The main reason why I became a freelance professional stems from my love of travel. I have equal passions for both graphic design and travel, so it just makes sense for me to have a steady base of work that I can complete whenever and wherever. I’m in bit of a reflective mood, so I hope you bear with me while I share with you some personal anecdotes about how I began my freelance career.
Immediately after I got my BA degree in graphic design, I had no aspirations towards a career or grad school. I was quite lost. I went through a year-long application process and eventually was accepted into a 2-year Peace Corps program – the mission was to bring technology to poorer areas of South America and Asia. Since graphic design majors commonly use the most cutting edge technology, it was a pretty great fit. I traveled to all sorts of small towns and cities within Argentina, Brazil, China, Laos and Vietnam.
In the beginning, I was very, very homesick. My first country was Argentina and the only thing that used to make me feel better was hanging out with the local families in the evenings and helping them entertain their children as they cooked delicious dinners. As I got more and more confident with my work and traveled to other places, I made a point to get to know the local families by hanging with them and their children in the evenings.
What wound up happening was strange. I kept having déjà vu over and over again because of a children’s toy. Seriously, multiple times in every country that I was in, the children would play with the same exact toy; even though they were on opposite sides of the world. It was something I never grew up with at home in America: it was a balance bike. At first, I just thought that since I was in poorer villages that their bikes were made without pedals. That showed my naivety and ignorance, because the bikes were supposed to be made that way and help the children learn how to balance on their own before moving on to bikes with pedals.
When I came back to America, a few months later I happened to be in a park and saw a father and son duo with a balance bike. I gasped as I had no idea that these toys were also in first-world countries. It took me right back to my travels! After a quick Internet search I realized that balance bikes were marketed to children all over the United States.
What really began my freelance graphic design career was my independent outreach to BikeCompanion.com. I was so energized about the fact that I knew so much about the product and had so many ideas regarding how to create a new, modern logo that I offered deep discounts to balance bike and bike helmet companies if they went with me to create graphics. Amazingly, 3 out of the 30-ish companies that I reached out to, took a chance on me. Better yet, they loved my work! With their positive feedback, I was quickly able to build a healthy freelance profile, which has driven me professionally and personally. Looking back, I have a lot to be thankful for and I love the theme of it all is the joy of a child.