Annie Kind

Annie is a creative powerhouse, weaving together her skills as a photographer, digital marketer, and creative director
November 23, 2020

So my name's Annie, and I'm based in Sydney, Australia. I primarily started as a photographer, completely self-taught, and then integrated my marketing background and started my own little business, specialising in digital marketing and creative direction.

What's your background, what were you doing before being self-employed?

So, I was at university. I was studying marketing at ICMS in Manly, and I was nannying at the time actually. So I was doing nannying and studying just because it worked much better with what I was doing. And then yeah, once I moved to London... So I deferred for a year to save money to go overseas and pretty much worked in anything that I could find, whether it was at a bar, whether it was helping friends out with, you know, events and things, or some, you know, some marketing stuff with school, depending on what it was. And then I moved to London and the rest is history. It's kind of when the love for photography began, my love affair with travel and photography and creating things.

I was actually dating someone at the time that does what I do now, but he'd been doing it for years. So he kind of took me on as his, he pretty much trained me up. He was like, "I would love for you to take photos. Is that something you'd be interested in?" So that was something we had together as like a cute little boyfriend-girlfriend thing we would do.

And that's kind of how I fell in love with it. So I guess that prepared me for it because I was shooting for him and it was more of a hobby to begin with. But then I was signed with two different agencies when I was in London, creative agencies, and I was creating brand content for them. So, that was kind of the practice, I guess, working with agencies and brands and getting... I didn't really know I was learning things to progress me in what I was gonna be doing when I got back to Australia. So kind of accidentally fell into what I'm doing, I guess. [Laughs]

What was the 'jump point' like for you, when you first went full-time self-employed?

I've always been a woman that if anything scares me, it actually excites me more. So I'll be like, "Oh, I don't know if I can do this," but then because I'm so intrigued by the challenge, then I somehow just jump into things. So when I got back to Australia, I... How did this all start? Pretty much, I was offered a job with a marketing agency and I hadn't really worked with a marketing agency doing scheduling or, you know, working with web developers to help them with targeting ads or dissecting demographics or whatever it was. So that was my first taste in working with an agency rather than being a content creator. I was then working behind the scenes, helping them with current campaigns and things rather than creating content.

So I was doing that, and while this was all going on, I... So my first client that I got for myself was... They put up an Instagram story and they said, "We're looking for an intern. Please let us know if this interests you." Anyway, I messaged them and just said, "I'm way past an intern level, but if you were ever needing help with your digital marketing or photography or creative direction side of things, let me know."

And then we had an interview, then I went and shot some behind the scenes stuff for them at Chin Chin, and then the rest is history. I worked with them up until COVID hit. But I'm still very, very close with them and have been shooting the occasional job for them, which is great. That was kind of my first taste of everything.

Then I did a job with another one of my clients. I went to Europe with them, that was the luxury motor home company, and I created some content for them. And then, I think it was a month after I got back, she actually reached out and said, "Would you be interested in doing this?" And I hadn't worked alongside web developers or anything before, but I knew I could do it. So it was kind of one of those things, just like, you lose every opportunity that you do not say yes to. So I expressed to her, you know, "This is where I'm at, but I'm very much so willing to learn and grow with you." And yeah, it just... It has somehow managed to work.

How did you learn the business and operations side of photography, creative direction, and content creation?

Myself as an individual, I've lived away from my... My parents live in Orange, I grew up in Orange. So the minute I turned 18, I moved straight to Sydney and I've been very self-sufficient and independent for a decade now. So I guess I learned a lot of life skills in regards to having to invest money into certain things, or, you know, there are certain things that require attention for things to work.

So when I got back to Australia, because I'd been away for so many years, I actually got an accountant. I just thought it was one of those things where it's a short term, you know, short-term pain, long-term gain, you have to invest money to make money. And it's actually taking away time from me creating things if I'm trying to figure out the money side of things, and I may do it wrong and with an ABN and things that then gets complicated, I don't know what I can claim. So for me, an accountant was the smartest option.

What's the best thing about working for yourself?

In all honesty, it's the people that I meet. It's a really beautiful feeling to know that you were able to help someone with something that is essentially their baby. Like they've come to you being like, "This is my idea. I don't know how to do this. Can we bring this to life?" And you, a part of that process, you were part of creating something that they've been searching for. And I think that's a really wonderful thing.

And people are really genuinely excited about working as a team with people, especially when it's something that they're building themselves. So I think that's a really... It's definitely the people and the experiences I have with them when they're excited would definitely be my answer. And I genuinely love all the people that I work with. So it just brings you closer as a team and friends and everything, can't put a price on it. [Laughs]

What's the worst, or hardest, thing about being self-employed?

The hardest thing for me has been COVID, as with everyone, because my clients were in the travel and events sectors. That's why I lost them, because they lost all of their work. They lost their jobs. It was a flow-on effect, which no one had expected, it was unprecedented.

