Any entrepreneur knows the backbone of a business is the client. Without an end user, what have you got? Equally though, knowing the right clients to work with is pivotal to being able to develop your offerings – especially when those offerings are creative.
Illustrator and graphic designer Hayley O’Connor may make magic for our eyes with pencil, pen and watercolour but her ability to create depends on her clients’ ability to trust… Here, she dishes on how to land the right clients (and everything in between).
Tell us a little about your work schedule…
I work full-time as a graphic designer and I freelance in my own time. Having a full-time job does allow me the flexibility to only take on briefs I get excited about, as I don’t need to do it purely for money, which is a nice bonus!
What’s been one of your most rewarding projects?
General Pants Co. approached myself and a few other artists to create skateboard decks for one of their Sydney flagship stores. It was a crazy hard project, but I really loved it! I spent my nights sanding back decks and then cutting and pasting my illustrations onto them. It was great to get my hands dirty with a different medium, and the end result was really rewarding.
How involved do you get with production?
If it’s a commissioned art piece like the skateboard decks for General Pants Co., I handle the entire production from start to finish. For prints or patterns for apparel, most of the time you’re working through emails, so you can recommend placement and colours etc, but ultimately it’s the client’s decision on how they want to utilise it.
Do you use an agent?
Not at the moment. I’ve been fortunate to date [to get] commercial work through meeting people at events, Instagram, The Loop and word of mouth. For me, at this time I’d be happy to take on representation but it needs to be with an agency who’s the right fit.
How have you taken part in exhibitions?
It’s been a mix of being in the right place at the right time, and putting my name forward to be a part of an exhibition.
How do you make sure you’re landing the right client for you?
1) MAKE SURE YOU’RE ON THE SAME PAGE.
I like to make sure the work I’m taking on work aligns with my style and interests. Just because someone has approached you for work doesn’t mean you should take it. You need to be the right match for each other.
2) ASK AS MANY QUESTIONS AS POSSIBLE.
Clients can sometimes not know what they want. I always get the best results for the client the more information I get. Map out what you’re going to create for them before you even begin the art.
3) ALWAYS GET IT IN WRITING.
Who are three fellow creative you follow on Instagram?
Cait Miers Photography (@caitmiersphotography), Rachel Urquhart (@raychponygold) and Georgia Hill (@georgiahillbth).