#16 - Wesley Chambers - The Importance of Working With Passion

Nov 25, 2022Dianne Eberhardt

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify,  Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.

Wesley has some deep-thought advice on the keys to success as a Creative freelancer; stacking your skills, match your passion and be ready to pivot.

In episode 16 of Pixelated Perfect, Wesley takes us through his multidisciplinary career journey from Game Design to Graphic Design and Branding.




Dianne: Hello everyone. Welcome to the Pixelated Perfect podcast. I am super excited today we have Wesley, um, on the podcast. Hey Wesley, how are you?

Wesley: Hey guys. Hi. Thank you for having me. We appreciate it.

Dianne: Of course. I'm super excited to hear your story. So, um, just some interesting facts is that Wesley came from a gaming and production management background, game design. And so he's kind of transition right now. He runs his own design studio focusing on branding, identity, and web. So I'm excited to hear how you got from what you studied to kind of opening your own studio. Um, so let's, let's just, let's get into it. Um, so kind of that question I started off with is how, when did design come into your life?

Wesley: So my journey was a weird one. I, I started really early. Um, remember making business cards, you know, supporting, um, on Sarah Draw Plus, if any of you know, surf Draw Close. It's kind of old school, but, um,

Dianne: I don't know that one.

Wesley: Yeah, it, it's like, it's kind of super, you know, the old Photoshop look kind of the, um, XP kind of look.

Dianne: Okay, yeah,

Wesley: It looked like that. Super rough. But, uh, it was actually really powerful. I bet I could do some things with it now. But, um, you know, um, so I started playing around with her and ended up studying graphic design and art and design in school at a young age. Um, and I moved from that into doing graphic design at kind of my A level, which is that, that point in the UK where before you go to university. That kind of got me interested in just some basic things. And then I got a great opportunity to go to study in Scotland. Now I'm from a small town in the UK Okay. In Wales. So for me to get the opportunity to go and study, um, this institution, it's called Aay University, and it's in Dundee in Scotland. And they are, I kind of hate to love to say this, but it's true, they're the, they're the best, um, university in Europe for video game courses.

So that to me was like, I gotta go. Okay. I have to go. Um, so I went there and I did four years there and I kind of knew early on that as much as I loved video games, I loved creating them more than I enjoyed playing them. And I liked projects at scale, so I knew that video games were super complex domain. Um, and there's so many layers to that. So as I went through the years and as I specialized in different things, you know, I went from 3D to uh, you know, programming logic and things like this, I kind of realized that I was, I was pulling away a little bit, you know, I was kind of enjoying, um, graphic design magazines and, you know, print t-shirts and things like that. Um, and it was a real conflict for me because going from enjoying a project that will take nine months to, you know, a few years to really admiring like a printed t-shirt, that was a weird transition for me. Um, so I started taking some small graphic design projects, just really small. Worked with a few bands, you know, local bands with artwork for them and album covers, stuff like that. And I just, it kind of clicked in my third year, like, this is what I want to do, you know?

Dianne: Interesting. Okay. So I am curious, like, and maybe you could offer some advice for people that are in that stage, cuz we've had a couple of, um, designers on the podcast who have kind of decided after getting to a certain point in school that like, what they thought they wanted isn't what they wanted. And they've devoted so much energy. So how would you suggest to someone to like, make that decision or choice as little things you did? I guess you started, I guess you kind of just mentioned you started doing a little bit of graphic design here and there for bands, but do you have any other advice?

Wesley: The first thing, the first thing is if you've spent your time in something worthwhile, then you haven't wasted your time. That's huge because, I mean, just use me as an example. I learned a lot about project management, about working with people, and especially creatives too, you know, just pulling things in. So, you know, if you're in an advertising background or a business background and you become interested in design, you know, you've learned a lot of transferable skills and especially in agencies, they love that. They love that. So you haven't wasted your time in terms of like a transition. You'll be used to learning. So all you have to do is learn a few new things and you're stacking your skills. So if you can, you know, pick up, say, coming from an advertising background, you do have a great understanding of kind of how to reach a customer.

