Tag Archives: Brighton

23 Jul

First month in Brighton

 

IMG_4099

It’s been a month since I moved to Brighton from Birmingham.

I know the city well, having gone to the University of Sussex back in the mid-90s. However, I’ve never had a ‘proper’ job here, so I was keen to jump into the creative / freelance world as soon as possible.

1 ring - fresh pot of coffee, 2 rings - free cake or cookies, 3 rings - event, 4 rings - drinks, 5 rings. If someone is using a phone in The Mess? Endless rings until their phone call ends.

Bell ringing guide at The Skiff, a co-working space in Brighton.

Co-working space

Joining the Skiff was a great decision. It’s know for being one of the cooler and more social co-working spaces (and also one of the more expensive) but it’s been well worth it.

I pay £99 + VAT per month to use the space 2.5 days a week, although they seem fairly laid back about how you use those. It’s all self-managed, so it’s up to each member not to use it more than their membership level allows.

I’ve also met some great people through their fortnightly Friday beers. Free booze and a chance to meet other Skiff members from 5pm has meant a couple of boozy nights out and getting to know my office mates.

 

Chamber of Commerce

I purposely did not get involved with the Chamber of Commerce in Birmingham. Having interviewed various organisers in the past I felt it was aimed at “men in suits” and the more traditional business world. However, my pre-move research into the Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce branch showed they were embracing the creative vibe of the city and doing some relevant and interesting events.

Within a week I’d attended the “new members” event, where I found out that anyone can host a bitesize learning session. I’m definitely considering hosting an infographics workshop in the future. I”m also in conversations with the Chamber organisers to help visualise their most recent survey results.

 

Change in Attitude

I don’t know if it’s the weather, the proximity to the beach or the general Brighton vibe, but I’m a LOT more chilled out here. I’m still getting things done, and staying on top of work, but I’ve lost that feeling that I have to work every minute of the day. I’m still working early mornings, but I’m far less likely to work into the evening. Instead we’re doing things – like walks on the beach, swimming at a lido in Lewes and Pokemon hunting!

 

Creative Vibe

Presuming Ed coffee shop - frontage with face of Bob Dobbs


Coffee shop – Presuming Ed, Brighton

Don’t get me wrong – Birmingham is a GREAT city. However, anyone who’s visited Brighton will know it’s an incredibly vibrant, creative and inspiring place. From the art shops on the beach (like Castor and Pollux), the alt coffee shops like Presuming Ed and the bohemian and vintage shops in the North Laine I’m finding inspiration on every corner.

I’m already noticing a change in the colour choices in my work, as I go for more wider palette but with more muted tones. I’ll be interested to see if this sunnier climate will affect my work long term.

 

 

 

13 Apr

Relocating as a freelancer

 

I’m about to relocate 3 hours across the country from Birmingham to Brighton. To my American readers that may not seem very far (I know people who’ve moved from New York to LA), but it’s still a big deal to me. I’ve been talking about moving for about 3 years and I’m not going to lie – the main reason it’s taken me so long to actually do it, is my business.

 

I’ve been extremely lucky to have worked with some great people in and around Birmingham. It’s a big city strong communities in the digital, arts, heritage and local authority fields. I’ve done interesting projects and had great feedback, and so word has spread and I now have clients all over the country.
However, this hasn’t stopped the concerns.

– Will my current clients keep me on, once I’ve moved?
– Will my current cheerleaders (my network in Birmingham) continue to spread the word about me?
– How easy will it be to meet new people, and potential clients, in Brighton?
– Will my freelance business take a hit after I’ve moved?

 

Here’s my advice:

Keep people informed
Current clients – Back in December I emailed my largest clients and let them know I’d be moving. Word was starting to get out and I wanted to assure them that I would continue to be available for future work. Several of them messaged back, wishing me luck and saying they’d continue to book me in the future.

New clients – Since deciding to move I’ve had several new Birmingham-based clients come on board. I’ve been up-front with them about the relocation and assured them that I’ll still be available (apart from on my move day!)

Via my website / social media – I’ve kept more public discussions of my move under wraps until a little closer to me leaving. I was concerned that it may put people off contacting me about new work.

