Jo is a “web designer, illustrator, and chief idea gardener” over at The Darling Tree. With an extraordinary knack for organic, finely detailed, and feminine designs, Jo strives to provide her clients with a brand identity inspired by their ideas, purpose and spirit – a work of digital art they’ll keep loving for years to come, as a perfect representation of the soul of their business.

Jo also loves to teach bloggers how they can create their own custom designs and enjoy the experience of infusing their online spaces with more of their personality with the Your Darling Blog design workshops.

Jo is giving us a sneak peek Behind The Scenes of her business today…

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Tell me a bit about your business:

My love is design. I help creative individuals and businesses with branding and online design that is a true reflection of their business, passions and purpose. I also love to teach bloggers how they can create their own custom designs and to enjoy the experience of giving their own online space more of their personality, which is why I created the Your Darling Blog design workshop.

Describe your typical day/week schedule.

My routine is still pretty flexible, I start and finish work at different times depending on my work load and when I feel like I need a break, but I am working on creating a more balanced work routine. I have regular bootcamp and yoga sessions during the week. I always try to keep weekends work-free, and generally computer-free.

How do you plan and organise your time?  What are your biggest challenges with this?  What tips can you offer?

When I made the change to self-employment and working from home my routine quickly evolved into working late into the night and easily being distracted by the internet since there wasn’t any boss looking over my shoulder. It took me a while to realise that even though you have the freedom to work when and how you want to, it’s still important to have some type of routine so that you focus when you need to, and create enough time to enjoy other things outside of work. To help with this I limit my time on social media, implement the Pomodoro technique when I become distracted, and leave at least one day of the week free of assigning any new tasks so that I can catch up when I need to.

What are your essential office tools?

My iMac is the most important tool for me – of course without it (or computers in general) my business or the design profession wouldn’t exist. I use a simple to-do list notepad and lots of coloured pens as I’ve always preferred writing down my schedule and tasks on paper.  I’ve tried apps but I always go back to paper! I use Harvest for invoicing and time tracking which I love.

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Are there any websites or apps that you’d recommend to other entrepreneurial women?

Skillshare is a great place to learn some new creative skills. It’s probably a favourite for most people but Pinterest is the perfect place to create a visual board for your next dream project. And the Focus Booster app is super helpful in implementing the Pomodoro technique if you don’t own a kitchen timer.

Describe your workspace and how it integrates with your working style.  How does it motivate/focus your work?

My office is in the sunniest room of our house, it’s bright and lovely in the mornings which makes it my favourite room. I have two tables, one for the computer and other typical desk accessories. The other with paints and brushes, pens and pencils, various types of paper and sketchbooks. I am always switching between the two. If I need a break from the screen I can just scoot over and play for a little while. I have lots of books and prints I love around the room also for inspiration.

What book has most inspired you?

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau is a great reminder that you can use the skills you currently have to create something of value to other people and get it out there as quick as you can. [Tweet “”It’s far better to improve on something than to let that inner perfectionist stop you from ever putting your work out into the world” @thedarlingtree (via @emmagwillim)”]

What’s your typical working lunch?

I generally make something quick and simple like a toasted avocado and cheese sandwich, but since I work from home sometimes it’s just what is the fridge at the time. I like to eat my lunch, and breakfast, out on our front deck in the sun and have a moment to relax and enjoy being outside.

And how do you switch off once the working day is done?

I love to read, paint or catch up on the latest episode of Dexter, True Blood or Game of Thrones that I have recorded earlier.

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What makes your life sparkle?

I am grateful for the opportunity I have to work with and help other amazing women create their dream online spaces, my lovely little family who love and support me in everything I do, fabulous and funny friends, and getting outdoors and exploring the world. [Tweet “”I am grateful for the opportunity I have to work with and help other amazing women create their dream online spaces” @thedarlingtree (via @emmagwillim)”]


For more on Jo, her work, and to check out her blog, step on over to The Darling Tree– or wave hello on Twitter or Instagram!


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