Um, and you'll, these are lessons that you'll have to learn anyway coming into design and freelancing. So it's all about kind of understanding the skills you have, being kind to yourself in that transition. Because at the end of the day, you want to do something that makes you happy. You don't wanna be stuck in a job forever that you don't like, you know. So I'd say to people, if you're, if you're looking to transition from something that you're now, just be kind to yourself. Write down all the skills you have, write down all the skills you'll learn, find, you know, roles and responsibilities that you can take on with that skill. And then find some people to help that. That's a great one too. Cause that, that kind of bring out your passions, you know, instead of just kind of being so, you know, stiff and rigid about God, how do I do all this? You know, just, just play it cool, be calm. It's okay to transition, you know?

Dianne: Yeah. I think that's Great advice.

Wesley: People will pivot so many times through their career, you know, it's, it's, it's okay.

Dianne: also good advice. I really love what you said. It's never wasted time. Like, if you go into something and you have a passion for it and you explore it further, there's gonna be things that you learn that you're gonna take with you Yeah, absolutely. Into whatever you do next. That was false, sad. Love it. Um, okay, let's keep going. So, um, you reached this point where you kind of were like, I am taking some graphic design projects here and there, t-shirts, band posters, not really enjoying as much this gaming program

Wesley: In, in my fourth year of university. Right. I took on this really, like, it was this really programming heavy project, right? That was the kicker for me. So I decided then, okay, I knew let me finish my fourth year, let me get the piece of paper and I'm, I'm gonna start designing on, on a larger scale. So after university was over, I kind of had a few clients that were looking to scale. Um, and I took on an internship at a print workshop. So this was like this huge moment for me where I was like, okay, I have, I have a degree of video games design that's all good and it's useful, but it's, it's not what I want to do. So let me transition into this kind of like the design and for graphic industries by working in print. And that was good too because it gave me like real hands on experience instead of just, you know, kind of watching YouTube videos and, and, and taking courses and spending all this time.

In theory, I just, I was there with print machines, you know, like working from directly from Photoshop and Illustrator straight through onto a t-shirt onto, I even did some borrowing stuff, like road signs and stuff like this. Yeah. So like I had this kind of like, you know, this weird introduction. So up until this point I'd never really got to work on the projects that I wanted to work on. What I love, I love editorial design, I love, you know, kind of sleek and, you know, really fashionable stuff. So I decided then, you know, you come up with a bunch of mock projects and things like this and I said, okay. So I put together a good portfolio and then I managed to land a couple of clients, like a couple of decent clients that I liked. And, and we maintained those relationships today, which is great. I'm really grateful for that.

Dianne: That's amazing. So what was, in, what, what kind of projects did you put in this portfolio? And like what did that process go? How was that process to actually get those, those first few customers for you?

Wesley: The first thing was like you have to learn how to, you know, really handle, um, a client process. That was the first thing that I found tricky cuz I was used to handling, like, used to handling people, um, at scale where, you know, I can have meetings with people, but working with clients on a remote basis, um, also setting boundaries with people and making sure that, you know, uh, scope was met and making sure that, um, kinda deadlines were met between both parties. So that was the first kind of challenge. Once I'd got over those homes, I just, it just became kind of seamless. I'm someone that likes to work with people that, that are enthusiastic. So if you can bring someone in and create a kind of a framework for them to work in and, and a place for them to be enthusiastic and then set some rules around that, you know, then it, then it really works.

