For Myf Garven, who celebrated her first anniversary as a Rooster this November, freelance life is about having the freedom to learn and to explore new disciplines.
Myf said, “I’m forever learning. I want to work and collaborate with people within the creative industry. It’s awesome to be able to hang out and be a part of their process. Being a part of The Roost is great because there are so many people to discuss ideas and concepts as well as learn from.”
Myf’s freelance journey began while she was at university, studying design and visual communications in Newcastle, before moving into the workforce and honing her skills working for a paper company, a branding and web design agency and an alternate learning education provider.
Her first foray into freelance work involved redesigning brochures for a local school which turned into a photography gig too. This multi-skilled approach to work has stuck with her as the years have gone on, as she offers clients a whole package of services to pick from. A true creative, Myf produces beautiful work with a camera, with her hands and on her computer.
She said, “Where I used to work, we threw around the phrase that I’m an ‘-er’ expert: maker, photographer, designer.”
“I recently updated my offerings for my freelance work saying that I can offer photography as well as graphic design which creates quite the package of services, depending on my clients’ needs. I’m still working on it though.”
Myf, like many other freelancers, is often given the advice that she should focus on one area and make that her expertise but, so far, she has refused to give up her passion for learning new skills. As the original saying goes, ‘A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one’. There’s also some writers online who believe that the future belongs to the multi-skilled freelancer.
Having had faith in her vision, Myf’s business mentor, Jelinda Millgate from The Business Centre, has come on board with this way of thinking. Myf said, “Talking to Jelinda last week, she kind of came around to it. She said ‘Actually, you do offer this, you offer that and you also offer that – you’re kind of collaborating with yourself in a way. We’re often encouraging people to collaborate with other’s but you’re here and you can do it all of those things.'”
However, despite her obvious talent in many areas, Myf is very open about the self-doubt she deals with her work and how she’s starting to have more confidence in herself.
She said, “My inner person’s rather critical, but I’ve got to work through that. I get pretty stressed out; I’m a massive overthinker.”
“With design, I worry about it, whereas with photography I like being in the background and capturing moments. Although now that I’m doing headshots, I’ve got to direct more which is a bit scary but it’s also pushing me which is great.”
Self-doubt and imposter syndrome are common in all walks of life and Myf recognises this, recalling a story she heard about Claude Monet. “He was hating on every single painting that he ever did and he was writing to the person who was going to onsell his paintings saying ‘You’ll love them, but I hate them, every single brush stroke is out of place but I just can’t do anything else’.”
“It’s something that a lot of people work through, I’ve just got to let the negative thoughts go and take comfort in the process.”
Myf started her freelance career working from a home office (as well as the occasional cafe and library) but, like many others, she found that to be an isolating experience. Having met a few Roosters through The Design Kids, it was an obvious choice when looking for a co-working space in Newcastle.
She said, “It’s been great. I knew that I would stay from the first day. Everyone was so nice and welcoming. I went from working in an office and being around other people, to moving back home and being in my own shell and feeling like my work’s all rubbish.”
“It was a big thing going into The Roost and having my big computer there. I was like ‘Oh my gosh, people are going to see what I’m working on now’. I was doing my well-practiced game of over-thinking but there’s really no reason to even think about that. All my Roosty pals are brilliant!”
One of the big benefits for Myf of being around other photographers has been the unofficial mentoring. Members like Stephen Roberts (“Whenever he’s at his desk I’m able to go over and have a chat and say ‘So, I’ve got this project, what would you suggest?’. He’s always open to questions”), Mitch Lee (“He’s my Fuji go-to guy, it was cool talking about lenses and different areas to shoot in”), Justin Spaull (“I had a go at taking his photo, which was a bit nerve-racking as a wedding photographer extraordinaire. But he was cool about it and offered up some great suggestions”) and Andy Jones (“I feel like I can walk over and ask him anything, he’s very open to sharing his knowledge”) have been a huge help for her, and she now feels that she’d be in a position to pass on her own knowledge to anyone starting out in their journey.