I’m Hayche GRiiiM. I’m an up and coming rapper/producer/spoken word artist hailing from Leicester. I have been refining my art since the tender age of 13 and in that time I’ve released three free mixtapes. Having performed at a variety of events and stages, I’m now ready to take the next step and have been working tirelessly to find “my own sound”. Stitching together a seamless mix of hip hop and blues, I am putting the finishing touches on my debut album entitled “For The Love Of”, which is due for release this year.
What’s your art?
A rich blend of hip hop and blues. Telling a story unique to myself whilst also touching on topics affecting the working class and minorities of all backgrounds.
What’s coming up for you?
An album due for release this year entitled “For The Love Of”, a collaborated mixtape with long time friend and collaborator Def Ninja entitled GRiiiMDef, and another surprise in store that will be revealed closer to the time.
Whether you’re a designer, an actor, a writer, a camera operator, an accountant – the list goes on; you’re your own boss, you set your own hours, you charge own fees and you get to choose the types of projects you want to take on. All in all, it’s a pretty sweet deal!
That being said, there are some pitfalls you can be unlucky enough to run into along the way but what I hope to share with you today is some industry-neutral tips that anyone can take on board. From working as a full-time graphic designer in a creative agency to now being completely self employed, here are a few things I’ve learnt from and experienced throughout my career, thus far:
1. Be specific
Whatever kind of industry you’re in, when taking on a new project or client it’s vitally important to discuss the details of the project with your client and define a solid brief.
Talk, talk and talk some more; ensure that you know what the client is expecting and let them know how and if you can deliver it, document phone conversations and summarise in an email, tell your client what file types you need and how you need them supplying, tell them WHEN you need them supplying – whatever it is, leave absolutely no room for misunderstanding and both you and your client will be secure knowing you’re both on the same page.
2. Ask for a deposit
I have read and heard about every freelancers worst nightmare, even from friends; you liaise with your client for weeks, you develop the project, numerous emails are exchanged until you finally send over the finished project along with your invoice and suddenly they drop off the face of the earth. In short, you don’t get paid and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it.
I am so grateful that up until this point I have not experienced this as I have always insisted on and had been advised to take a deposit up front. There is no golden rule on how much you should ask for, different projects may allow for different payment plans and as long as you can define and confirm these different stages for payment with your client there should be no problems. As a rough guide, I generally split my payments for smaller projects into 50% deposit up front and the final 50% on completion and before any final files are handed over. Larger projects may be split 50% / 25% / 25% with the same terms and conditions.
Taking a deposit is pure and simply to safeguard yourself and your time for further down the line and if your client is 100% serious about working with you, they should have no reservations about paying to secure your time.
3. Define timescales and manage expectations
So you’ve got your deposit, you’ve clarified a brief with your client and they’ve given you a deadline that you need to work to; sometimes this can be a manageable timescale and others it’s completely irrational but you’ve taken the project on regardless. The most important thing to do at this stage is to, in line with the brief you’ve been given, define estimated dates or times that they can expect to receive something from you. “No shit, Sherlock” I hear you say on hearing this but the worst thing that a client can experience (if I was thinking of it from my own perspective) is for them to hand over their money and then hear nothing from you for a few days or a week – depending on what date you’re working to.
Much like point 1, be specific. Be clear with your client about what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it but also allow yourself a little room for manoeuvre. The last thing you need is for something to pop up last minute and you’ve already tied yourself into a corner with a 3pm turnaround. It’s all about managing your clients expectations correctly and delivering on time, or if you’re looking to impress, ahead of schedule using that built-in leeway you’ve allocated.
If you continually deliver on time and to a high standard you’re likely to gain their trust and hopefully their future business.
4. “If you’re good at something, you should never do it for free” – Heath Ledger as the Joker, Batman
Now while the Joker is one of my favourite characters of all time (talk about psychotic badass) and what he says can ultimately be applied to a freelance situation please do not misunderstand what I am trying to say. My point here is not saying “never work for free” as you will naturally come across pro-bono projects, be it for friends or an organisation that you just WANT to help with. What I’m saying is DO donate your time and skills to a good cause, a friend, a charity, an event or a movement you feel strongly about… but DO NOT under any circumstances let people take advantage of you or trick you into working for free.
What I am not a fan of is “spec” work. This kind of project is offered to freelancers to complete, or partially complete ahead of payment as a “sample” to the prospective client. With no guarantee of further work, full pay or other “prize” or “promotion”, this work is not only completely unethical but also sees freelancers severely reduce their fees to compete for work with often, very little reward.
Another one which I detest is, “It’ll look great in your portfolio” or “oh, but my friend does it for half the price”. Walk away immediately. No question. Get out of there. The client does not value you, your time, your skills or the years you have spent refining those to get to where you are today and ultimately, exposure and ‘promotion’ pieces don’t pay the bills.
Never ever undervalue yourself just because someone else charges less. Stick to your guns, know your capabilities and believe in yourself and the RIGHT clients will follow suit.
