Living the Freelance Life with Isobel Joy Te Aho-White

2 months ago by

This month we’ve teamed up with Hnry to bring you fresh content every week. We’ll be covering a range of freelancing FAQs – like pricing your design work and will be going live on 30th March with a free webinar on ‘ How to thrive as a freelancer – presented by Hnry’s CEO, James Fuller for our DA community. See the full range of details below.

This article is proudly brought to you by Hnry

Tell us a little about yourself 

I grew up in Upper Hutt and Masterton as part of a large whānau. Since I was very young, I would spend a lot of my time looking at picture books (and attempting to make my own), which continued into adulthood! I went through several tertiary courses, exploring fine arts and computer graphic design before completing a Bachelor of Design from Massey, majoring in illustration. 

What are some of your most favourite projects you’ve worked on last year?

Quite a few Matariki projects came up for me in the past 12 months, given that it’s become a public holiday. I’ve done work on the Matariki kaupapa before, but never to this extent – I consider myself a bit of an expert now, haha! 

‘Battle of the Birds, for Matairangi Nature Trail, organised by Wellington City Council’

If you dove straight into freelancing from study or elsewhere, how did you find that transition and what did you wish you had known? 

I threw myself into freelance illustration straight after uni, very much a learn-as-you-go type thing, taking on small commissions, self-publishing, selling my zines at markets, etc. I was supported by Winz, Workwise and Te Puni Kōkiri, and did a 3-day course about starting a small business at Te Wānanga ō Aotearoa.

To be honest, the early days of freelancing were tough. At this time, I was also diagnosed with being on the autism spectrum, and had to deprogram some of the strategies I had been using that were burning me out. I wish I had known that it is OK to do things in an unorthodox way if it works for you. 

Best and worst parts about being a freelance creative?

The best thing is when a job comes my way and it’s a perfect fit – it’s something I know I can do a good job of, and that I will enjoy.

The worst part is admin, anything that involves numbers… and I’ll leave it at that! 

Can you share some of the tools you use to help streamline your workflow – whether that’s working on projects or from a business admin perspective?

I use Procreate as my main programme for illustration, on an Ipad. Other software I use are the Affinity trio (Designer, Publisher, Photo). 

Websites I frequent for resources and inspiration are Creative Market, Shutterstock, and Pinterest.

For admin, Gmail/Google calendar for scheduling deadlines and meetings, Wix for my website, Facebook and Insta for social media, Hnry for finance.

How long have you been using the Hnry software and how has it helped you grow your business?

I’ve been using it for a little over a year now. I considered several apps before settling on Hnry because I found Hnry to be more catered towards freelancing and has more of a feeling of locality and small business to it than the other apps I looked at. The main perk of using Hnry is that it has saved me a lot of time and I’m not rifling through folders of invoices, quotes, and receipts and calculating costs manually because Hnry does all that. 

‘Kimihia, private commission of Maori Goddesses’

What’s your favourite feature or tool in Hnry? 

The quote and invoice system is pretty slick. And it keeps track of what’s been paid and reminds clients after a certain time has passed without payment so I don’t have to agonize over it.

Any parting words of wisdom you can share to any creatives out there thinking about taking the jump into self employment?

Do a small business course! And remember, persistence pays out.

Follow Izzy’s work:

We hope this article was helpful in building your pricing foundations and if you’re interested in more tips for growing your design business, make sure to register here for our FREE webinar ‘How to Thrive as a Freelancer’ which will be running on the 30th Mar from 12:00-1:00pm

In this webinar presented by Hnry CEO, James Fuller, we’ll be covering all the freelancing gold topics – from how to find consistent work to getting paid on time –  so it’s not to miss, especially if you’re just starting out on your freelancing journey.


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