Tag Archives: freelancing

07 Feb

The Oldest Intern In Town

20130207-103838.jpgRecently I took the decision to become an intern.

I spotted brand agency Orb were on the hunt for a creative copywriter intern, and thought it was too good an opportunity to miss.

Now, I’m not your run-of-the-mill intern. I’m 37 years old, for starters. I’ve been working as a journalist since 2000 and now specialise in information design and social media/online content.

So, why be an intern? – I hear you ask.

Good question.

Despite my experience in journalism, I have no formal experience in working for a design agency – and as most of my work nowadays is infographic/information design, I thought I’d gain a lot from seeing how the big boys do it.

Specifically, I believe I need to boost my skills in
1. understanding a brief quickly
2. presenting ideas to a client (without spending hours on completed designs in the early stages)
3. monitoring time / pricing structure

I’ll spend one day a week in the Orb studio copywriting – but as it’s a small office, and the whole team are involved in the project process, I can see how work develops every step of the way.

Some of you may think I’m taking the opportunity away from someone younger, who needs a start in this business – I say, I’m starting out in a new industry, my need is as great as theirs.

Some of you may have a major beef with the internship process – that it’s slave labour and exploitation. You may know my thoughts on this. In this case, I’m being paid for my time (a basic wage, but fantastic considering the opportunity).

Has anyone else done an internship later in life? How did it work out?

15 Dec

7 work locations for the home working freelancer

As a stay-at-home freelancer, I’m always looking for different places to work.

It’s a perk of the job that you can take your laptop anywhere, so here are my favourite places to get stuff done

INSIDE THE HOUSE

1. Bed

Good for blogging, social networking and social sharing/bookmarking

This is a surprisingly productive place to work.

[69]. HELLLOO MACCCBOOOK!

  • It’s comfy – so why would you get up an wander off somewhere else?
  • Any attempt to move will result in a cable-duvet tangling scenario
  • it’s relaxed – so perfect for creative ventures
  • You can flip between sitting upright and lying on your front if you need to (yes I know, both terrible terrible postures)
Downsides
  • Terrible for your posture
  • If you’re tired it’s hard to get motivated/not fall asleep
  • Definitely not for Skype chats!!

2. Sofa

Good for email answering, planning, to-do list writing and inbox clearing

Less productive than the bed, as it’s far more tempting to put the telly on, do the washing up etc. However, sitting on the sofa in a bright living room is still a valid place of work

 

  • With a bright airy room, you’re less creative but more switched on to tackling simple but useful tasks
  • there are a variety of positions available
  • similar restrictions to moving as “bed” – cables, comfiness etc
Downsides
  • Not ideal for long working sessions
  • Distractions of household chores/TV

3. Desk

Good for design, report writing

I currently do not have a desk (long story) but I always found it the best place to get the “big project” done.

 

  • if set up right, a desk is a comfy, “good posture” place to work
  • There is a sense of purpose on a desk, and the hours can fly by
  • You have all your stuff near you – pens, staplers, printer etc.
Downsides
  • Not very creative space (I always have my design books in another room so I can step away from the desk and into a different coach to get some inspiration)

4. Bath

Just kidding

 

OUTSIDE THE HOUSE

4. Coffee Shop

Good for blogging, social networking, link sharing

Find the right coffee shop and it can become a perfect place to work. I blogged about some of the best working coffee shops in Birmingham here

  • Despite being a public space, there are actually fewer distractions than in your own home. No washing up, no television.
  • There is a sense of time limit – no matter no friendly your coffee shop is, they will close eventually.
  • regular breaks as you get up to buy more drink
  • Once you’re set up, you won’t want to move again for a couple of hours

Downsides

  • Noisy – (especially around lunchtime)
  • unreliable wifi can ruin your session
  • Too much caffeine!
  • Potential to eat cake and carb-heavy food all the time!!
  • Expense
  • People you know “popping over” for a chat

 

5. Library

Birmingham Central Library from Centenary Way
Good for non-online writing, research, concentration, data entry

I’ve always had a soft spot for my my local “big” library – the soon to be demolished Central Library in Birmingham, it was my go-to revision spot when I was doing my A Levels.

Yes, there is free wifi but I’ve sometimes had problems logging on and there is a time-limit, and to be honest it’s sometimes nice to get non-online tasks done in this environment

  • Fewer distractions
  • Sense of a place of learning so encourages self to get stuff done
  • Plenty of research material
  • You can’t wander off without packing everything up

downsides

  • Noise. It doesn’t take a lot to be noisy in a library
  • Wonky wifi connection at times
  • A hassle if you need to pop to loo, for a coffee etc

 

6. pub

Good for social networking, links sharing, filing etc

I know people who love working in pubs. To be honest, I’ve always found it an odd location but it can work, especially as so many now have free wifi

  • During the day pubs can be quieter than coffee shops
  • Range of beverage options (depending how the writing is going!)
  • Fewer distractions from friends as they’re all in the coffee shops
  • Downsides (mainly when the pub gets busy)

Downsides

  • Once the pub starts to fill up, you will end up being the pretentious dick in the corner on a laptop
  • The pub may not be happy with you taking up a table
  • The temptation to have a “cheeky lunchtime drink”

 

7. Co-working space

Good for focus-jobs i.e. report writing, blogging, accounts sorting)

I’ve blogged about the pros and cons of coworking spaces here.