So that's kind of like how that was for me. In terms of the portfolio, I sort out, I did, um, a couple of projects. So one was like this really, I I wanted to take a really boring company and make it look really fashionable. Okay. So I, I invited this, this paper company, which, you know, like we all love paper as designers. Like, but, um, but I didn't wanna, yeah, so, so I chose a paper company and I called it current paper supplies. Super, like easy thing, nice like bold typography, um, nice colory blue colors, um, and just kind of really editorial injury. So I enjoyed that one. And then I picked another one, which is, um, it was called Four Flowers. Now here's something fun, just, I, I liked the name four flowers. I didn't even know what floor meant, right. I didn't know what this word meant. And then I, I googled it and it meant full of smell, like, like a nice scent. And I felt, how amazing is that

Dianne: Meant

Wesley: To be? It blew my mind. I was okay. I kinda thought, yeah, that's great. Um, so I did those two, but I did a, a boutique flower, cell flower sailer and a paper company. I'm both in line with the kind of values that I wanted to bring to my clients and just kind of the work I want to do in the future.

Dianne: Yeah, that's great. So question for you, you kind of started this, um, answer with learning how to work through client processes. And I, I think that skill is one of the skills that I, my original degree was in graphic design. I went to school for graphic design and they never said anything about clients. Like, they don't teach you how to work on processes with clients. Right. And so you, so you started off this con this answer with that. And then you also went into working on these, um, portfolio pieces that were kind of like you created them to, to mold some of those values you have. So for someone that's starting a portfolio with maybe some of their own work, um, and they may might not have client work, how would you suggest they kind of mesh that idea of processes and dealing with actual customers with like, uh, a project they made up?

Wesley: Well, I think if, if you're working on a project that's your own, then you are the client, right? So you can go as far as, you know, you don't have to take things, you know, to the highest point of seriousness. But if you want to really get some good experience, set yourself deadlines, take a, a project management tool like Asana. Um, I use Asana a notion together, by the way. Um, so take something like Asana, set yourself some, some deadlines. Set yourself an agreement of scope. Um, do kind of a really good research phase on the, the customer that you would want to reach. And then also kind of like the, um, you know, kind of like the pain points you can solve for them. I e yourself, i e this company, you know, really kind of flesh it out and, and that way then you can, I don't wanna make up a company now, but you know, let's say they need a website and they need brand graphics and everything else.

You know, set that scope, set the deliverables in, in, you know, kind of key stages, things like that. Really flesh out a full project scope that gives you an idea of managing a project for yourself. And then if you can manage a project for yourself, cause it's so much harder to manage yourself sometimes than it is others. And you'll just get used to just looking at things like deadlines in a song and ticks and check boxes and stuff like that. And then especially if, um, I can't stress enough, something that will, a client will love is you being able to talk about a project that you love. Like this is huge for them. So if you can show your enthusiasm by showing off a project that, that really promotes your core values, which then, you know, is that's, that's where it is. Like, that's where the goal is because that's the type of person you want to work with. So if you can do three projects that show off what you can do best and and the place that you're coming from, you'll attract that kinda person, you know?

Dianne: Yeah. I love it. Yep. I, I completely agree. I think that you definitely hit a lot of those points that a lot of designers that come out of school are like, what do I do? I just have school work that I've done. But I think like holding yourself accountable, making, using a project management tool to really get those skill sets. And I really love what you said about when you're your own customer. Like you're like the hardest customer. Doing work for yourself is like the hardest thing in the world. So if you can do it for yourself and follow deadlines, like you got this

Wesley:. Yeah, definitely. Right? Definitely. I

Dianne: See. Okay, let's keep going. So you got some, some of your first customers that you still, um, keep in touch with today, which is amazing.

Wesley: After I kind of reached a point where I was like, okay, there's something in this, right? Like that, there's definitely a future in this. Um, I have good feedback as well from my clients, which is huge. Also, by the way. Everyone, make sure your clients give you feedback in terms of like testimonials and things like this. It's huge. Even if it's just for yourself, you don't wanna put it out there, request out from them, bug them if they don't give it to you, just the point.

Dianne: I love that. And do it when they get that, when you deliver that project, cuz that's what's gonna be fresh to them.

Wesley: Say it's a requirement in big poll, he in that email, just, just do it. It's okay. They won't, they'll, they'll wanna do it. It'll benefit you in the future. So I kind of started getting some good feedback in and, and then I started looking into how, you know, how it's all good and well being, um, on your own as a freelancer and taking on the Yelp project. But if you really wanna scale and if you really want to, you know, kind of build a business around this, then you have to kind of look into things like, um, you know, having a good business plan, having like a, a structure to a business. So I started going down the street, I started, you know, looking into how to structure a company, um, how to subcontract, which is a big one. Um, and just kind of things of that nature.

