I recently had the opportunity to interview freelance designer and blogger Henry Jones. Most of you are probably familiar with Henry’s blog Web Design Ledger, and he also launched Card Observer, a gallery of business card designs, a few months ago. Also, last year Henry sold his previous design blog, Design Reviver. Take a few minutes and get to know a little bit more about Henry.
How did you get your start as a designer?
I think I inherited my passion for design from my mother, who was a high school art teacher. This gave me an interest in art from a very young age. I was also introduced to computers at a young age when my Dad bought us an Apple IIc. (How many of you remember that one?) Later I attended college at East Tennessee State University, which at the time, had one of the top rated 3D animation programs in the country. So, to make a long story short, 3D work eventually introduced me to Flash which then led me into web design.
Can you tell us a little bit about your current career and what you’re doing?
I have been freelancing and blogging full time for just over a year and I have loved every minute of it. Right now my time is divided between client work and running Web Design Ledger and Card Observer.
What led you to sell Design Reviver last year?
I started Design Reviver originally as a way to promote my services. Without knowing anything about blogging, it was sites like yours and others that gave me the inspiration to actually do it. Once I had the site up and going, my readership started to grow, and so did the pressure to keep a steady posting schedule. This began to interfere with my client work, which led to the difficult decision to sell the site. After doing some research on SitePoint to determine a value for Design Reviver, I posted it on their MarketPlace with a “Buy It Now” price of $40,000. It literally sold overnight. I only mention the selling price because I think it will inspire people, and I think it proves that money can be made from blogging.
After selling Design Reviver, what wa your motivation to start Web Design Ledger?
Once Design Reviver was no longer mine, I started to miss all of the fun stuff that comes with running a blog: like watching your readership grow, creating content that people find useful, and networking with other bloggers. I kind of felt as if the blogosphere was leaving me behind. I had to get back into it. After learning how to better balance my client work load, the later part of 2008 presented a good opportunity to give it another shot.
Web Design Ledger has a unique theme design that stands out from other blogs. What was your inspiration/motivation with that design?
I did want it to stand out from other blogs. But I didn’t want to be different without a purpose. I wanted to promote reader participation. So, I designed the entire middle column to showcase recent comments. After all, who doesn’t like to see their name in lights…or in over sized speech bubbles?
I also knew that being creative would probably land me on most of the popular CSS galleries. This can be a huge jump start for a blog,
especially a design oriented blog. It puts your site in front of thousands of people, who just happen to be your target audience. You would have to pay quite a bit of money for that kind of advertising.
Can you tell us a little bit about your typical day?
I normally start work at 8 am in my home office and spend about 1 hour doing the usual admin stuff, such as approving comments and replying
to emails. From that point on, I work on client work with the occasional break to play with my 3 year old son. I try to stop working when my daughter gets home from school around 3:30 pm. Then at night, after the rest of the family goes to bed, I spend a couple of hours writing blog posts.
What is one interesting fact about you that our readers will not know?
My passion for building things goes beyond web sites. In the past 4 years, my wife and I have built 2 houses. This was the other reason for selling Design Reviver. Building a house can also take up a lot of your free time.
As a freelancer, where you do find most of your clients?
All but one of my clients have found me either through my portfolio or my blogs. This has truly been a blessing since I’ve had to put no time and effort into finding new work.