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Get to Know: Amy Nolan – The Freelance Doodler

Get To Know - Amy Nolan

What do you do?
Currently the freelance side of my life is focused on doodling for business clients and creating doodle stock imagery and growing my doodle business- so many plans for doodle world domination. I do a small amount of freelance admin work and am also part-time employed.

How long have you been freelancing?
I’ve been self-employed doing different things for about six years. But started seeing myself as a “proper freelancer” when I set up as a VA/ business doodler.

How did you get into freelancing?
I moved to a different area as at the time my husband was in the military. I couldn’t find the type of work that I had been doing that I could get to as we moved to a military base, so there was a natural moment which gave me an opportunity to pursue my creative dreams. I’ve created products, facilitated colouring in groups for kids, done face painting, set up as a VA and then started offering my business illustration service which is my main focus.

What’s the best thing about freelancing?
I get paid to doodle! Seven year old me still can’t quite believe it.

What have you found most challenging about freelancing?
All of it at different points. When you don’t know what you don’t know it’s tough. I spent many years working in the NHS which was a very different kind of work life. Knowing who to listen to and what not to spend money on at the start is so tricky. It took me ages to shift out of a 9-5 headspace. Luckily this community is so upfront about what’s challenging that it doesn’t take long to figure out that you are definitely not alone. I’d say that learning how to get comfortable on social media and confidence has been my biggest challenge. Being creative in public sometimes feels so weird, but I’m getting better at it.

When are you most productive?
In the mornings – particularly if I have no meetings. Annoyingly I get lots of inspiration early on a Saturday morning.

How did you find out about Freelancer Magazine?
I connected with Soph online really randomly and then did the LinkedIn for Humans course. When the Kickstarter launched I was a very happy backer! It was such a lovely thing after all the crappy lockdowns.

What have you enjoyed most about working with Freelancer Magazine?
I feel like I’m part of something really special. I love that I get to share my work with so many lovely people. It’s a real privilege, it makes me feel happy in a way that’s hard to explain without being too gushy when people say it made them smile or they related. Also meeting other freelancers I admire has been so special.

Which Freelancer Magazine doodle are you most proud?
I See Great Things For You in Issue 4 – The Starting Something Edition. It’s a hand doodle and then I used it as inspiration for my Doodle Workshop earlier this year.

If you could be another freelancer for a day, who would you be and why?
Emma Bearman of Playful Anywhere because her business makes the world a better place by helping people and places be more playful and connected – basically all the good stuff (also she has space hoppers).

What is success for you?
In some ways, I already see myself as successful as people are paying me to do what I love and I get to do it from my home and meet and be inspired by all kinds of interesting people that I just wouldn’t have met otherwise. My current goals are just to build on doing this more and in different ways.

What piece of advice would you give to someone starting as a freelancer?
Breathe, find like-minded souls, and don’t panic if you don’t have all the shiny bells and whistles to start with – things will evolve, make a note of your small wins, have a bit of a cry if you need to, get a fancy notebook (biz expense that shiz), don’t spend all your money on getting stickers made with your first logo as you’ll probably rebrand in two years when you know what you are, beware of people who want to pick your brains, expect to make mistakes, know that you’re probably better at this than you think you are and SUBSCRIBE TO FREELANCER MAG!

Cats or dogs?
Dogs! I have a black lab called Barry.

Who is your inspiration and why?
Everyone in this community because just look at everyone!

What’s your favourite biscuit?
Ginger biscuits, because they dunk well in coffee and have a little spicy kick.

Work from home, cafe or cowork?
I love a cafe sesh!

What scares you?
Politicians, snakes, the cloud, dystopian fiction, and sometimes escalators if I haven’t been on one for a while (it’s the stepping-off timing).

What’s your hobby?
Anything creative. Recently I started lifting weights and love an icy cold sea dip.

Print or digital version of Freelancer Magazine?
Print – coz you can’t beat the smell of newly printed magazine awesomeness.

What’s your favourite podcast?
It changes monthly – currently The Dollop.

What book are you reading at the moment?
Divine Might by Natalie Haynes

Sunrise or sunset?
Both but if you’re gonna push me – sunset.

Tea or coffee?
Coffee but I have a soft spot for smoky teas in autumn.

What’s your favourite film?
My favourite anything changes depending on how I feel but some films I love and have seen many times are – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Grand Budapest Hotel, This Is Spinal Tap, Goodfellas.

How do you start your day?
I am yet to find the perfect routine but the constants are, saying hi to the dog, brewing a coffee up on the stove, writing or doodling something, doing Wordle. Maybe when it’s warmer I’ll go do a bit of early morning exercise.

What other area of freelancing would you love to try?
I have doodle focus at the moment – I just wanna doodle or help other people doodle or make people happy with doodles on stationery and greetings cards.

What’s the one thing you’d like to achieve by the end of 2024?
Creating a doodle calendar.

Find Amy on LinkedIn /amy-nolan-a4a335112.

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