So I then started looking into social media and, and I've got some, uh, some great influences in, uh, there's a few studios online that I, I love Le Studio and uh, I don't know if you know, there's, there's a woman called in Brooklyn. Uh, she, she's a, but I guarantee many of the community members will know her cause cause yeah, she, she's great and she taught me a lot. I had a few, um, a few kind of FaceTime calls with her and she spoke a lot about kind of how to, uh, how to market yourself and how to grow on social media, this. So at that point I had a good understanding of how to make content, how to structure a company and how to deliver projects. So those three things combined allowed me to say, okay, let's launch an agency, or let's turn at least me as a freelancer into me, the agency. Right.

Dianne: And yeah. Yeah. I I love that. I, a question I have for you is, like, of those three things you suggested, which one did you struggle with the most?

Wesley: Mm-hmm.. Do you know what? I think, I'll be honest, I think it was the content creation.. Yeah. I think I, I struggle the most with um, just actually being authentic on camera. You know, just, just kind of opening myself up and, and just, just saying, okay, this is me and these are my passions. And cuz it's, it's all going well, being a designer, you have an opportunity to polish, right? You know, you really have an opportunity to polish everything you, whereas with content, years ago, people used to love really polished content, but now people want raw, you know, they want raw, unfiltered. They just want you and, and what you do and your passions. The best thing I looked at for everyone, you know, just film yourself. Just film yourself all the time. That's what I started doing. I just started filming myself talking like, you know, just, um, I asked friends to have FaceTime calls with me and I recorded them and just over time I got more used to speaking the camera. That was a big challenge for me.

Dianne: That's, that's great advice too. I think a lot of people really struggle starting that. I definitely don't like to be in front of the camera either. I mean, now I'm running this podcast and I'm recording myself all the time and I feel like I've definitely gotten more comfortable. So I think that's great feedback. Just like, do it, just record it and then it'll feel more natural to you and it kind of just becomes something you do

Wesley: Also, also, like it's you, you know, like, you know, we forget that people wanna see it. People wanna see you, people wanna see, you know, kind you in your authentic self. Um, you know, it's, it's okay to to worry about this stuff, but it's not okay not to do it. That's how I feel.

Dianne: Yeah,

Wesley: That's great advice. That's a place for everyone, you know? Um, yeah, especially online. Like

Dianne: Yes. Yes. And I would love, um, and maybe you can send these over after, and we can send it to everyone as like some of these, um, social media influencers that you follow that really helps you get started. I think that would be really, really interesting. Um, and how did, did you reach out, so the, the one that you were mentioning in Brooklyn and you had some FaceTime calls, how did that go? Did you just reach out and ask for some advice?

Wesley: This is a huge point. Okay. So I learned this the other day that I didn't actually know that people had trouble reaching people that they, they um, they kind of follow from like an outside, you know, like when they just watch their videos and they never actually talk. So I was speaking to someone that I'm trying to contract with and do you know Jamie Brin? Let's know that just to throw his name right there. Okay. So it's cool, he, you have to follow Jamie br. Okay. Okay. Everyone followed Jamie Brin, he's the father of freelancer. He's brilliant. Um, so I just reach out to people, I send him a nice message and say, I love that work. You know, and I, I say I'd love to have, if you have a, uh, time to answer a few questions or just, you know, um, even just to say hi and kind of, you know, put my name in their chat box.

