Having a home studio can be amazing, but it is also hard work. I revel in being able to work on my own, until I need a quick opinion from a friend and the lack of it sends me into a day long doubt spiral. I love the fact that I have the freedom to legitimately purchase 'work track pants', but that same flexibility often leads to convincing myself I need to sleep more and just finish House of Cards before I get to work. It's a precariously balanced ecosystem, and after reading Carla McRae's thoughts on the same topic - I feel is all too common, and so tricky to get a handle on.
Then recently I was reading an article by all-time badass Ghostly Ferns designer, dance powerhouse, and super inspiration Meg Lewis about the way Ghostly Ferns works, and based on the fact that they are currently up for Agency of the Year at The Net Awards (vote for them here!) they must be doing something right. Here's an excerpt below from Meg's article that sets out the structure:
Everyone is envious of freelancers. We do what we want. More importantly, no one decides our own destiny but us. It’s badass. The scary part of freelancing is the fear of an empty schedule and sheer loneliness. At Ghostly Ferns, we’ve solved that problem. Freelancing is so much better with friends.
We’re a group of freelancers who each offer different services. Usually we work for clients individually, but we often pair together on projects when we can. We work in the same room together and are constantly providing feedback and support to one another. We have company meetings and make awesome side project-y things in our spare time. We act as a support group and sounding board for one another on a daily basis. We’re here for each other and we are best friends. I love my fellow Ghostly Ferns and would do anything for them. In fact, I have done a lot of crazy things for them. And I know they would do the same for me. We care for each other and inspire each other. It rules.
Because we each have our own expertise, our collective portfolio is bangin’. We’re all basically scratching each other’s backs with our individual work. My web, product, UI work makes Jen’s hand lettering transition into digital mean than it otherwise would. Laura’s character illustrations make my web products more personable and fun. Long story short: we make each other’s work stronger.
Other design studios love us because they can grab one or two of us as an extra set of hands when their workload is too hefty. Agencies love us because we’re individual contractors. It’s a win, win, win, win situation for all.
As a semi-recent transplant to Sydney I just don't have the freelance friends here yet (come at me!) to create my own creative family vibes, but this structure seems to create balance without losing any of the freedom of freelancing. If you'd like to hear more head over to the Meg's blog, and tell me when you are ready to start a creative Sydney family with me!
Image: Ghostly Ferns