Interview with Competition Site Owner Georgina

Interview

When I first introduced interviews to this blog I hoped to be able to share stories like Georgina’s and so it was an absolute pleasure when she approached me about discussing her experiences her at Just Geeking By. As an avid comper (someone who regularly takes part in competitions) I’ve known about Georgina’s competition site iWon-iWon.com and its sister sites since they first popped up, but I never knew that I had so much in common with the lady behind them.

I will let Georgina tell you herself how a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis led her to become a small business owner who now runs several competitions sites including a brand new one just for students. [bctt tweet=”I will let Georgina tell you herself how her MS diagnosis led her to become a small business owner who now runs several competitions sites including a brand new one just for students.” username=”justgeekingby”]

 

The Interview

Hi. Please tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi, my name is Georgina and I’m a 40 plus mum of a 16 year old son (how did that happen, one minute he was toddling around and now he’s applying for College – scary!). I’m also step-mum to 3 more teenage boys and happily married to my husband Stu – who is my rock. Thanks to all the male hormones, I decided I needed someone on my side – so I am also mummy to our 3 year old Labrador Bella __ I was diagnosed with MS after my son was born, and for years it had no impact on my life however, in 2015 my walking deteriorated and life changed.

How did you get into competition websites?

I had to give up my job in 2016 because I felt I couldn’t give my boss what she needed and in a small company that wasn’t going to work long term. Around the same time Stuart was putting a company together with his work associates, as part of that business we began looking at competition sites and that’s how iWon-iWon was born. It was a great fit for me, as not only could I work from home and around my health it made good use of my marketing skills that I had built up over the years. It just made sense.

How many years have you been doing it?

We’ve been live for 2 years now and the site has evolved into several competition sites including our latest addition – UniWins –  – it was tricky at first as lots of people think ‘scam’ but we have built up their trust over time. We have a 5* rating on TrustPilot  and on Facebook  – I am so proud of this because I work 24/7 (it definitely isn’t easy starting a company) – I wear many hats including customer service, prize sourcing, marketing and so on. Thankfully multi-tasking was always a strength of mine. [bctt tweet=”The site has evolved into several competition sites including our latest addition – UniWins – it was tricky at first as lots of people think ‘scam’ but we have built up their trust over time.” username=”justgeekingby”]

What does your work mean to you?

The great thing about the business is that it keeps my brain functioning and allows me to continue using my skills. When you become ill with a long term disease, your life changes in ways you don’t envisage. Having something to focus on is so positive for my wellbeing, without it I might sit and spend time worrying about life. I’ve always been a positive person and I do believe that attitude makes such a different to my day to day health.

What was the first time you realized that was what you wanted to do?

I’ve always been creative throughout my working years, and I’ve always imagined having my own business in some capacity. Both my dad and mum came from family businesses so it feel natural to me. I used to work the markets with my dad during my younger years and then later in their family shop. This instilled great working ethics, I truly believe if you work hard and give a great service you will do well. The feedback we received reinforces this and makes the hard work of getting the company off the ground worth it.

What is your proudest moment?

Getting to the end of year 2 and not being in debt – so many businesses fail in their first year. We are a long way from where we want to be but I am so proud of what we have achieved to date.

What was the first successful competition?

Our first competition went live in October 2016, since then we have given away almost 1000 prizes worth almost £50,000. We’ve gone from having around 20 prizes live at any time to have over 60 today. We have a new prize going live pretty much daily now which is great for our users as it keeps them coming back. [bctt tweet=”Our first competition went live in October 2016, since then we have given away almost 1000 prizes worth almost £50,000. We’ve gone from having around 20 prizes live at any time to have over 60 today.” username=”justgeekingby”]

What are your goals for the future? What do you hope to achieve?

We have lots of plans for how we can evolve the site further, but that takes time and money – so watch this space.

What was the best advice you were ever given?

Work hard, treat your customers well and you will be successful but also everything in life happens for a reason. I may well have a horrible disease but there are worse things in the world that I could have and there are people in far worse situations than me. I have so much to be thankful for, and no matter what life throws at me I will always be thinking “onwards and upwards”. [bctt tweet=”There are people in far worse situations than me. I have so much to be thankful for, and no matter what life throws at me I will always be thinking “onwards and upwards.” username=”justgeekingby”]

Any advice for others wanting to start their own business?

Don’t give up, it’s not easy and the highs and lows of running your own business is hard – worrying about money, going 3 steps forward and then 10 steps back is perfectly normal.

 

Interview with Georgina the owner of the competition website Iwon-Iwon

 

Now for some random questions…

If you were the god/goddess of anything, what would it be?

Chocolate of course, it’s my weakness.

What would your animal form be?

A cat, always loved big cats and small cats.

Do you have any fun quirks?

Clearly, I’m dull as can’t think of anything lol!! I talk a lot, and sometimes say silly things because my brain doesn’t always catch up with my mouth.

Do you collect anything?

Kindle books, I love reading and I keep downloading samples and 99p books – who knows when I will actually get to read them all as my TBR (to be read) pile just keeps growing and growing – it’s the Facebook book café group I belong to – people keep sharing great reads and it’s so easy on the Kindle to just keep downloading more books!

And finally; time for a shameless plug:

Please sign up to my website iWon iWon , it’s free and it’s so easy to use. The idea is that you enter competitions daily – the more times you enter the more times your name will be in the virtual pot. My new UniWins site is perfect for this blog! – I will keep my fingers crossed for you all to be winners in the not too distant future!

