Paul Jarvis on helping freelancers get respect

Maybe I’m different, but I doubt it. I want to make good work, without needing to be under someone else’s thumb. If you’re a creative person you probably share this sentiment. However, sales, contract negotiations, and job management, can start to pick away at the freedom you seek in your work.

For the many hundreds of design bloggers out there, few speak to the subject matter Paul Jarvis so expertly addresses. From his writing to his classes, to the example he sets in his own life (Paul lives away from design centres—in the woods, with his wife and rats), Paul is helping freelancers overcome their barriers.

In this Q&A, Paul and I discuss what’s exciting him these days, and who he most wants to help, here on Officehours. Read on:

You’ve done a number of different things (freelancing, books, courses, etc.) over the years. Tell me what you’re most excited about these days?

Right now I’m most excited about my freelancer course the Creative Class. It’s my biggest product and project to date and the only one I’m not sick of working on yet. With other products I launch and get bored of them, with CC, I’m still just as stoked as before it was public.

Paul catching a break in his island home/workspace Above: Paul catching a break in his island home/workspace.

Tell us about The Creative Class. Why did you start this program?

Because I was sick of listening to freelancers complain about bad clients or making shit money working for themselves. I love clients and since I’ve worked for myself for 17 years, I felt like I could help others create systems and processes that would lead them to enjoying their work a lot more.

How has this program been received?

Much better than expected! Almost 1600 students strong and I hear daily how folks have used the course to do actually take action and change how they work. Which is basically the most awesome thing ever.

What question do you wish designers would ask more commonly?

To clients: What are your business goals?
To themselves: What’s my purpose for doing the work I do?
To each other: Is your brand/portfolio serving your industry or the clients you want to land?

What mistake do you see freelance designers repeating?

See above :)

Paul probably has more tattoos than you. Above: Paul probably has more tattoos than you.

Who are you most interested in helping on Officehours?

Freelancers who use their creativity to work with clients but are feeling stuck, undervalued or not-respected.

What kind of challenges would you like to help others overcome?

See above :)

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Egotistical, sure, but it’s from myself: fear and action can exist in parallel. Once I realized that, everything changed for me.

Got a burning question about how to live a better freelance life? Request a session with Paul and gain greater command of your design practice!