Freelancer in the Spotlight - Meet Belen Wilson
We recently interviewed Belen Wilson to find out why she chose freelancing and more about being a Creative Director.
What is a Creative Director and what do you do?
A creative director is like an Orchestra Director. We make sure creatives (art directors, copywriters, designers etc.) are working at their best to deliver a project while making sure the overall brief objectives aims are achieved.
How did you become a Creative Director?
I started in a DM agency as a digital designer in the late nineties and worked my way up to art director, associate creative director, and creative director.
Belen is a quality designer who has a brilliantly innovative and yet disciplined approach to her design work. In all the projects I worked with Belen on, we were breaking new ground in broadband and interactive television design, and on all these projects the design result were rich, attractive to the eye and also took into account the usability constraints of the technical platforms.After the BBC, I brought Belen over to work with me at Fish4 in the UK. I would recommend her whole-heartedly.
Guy Gadney, Director at The Project Factory
How long have you been freelancing?
Why did you decide to go freelance?
I had no other option. My employer would not agree to allow me to come back to work after my maternity leave four days a week. I couldn't work full-time with a 10-month baby and had no help from family nearby, so I quit and found a contract that allowed me that kind of flexibility.
What's the best thing about choosing to be an independent professional in your field?
Initially, for me was the fact that I could control my hours and work around my children as much as I possibly could.
I also love the fact I get to work on a variety of clients and projects. It's never dull.
I operate as a Limited company, so I've learnt a lot about business along the way.
Bel combines strong creative ability and sensitivity with a healthy dose of commercial understanding and pragmatism. I appreciated her mature and considered approach to her work, and to the challenging task of providing leadership to a very strong Candi creative team during her 6 month tenure as acting creative director for the agency.
Deborah Keay, Director & Founder at Candid Consumer
Has there been any negatives of your choice?
I think time management for me has been a steep learning curve—also admin as an ltd. And there's a lot of admin you have to do on top of your job.
Coming into a team as an outsider is always a bit daunting for the first days. Many companies treat freelancers a bit as if they are invisible and can be frustrating. Also, it could be frustrating not having visibility of the outcome on some of the projects you are involved with when they replace you halfway through, which as freelancers, happens mainly because of budgets or internal politics.
What's one thing no one ever told you about freelancing you wished you'd known at the beginning?
Have three months of your monthly salary saved at least. Ready to get you out of a difficult or dry work spell.
How has YunoJuno helped you as a freelancer?
YunoJuno has outstanding clients and has offered me the chance to work for many good agencies. At one point, as a mum, I thought I wouldn't get those gigs anymore, but YJ proved that there were relevant opportunities for me still out there.
Can you talk about a project you're proud to have worked on?
I'm proud of all the projects I've worked on. Even the small ones, the ones they didn't see the light of day or the ones I really screw it up. They are all part of my learning journey.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to become a Creative Director?
It would help if you started honing your skills to be a good communicator, a curious mind, a listener and understand people. Develop also a sense of humour, it will come handy during stressful times.
If a client was reading this, why should they hire you?
I have a bilingual creative brain full of ideas, mostly informed and researched but also some beautifully random. I can problem solve while inspiring and guiding teams and creatives.
I get things done.
Id like to recommend Belen as I know she will always provide interesting answers to complicated briefs. She's done it in the past and I'm sure she'll do it again
Pete Jones, Creative Asset
Belen is an integrated native thinker and doer across the entire comms and experience workflow; creative strategy, concept development and content creation - even happy presenting if required. As an AD she spent many a moon casting and directing photo shoots/video shoots, video editing, v.o. recording and shot selecting.
Belen can make sense of complex and communicate it to consumers, clients and teams. She enjoys finding solutions to brand challenges with a multicultural background to help produces unique insights.