 

Find a co-working space
Joining a co-working space will be a great way to meet new people, both socially and for work purposes. Brighton has several to choose from but I’ve settled with The Skiff, which seems to have a laid back vibe and a digital/tech-heavy membership. It also means I get membership to the Wired Sussex network, which means more people and access to jobs and projects forums.  I’m planning to visit the The Skiff 2.5 days a week, and will work from home for the rest of the time. Hopefully with a cat.

 

Find other communities
I’ve used meetups.com to find relevant groups in Brighton, and joined them. I”m not even there yet and my diary is full of things to get along to, when I land. These are a mix of work-related and personal interest groups.

 

I’ve also volunteered myself to help revive Brighton Hacks and Hackers which should be a lot of fun and great way to meet people.

 

Lurk like crazy
Social media has been great and tapping into the Brighton scene from a distance, although it was been more successful for my social life than my work life, at the moment. I’ve:
– set up a Brighton Instagram account  – no posts yet but following a lot of bars, pubs, cafes, magazines + venues.
– made a Twitter list of creative and digital organisations and people across the city

 

Save up
I’ve had a good couple of years and have managed to save some money in my business account, so I can pay myself and keep my things running for 5/6 months. Hopefully it won’t come to that but it means I won’t have to take any old job that comes along and I can actually spend some time enjoying my new life in Brighton.

 

 

Comments disabled but let me know your thoughts via Twitter

 

31 Dec

5 Big Things of 2015

It’s been quite a year! Here are a few of my highlights from 2015.

 

My Route

My Route touchtableWithout doubt, the largest project I’ve ever worked on.

My Route was a heritage project looking at the history of the Stratford Road in Birmingham through the changing businesses.

I was commissioned by Sampad to design a touch table to allow the users to explore a map of the road, and find stories through audio, image and video content.

This involved working with partner organisations over many months before the final project was complete.

Next stage:  I’d love to work on something similar again – I found the heritage/tech/design crossover particularly interesting.

 

Tableau

Computer Arts top 30 studios Tableau dashboard

I’ve been using Tableau since 2010 but it’s only recently that I’ve actually turned it into a service I can offer clients.

Tableau is a tool that allows you to create quick charts and dashboards with your own data. It’s incredibly powerful and has helped me with many of my own projects in the past. I am now working with a few clients, using Tableau to present their data and create interactive tools for their websites.

The key point for me was working on a ‘for-fun’ project (left) showing the top 30 design studios in the UK. It’s incredible how useful working on personal projects can be, especially if they are a success. This one has currently had over 4000 views and the magazine loved it!

The next stage is to tighten up my Tableau process. I need to develop a defined workflow, as I have for infographics and data design.

 

Training / Consultancy

Training graphic

The training side of my business has grown considerably this year. During 2014 I was delivering courses to local councils and arts organisations interesting in learning more about infographics and data design.

During 2015 I delivered a training day at the European Research Institute in the Netherlands (with more training to come in that country) and 2 training days at the Press Association for 2 different organisations.

I have realised that there is need for a consultancy service – allowing me to work with organisations, helping them sort their data and build infographics.

The next stage for me is to really develop the consultancy side of my business.

 

Music Journalism Book

Music Journalism Book Caroline Beavon 2015 started out with me wrapping up the final edits of a music journalism distance learning book/module for the Open School of Journalism. I’d spent most of November and December writing this, and was so pleased to finally see the finished version in print late 2016.

I was a broadcast journalist for several years (including 5+ as a music reporter at Kerrang! Radio), before moving into infographics design. Writing this book was a great excuse to dig back into my memories and relive some of those moments.

The next stage is for me to turn a version of this text into an ebook (with permission from the School) and sell it on Amazon. That’s a job for 2016.

 

Planning a Relocation

BrightonAnyone who knows me will know I’ve been yearning to move to Brighton for years. I was a student there and always said I’d move back when I could afford to. Well, I’m, not sure WHO could afford to live in Brighton but I’ve decided to make a go of it anyway! My apartment in Birmingham sold quickly and now I’m on the hunt for something down there.

The next stage is to find an apartment in Brighton and set up shop down there! Hopefully my current clients won’t notice too much of a change in service – and for the London ones, I’m even closer. Plus, Brighton is a cool, digital and arty city, and I hope it will bring about more customers.

All content (c) Caroline Beavon 2020