Creative Talk With Jaxon Fawcett
Jaxon Fawcett is one of our well respected and re-requested freelancers. You could say he has a charm about him, and enjoys entertaining the ladies…. And hell why shouldn't he. Here’s Jaxon’s story…
You don’t take life for granted – what was the catalyst for this change?
Haha, you could say that. It was actually a 'life ending event' that made me want to live my life rather than just exist.
In September 2008 just after my 26th birthday, I was diagnosed with terminal stage 3 brain cancer and was given 3-5 years to live through my oncologists. The thing was that this diagnosis wasn't good enough for me, so I declined chemotherapy and started an alternative path to health and healing by dramatically changing my diet, my lifestyle and partaking in a number of alternative drug free treatments. I’m currently over six years past initial diagnosis and health / happiness seems to take up most of my time these days. I now feel that I am obligated to share my story, so that I can show people that they have choices when it comes to cancer and give them an opportunity to make an informed decision when it comes to their health or the health of a loved one. Oh, did I mention I haven't had a single mm of cancer growth in that whole time period?
How has having brain cancer affected how you view work – has it had an impact?
Absolutely, although I love design, packaging, the process and the feeling you get when you are holding a finished product in your hand. I don't like the side effects that come with that love, the stress, the stagnation and the staring at a screen for 9 hours a day. That’s why I freelance these days, if you're not an asshole you usually get asked back, the moneys good, you can take time off, or go on holiday on the drop of a hat and most of the time when you leave the studio the work doesn't follow you home. The lovely good looking ladies at The Creative Store are also very good at finding you work too!
As much as we try and lock you into longer term contracts and permanent roles – you enjoy being free as a bird. Why do you love freelancing?
I have come to discover that lifestyle and health is more important than money. Of course money helps achieve that goal but it’s not the be all and end all to life and being content. When you’re old and grey and lying on your death bed what are you going to remember? The hours you spent in the office and the Ferrari parked in your garage; or the time you spent with family, friends, the places you've seen, the things you've done and the people you've loved. It could all end tomorrow so live your life today.
Do you find with freelancing, that you are welcomed as part of the studio team – or shunned to a corner?
All depends on who you’re working for and what they're like I guess. The majority of my placements have all been awesome. I work hard, have a few laughs and everyone gets on fine. I feel I'm quite outspoken and have a somewhat inappropriate sense of humour so I usually judge a situation for a few days before I start pulling out the 'hair pulling' jokes and the 'cute' nicknames. I do seem to get away with a lot more than others do for some reason.
You are re-requested with our clients, is this due to your natural charm, or your design skills
Haha I honestly don't know how to answer that question. There are two things people don't really hear much about when you beat terminal cancer. One: You become very honest... about everything. And two: You become a little bit arrogant and start to love yourself a bit too much sometimes, so I will be leaving that question there. These days I am proud of the level of my work and the projects I have worked on though.
Do you find being with a couple of freelance recruiters is the best way of keeping busy?
It seems to change a lot to be completely honest. I would say yes it is a smart idea to be aligned with a few different recruitment companies so that you spread yourself and your work to the market and get yourself known to the community. I had a very slow patch just after I got home from overseas - only working 5 days at most from December 13 to February 14 and aligned myself with every recruitment agent in Auckland. Since then though, it’s pretty much just been The Creative Store getting me placements. Work hard for them and they'll work hard you.
What tips would you offer to others thinking about going freelance?
Create a clean, simple portfolio. Find a beautiful font, create a simple template and let your work do the talking.
- Make yourself an online portfolio. Don't know web? Find yourself a template and drag and drop like I did, it’s a lot easier than it sounds and is a great way for potential employers to see you work at a click of a button.
- Make sure your CV is no longer than a page, short, sweet, simple. In the design world 99% of people only care about your work and your level of skills not what college you went to or what your favourite activities outside work are.
- Be polite, be yourself and make sure you save a little bit extra for the slow periods and public holidays.
It is expected now as a freelancer to use your own laptop and CC. How do you feel about this?
If I'm strapped for cash I have no problem with it - but would rather be using the clients’ equipment and software to be honest. If I'm in a good financial position, I would most likely politely turn down the job.
Do you earn more freelancing than you would in a permanent role?
Yes. But unlike a full time position, you always feel obligated to put in 120% all of the time, as you want to be asked back and your reputation rides on it.
You have a facebook page “A Creeps Guide to Cancer”, which is inspirational and have just launched your website www.acreepsguidetocancer.co.nz which is not just for people who have cancer. Do you feel this brand has traction?
I would like to think so. As a society, we are in a place now where information is so readily available to anyone, anywhere thanks to the internet and modern media. We don't have to take anyone’s word for anything these days including medical 'professionals'. We can take in what is said, do research on that subject and make our own decisions based on how we understand it and what we believe.
I’m not about telling people what they should be doing. I'd like to think I make people aware of the options they have, by providing information, backing that claim up and letting people make their own decisions based on their own research. I’m also pretty sure I'm the only person selling this approach to health with dirty jokes and sexual innuendos haha. I believe there has been a massive shift in natural health and healing since my diagnosis over 6 years ago, I just hope that it’s not a fad.
If you need a great freelance designer, and would like to book the lovely Jaxon in to your studio, give us a call to organise (09) 365 1077.