5. Keep your portfolio up to date
Another very important thing is to show people what you’re made of, show off your skills and refine the perfect portfolio for yourself that encapsulates who you are and what you do. Pick a handful of your strongest projects, no need to clutter your website or email with everything you’ve ever completed – ain’t nobody got time for that, and remember when applying for positions or new projects to tailor the application to what they’re asking for; keep it relevant.
Fresh content on your website (if you have one) is also important as it shows prospective clients you’re busy, people are investing in you and you are then re-investing in yourself to showcase their project. *COUGH* Hasn’t updated own website in over a year…. I’m working on it!
6. Push your limits
Finally, never be afraid to try something new! Experiment with a new illustration technique, work with a new piece of software, learn a new language, travel to a new destination, wear odd socks, test yourself and after a lot of failed attempts.. and forgetting how to do it.. or how you did it last time.. you’ll learn, you’ll develop and you’ll be able to broaden your offering to your new and existing clients. Winner!
Whatever happens though, no matter how many tips or tricks people give you along the way, I realise I’m not the first to share my two cents on the matter and I’m certain I won’t be the last, I personally think the most important thing you can do as a freelancer (or any career for that matter) is to love what you’re doing, have fun and remember to set time aside to invest in your own passions and interests from time to time.
Peace, tea, pencils and profanities. – Emily, over and out.
Hello, I’m Emily; vertically challenged, graphic designer, typography enthusiast, Welsh dragon, tea addict, bundle of sarcasm and soon-to-be nomad. I’m terrible at mental maths, I have a newly acquired obsession with peanut butter and I love dogs (I scream almost 99% of the time that I see one). How do you do?
WHAT’S YOUR ART?
My art is graphic design and hand-drawn typography (although I am hopelessly out of practice, or time to practice); I decided to begin freelancing before I left University in 2014 and had been successfully managing several projects, alongside a full-time graphic design job in Leicester ever since. More recently however I left my full time job and made the transition into becoming a full-time freelance graphic designer, which I am immensely excited about.
I specialise in a range of disciplines aimed at small/startup to medium sized businesses, including (but not limited to) graphic design, brand development, web design and illustration. I have also worked with a broad range of industries, sectors and business sizes, providing me with some great design challenges and the opportunity to meet and work with the people behind the business.
In my free time (laughs hysterically) I love to illustrate typography, be it quotes, single words or more often than not, swear words – firstly because I can turn something not so pleasant into something pretty and interesting, but mostly because it annoys my mother. *evil laughs*
WHAT’S COMING UP FOR YOU?
1. I’m leaving the UK! The recent turn of events (note the becoming full-time freelance mentioned above) also coincides with my impending departure from the UK to begin travelling around Europe, which is actually in 5 days time! Yikes! You can keep in touch with me and my other half, Bartek, who is well known in the HoV community via our joint travel page – Just BE.
I am more than sure that this kind of lifestyle will tie in well with my business type and open me up to many new opportunities and an abundance of inspiration as I go.
2. Freelance, freelance, freelance My new career decision also means that I need to step my game up with a fresh new look for my website (which is underway) and a deliciously-designy portfolio to send out to new potential clients. I’m equally as excited and anxious about all of these new pathways I will get to explore along my way, so stay tuned! You can connect with me via my Facebook design page – EM Design Studio – or via my website (soon to be changing) – www.emilymerchant.co.uk.
In the mean time, check out my most recent typographic project below which was created for a collaboration with many HoV ladies for International Womens Day 2017.
For it’s 37th reincarnation, Leicester’s eclectic artist collective will be making its way to the South Coast for an event which is fated to be Brightonnes of fun…
Consisting of 21 performers including beatboxers, rappers, spoken word artists, DJs, comedians, musicians and many more, this incredibly diverse and continuously evolving variety event takes energy and entertainment to another level, providing not only a great evening of entertainment but simultaneously allowing audiences to be a part of the ever-growing HOV community.
Brighton Fringe is England’s largest Arts festival, drawing a vast array of performers from across the globe and squeezing them into many beautiful venues within the city.
This year promises to be the biggest and best yet, with events being held at all hours in order to appeal to every character that happens to find themselves wandering around in search for stimulation for both body and mind!
Of course all sensory cravings will be catered for at the delightful Marwood Bar & Coffeehouse, which will be serving up multiple helpings of arts workshops, scrumptious sides of rhythmical jams and a huge dollop of live performance, along with their own delicious menus of food, coffee, cocktails and craft beers.
The House of Verse team cannot wait to get on the road and are more than excited to meet as many people as humanly possible.
If you spot us out and about flying the House of Verse flag in some format, come over and say hello, hang with us at or outside the events and let’s engage in wonderful friendships.
Very few of us bite, and the ones that do have been cleared of anything infectious.
Sat 3rd & Sun 4th June @ Marwood Bar & Coffeehouse
11am-12pm: Drumming workshop
1-2pm: Beatbox/Freestyle workshop
3-4pm: B-Boy workshop
5-6pm: Open jam
7-10.30pm: Live variety show