Every so often, The Study Room catches up with our favourite freelancers, creatives & fellow business owners to find out what really makes them tick (and jump out of bed everyday)
Keep checking in with us as we will meet with lots of people from lots of different specialities, to help you make the most of your day!
This week, we are speaking with Gwennan Rees, freelance designer, children's book illustrator, card maker and author of the lifestyle blog Twenty Something Meltdown, which covers everything from politics, work and life as a twenty something creative. Her fun and pun-tastic designs are quintessentially British and incredibly funny. So much so, she has several clients including for SEAS Design & Vale Cider.
We asked her what her days look like and how she makes time for her designs.
What does a typical day look like to you?
My days are pretty long, I live with my boyfriend who works a really demanding job so we're often up really 5:30am and not home again until late, so I have plenty of time to be productive. The beauty of being self employed is that I can jiggle my schedule to suit.
I tend to work 5 days as everyone else does, but I usually take a Monday and a Wednesday off to look after my one year old niece; working with a baby in tow doesn't tend to happen!
On my working days I start at about 9:00am with emails and scheduling social media updates for the day and I then set to work on a To Do List. My day varies, but nearly always requires some sort of website work, drawing or design, work for my permanent job and and admin work like finance.
In the evenings I update Twenty Something Meltdown (it's easy to get carried away) in front of the TV with a cup of tea. I often find that my my productive days is a Sunday, traditionally the laziest day of the week!
Where do you call your office?
My brother's bedroom! My brother and I are really close in age so we tend to do everything in pairs, we even went to unit together! After we both moved out of our parents' my room was turned into a guest bedroom and I nabbed his room as my office. It's a fifteen minute drive from home so after getting up early it's nice to work in my studio space there. I really like this set up at the moment because physically leaving my house to go to my office (even is it's where I grew up) feels like going to a job and gets me into a more settled into work routine.
How did you end up in your line of work?
I left uni in 2015 and thought that if I didn't try now, I never would. I think creative industry jobs are really tough on graduates because they are unstable. You are more like to succeed as a freelancer. When I graduated I was in a very similar situation to a lot of Twenty Somethings; I had to move home and set up shop at my parents. Looking back, the amount of effort it takes for that initial year, constant churning out content and promoting my business; I'd never have been able to do that if I had taken a run of the mill full time job.
What is one thing you wish you had known at the beginning?
All of the admin involved! I am a self confessed lover of filing and organisation, but even I wasn't expecting the level of admin required to run your own business. From registering with HMRC, to tax returns to what paperwork you need to keep (answer-everything) to things like writing invoices, getting paid and writing up T&Cs; I wish university had prepared me! I made so many mistakes in the beginning; like the PayPal payment charge or commission amendments that I just had to learn on the job. It takes a while to wrap your head around it.
What is the best part of your day?
Whenever I get to make a sugary cup of tea! No-I really like the evening; The mornings often feel like a slog because I start with my emails and crack on with my list, it can feel like an office job.
I am a night-owl, I worked through the night while I was at university because I find myself so much more productive and inspired at 5:00am when I had a deadline now that I work for myself, I normally work best during the afternoon and evenings when all of the admin has been done and I can create. I feel much more productive and inspired, I work best after 6:00pm.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working hard on my Christmas commissions! Christmas is my busiest time of year and I have just finished one (of many) presents for a client.
I have just finished working on a commission for YouTube and I've a million blog posts to do too. I am pleased to be working on this earlier, last year I was working on a four day turnaround from design to shipping to client. My work really lends itself to portrait commissions, gifts and personalised cards, as well as my Etsy shop! It's a good job I love Christmas and don't cry at the prospect of working on it August!
As if Gwennan wasn't busy enough with the run up to Christmas, she has exclusively designed a range of bullet journal printables for The Study Room!
A self confessed lover of organisation bullet journalling, these are a perfect tool to help you to help you not only take stock of the day, but to gain more from it!
Print these out and get yourself organised!
You can get them here!