February 18, 2015
At a Glance
Bio The path that led her to this point
I grew up on a farm, painting, drawing, writing and designing wine labels for the family business. I knew that I wanted to one day run my own creative business. In fact, I first went into "business" in primary school with my best friend selling our homemade Christmas cards to teachers and family friends (bless them for buying our cards)!
After graduating from uni with a degree in Film and TV (that's a whole other story) and a brief stint in the workforce, I enrolled in a Diploma of Multimedia at Southbank on a whim and was accepted into the course.
I quit my job the next day.
I knew right away that I was on the path I was meant to be on. I absolutely loved the technical challenge of coding up a website, while being able to express my creative side with the site design.
I worked with a web and tech agency for several years (while freelancing on the side), starting off as a junior web designer, moving up to become lead web designer/developer and finally manager of the web team. But after a while I really felt ready for a change; the passion just wasn't there anymore and I was keen to get that creative freedom back.
So I quit my job and ventured into the world of freelancing full time. Best thing I ever did!
Shortly after going into business full time, I fell in love with WordPress and have been developing almost exclusively with WP ever since. Over the past nine years I've literally designed and developed hundreds of websites, and although I still take on the odd design project, I mostly team up with other lovely designers as a WordPress web developer/consultant (converting their designs into websites and dealing with the techy stuff).
In 2012 I also launched Kitten Lane, my design blog, as a creative outlet separate from my nerdier web development portfolio.
My goal has always been to create a business that is flexible enough so I can move back to the country. That dream came true last year when my husband and I purchased a property just outside of Brisbane. So I now run my freelance business from my home office here where I can enjoy the countryside view from my office window or enjoy a good cup of tea on the back verandah.
Q&A Insider advice & tips
What's been your greatest achievement to date?
The courage to quit a full-time, secure job to run my own business. Having my own business has given me the freedom to work remotely from around the world, including countries like Japan, USA and New Zealand.
What's been your biggest challenge so far?
My biggest challenge so far is achieving the right work-life balance. Sometimes it is really hard to switch off if you've been in the zone or have an exciting new project. I do have one hard and fast rule though, and that is no work on weekends.
Best lesson you've learned along the way?
I learned to believe in my own ability and trust my gut instinct, even if that meant not pleasing everyone. This now means I don't accept every project that comes my way, only the ones that are a good fit for me. You need to do what feels right for you.
A website, book or resource that has helped you in your business or inspired you and why?
One website that really stands out is Tuts+ Business, I would check this one out nearly everyday while I was in my nine-to-five job. I've read a lot of books, but the three most-influential books would probably be ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever, The 4-Hour Workweek and The Wealthy Freelancer. Two tools that I cannot live without are FreshBooks and Google Apps.
Which person or brand do you most admire and why?
There are so many fantastic people out there, but a couple of my favourites would be Amber Weinberg who shared her experience of taking the leap into freelancing full time (I was so inspired to hear from a female web developer that it encouraged me to do the same) and Kelly Rae Roberts (I love her style and authenticity!).
What advice would you give someone starting an independent business in your industry?
It is a constant learning process; you just need to believe in yourself and roll with the punches. Also, always keep reading and learning; join communities, blogs, forums.
Finish this sentence
Everything changed for me when…
I realised there are not so many web developers who also have a keen eye for design. I began to believe in myself and what I have to offer. Over the years I have really defined my style, ideal clients and refined my services.