Faces of Freelance Austin is a monthly feature to get to know one of our many members just a little bit better. For our second installment, we check in with our VP of Freelance Programming, Ginny Murphy. Want to nominate a member to be interviewed for this feature? Let us know!
Name: Ginny Murphy
Business name: Rapport Branding LLC
No. of years freelancing: 34+
Located: Austin, TX
Accepting new work? Yes
How do you describe the work you do?
I am a brand strategist. I work with clients to define their brand, focusing on why they do what they do. Then we strategize how to implement it across available channels in a consistent, purposeful way. I am especially adept at helping them efficiently allocate budget and resources with a vision for long-term sustainability.
Describe your path to becoming a freelancer/small business owner/solopreneur.
I started as the Art Director for a small advertising agency in Santa Barbara. I wanted to work more directly for clients, so I went out on my own and supplemented my income contracting for other agencies while I grew my business. I had a 4-year stint in the corporate world in corporate communications (one of my clients hired me on staff and moved me to Texas). I ended that time as Corp. Comm. Manager for Entex in Houston, TX. My husband’s job moved us to Austin, where I returned to my freelance career.
Was there an “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to strike out on your own?
When I saw others getting credit for my work while I sat in back room at a drawing table. (That’s what we used before computers.) Plus, I wanted to create more of my own content instead of implementing someone else’s ideas.
How has career independence changed your professional and personal world?
It has given me the opportunity to be present and active in my children’s lives, not only when they were little. I get to meet and work with outstanding professionals that support my business and my clients. I also have the privilege to work on a diverse range of projects and develop lifelong relationships with my clients. And best of all, I have the flexibility to make my own schedule and work in my pajamas if I choose to.
Our members cite connections with people from varied expertises and career stages as one of the biggest benefits of Freelance Austin. Have you had mentors along the way, from Freelance Austin or elsewhere?
Yes, I met Sherry Lowry at Freelance Austin many moons ago. She has been a great mentor, supporter and sounding board for me. Also, I have a client that I have worked with for over 30 years. As a PR and Communications professional and as a business executive, he has supported and advised me both personally and professionally.
Has there been a point when you’ve taken a big risk to move forward?
In 2011, I decided to refocus my graphic design business into strategy-based branding consultation. I wanted to help clients to think first and with purpose. What it means is that I have to rebrand myself and my business and re-educate people about what I do. Brand strategy is a lot more cerebral and intangible than graphic design where you can whip out your portfolio to show and tell.
What was the biggest surprise or shock you found in freelancing? If you could share a bit of wisdom with your newbie freelance self what would it be?
The biggest surprise was how often clients ended up becoming lifelong friends.
I think the bottom line is — newbies take note — if you treat your clients like you would your friends, with respect and kindness, they will value your relationship and support you throughout your career.
Austin has a thriving independent worker population, do you see any ways the creative and freelance community in Austin could be better?
I think the creative freelance community could be more effective at educating the Austin business community about what they do and why they are a valuable resource. We are good at what we do and we run our own businesses at the same time. That needs to be recognized.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
Do what you love and do it well. You will be rewarded both personally and professionally for it.
Don’t forget to nominate someone for a future Faces of Freelance Austin interview! Who should we feature next?
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