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#MeetTheResident – Naomhán O’Connor

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We caught up with one of our newest residents Naomhán O’Connor who has recently joined our Hill Street Blick Shared Studios.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business?

I’m a freelance digital marketer, with a background in filmmaking. I work primarily for non-profits, managing their social media accounts, writing content for their websites, and helping them to develop, design and implement awareness-raising campaigns. This work takes up most of my time, but occasionally I take on small jobs in filming, editing and photography.

Any projects you’re currently working on?

Currently, I’m engaged in a long-term contract with one organisation, GATE, and I do a variety of work for them, including social media management, filming and editing video interviews, events photography, and website content writing and management.

What was the biggest hurdle for you starting out and how did you overcome it?

I came to this career later than most, aged 28. I wanted to be a video editor, but struggled to get a paid job with an editing company, and I couldn’t afford to work unpaid. After approaching every editing company in Northern Ireland, and being offered only unpaid work, I decided to try working as a freelance editor. It was a steep learning curve – building up a client list, learning how to find jobs and working out all the business side of things – writing an invoice, paying taxes, etc. I eventually found my niche – I got a chance to do some social media work and found that, combining this with editing work, I could make a living.

How do you stay creative/inspired?

I’m inspired by my clients – I like to find a vision in the work that they ask me to do, an end goal to focus on. With non-profits, it’s usually awareness raising. I love being able to help organisations find the best way to give voice to underrepresented communities or issues. Storytelling is my passion, and the work of non-profits is full of amazing stories that aren’t being told, so I feel privileged to be able to do something to amplify those voices.

Who is your creative hero?

I love the work of Louis Theroux, because he brings humanity to his storytelling. No matter how hated by society the community is that he’s focused on, he somehow manages to humanise them. I believe strongly that everyone deserves to have a voice, and that change happens through empathy, so I love his approach to what are often extremely controversial issues.

What piece of software/ tool/ equipment would you struggle to run your business without?

My laptop! And the internet! Most of my work is online, so without these two things I can’t function. For filmmaking, I couldn’t work without my camera, tripod, microphone, Adobe Creative Suite… the list goes on.

What’s your top tip/piece of advice for anyone wanting to start their own creative business?

Be prepared to struggle for a few years. If you can’t cope with the idea of not knowing where your next job is coming from, then be open to the idea that being self-employed might not be for you. I had a list of clients I would contact on a weekly basis for the first few years, asking if they had work for me. Be prepared to put yourself out there, be prepared for many, many rejections, and don’t be afraid to keep asking for work. Persistence pays off!

