

Tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details? 

• Always have a contract.  Here is a great one to start with.
• Hire an accountant
• Invoice half of your payment up front and the remaining balance at the end of the project
• Record every expense! My good friend saved me when she gave me this google spreadsheet when I first took the leap.
• Open a separate bank account to keep a percentage of every check for taxes

The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance designer are:

A sense of humor, strong communication skills (answer that email!), confidence in your talent.

Thanks Beth for your wisdom! 

Xo, Jess

The Girl Group I Never Had

I debated about wether to post this or not - but I ultimately I want this blog to be a safe space where I can process my feelings and hopefully connect with others that may feel the same way. So here we go -

I think girls from an early age are primed to desire having a tight nit group of girlfriends. From the babysitters club, to Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, to Sex in the City...we witness women in very close friendship circles. There have been periods in my life where I had girlfriend groups, but they never lasted long, or felt as tight as the ones you see on TV. I think there are many factors that went into my never having a longer lasting girl group - firstly, I am pretty introverted and while I like hanging out in a group - it can also feel overwhelming for me, and I require a lot of alone time. Second, I have been in a relationship for the last 10 years. Being single can bond women together to fulfill the human desire for companionship and support. Since I always had a partner to talk to/hang out with - I did not need my female friends as much. I have loved having Josh in my life all these years - but sometimes I do wonder how I would be different if I had been single during those critical female-bonding years (17-21). 

Throughout the years I have often wished for a group of girlfriends that I could lean on. I would envy groups I saw on campus and around town. I never had a desire to join a sorority - I don't do well in forced social climates and groups that big. Plus I had a really negative experience in the beginning of High School when I was part of an all-girls Jewish Youth group - which was basically a primer for Sorority/Fraternity life. That is a story for another time. Anyways, I always wanted a small group of girls that felt like sisters.

I have been lucky to have great individual girlfriends throughout the years - and I always liked that I had friends in all sorts of different groups. But in recent years, with the pressures of full-time work, responsibilities, and distance - I have felt many of those friendships fading with time. I have recently been craving more local friendships, and that desire for a 'girl group' has been kicking in strongly. It feels so much harder when you are older to find friends - I think a lot of it stems from feeling embarrassed that you are even looking. I think in our culture it is expected that you will have all the friends you need by the time you are in your mid 20's. For some people this is probably true - but I have talked to a lot of other urban mid-20's people that feel the same way I do. We badly want to connect with others but stop ourselves for a multitude of reasons and excuses.

Over the next few weeks I have quite a few girlfriend dates set up, and plan to continue making more. I think blogging and becoming freelance has helped me to connect with people that are in a similar position. I know it won't be instantaneous that I find girls I click with - but hoping over the next year I can make some meaningful connections. 

This post has devolved from "The Girl Group" but it feels good to get out some of my feelings around this topic even though it does make me feel vulnerable. 

Xo, Jess