Flashback to when I began my journey as a freelancer – probably some time when I was around the age of 15 or 16. Back then I was doing occasional projects such as logos and animations for friends parents and relatives (because I was ‘good with computers’) I was also doing various other projects which stemmed from a general curiosity on how software (like after effects, or illustrator) worked.
In 2015 (when I’d just finished school) I registered dab hand group on the advice of my father who suggested I could perhaps focus more on my skills and level up my freelancinglyness. The name dab hand originally stemmed from various comments when I told people I made websites or did animations was that I was a ‘dab hand with computers’ – essentially being a well known phrase for ‘being good with.’ I later took this phrase and applied it as the main aspect of my brand. In essence, I hope the business would be viewed as a ‘dab hand’ of digital and design activities.
To begin with, I operated dab hand group at very minimal fee’s. Doing this, I built up dab hands professional folio, gained more experience and met valuable industry contacts (many of which I am still in touch with today) Looking back, these costs would have barely covered the time I spent on projects – but in the long run, gaining positive reviews, more experience on commercial projects and capital which I could invest back into the business on new software, equipment and myself has definitely been a worthwhile exercise.
Since then, dab hand group have worked with over 350 different clients, on an even larger number of projects. Over my role as ‘creative director’ I’ve also lead projects with numerous recognisable clients such as Betfair, The Lad Bible, University of Bath Student Union, and Sk;n Clinics. It’s also very encouraging that I can now pay myself a decent monthly salary for my time – something which was not possible at the very start of dab hand.
I’ve learned a lot through my time at dab hand – and I’m definitely glad I started it as it has taught me many many valuable skills I probably would never have learned if I was working for someone else. As I move to Sydney I intend to continue learning and continue working with my current clients in the UK and diversify the business to operate as Dab Hand Group Australia. Lots to think about here, but as my first, most successful and probably favourite business I’ll be keeping dab hand going as long as I can!