workin’ man creative and my full-time free-lance career is born out of what my wife Tobi and I call “a death bed issue”. During my last grumpy, sore, visually and aurally impaired days, I want to say “I lived my dreams and was true to myself”. Of course I wish my dream was to be a volunteer, to help the starving, to save the hurting, and to only give of myself for the benefit of others – and these things are important to me – but my compulsiveness shouts a need to design, and that need has been with me since the 2nd grade, and I can’t turn it off.
My experience after graduating from The Art Institute of Seattle’s School of Graphic Design started at Watson Furniture Group in 2001. I worked at Watson for 3 years as an in-house print designer before spending the last 2 years managing their web design needs. Watson was where I learned how to treat people well, how to work hard, how to deal with clients, manage projects, pack tradeshow crates, and that working with good people is pretty damn important.
Before 5 years was up I felt I could design whatever was needed for Watson, and I wasn’t growing – even though I enjoyed going to work every day. So, in order to grow as a web designer I left Watson and headed to Razor Planet Inc. in 2006, a parent company to Seattle based design firm Tribal Scream Design and successful software company Church Web Works. At Razor I learned about user interface design, information architecture, programming, speed, informational graphics, and very importantly, how to run a small company.
Three years in a faster than fast paced environment like Razor taught me how to run a growing business and afforded me the opportunity to design 100% of the user interface for an advanced content management system built specifiacally for churches. But...the call to work for myself was getting loud. I wrote a vision statement that included 80% freelancing and 20% teaching design at the college level. Soon enough a teaching job at Peninsula College showed up and I landed the gig. Simply put, teaching was my greatest proffessional challenge. It turned out 90% of my time was spent teaching, and 30% freelancing – which means work overflowed to personal. I committed 2 years to teaching in hopes of meeting the challenge of becoming an effective instructor. I think the challenge was met, (always room for improvement), and now I can include private instructing as a service.
The time to take the big leap had come. Do or die, make it or break it, go for it and see what happens. After increasing my freelance client base for the two years I taught at Peninsula College, I realized I might actually have a chance at being a full-time free-lancer. Stupid idea in a bad economy, but that’s livin’ right? Life is good, my passion for designing and growing is being met, my wife, little boy, and I are happy and I’m more than lucky to have my family's support. The sun is actually warm and bright in Port Townsend today.
As a free-lancer, my career has been thriving with a full schedule since July 5th, 2010.