You know, like, so if you follow someone that you like, that you trust that you value their opinion, just reach out to them, be nice, be approachable, um, have a problem they can solve so that, you know, there's not just like a, a huge layer of text. You know, give them a short kind of concise question, respect their time and they will 90% time get back to you. And then that opens up a dialogue with someone that you know, you really admire instead of just kind of watching from afar and just, there's more value for you. You can ask a personal question to someone. And so that was what I did. I kind of spent a couple of days choosing a few people that I really trusted, um, and I just reached out to them and I, I honestly, like, I got great responses from people and this was when I had, you know, very little content on my accounts.I had enough to show that, you know, I was, I was at least within the creative industries and interested in this stuff, but it wasn't like I had, you know, a thousand posts Instagram with like all these reels and everything. It's just, you know, like it's just being nice. Most of the time people are very bossy on social media, you know, if you just come across as being nice and, and just enthusiastic is a question that that's, I, I'd love it if people just kind of sent me more messages, more like, Hey, I got this design problem, cetera, et etcetera. You know, I'm absolutely happy to help.

Dianne: That's, yeah, so all listeners out there, get, get ready, follow Wesley, and then you can reach out to him and ask all the questions you want. Um, and I think that's really, I, I think that's really interesting because also reaching out, not just in like a social media context of like, hey, I'm interested in designers or influencers also just in general getting customers, finding jobs. Like if you don't go, if you go outside of this, those traditional routes and you make yourself known and you reach out with compassion and passion that people most likely will respond to you. So I think like getting yourself out there, showing your personality and saying that in a message or however makes sense, like, I think that's some really great advice. And I think like so many people, and I also think this, and I don't know if this applies as much to social media and kinda reaching out to influencers, but when reaching out to potential customers you like, or jobs follow up because people are gonna read a message and then they're gonna forget. And it's not that they don't care, it just, there's 10,000 things that are taking our attention follow up always.

Wesley: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Here's another point too, if, if you're looking for, um, kind of that first batch of clients, one of the best things you can do is visit places, studios, restaurants, wherever your target customer is, visit your favorite places and just offer to do something for them. You know, like, um, if you are kind of in advertising, you can do kind of an audit of how brand's doing online and just take that in, you know, you're gonna do this research anyway and you'd love to learn them because you love the restaurant. So just, just do it. Just do the work. It'll take you two hours one day to just put together one page report on how they're doing. The same thing goes with, with near any business. Just go in, meet the manager. You don't need, right? This is used thing, you don't necessarily need a huge pack with pens with your name on it and business cards and all this stuff.

You don't need it. You can just go in and just meet the manager because that's where your passions will lead through. You don't have to be, you know, um, like a huge conversationist, you just go in and say, Hey, I love this place and I'd love to work with you. I'd love to meet whoever's in charge of social media and just give them some pointers. Um, you know, and just offer, offer that value free. Yes. And then, and then once, once you're in and once you, you've been able to kind of make that connection, then, then you offer your services. And if not, if they don't wanna take on your services, you've already offered them some value and you've contributed to somewhere you got and what's better? Not really, you know, that's a nice thing to do.

Dianne: Definitely. I love that. Yeah. And I feel like this is a lot about, like, you as a person too. You're like, Hey, if nothing happens out of it, I wanted to give you something because I really like what you guys are doing. Yeah. That says a lot about you. Yeah. Um, yeah. Oh, that was great. I, I I think communication and reaching out to people is a craft in itself and it's hard. Yeah. Um, okay, so let's keep going. You, you basically, you did these three steps and you've, you've launched your agency. What, what happens now?

Wesley: So this is where I'm, this is where the business is young and it's, it's really exciting to me. So right now we've kind of, um, and I, I will always say we and us because I believe it's, it's a community effort and there's a network of people. You know, I, I'm, it's a sole, I'm sole founder, but there's a network of people that back me that helped me know that that helped me kind of answer questions and things like that. So will always say we and does. But, um, right now we're building our internals, you know, we're kind of building a system out, we're managing some current kind of older projects and some other clients and we're scaling them up with us. So we're trying to bring everyone along the ride. And I'm, I'm currently building like a network of self-checks. So those, that kind of layer of, you know, foundations is where we're at right now.