I’m still not a mad fan of these, but there are definite pros and cons

  • If everyone else in the room is diligently working, the pressure is on you to do the same
  • Usually a productive space and a big desk for yourself
  • Tea and coffee on tap

Downsides

  • Too quiet – quite a tense atmosphere sometimes
  • Cost (compared to working at home)
  • Politics / etiquette – how to behave, talking, mobile phones etc
Have I missed anywhere?

 

 

 

27 Apr

Current Projects – mystery clients, Olympics, forums and rockin’ maps!

After a relatively quiet period, recently I’ve had a flurry of work  and opportunities – and some very interesting ones at that. Excuse the lack of client names, but many of these are active projects.

If you are interested in hiring me – you can find me on Twitter (@carolinebeavon) or email carolinebeavon at gmail.com

Thanks

PROJECTS

Infographic > Local Authority Olympics

I was recently asked to create an infographic of information about the Olympic Torch relay, for a local authority.

This was an unusual project for me as it involved text instead of numbers. Instead of creating charts and diagrams, the project involved illustrating blocks of text and using colour and glyphs to support the issues.

Whilst this infographic was concerning the Olympic Torch Relay, the client was not an official partner of the event. Hence, there are a host of restrictions on use of logo, branding, symbols and colours.

You can read the official guidelines here – and I was genuinely surprised at the extend to which these restrictions extend. For example – the Olympic rings, even if used in silhouette, are restricted, as are the Olympic colours used together in a design.

Working with the client, and based on a website they had already drawn up for the coverage, we opted for simple red, white and blue theme and avoided ALL Olympic shapes or suggestions.

Multiple data graphics  > Communicate Magazine

Communicate Magazine is a monthly B2B (business to business) magazine within the Stakeholder Relations field. As their in-house Data Visualization Specialist I work with research data and create 3/4/5 quarter page graphics to support articles in the magazine.

You can view past work for Communicate here

The task at hand here is not wrangling a huge dataset. In fact, it is often a small set of numbers and the challenge comes in making a few results look appealing and interesting.

The focus here is definitely on design, that works at a small quarter-page scale.

Over recent issues I have used the official brand colours (shades of red) but I was delighted when the client asked for a change – using blues and greens instead.

Infographics > Mystery Client

I have also had the privilege of being contacted by a well known international tech brand (my lips are sealed) who asked me to create a few simple infographics for use in a ideas pitch to a 3rd party.

My contact was based on the West Coast of America, so the time difference has led to a few phone calls at 11pm at night – no problem for me!

Fingers crossed it comes off as it would be a fascinating project to work on.

Infographic > Kerrang! Radio

As a very quick favour to my old friends at Kerrang! Radio, I was recently glad to help out with a map visualization of listener postcodes.

I initially gave some advice to the in-house designer/web dude on tools that would be able to create intensity circles on a map (using Fusion Tables etc) but in the end I stepped in and assisted by using Tableau.

Social Media Strategy > Wolves Civic

I have worked with Wolves Civic (a set of 3 music venues in Wolverhampton) for some time  – formerly looking after their social media content, and now as a consultant.

They are a very innovative team and are keen to embrace the new developments in social media.

I have been working with the Marketing Team on a shake-up of how they deal with their Facebook and Twitter accounts – it’s something pretty innovative and I will be watching with interest.

EVENTS

Thanks to my former tutor, now work colleague Paul Bradshaw, I have been receiving some very interesting offers to get involved with media conferences, workshops and forums.

AOP Data Journalism Forum – 16 May 2012

I will be featuring on an expert panel at the AOP Data Journalism Forum. I am awaiting more information so will update you when I know more!

The Specialist Media Show – 24th May 2012

I will he holding a workshop on Data Journalism for Publishers at the Specialist Media Show on 24th May 2012

Data is the new buzz word. As public bodies bow under increasing pressure to be transparent and open, so companies are coming under the same pressures. The new breed of savvy consumer is not content with the story that YOU give them. They want the background, they want to interrogate, play, sort, visualize and they want to share across their social networks. It is up to publishers to be more open with their research, and present it in an accessible, interesting and honest way. From simple downloads, to high-end interactive pieces, there are a host of opportunities for publishers to get involved in this data revolution.

(extended blog post on this workshop here)

All content (c) Caroline Beavon 2020