Boss Babe: Fee Sheal
Company: Fee Sheal - Freelance Motion Design
Tell me a bit about your business.
I’m a freelance motion designer. I specialise in 2D, vector-based animation, from explainer videos to typographic pieces, logo animations to gifs, I’m at home in the keyframes!
On the side, I’m the Chapter Leader of Ladies Wine Design Edinburgh (@lwdedinburgh), a monthly meet-up (pre-covid we’d meet IRL, but for now we meet online) for creative women in Edinburgh.
I’m also the project and events manager at The Delicate Rébellion, where I run their beautiful creative community, The Collective (@inthecollective) - I keep myself busy!
What made you decide to start it?
I decided to take the leap and go freelance after saying for *years* I was going to do it and never having the courage or the cash to make it happen. Lockdown came along and meant I could save enough money (cause what the hell was I going to spend money on, amirite?) to give me enough cushion should things not work out. Every freelancer I’d spoken to had said to have at least 3 months of wages saved in case the work doesn’t come in, so I wanted to make sure I had that.
I’d been working full time as part of the in-house design team for a big financial/pensions company and it was what you’d consider a really ‘secure’ job (especially in COVID climate), but I was genuinely miserable. The people I worked with were great, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I’d been there three years and could see where I’d end up if I stayed any longer. It was a case of take the leap and hope for the best and thankfully, so far, it’s worked out pretty well!
What’s a typical day/week like in your shoes?
I don’t know if my weeks are ever ‘typical’ because things change from day-to-day. Some weeks I’ll have every day booked up, with just enough time to come up for air and others I’ll only have a job or two booked in. I’m a very type-A person, so I thought the uncertainty of freelance life would be my worst nightmare, but I really enjoying the flexibility and the difference in projects.
When I’m not working on freelance projects, I’ll most likely be working on something Collective-related, be that planning in new workshops with our incredible line up of mentors, or keeping up-do-date with the daily goings on in our lovely group or, most recently, planning out everything that’s involved with opening the doors for another year (door open in Summer!).
Of course, once a month, I’ll have an LWD event in the evening. Although it’s not quite the same as being in the same room as my creative pals and sinking a wine or two, I really love the community we’ve created and the digital events mean we get to hear from creatives outside the EH postcode!
What’s been the most difficult thing to get your head around when you started up?
Pricing is always a fun one… I’ve always been pretty steadfast in the way that I price jobs in that it’s rare that I’ll ever lower my initial quote, but I do think there have been a few times where I’ve under-sold myself, or just generally been a bit of a shitebag when it comes to asking for money! I wouldn’t say it’s a conversation I ever enjoy, but I’m trying to get better at understanding my worth and asking for the amount of money that correlates to how hard I work.
Have you encountered any hiccups along the way?
I’ve definitely had the odd bum event or two. A workshop that didn’t sell out, so I lost money, or a speaker who just didn’t get the tone right, but the creative community in Edinburgh/Scotland is so welcoming I’ve always managed to bounce back (at least I think I have!).
How do you stay motivated?
Doing great work is genuinely really motivating (as cliché as that sounds!) and working with/for people who align with my own values is something that’s really important to me and something I have the privilege of controlling now I’m my own boss. I think knowing how unhappy I was working for someone else probably keeps me pretty motivated. That, and knowing there’s a gin with my name on it waiting for me at the end of the week also helps!
What’s your main marketing took/social media platform? Are there any you want to try out that you haven’t had a chance to yet?
Instagram is great for creatives and there’s a brilliant community of motion artists there (although it always butchers the quality of animation). Personally, I’ve actually found Linkedin a great resource for finding work/clients. It gets a bit of a bad rep, but I’ve found more work through posting/making connections on Linkedin than I have via Instagram.
What’s next for your business?
Keep trucking away! I’m still very much at the beginning of my freelance journey, so I’m taking it one step at a time.
For The Collective, doors open in the Summer and I’m excited to welcome a new cohort of creatives into the fold. It’s a brilliant community and fantastic space for creatives to grow and build their business. This has been my first year running the group and now I’ve got a bit of solid ground under my feet I’m looking forward to seeing where we can go.
With LWD, I’m looking forward to getting back to IRL events as soon as we can. I miss the atmosphere of a real event and not having to wave at people through a screen! Just before Lockdown one we were due to have our biggest event in collaboration with LWD Glasgow - which we very originally called LWD Scotland. It was set to run workshops across the two cities, culminating in a big evening event in the capital. I’m hoping next year we can get back to that!
Do you have any advice for other women looking to start their own business?
Don’t be a dick. You’re hired for your personality just as much as you’re hired for your portfolio, so be a nice human. Find a network where you can speak openly and find advice without judgement. Make friends and help pull others up when you can.
What do you do to relax?
Walking the dog just tends to be a go-to every weekend just now, until lockdown lifts a little more…tbh I’m not really complaining.
And lastly, what did you have for breakfast?
I rarely eat breakfast, so haven’t had anything today…but some pancakes wouldn’t go a miss.
Thanks so much Fee! If you're interested in checking out Fee's awesome work, head over to her Instagram page @madeby fea.
Some additional links of other projects Fee works with for you check out as well x