It's really exciting. Like, I love being in this stage cuz it's, it's like that research stage when you're pulling together things, you're pulling new balls and ideas and everything together. Um, but we have a solid plan for the next couple years just to kind of grow online and, and grow a client base and also wanna do a lot of work with charity, which is something I'm, I'm really interested in. So there's a few communities are in my local area that I would like to contribute to. But I also, this is something, I dunno if I should say this, but I will, I wanna work with dogs, I wanna help dogs., I love that. So I've been work speaking with a couple people about how we can contribute to some charities and some things like that. So right now it's, it's, we're just building this kind of, uh, this strong foundation to work from. Um, and I also do, you know, kind of like, I love personal work on my own, so that kind of takes apart my time too and over, over the next year and hoping and planning definitely to become completely full-time in the studio where I can actually just wake up and just work on this studio. Yeah,

Dianne: I mean, it sounds like you're setting yourself up for this vision. It sounds like you have a plan like this, you are going to accomplish this. Thank you. That's yeah, like, it's like your, your passion and your desire. So what is, um, what does it mean to kind of like build your system up to you? What, what are these things that you're doing right now?

Wesley: You have, I think you have to have some strong foundations right now. I've, in the past I've made the mistake of trying to just kind of go gun ho and just, just hope things will work out. And this is a good mistake to make by the way, because you learn a lot, you learn about the things you need to vacuum. I've used like 10 different productivity softwares and the combination I've landed on is Asana and Notion. And I use AANA to track every individual project and it's timeline. And then I use Notion to track everything else, the people, you know, kind, uh, any applicants, any products I'm working on, things like that. So notion is great for all that. Um, if you have a good backend, then you can rely on that. And sometimes it can be overwhelming to have kind of a notion page with 50 different entries and like, I found it overwhelming now, but you know, like little things like, you know, mixing up your emojis and stuff like that, your iPhones, these things helped.

Dianne: Yeah, I mean notion, we use notion internally too, and icons and emojis are like the only way that we go. And we, I spend so much time picking my perfect emoji for my page. It's like ridiculous. It shouldn't

Wesley: Have invited. It's, it's a necessity. I think it's necessary.,

Dianne: It's really important. It's really important. So yeah, I get that. And I think like the further along you get and the more you work on processes is you will come to consolidate some of those pages and put them in other places and, and make

Wesley: It easier if, look, if we look at an example, say, you know, on the theme of reaching out and if we look at that process of reaching out and then bringing the client in on launch the project, if you wanna do that at scale or at a small or a large scale, one of the best things you can do is treat as a business and bring them in as a lead drop all the information that you get from, you know, what's their scope, budget, you know, what, what kind of project are they interested in? Have that all, all written out, not on paper. I'm a, I'm a big paper though, I love to write. So, but having it all in a system, in a computer system that will keep all this information there and concise, that gives you a good start. Then you can move from there to kind of, you can have recordings of conversations tracked in one place.

You can have, um, you know, kind of like any research or on it out in a specific place. And before you know it, when you know, say you go through this whole process and you actually deliver a project before you know it, you have a complete track record of this entire project. And you can have that for every client you ever work with instead of having sticky notes on the walls and paper everywhere, you know, and I learn, not the hard way, but it's definitely the best way. Definitely by far have everything tracked in a system that, that you, you can work with and something that, you know, if you're a visual person, have a visual system, it's okay. You don't have to just work in spreadsheets if, if it doesn't work for you.

Dianne: I was actually, that's really funny. I was about to ask you that question as visual as a visual person, us as designers, sometimes project management tools are just gross. Yeah. And they're not visual and it is spreadsheets. So I was gonna ask you, how do you kind of balance that

Wesley:? I don't know if I balance it too well, I think the main thing is, um, I understand like if you, if you're gonna track something like money, you know, you have, you have to work with numbers, you know, so there's a time and a place for everything. But if you could get used to working in a system like that, it will help you. And if not, then there are other systems that will definitely work for you in another way. Um, you can do things like for example, like, you know, you have different views in, in productivity software use the big views where you have a big image and, and you know, like, um, like a bold view instead of just a a list. You know, simple things like that can go a long way when you, you have a reference image to the project you're working on and that means you can scan a page much easier instead of just scanning, testing a list. These little things make a big difference, you know, even if, uh, if you're working in spreadsheets, use color simple, just break it up with color.