#blickstudios on
Instagram post 2227216840084686614_295518986 Some Wednesday Wisdom for anyone starting a creative business or project from our Hill St resident illustrator @gemmaoneill - You can find an interview with Gemma on our blog if you want more inspiration
Instagram post 2226288394949239495_295518986 The greyest of January days, but there’s still plenty of colour in the Cathedral Quarter 🎨 . . . #cqbelfast #cathedralquarter #belfast #lovebelfast #discoverni #creative #january
Instagram post 2225481193921908418_295518986 Hello Monday! Hope everyone has a productive week 💪🏻 . . . . #cqbelfast #cathedralquarter #belfast #lovebelfast #discoverni #creative #architecture
Instagram post 2222141311052684065_295518986 Lovely and cosy for working late in our Cotton Court studios on these cold dark evenings
Instagram post 2217512272174374717_295518986 Blue sky in the Cathedral Quarter again this morning! Definitely worthy of a little stretch of the legs . . . #cqbelfast #cathedralquarter #belfast #lovebelfast #discoverni #creative #architecture #januarysun
Instagram post 2216897875760588450_295518986 Resident illustrator @gemmaoneill has been enjoying the view from our Hill Street studios today! ✏️ . . . . . #lovebelfast #cathedralquarter #CQBelfast #ireland #northernireland #niexplorer #explorebelfast #discoverni #cityscape #citylife #urban #BelfastCC #illustration #illustrator #art #artist #artwork #sketch #sketchbook #locationdrawing #showyoursketchbook
Instagram post 2216820743936082445_295518986 Beautiful January morning in the Cathedral Quarter! Hope everyone is enjoying getting back into the swing of things after the break. Coffee helps! . . . #cqbelfast #cathedralquarter #belfast #lovebelfast #discoverni #creative #coffee
Instagram post 2216066693372175246_295518986 Happy New Year! Some great advice for creatives starting their own business from Blick Resident @joelavertyphotography to keep you motivated as you get back into the swing of things following the festive season. For more inspiration and advice on getting started you can read his full interview on our blog (link in bio)
Instagram post 2203039766931745682_295518986 Christmas in the Cathedral Quarter. Hope everyone has a wonderful one this year! . . . #cqbelfast #cathedralquarter #belfast #lovebelfast #christmas #winter #city
Instagram post 2198133200277315977_295518986 The dark winter nights aren’t so bad in the Cathedral Quarter. Happy weekend everyone! . . . #belfast #cathedralquarter #dukeofyork #belfastcity #belfastpub #lovebelfast #CQBelfast #creative #city #belfastcreatives
Instagram post 2197959147423796044_295518986 Great start to the day on the way to our Hill Street Studios this morning ☀️ . . . #belfast #cqbelfast #cathedralquarter #lovebelfast #explorebelfast #discoverni
Instagram post 2196621714967229764_295518986 Beautiful crisp afternoon in the Cathedral Quarter today ❄️ . . . #belfast #city #lovebelfast #cathedralquarter #CQBelfast #niexplorer #cityscape #citylife #urban #VisitBelfast #BelfastCC #winter #wintersun #shadows #stannessquare
Instagram post 2192222683465521971_295518986 Belfast Design Week – Closing Party 9.11.19 - @belfastdesignwk @creatingaspace & @matter.sustainablemarket came together to curate a special night for Belfast Design Week closing party. - The aim of the event was to bring everyone together that had taken part over Design Week , celebrate all of the hard work that had been done and to acknowledge the successes of the week! - We had the event at @artceterastudio43 , and transformed the space into a creative, visual space. - We had a fashion installation where we had local fashion designers in Belfast showcasing their work and combined that with that a film screening on the theme of ‘Power’, promoting diversity and multiculturalism and celebrating Art, Fashion & Music within Belfast made by @creatingaspace - Fashion Designers @katieirelanddesigns @jamie.m.kerr @owenmarkhenry
Instagram post 2190777713131005815_295518986 We recapped some top tips from our event 'Instagram for your creative start-up ' with Michael from @thebeardedcandlemakers on the 4th November over @belfastdesignwk - We had a fantastic time over Belfast Design Week and it was an honour to have such amazing people speak at all of our events! - Be sure to check out the full blog below! 📷 By @crickymck - https://www.blickstudios.org/belfast-design-weekblog-posts/top-tips-with-the-bearded-candle-makers-instagram-for-your-creative-start-up-2019/
Instagram post 2190711650091611159_295518986 Beautiful morning light in the Cathedral Quarter ☀️ . . . #walktowork #belfast #city #lovebelfast #cathedralquarter #northernireland #explore #cityscape #urban #architecture #VisitBelfast #winter #architecture #curatedkitchen
Instagram post 2187205032641232461_295518986 How is it Thursday already?! This week is flying by! . . . #sharedworkingspace #blickstudios #creativespace #business #smallbusiness #creativehub #belfast #studio #studiospace
Instagram post 2187112317031032919_295518986 We are excited to share Elizabeth Meehan from Coffeenosugar who is one of our Blick Cotton Court Residents. - She is a service designer whose work helps businesses identify the gap between the service they work hard to deliver and the reality of the customer experience. - Elizabeth recently wrote an article for the Irish News and we were excited to share what she wrote and get her perspective on the business to consumer relationship here in Northern Ireland. - To read the full article, visit : https://www.irishnews.com/business/2019/11/26/news/design---the-key-strategy-for-competitive-businesses-in-today-s-economy-1773018/?fbclid=IwAR3NFlhO52v54iS4xaIoKAOYT2UbSW7CjVdtmf3QTnqpJZ3xP8q1H_W-wKU
Instagram post 2186422675365465167_295518986 Do you have a kid that would to have an introduction to animation? - At Blick we are collaborating with Can Do Academy to provide a colourful animation workshop for kids aged 6 - 14 years on the 7th December. - It's a great workshop for kids with a powerful imagination and they will learn about the basic principles of stop motion animation, using special iPad apps and will receive a copy of their film at the end of the session! - A great workshop for these winter day to keep kids creative and active. - We have a few spaces left so sign up today to not be disappointed! - Date: 7/12/19 Location : 51 Malone Road, BT9 6RY Time : 2-4 PM Price : £15 - Book your space at https://www.blickstudios.org/events/blick-animation-club-3/
Instagram post 2186345222576121926_295518986 A morning for a stretch of the legs over coffee break! . . . #cathedralquarter #cqbelfast #belfast #coffeebreak #wintermorning #art #artist #wallart
Instagram post 2185151538220446453_295518986 BUSINESS ADDRESS SERVICE - we offer a business address service for creative businesses. Giving you a professional business image and keeping your home address private. Creating a bit of separation betweem your work and home life. Full details can be found on our website here or through link in bio: https://www.blickstudios.org/virtual-services/
Instagram post 2182006351923043834_295518986 The Cathedral Quarter looking colourful, even on the greyest of November days! . . . #walktowork #belfast #lovebelfast #cathedralquarter #northernireland #explorebelfast #explore #niexplorer #instabelfast #wallart #art #artist #artwork #painting #design #creative #city #nidesign #belfastcreatives #urban
Instagram post 2181416762653139736_295518986 Definitely a day for hiding away in the studio ☔️ . . . #blickstudios #studiospace #belfast #belfastcreatives #cqbelfast #explorebelfast #northernireland