NAME: Daniela Strassberger
POSITION: Freelance Creative
ORGANISATION: Self employed, sole trader
My Background and Career
Actually, even as a teenager I knew that I wanted to pursue a creative profession. So it wasn’t surprising when I decided to attend the “Ortweinschule” school, formerly known as the "School of Applied Arts" in Graz. There I decided to specialise in "Graphic Design".
When I had completed my training, I started directly into agency life. Work was great fun and the industry felt incredibly exciting for me. Nevertheless, I realised after a while that my thirst for knowledge was far from satisfied. The "Internet" had become increasingly popular and I was fascinated by this - then new –theme with all its creative possibilities.
My next step was to go about attaining the knowledge I desired: I began the "Information Design" course at the technical college in Graz. More than once during these four years, I asked myself "what devil had possessed me in making this decision”. Although this time was very challenging for me, I also had the opportunity to fulfill another dream: I spent three months in the United States in Silicon Valley – the "historical home of all things Internet ". This was followed by a yearlong stay abroad in Munich where along with experiencing the big city atmosphere; I had a lot of great experiences in both my professional and private life.
For personal reasons I returned to my home country and began working in two of the most well known agencies before making my first steps towards independence - a desire that had been awakened in me since my time in Munich.
Although being freelance it is not always the " easiest” way to work, I have not regretted making this step so far.
Opportunities: Most certainly my studies and the chance I had to sample “international air”. Obstacles: As the term self employed implies, you are continually “employed” and by your”self”. This pretty much sums up my working life.
Fortunately, I love my job and wouldn’t want to do anything else. Even the knowledge that you can - at least theoretically – do things in your own time, helps me. I have to make very sure that I allow myself a break. This is not always so easy.
I have many years of experience in traditional graphic design and follow trends very closely. I am also an expert in the technical implementation of websites and UI designs. My customers benefit in having ONE contact for both of these needs which makes the whole process more efficient with less communication and coordination required.
Hints & Tips
*Get to know the 80/20 principle. Perfectionism can lead to burn out. A well balanced”Work-Life-Balance“makes it possible to offer high quality services on a long term basis. As a “one woman show” it is important not to overestimate the amount of time you have available and make the mistake of taking on too many projects at once.
*Stay flexible. Not everything that you took into account while creating your business plan will come to pass in the real world. For this reason it is very important to listen to customer feedback and not to take criticism personally. Think of it as a chance to improve your services and to come even closer to your customers needs.
*Focus. Don’t have your finger in too many pies; pick a niche for yourself and concentrate on offering the best possible services from this standpoint.