10 YRS of freelancing

This is a thank you to my friends, colleagues, and family,
who have supported me all these years.

10 YRS of freelancing

This is a thank you to my friends, colleagues, and family,
who have supported me all these years.

Behind The Scenes

My work station back in 2016
missing here is the cricut machine, another must have

Andrew over the years

2009
2009
2014
2014
2016
Andrew Zo profile picture
2022
2009
2009
2014
2014
2016
Andrew Zo profile picture
2022

Interesting Facts

This is my dream job!

Freelancing was a dream of mine when I was young (20s); thank you for making it come true.

It is one of the hardest things I’ve done.

Freelancing is a tough job, that’s one thing that I’ve learned. On top of the uncertainties, there are a lot of other roles that I need to fulfill.

I love working from home.

During the pandemic, the transition to working from home felt like any other day.

Project Highlights

Viral Sensation

The peak of my career, perhaps? Thankful that this project has helped me through the beginning years in freelance.

Meaningful work

An HIV self test that is sold around the world. Thank you, E.S. for this rare opportunity.

Biggest project

An entire catalog updated. It was an incredible time and I came up with some of my favourite designs here.

Brand building

Packaging, branding, website, print, social media, thank you S.C. & E.C. for having me on this journey,

Guys’ favourite brand

One of my favourite graphics designs from the last decade.

Women’s favourite brand

Thank you M.R. & S.S. for giving me so much creative freedom and for pushing me to come up with creative solutions.

Viral Sensation

The peak of my career, perhaps? Thankful that this project has helped me through the beginning years in freelance.

Meaningful work

An HIV self test that is sold around the world. Thank you, E.S. for this rare opportunity.

Biggest project

An entire catalog updated. It was an incredible time and I came up with some of my favourite designs here.

Brand building

Packaging, branding, website, print, social media, thank you S.C. & E.C. for having me on this journey,

Guys’ favourite brand

One of my favourite graphics designs from the last decade.

Women’s favourite brand

Thank you M.R. & S.S. for giving me so much creative freedom and for pushing me to come up with creative solutions.

Special Thank-Yous

 

In no particular order, the wonderful people who have truly made an impact on my career.
(Me pretending that I’ve just won an award.)

L.SP. & E.B.

My two teachers from Emily Carr University; thank you for challenging me to be a better student. I am a designer today because of you.

My Aunt & Uncle

Thank you for teaching me about design when I had just graduated high school. 小舅媽, I wish you could see the designer I am today.

J.E. & R.P.

My pastor & mentor who walked me through the turbulence of losing a job & deciding whether I should freelance. Thank you for your wise counsel.

O.J & G.A.

Thank you for providing suggestions & feedback when I first started, even though you did not know me at al.

Mom & Dad

Thank you for walking with me for the last 10 years in this wild ride. Thank you for all the encouragements and for being there when I feel down or anxious.

Disco Cheetah

My very first client, thank you for choosing to work with me back when I was still a young designer. So proud of how far you guys have come too. (I guess it has been 10 years as well?) Cheers to many more years to come.

E.M.

Thank you for promoting my work in the packaging community. It meant a lot for this little Canadian kid back then.

J.L. & W.Y.

Thank you WY for trusting me with so much and JL, thank you for connecting me. The experience at MEC really transformed me as a designer.

B.L. & A.G.

My initial contacts at SAXX, thank you for introducing me to the team and for giving me an opportunity to work with such a cool brand.

K.M.

I remembered when you said I was a designer with a lot of grace; it meant so much to me. Thank you for looking out for me even though I wasn’t an employee. I have missed working with you.

L.SP. & E.B.

My two teachers from Emily Carr University; thank you for challenging me to be a better student. I am a designer today because of you.

My Aunt & Uncle

Thank you for teaching me about design when I had just graduated high school. 小舅媽, I wish you could see the designer I am today.

J.E. & R.P.

My pastor & mentor who walked me through the turbulence of losing a job & deciding whether I should freelance. Thank you for your wise counsel.

O.J & G.A.

Thank you for providing suggestions & feedback when I first started, even though you did not know me at al.

Mom & Dad

Thank you for walking with me for the last 10 years in this wild ride. Thank you for all the encouragements and for being there when I feel down or anxious.

Disco Cheetah

My very first client, thank you for choosing to work with me back when I was still a young designer. So proud of how far you guys have come too. (I guess it has been 10 years as well?) Cheers to many more years to come.

E.M.

Thank you for promoting my work in the packaging community. It meant a lot for this little Canadian kid back then.

J.L. & W.Y.

Thank you WY for trusting me with so much and JL, thank you for connecting me. The experience at MEC really transformed me as a designer.

B.L. & A.G.

My initial contacts at SAXX, thank you for introducing me to the team and for giving me an opportunity to work with such a cool brand.

K.M.

I remembered when you said I was a designer with a lot of grace; it meant so much to me. Thank you for looking out for me even though I wasn’t an employee. I have missed working with you.

FAQ

Why freelance?

Freelancing has been a dream of mine since my days in design school. I thought it would be so cool to have my own practice where I could design however I’d like. Now that I am freelancing, I realized this isn’t true. I can’t design however I’d like. But! it has been such a rewarding experience, that I am choosing to continue with it.

What do I like about freelance?

Perhaps my favourites are the learning opportunity & the creative freedom. Every project is different and every client is also different. Each is a challenge on its own. I find that I really enjoy learning new things and accepting new challenges. It keeps the work exciting. The creative freedom is also pretty high especially when I have clients that really trust me. It feels immensely rewarding when a project turns out well, because I know this is the fruit of my hard labour.

How did I start freelancing?

I actually was fired from my job when I decided to start freelancing. I remembered the immediate thought that I had was: “does this mean that I need to start freelancing now” instead of pure panic. Well, the panic soon arrived shortly after. But, I knew that I have always wanted to freelance–I just didn’t think it’d this soon. I was also young and have little to lose. So, I thought I’d give it a try.

Also, the 25 year old me would never thought I’d say this, but, thank you to my old boss for firing me. If you didn’t, I don’t think I’d have the courage to start freelancing on my own. I needed a push.

Will I ever leave freelance?

At this point, I don’t think so. I’m hoping to continue freelancing for as long as I can. However, I guess if an opportunity comes in which I’d never get as a freelancer, perhaps I could be swayed.

Biggest lesson that I've learned in the past decade?

I have learned the importance of communication. How to communicate with clients on expectations; how to have tricky conversations such as payment; how to present on camera vs in person. This one skill has helped me not only in my career but in my personal life too.

How do you get clients?

These days, most of it is actually through word of mouth. I also try to connect with people as much as I can on LinkedIn. (It’s a wonderful social media for introverted freelancers) I often will reach out to brands that I want to work with and try to stay in touch with them over the years–and hoping that some day, the opportunity will come.

How much do I actually work?

It is a myth to think that the freelancer life is easy; that we only work very little. I actually find that it is quite the opposite. As a freelancer I work much harder and at times longer than when I was employed full time by a company. I need to do many things outside of design. When I don’t have client projects, I work on my personal projects such as documenting past work for portfolio or networking or admin.

Cheers to another 10 yrs of freelancing