“Why do you look so tired? What did you do this weekend?”
“I frantically tried to upload my YouTube charity video to a website, but there were so many of us that it kept crashing. Fortunately, there were confetti explosions on the livestream to distract me as the volunteers fixed the website. I also listened to an author read from his book, which is made of the same four pages repeated over and over and over and over again.
After I uploaded my video, I watched a guy eat some crickets. Did you know that you can get containers of crickets that look like bottles of seasoning?
Some Mythical Beast joined the livestream and talked to a scientist sitting in warehouse about how many times their parents and grandparents had been divorced. One grandmother was married to 5 different guys and never divorced any of them. Don’t worry, it was legal…they all died.
The next guest came on and gave away her famous green hoodie for $1,000. She was wearing it on her first episode of her cooking show where she made grilled cheese. Well, I guess she didn’t really make grilled cheese, because there wasn’t cheese in the house. She just drank a bunch of wine and made toast in a pan.
There was a Taylor Swift dance party when we raised $200,000 for charity. At $250,000 a New York Times bestselling author who has had two of his books made into movies, woke up his wife, the artist, so she could put peanut butter on his and he could put jelly on her face. Then they put banana slices on their eyes and kissed. At various other funding goal levels, challenges were completed. There was juggling while doing splits, acoustic song covers by the scientist, flipping ears inside out, weird cat mouth noises, and the ultimate reward we all stayed up for was balancing a napkin on a hand (totally worth it).
Between these challenges, at 36 after every hour, we did something called KittyTime. Where everyone got a cat, or a shirt with a cat on it, or drew a cat and tweeted a picture of it. We had #kittytime trending. We are impressive. Oh yeah, and they put rubber gloves on their heads and blew them up so they looked like rosters.
And when it got too late in America, some lovely British people took over the livestream. Where we got to play with cats and look at baby pictures. Throughout the whole event we were watching videos promoting charities and talking to people from around the world in the comment sections, but the British hosts were really good and showcasing a lot of videos.
In the morning, the author came back wearing a soccer jersey for a team sponsored by a YouTube channel. He wore a fox on his head and covered his face in sharpies. Then they waxed the intern’s legs so it said P4A. A porcupine stole the show, because it looked like an alien and seemingly yelled “mine” when you gave it bits of bananas. Oh, and someone cuddled a skunk.
The author poorly washed Fireball Wilson “Willy” Roberts, AKA Bubbles the Nerdfighting Puppy, after he rolled in poop. The dog still smelled of poo after the bath, according to Henry. Someone told us if we paid $5 we could read about how he dated his cousin. A man put on his fiancee’s makeup, a women held a pile of poo, and talked to the scientist about how they should laminate each other’s baby photos and put them in the shower.
When we raised a million dollars, the artist put makeup on the author. The scientist was wrapped up in toilet paper like a mummy, and some lady in New York dressed like a Christmas tree. The author’s lips look like he drank blood. The scientist looked like the marshmallow man went on a diet. The lady in New York was very convincing as a Christmas tree.
During the second evening shift, Fartmas was born in between KittyTimes. They were examining a variety of objects on the livestream, and when they looked at Australian currency, the phrase “But Farts” appeared in the field of view. The super hero ButFartMan was born soon after when the scientist wore his shirt as pants. Then came the birth of Fartmas along with a slew of fart parody Christmas songs. Then they talked about all the books and movies that struck fear into their souls.
The Bristish came back on, and refocused our efforts on watching videos. All and all I watched over 200 videos about charities, because while the silliness is amazing the videos are beautiful. People from all over the world and of all ages post videos promoting their favorite charities. I got to see all the wonderful things Nerdfighters dedicate their time and effort to throughout the year. So many people in a constant effort to decrease world suck. Sometimes people cannot donate money or their time or cannot fix the issues in their lives. They can’t cure their family member of a disease. They can’t travel to countries and install wells. But they can make a video that promotes their cause. They take the time to write scripts, film, edit, sometimes draw or do stop motion or interview people. Hundreds of people told their stories about some of most important issues in their lives, and I had the joy of spending two days listening to them.
Hello, Alan. I'm looking for some advice with beginning freelance graphic design. The main advice I find online is to market yourself to long-term clients who you can form a good working relationship with. I've seen you develop relationships with some great creators over the years on YouTube, but for a beginner, do you have any tips on how to get started? Is it enough to reach out through social media and have a design Tumblr or what additional things could you advise? Thanks so much! -Josh
I guess it depends on your end game, but I can talk about how I did what I did. And throw in a few other examples from friends of mine.
Okay so, those YouTubers, I got to know most of them slowly through their videos. Then, when the Partner Program first kicked off (invite only), suddenly lots of people needed lots of branding materials. There were channel banners and avatars, and sidebar banners on your video pages, and for a few years you could even completely html image map your whole profile.
So I designed a couple of banners for free, without being asked, and just sent them to some of the bigger partners. I included a little message that said “hey, I like your videos, I made this if you want to use it, no restrictions”, or something like that.
And what do you know, some people actually used them! MysteryGuitarMan, nalts, and I’m pretty sure Hank and John for like two days before Hank designed the one they ended up keeping. And yeah, some didn’t use them, like daxflame (though the daxflame banner was my personal fav).
But when others saw my banners on some of the bigger channels, I got a ton of referrals. I ended up making banners for a lot of new partners as they were added, some for pay, others for fun.
I had no idea those silly little banners would lead to some of the jobs and collaborations they did, so keep that in mind and always do your best, even on a small or seemingly unimportant gig.
(Quick real world example: I first met Michael Buckley when he hired me to do some design work for him. Then we became friends. Then he hired me to design and update his website. Then he hired me to edit some of his videos. That first little banner turned into a very steady gig for a couple years.)
Back to your question…
You can’t really find “long-term clients”, you just have clients who become long-term. Do good consistent work, and then when those clients need a new Thing done, you’ll be the first person they think of.
Like, risarodil, for example. She did some great typography designs, not commissioned, just “for fun”. But now everyone is hiring her to design their quotes for posters and shirts because she does good consistent work. There’s little risk. You know what you’re going to get when you hire Risa. And that’s how long-term clients are made, not found.
The same could be said for karenkavett. She does good work, so John and Hank and others keep going back to her for new stuff. Why take the risk on someone else/someone new? Karen delivers, so you keep going back to Karen.
And that is true for any freelancer, not just design. I hired hello-the-future to edit a short piece I wrote a few months ago. She did a terrific job, not only did she deliver when she said she would, but she explained why she made some of the bigger changes, and overall the piece was stronger because of her involvement. I then hired her to edit all of the static pages on my personal site, and I’ll continue to hire her when I have writing in the future that needs editing.
Okay, I’m starting to get off track again…
Don’t be afraid to do a lot of your own early work for yourself. Design a poster that you’re interested in, not one for a client. Post that. Then make five more. If I were hiring you, I’d want to see a number of completed pieces so I would feel confident in what to expect when you’re finished.
A design tumblr is a great idea to showcase this work. Tag it properly so people who might be interested in your work can find it. And for the love of all that is holy, make your contact information very clear and very easy to find. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’d want to contact someone so we could sell their designs via DFTBA and there was just no way to get in touch with them. Don’t lose the job before you even get it.
I hope that helps. That’s a huge wall of text. I’m sure there’s a ton more to be said too, but I guess start here?