Dianne: I love

Wesley: That. And then you can, you can even right in your, in your backend system, track all the colors you use for your spreadsheets, these little things, you know.

Dianne: Exactly. No, that's great. I, I think this is really great advice and I strongly suggest if you're starting out like definitely track, I think that's like, yes, I definitely, when I started out at freelance, I was like, whatever, I'll know everything and it all turns out to jumble and don't make that mistake or, or everyone's gonna make it and then figure out how great tracking is. So I I love that. That's great advice. I think the last thing I wanted to say on that point, um, and I would like your feedback too is also, and you kinda mentioned this, reach out for help. Like if you're not great at project management or accounting, there are so many people you can reach out to that can help you, um, set at least set it up so that you have a starting point and a foundation for your foundations.

Wesley: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, no one you're not born with with these skills, you know, it takes time to learn. And, and as we said earlier about, about, you know, changing industries and, and kind of looking at different parts, you, you are not born as a designer that can manage project, you know, you're born, you're born a creative, so, you know, spend the time learning, you know, kind of project management as you did design, and it will work out both work and tandem and they both compliment each other. So if you can put that time in to learn how to manage a project and reach out to people that are willing to help you learn, then it's only gonna benefit you. Especially if, if they, if they're already set in their systems, they've got a system that works for them, find out why it works for them and then take those lessons into your own space, you know?

Dianne: Yes, yes. That's great advice. I love it. Um, so I have a question about this network of subcontractors that you're building. What, what are you planning on doing? Is it like, as you scale you wanna have these subcontractors you can reach out to? Are you just creating a network for them to reach out to each other?

Wesley: So I've kind of got a baseline idea of how I do this. It's all written and I've had it kind of, you know, looked out. So it's, it's not totally raw. Um, so I love working with small businesses, but you know, in our industry, you know, you do have to work on, on larger scale projects. So for me, what I want to do is have two levels of subcontractor. And this isn't a level of, um, I would say necessarily quality. I think it's Finn, right? So I love working with young people that are and one of the main problems that they face is not having access to clients. So not having work. He knows we discuss with portfolios. So as I said, I wanna work with small businesses alongside big businesses. So my plan is to connect smaller businesses who need, um, kind of lower scale, um, design and kind projects like that with people who are just graduating with people who are just kind of figuring out how to, you know, set everything up so that way that the business can, uh, kind of afford to pay a lower fee for people who are just starting out.

And then I also want to have access to a network of kind of more experienced freelancers who have, you know, delivered project before and create this kind of, this, this system where we can work with any kind of client and really benefit them. So that way we have kind of, you know, um, designers and developers who, you know, like, like few years in, in the game and, and they've got a big portfolio, specific projects, maybe some, uh, got a couple that are some really like fashionable stuff and kind high fashion editorial work. So they'd be great for, you know, if we got like a magazine company where I could say, okay, I'd love to have a hand in this too and pitch to the company, I would love to bring in this person and this person. And then say, and that becomes an internal part of the pitch is that give me, give me two weeks to get back to you with a full puzzle and uh, the team that I would like to bring in from the network and then actually pitch that as, as kinda the full project that you not only get the benefit of my studio, you also get the benefit of the agencies of these people.

