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How This Graphic Designer Uses Her Work to Fuel Her Passion - Olympic Weightlifting

I crossed paths with Margaux Parker at a freelancer Meetup that I was hosting in downtown Toronto. She was sweet and somewhat timid, and at that time, I had no idea that she had an amazing story behind her. Not only is she a talented graphic designer, but she’s also a badass weightlifter with a fire in her belly. Here’s her story. 

What do you do? Who do you love to work with?

I’m a graphic designer based in Toronto, Canada, specializing in digital and print media. I offer additional services for branding, marketing and UI/UX design. My clients range from large corporations to local artists, not-for-profit organizations and small businesses. I love working for clients who trust my abilities and allow me the freedom to explore my creativity. 

When I’m not designing, I’m training competitively for Olympic Weightlifting, representing 646 Weightlifting in East York, Toronto!

 
 
 
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What was your path to freelancing? 

As someone previously intimidated by computers and Photoshop, I never thought I’d become a graphic designer. While I studied Art and Art History at the University of Toronto to pursue a career in painting, Design was a mandatory course. I developed my skills as a graphic designer, and graduated with multiple design awards and an Honours Bachelors of Arts with Distinction.

I started freelancing in my undergraduate studies to expand my network and build my portfolio. I sought work from different faculty and academic departments to gain experience outside of my academic studies. By the time I graduated, I had a contract at the University of Toronto and soon after, at the City of Toronto. I continue to freelance for the opportunity to work with new clients. It's exciting to regularly meet new clients who challenge me with different projects!

What is a really great story that you can tell about your freelancing? 

When I started freelancing, I had no idea what to charge for my services. Before, I thought that charging $100 for a poster was too high. As I learned what’s involved in making a poster from concept to completion, I realized that with consideration to the number of concepts, revisions and specs for digital and print media, $100 was too low. Over time and with experience, I became better at communicating the design process to my client and more confident in charging the appropriate price. If an agreement on a price has not been reached despite my best efforts in communicating, I also became more confident in turning down a client without the feeling of losing out on potential work. For me, becoming more confident in what I charge for my services is my greatest achievement.

If you could give a piece of advice to a new freelancer, what would it be?

I advise new freelancers to take on any work they get, even if the project or the pay isn't what they’re aiming for. I guarantee that if they impress their clients, their clients will return to them with new work or refer them to another client. 

In 2018, all of my clients were either returning or referred by an existing client. I learned that expanding my network and gaining experience in the beginning of my career is more valuable than money. My early works led me to contracts with higher-profile clients, where I was able to set not only the price, but also the terms and conditions.

What is your most profitable digital freelance service?

My most profitable service is digital and print media for marketing campaigns. Marketing campaigns are profitable as they happen annually. My clients would return to me with work the following year, and depending on the performance of the previous year, they would return with a larger budget and project scope. 

As I'm able to review the performance from the previous year, I have more of an integral role in the project for the following year. I have the chance to collaborate more closely with my client to determine how to enhance successes, navigate failures and explore new opportunities for the project. This is where I can get really creative!

And finally, what does freelancing mean to you and your life? What has it allowed you to do?

Freelancing has helped me build my professional career, while allowing me the flexibility to work at any time from anywhere with whoever I choose. With such flexibility, I have more time to train for Olympic Weightlifting, meet with my friends and family, and travel.

 


 

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