Hello It's Matilda by Matilda van der Walt
My name is Matilda, most people know me as Tillie. I am an artist, freelance graphic designer and illustrator specialising business branding for creative entrepreneurs, custom illustrations for businesses and personal commissions. I love working with watercolour and gouache paint and often incorporate my hand painted illustrations into my design work. I have an ever growing range of illustrated paper goods like greeting cards and limited edition art prints made from my original ink drawings and paintings. I occasionally also sell original artwork. Here is my Nomadic story...
TELL US WHAT LEAD YOU TO START WORKING FOR YOURSELF AND STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
After being retrenched very unexpectedly in 2015 I realised I could either re-apply and get back into working for someone else or I could take the leap of faith, trust in the timing of my life and try things out on my own, even though I had no plan or idea what I was doing. I like to think it all happened for a very good reason and that I embarked on a creative journey that has so far pushed, challenged and shaped me personally and as a creative in ways I could never imagine possible. Going on my own allowed me to take more chances and explore my own creativity and in doing so I rediscovered my love for painting and illustration. This discovery basically shaped my entire business and gave me the opportunity to do more than just freelance.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR FIRST CLIENT AND HOW HARD/EASY WAS IT TO BUILD YOUR CLIENT BASE THAT ALLOW YOU TO WORK FOR YOURSELF?
A lady who got retrenched with me decided she was going to do what she always wanted and started her own little restaurant and approached me to do the branding for her. I wanted to try something different. This was the first time I picked up my watercolour paints and started playing around with it and eventualy incorporated the painted artwork into my designs. The project (to my surprise) got so much attraction when I uploaded onto my online portfolio (Behance) that more people from all over started to email me, enquiring about my branding and prices. I honestly couldn't believe it. Today, Business Branding is the biggest part of my business. From there on I was creating more and more work and the more I posted and showed my work on Instagram, the more enquiries I got. Social media, especially Instagram helped me a lot. I also got and still get a lot of my work through word of mouth.
WHAT IS A GREAT TIP THAT YOU CAN SHARE WITH OTHER NOMADIC BUSINESS OWNERS.
Figure out your own "why". Why do you want to work for yourself or why did you start your business in the first place. Write it down somewhere and remind yourself of your why when you need to. Also, define your personal definition of success in life and your business and remember it!
WHAT HAS BEEN/OR WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE IN WORKING FOR YOURSELF?
Finding a work-life balance, it's an ongoing challenge, but I have become much better at it in the last year. It was also incredibly hard to let go of that fear of - what if I don't get any work in this month? But I am very grateful to say that that day has not yet come and I have made peace with the ebbs and flows of freelancing.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT WORKING FOR YOURSELF?
Being in control of my own time.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF MOTIVATED?
When I feel stuck or unmotivated I try to get out and go for a walk or go exercise or visit places that inspire me, go for a coffee or page through books that inspire me. I try to schedule in me-time when I feel I need it. I also talk to friends or other business owners which often helps me to get some perspective. A good book or Podcast can also do the trick.
HOW YOU DO YOU BALANCE IT ALL BETWEEN WORK AND PERSONAL LIFE?
It's an ongoing challenge! I have become better at it as I have mentioned by being more strict with myself on the hours that I work and by letting go of some anxieties I had about having to work a 9 - 5 work day and feeling trapped inside my house. I now feel much more relaxed about working in times that suit me best and not feeling guilty when I go to the grocery store in the middle of the day to buy food for the house or go have coffee with a friend! I prioritise time with my husband, family and friends and have realised taking time off is just as important as working hard. It's the only way you can keep on giving creatively and maintaining the pace. I also find having a healthy relationship with social media helps a lot. Limiting your time online and by realising that Instagram is merely a highlight reel of everyone else's life and businesses.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST LESSON TO DATE WORKING FOR YOURSELF?
There has been so many, but one that stands out for me so far this year is that I am not my business. I am not Hello it's Matilda and I need to distance myself from my business. I am going to drive myself crazy if I am going to try and fit all that is me into my business. I have many different facets and they’re not necessarily bad, they just don’t fit into my business/brand.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL OR NOTEWORTHY PROJECTS THAT ARE COMING UP THAT YOU CAN SHARE WITH US OR WHAT IS A DREAM PROJECT OR GOAL FOR 2018?
I am planning on working a new range or cards, limited edition art prints and originals