I think we’re on to something here at Ghostly Ferns. A while back I published a post on the No Employee Design Team. Although it was not an original idea, the concept was positively received. Throughout the past year since I wrote that post Jen, Laura, Mike, Brad and I began thinking about how that method both was and was not working for us. The biggest issue was my role as “business owner”. I’ve always been the legal owner of Ghostly Ferns but always thought of myself as a designer first. As the owner of this No Employee Design Team, I was forced to do more client management, calendar management, and managing team member workloads. A lot of management. Gross. I was left with no time to design and it was killing me. We (Laura, Mike, Brad, Jen and myself) decided to take a step back and reevaluate the strengths of our no-employee model and work to improve it.
The solution? We decided to stop trying to be a design studio, or a company, by traditional means. At its core (legally), Ghostly Ferns has always been a group of freelancers. Each of us comes into the studio at different times. Some of us work on the weekends, some of us don’t. Our schedules are different. Our workloads are different. We each love our flexible freelancer lifestyles. So why push ourselves to become a standard NYC 10am-6pm design company?
Everyone is envious of freelancers. We do what we want. More importantly, no one decides our own destiny but us. It’s badass. The scary part of freelancing is the fear of an empty schedule and sheer loneliness. At Ghostly Ferns, we’ve solved that problem. Freelancing is so much better with friends.
We’re a group of freelancers who each offer different services. Usually we work for clients individually, but we often pair together on projects when we can. We work in the same room together and are constantly providing feedback and support to one another. We have company meetings and make awesome side project-y things in our spare time. We act as a support group and sounding board for one another on a daily basis. We’re here for each other and we are best friends. I love my fellow Ghostly Ferns and would do anything for them. In fact, I have done a lot of crazy things for them. And I know they would do the same for me. We care for each other and inspire each other. It rules.
Because we each have our own expertise, our collective portfolio is bangin’. We’re all basically scratching each other’s backs with our individual work. My web, product, UI work makes Jen’s hand lettering transition into digital mean than it otherwise would. Laura’s character illustrations make my web products more personable and fun. Long story short: we make each other’s work stronger.
Other design studios love us because they can grab one or two of us as an extra set of hands when their workload is too hefty. Agencies love us because we’re individual contractors. It’s a win, win, win, win situation for all.