Hey there, nice to e-meet you! My name is Fallon (you know, like Jimmy Fallon), and I’d like to consider myself a — Graphic Designer. Photographer. Content Creator. Influencer. Videographer. And above all, Creative Entrepreneur.
In August of 2018, I made the decision to book a one-way ticket to Europe, pack up my belongings in a carry-on suitcase, and go explore what this world had to offer me. And while most people will write about their experiences quitting their 9-5 jobs and leaving it all behind, I actually never worked in the corporate world to begin with. Instead, I built a career for myself (and no, I’m not talking about travel blogging). With that being said, I should probably give you a little background history to understand exactly how I got to this point.
Click on each photo below to learn more!
While I’ve never technically worked in the corporate world, I have held a job every day since I was fifteen years old (aside from when I was pursuing my master’s degree). Working as a waitress allowed me to pay for extra expenses and remain debt free in undergrad. Like most students, though, I pursued my undergraduate education because I felt like it was the reasonable choice, not because I was passionate about it. My friends and family, and even I, always knew that I was meant for a more creative endeavor. But I nonetheless denied my passion and completed two undergraduate degrees instead: one in Psychology and another in Economics. While I was grateful for the experience, I graduated completely clueless as to what my next steps would be. I ultimately decided I wanted to travel— I didn’t even own a passport, and knew I wanted to experience more of the world. I looked at a few different options, from teaching abroad and work-aways/work abroad programs, to pursuing further education abroad. I eventually decided that a master’s degree would give me freedom to travel while also giving me a pretty piece of paper to hold onto if the whole thing didn’t pan out. I then applied to a few programs and decided to head to the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom to pursue my master’s degree in Economics and Finance.
I left for Bristol in September of 2016 for my year-long program. I truly had the most amazing experience; I made an incredible group of friends, traveled to over 15 countries, and completed my master’s degree at a top-ranked university. While I was traveling on the weekends, though, I started getting back into my creative roots. I purchased a $200 Craigslist DSLR camera, and started taking photos of my travels. I learned that Adobe Lightroom was the professional standard for photography, so I looked into pricing for the software. I discovered the Adobe Creative Cloud package for students which included not only Lightroom, but all of the Adobe software programs. I had some experience with Photoshop and InDesign from high school yearbook, so I decided to make the investment. This turned out to be the best investment I’ve made to date. I started watching every Adobe YouTube video and Skillshare course that I could make time for in between my studies. I quickly learned how to navigate Illustrator, Photoshop, Lightroom and Premiere Pro by watching everything from 2-minute tutorials to structured courses. I started learning about various ways that you could monetize your talents as a graphic designer. From illustrators making their own repeating patterns and fabrics, to web and graphic designers selling digital templates— I knew there was space for me and decided to pursue the creative path.
+ What do you wish someone would have told you when you first started out?
Don’t prioritize quantity over quality. I started rushing into product creation once I realized the income potential, and that caused a lot of issues for me later on down the road. To create a high-quality digital product, you need to spend significant time on these things: designing your product, creating a PDF guide with step-by-step instructions on how to use it, adding any applicable links to fonts or assets used, and creating high-quality mockups to showcase it. And because I didn’t realize this in the beginning of my journey, I ended up creating a few mediocre products that caused me to get my fair share of bad reviews. So if I have any advice, its this: don’t rush into creating products. Spend A LOT of time on your first product. Perfect and automate your systems. Get a feel for what it takes to create ONE high-quality product that your customers love. And THEN continue to build out your digital product inventory. The truth is, Rome wasn’t built in a day. This isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, and passive income requires a lot of patience and time. But I promise, the freedom is worth the hard work. Take your time, and enjoy the journey!
+ What camera(s) do you use and how do you edit your photos?
I use the Canon 5D Mark III (almost always paired with my Canon 35mm 1.4 lens). I edit my photos using Adobe Lightroom!
+ Who designed your website?
Me, duh! ;)
+ How did you get started with passive income?
In the beginning of my creative journey, I freelanced for small businesses (which is typically how everyone starts out). I realized that I would hit burn out if I continued this for the rest of my days (I am NOT the best communicator and freelancing stressed me out). So I started thinking of all the different ways in which I could build passive income streams. I began by turning things that my past clients had asked me for… I.e. social media templates, business cards, etc., into pre-made digital templates that other small business owners could use. In all honesty… its not easy and it does take time. You first need to figure out what’s trending and selling well on platforms like Creative Market and Etsy. Then build out your products and take small details into consideration: product mockups, detailed instruction manuals for customers so they know how to use your product, etc. It’s all trial and error and you have to tweak products as you go based on customer feedback. But in my personal opinion, it’s SO much more worth your time to build out your passive income streams rather than do freelance for the rest of your days.
+ Why do you work more on passive income than on freelance work? Can’t you make more money with freelance?
In the beginning, sure. You can make a lot more with high paying freelance clients. But the great thing about selling digital products is there’s ZERO cap to the amount of income you can bring in. And for me, its more about the freedom than anything else. With freelance, you’re always working for someone else on their watch and on their time. And by not building any passive income streams, you’ll end up working every day for the rest of your life. I like my freedom and I want to take off days when I hit burnout (because it definitely does happen). This is NOT a get rich quick scheme by any means, but it’s definitely worth your time to build out your skills and take courses on Skillshare, watch relevant YouTube courses and just learn new skills to bring in that cash money! ;)
+ Did you start with money before or did you make money while traveling and then just kept doing it?
A little bit of both... After I finished my masters degree, I came back home and lived with my parents for about 6 months to get my feet off the ground. I made some business purchases during that time (camera gear, software programs, etc)., saved up a few thousand dollars & had a steady freelance gig lined up before leaving in August of 2018. After a couple of months working for that client while traveling, I finally decided to give up freelance and pursue passive income full-time. I’m still not a millionaire and I’m not going to pretend that I am LOL but I’m making enough income to make this lifestyle work, and that’s what matters the most to me!