That's definitely for me been the hardest part. And as well as losing everything that you've built, you then also can't see these people that were inspiring you. And it's... I crave connection. Like as a person, I really love building relationships and friendships and creating things. And that for me was the hardest part, was not being able to channel that with people that I cared about and care about still obviously.

Oh, and another thing, the invoicing and chasing invoices that, drives me insane! "Yo, you've got your contract, you know when you're supposed to be paying, like, what are you talking about?" It's like you don't go and get your hair done and expect to not pay them for three weeks because you just don't feel like it, like that for me is one of the most annoying things. I'm always like, "Why am I always chasing your? You've got your deliverables! Please, I have to eat this week..."

What's been the high point so far, has anything in particular stood out?

There's a lot of things that I'm proud of. But things that have made me really emotional in a positive way is when you get to experience all of these amazing memories while working with your best friends that you've met through either Instagram, or a photographer friend of yours has introduced you to a new photographer, or a model or something, and then you form these amazing relationships with them and then you will get to collab and experience those things together. So it's just very exciting to be able to be part of a team with your best friends. That would definitely be the highlight for me.

What advice would you give your past self to help them get to where you are today?

The advice would be to take every opportunity that you get, even if it scares the crap out of you, do it. And if that scares you, still do it. But even more so. Even if you have to fake it till you make it, I don't care, you are going to do this and you will succeed because you've been given an opportunity, rather than you just sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself about the fact you might not be able to do it.

What's next for you? What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I'm working on building my print store, so that's gonna be called the House Of Kind. At the moment I'm in the development phase. So I've just done my style guiding, I've done the superimposing for the images. I know exactly what I want everything to look like. Now it's just building the website to actually be able to sell the products. So I'm working on that.

I'm also, I was working on this pre-COVID, working on creating a creative agency. So for people like us that... Because a lot of the time people will come to me but I can't do web developing for example, or I can't do graphic design, I can't do certain things.

So I would love to create an agency where it's a one-stop shop for people to be able to do that and also help my friends. So my really talented friends, because often they work a nine to five for an agency and I see all of their potential, and for me I'm like, "You can do this on your own." And I know that's scary and a lot of people don't want to do that because normality's more comfortable for others, but yeah, that's, that's another thing I'm working on.

I have a lot of people come to me saying, "Can you do X, Y, and Z?" And I can only do X and Y, I can't do the Z and the Z is so crucial. So because I've got so many different friends with so many different talents, I just want to have us all be able to create beautiful things together. And I'll primarily do the creative direction.

So I'll coordinate between the companies and the team, and then do the creation side of things and have people doing the graphic design, web developing, whatever needs to be done. So yeah, I guess I'll be the creative director, kind of the vision for the agency, and then have people that freelance.

And now that all of the things happening this morning with new job offers and things, I have to figure out what that looks like as well. [Laughs] So what the deliverables are, what contracts look like, back to business, which is exciting. Yeah.

Do you have any specific resources that helped you that you could recommend?

I'm trying to think. Often I... So I love studying psychology in my spare time. A lot of the podcasts and things that I listen to are based on human behaviour and understanding those types of things.

So that helps me when I do target marketing, for example, because I can understand kind of what different demographics, so where, where people... What age they are, where they're based. I'm more of a practical person. So I learned through my experiences, like my own personal experiences. I'm trying to think of things that have helped. I often just, have found that the things that have inspired me the most is working alongside other people that have, you know, maybe been doing it for a bit longer than me, or they maybe specialise in a different type of photography than me.

So we'll travel together, we'll teach each other different things that either one of us have. It's like a hands-on, personal experience with people and, just learning through trial and error as well. With photography, it's one of those things where the more you shoot the more you learn. So just trying to go out in different lighting, trying to understand what your tool can do has helped me massively. And also doing shoots that you haven't done before. Yeah. It's hands-on.

So if I see someone that inspires me on Instagram, or someone that I'm wanting to collab with, if it was a model or something, and I think that they would look beautiful in a certain aesthetic, creating with those people and growing from that has helped me massively. I just love reading psychology books and listening to podcasts on humans, it's just my weird thing I have.

The one that I'm reading at the moment, it's amazing, it's called The Laws Of Human Nature, it's like 700 pages long. But it's really, really incredible. Oh, The Untethered Soul was another one that really, really, helped me massively. Just more so with backing myself as an individual and not allowing the self doubt to creep in and let that be the contributing factor, because I know there's been times in my career where I've been like, "Well, I didn't study photography at university and society tells me that if I didn't study at university, then I don't know what I'm doing."

So it's about being like, no, that's actually not the current climate that we live in. There's so many... You can't teach talent at the end of the day. And it's like, everyone can sing, some people just shouldn't. So it's kind of one of those things where it's like [laughs] trial and error. I'm not good at numbers. Like numbers don't make sense to me, but I'm more of a visual person. So for me, I learned through visual, visual, visualising plans or whatever it may be.

Where's the best place people can keep follow along with your work online?

So at the moment it would just be my Instagram because there's nothing live at the moment. On my main Instagram are the links to my print shop and my photography work. So that kind of all... It all ties in together.

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Annie Kind

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