MEET #314 JONNIE HALLMAN
Front-End Developer • Brooklyn, NY
WNW Member #314 Jonnie Hallman is a designer and developer living and working in Brooklyn, out of co-working space Studiomates. He's worked at Adobe and with the likes of Etsy, 53, and Dropbox. Jonnie spoke to us about the influence of his freelancer parents and the benefits of a shared creative atmosphere and support group.
1. How long have you been freelancing?
I started freelancing full-time about 2 and a half years ago, but it feels like much longer.
2. Is there a time or place that you feel most creative/have the best ideas?
I work out of a studio space in Brooklyn, called Studiomates, which is where I feel like I do my best work. My best ideas come to me when I'm away from my desk, either walking around the city or washing the dishes.
3. What's your ideal Working:Not Working ratio?
I work a lot, even on personal projects in my spare time, so there are more like two ratios—client work to personal work and work life to personal life. Ideally, I would spend 3 weekdays on client work and any days/nights in between on personal work. If I work full-time on a client gig, I end up needing a longer break before I start the next one.
As for work life and personal life, I typically take two or three nights off during the week and leave Sunday for relaxing. These days, I'm too excited to work on personal projects, which don't really feel like work to me, so I often end up at the studio on a Saturday.
4. Do your parents understand what you do?
Both of my parents are freelancers, too, so they know the life—my mom is an illustrator and my dad is a book cover illustrator. I've grown up learning about the freelancing life and seeing it first-hand, which has had an amazing impact on me. As for the type of work I do, I think they understand the gist of it.
5. What scene from a movie makes you laugh just thinking about it?
Easily the morning scene from Pee Wee Herman's Big Adventure (my all-time favorite movie). If I were unfathomably wealthy, I would have an exact replica of that house.
6. If you were stranded on a desert island, with your computer, what 3 websites would you take with you?
7. What do you do when Not Working?
Every Saturday morning, I play basketball at the Pier 2 courts of Brooklyn Bridge Park with a group of fellow studiomates and friends. I'll also play at a more relaxed court throughout the week in Carroll Gardens or Park Slope. In between, I go to the gym and listen to podcasts (it's the only time I allow myself to listen to podcasts, which gives me more incentive to go). For the less physical activities, I love drinking coffee, playing chess and seeing movies.
8. Do you have a hidden talent?
Besides being able to make farting noises with my elbow pits and wrists, I know a card trick. Just one.
9. Any tips or advice for fellow freelancers?
The best advice I can give is to surround yourself with other freelancers. They can become an invaluable support group in keeping you sane, but also by providing insights into how they work. At Studiomates, we're constantly talking about how to handle specific client situations or how to charge for a project, and these conversations happen organically at lunch or at cookie o'clock. I'm always bouncing ideas off of others or asking for their input on a direction I might take with a project.
(I also wrote a few other tips in this blog post.)