Dianne: That's amazing. Yeah, I think that, um, I feel like this, I'm, I feel like I get a very good sense of your values and like your mission here and I do think like helping people and creating communities very much in line with what you're looking for. So I think that's really great to like start pulling all of these people together and be able to create this network. And I think for all the listeners out there is like, I think if they feel like they're starting off and wanna be a part of your, um, your networking, they should reach out to

Wesley: You. Absolutely. If, just to say if there are any creatives, developers, designers, artists, anything, if you have an interest and you want to gain some more experience, I will find working and, and at least I will provide you your structure that you can learn how to start and involve you in client, like, you know, discovery processes and discussions so that you can gain that experience. Cause at the end of the day, you know, we are one big community. The design community has grown so much in the last few years, you know, that we're all kind of making friends online and it's moved from um, you know, kind of a really individual space to, to now community space. Um, especially with, you know, innovations like web three. We we're only just getting to this point now where, you know, a massive global community of designers and we don't have to be so kind of locked down and just individual. So if anyone wants to grow, you know, get touch and, and my Instagram handle I'm sure will be that in my email and I'll give it to you. But yeah, so it's all good. I'd love to speak to more people. Yeah.

Dianne: Yes, yes. I love that. Yes. Let's spread the design community, spread the word. Let's all connect. That's great. Um, okay, so this was awesome and I have one more question for you is where do you see yourself going from here? What does the future look like?

Wesley: Well, here's one thing. So I'm planning to move, okay, so I'm planning to move to Italy and I'd like to take my work on the road. So one of the great things about running a remote agency is that you can do that. So I'd like to work with people from across the world on small and large scale projects and kinda, you know, make a difference in with the values that I hold in terms of community and looking after people and their businesses. So over the next few years, I'd like to scale everything up. I'd like to work with, um, companies, you know, each continent is something, a goal, right? Um, and kind of just create a community of people that can share values and, and that can, you know, grow together. That's, that's my aim over the next few years.

Dianne: I love it. I love it. Yeah, and I think where we are as designers and how the world is, you definitely can take it on the road and travel as well as designed like

Wesley: I'd like to, I'd like to meet these people, you know, I don't want to just see them on the screen. I want to go and spend time with people. I want to build genuine connections instead of just, I don't want this to be cold. I wanna create a really warm community of people that love working together. I'd love to do, I have some people that I'm speaking within Gem and I would love to go and meet them and work on some commuting projects in their communities and just kinda bring the whole thing together like that. And I have some, I have some of these visits planned too, so I'm really excited for 2023.

Dianne: Well, I was gonna ask why Italy?

Wesley: It's beautiful.

Dianne: Yes, for sure, for sure. I was like, oh, is there a customer or a client you have there that you wanna see?

Wesley: I, I think it just, I have some kind of connection to the history it has. Um, and there's just kind of, I like the pace out there. I like the pace. It's, it's slower and, you know, the, uh, the weather's also great. I dunno if you've ever been to the uk, but the weather is not great here. It's, it's really bad. Especially this time of year.

Dianne: Yes. All the raining cold. One of our designers, um, is in London and we, we always kind of joke with them like, how's that weather over there?

Wesley: Terrible.. Yeah,

Dianne: That's for sure. Um, no, that's so exciting. Well, I, um, will definitely end this podcast under all of this. We'll put all of your information so people can reach out and I'm really excited to continue this relationship with you and follow along on your journey as you scale and grow, um, this community of designers. So thank you so much for spending some time with me.

Wesley: Thank you too. I appreciate you having me on and uh, you know, I hope, uh, we can do this again sometime. Yeah,

Dianne: Definitely. We'll have to follow up in a year when you're traveling to Italy.

Wesley: Everyone make sure you follow up.

Dianne: Yes. Also always, always follow up. I love it. Awesome. Thank you so much Wesley. We'll, we'll definitely be in touch and I'm excited to continue to follow you. Thank you.

Wesley's recommendations of creators and influencers for inspiration:

Barbiana Liu of Leche Studio - https://www.instagram.com/leche.studio/ - Great for learning more about content production

Jamie Brindle - https://www.instagram.com/thejamiebrindle/ - Great for learning more about freelancing

Continuum Web3 Learning Platform - https://www.instagram.com/continuumxyz/ - Great for learning and earning in Web3

Rich Webz - https://www.instagram.com/richwebz/ - Great for learning efficiency, efficiency and more efficiency

James Martin - https://www.instagram.com/made.by.james/ - Great for approachable, down to earth design content, super informative

Dianne Eberhardt

Dianne Eberhardt

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