[Note from the editor 😉 – Everyone has a chance to be a winner, but you need to actually enter to have a chance! [bctt tweet=”Everyone has a chance to be a winner, but you need to actually enter to have a chance!” username=”justgeekingby”] I’ve won so much over the years, such as this amazing beauty prize, and I’m happy to discuss competitions more for anyone who has any doubts.]

Interview with Designer Mija

Interview

Whenever I can I take the opportunityto interview someone from the online world. They could be someone creative, quirky, geeky or a fellow spoonie. I’m really not picky; the whole point of this is to open up dialogue, share with the world and if you wish, bring awareness to your work or a cause. Interviews are open to anyone who wishes to take part so if you’re interested in volunteering please check out the Interview information page.

This time Mija has voluntered to talk about her work as designer for the site Mind-Speaks.com, a site she runs with her two sisters. Read on to find out how she became a designer and what she brings to the sister’s creative blog.

 

 

The Interview

Hi. Please tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Mija and I am a 1 out of 3 sisters on Mind-Speaks.com! We all have different disciplines but I work on all things print and web for the site. Right now my favorite things are stickers and stationery.

How did you get into design?
I went to school for design and work as a full-time designer. Mind-Speaks.com lets me play and do fun projects I personally love!!

How many years have you been doing it?
I have been a designer for over 10 years. We started Mind-Speaks.com in 2010!

What does your design mean to you?
Doing designs for Mind-Speaks helps me really express what I like. I do designs that reflect my fandoms and hobbies! I also do freelance and design for other people. So when I design for Mind-Speaks, it’s truly for myself. I try to make things that I would use personally in my life!

What was the first time you realized that was what you wanted to do?
Probably in 6th grade, we got our first family pc – it was loaded with HP Print Shop. I would play all day on there designing greeting cards to send to family! Each one had A VERA CARD, printed on the back!!

I also grew up a huge fan of Lisa Frank, I collected stationery and stickers like most girls in the early 90s. That stationery influenced me even as a young girl!

What is your proudest moment?
We recently through an Usagi Birthday Bash! Probably one of my favorite things we have done! We got to meet new people who love Sailor Moon as much as we do AND give away tons of stickers and jewelry!

What was the first product/artwork you ever sold?
Oh, on Mind-Speaks.com it would probably be my Sailor Moon 3DS cases!!! I might actually bring them back!  Right now I am designing stickers and stationery sets on our Etsy.

What are your goals for the future? What do you hope to achieve?
To try to do more events, perhaps buy a table at an artist alley at a local con and join like-minded nerds!

What was the best advice you were ever given?
Stop when it is no longer fun.

Any advice for others wanting to get into design?
You have to think of the design of just more than art onto paper or web, textiles and tangible items also need to be considered! Especially if you are rebranding yourself! You have to also think about everything: fonts, colors, packaging….everything is representing yourself!

 

Now for some random questions…

If you were the god/goddess of anything, what would it be?
I would love to be a goddess of stationery! I love stationery more than any other paper items. I probably get way too excited when I see an amazing lined envelope!

What would your animal form be?
Oh, I hope it would be a bird. Flying would be amazing and a cooler way of traveling than running around everywhere!

Do you have any fun quirks?
I am a tad OCD, especially with color! Everything always has to be organized or lined up by color. I also love matching sets, so I tend to go overboard when wanting to add so many items into my stationery sets I design! If I see things in my favorite color, I tend to gravitate to it and hope they are also in my sisters’ favorite colors so I can also pick them up one. Especially stationery or washi tape!

Do you collect anything?
I have a nice comic book collection that I share with my husband, we also have action figures to match the comics we have been collecting! My craft area is filled with so many different shades and thickness of paper. also, have a nice vinyl collection of vintage showtunes albums! I bet that last one is random!!!

And finally; time for a shameless plug:
I would love you guys to check Mind-Speaks.com, my craft blog I share with my sisters. We post projects we are working on, DIY instructions, recipes and reviews on local nerd hangouts around Houston, TX. We also sell some stickers, stationery sets and other cutesy items! You can find us on Instagram under: mind__speaks and Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MindSpeaks

 

Interview with Creator Llinos

Interview

Each month I will be interviewing someone from the online world. They could be someone creative, quirky, geeky or a fellow spoonie. I’m really not picky; the whole point of this is to open up dialogue, share with the world and if you wish, bring awareness to your work or a cause. Interviews are open to anyone who wishes to take part so if you’re interested in volunteering please check out the Interview information page.

This month Llinos has volunteered to talk to us about her creative hobbies which include art and crochet!

 

The Interview

Hi …. please tell us a bit about yourself!

Hello there!  My name’s Llinos, I’m a Welsh girl living in Cardiff, UK, with my boyfriend, Oliver, and my guinea pig, Maggie.  I turned 30 earlier this year.  I’m a blogger and I love to be creative through painting, crochet and papercraft.

How did you get into your creative hobbies?

At school, I was told I wasn’t good at art, so I turned away from it because I thought I didn’t have any kind of creative talent, beyond my love of writing.  However, as an adult I felt a pull towards exploring new creative hobbies and I dabbled in a few things, like candle making and soap making.  When I saw lots of pretty crocheted items online, I knew I had to learn it.  I also began to indulge my love of stationery, and suddenly I was scrapbooking and penpalling!

How many years have you been doing it?

It’s a couple of years now since I really got into crochet and papercraft. Now I can’t imagine my life without it!

What does your crochet and art mean to you?

It means a lot to me that I can express myself in a creative way.  On a bad day, all I want to do is curl up with a project and I feel like myself again.

What was the first time you realised that was what you wanted to do?

I knew I had to learn to crochet because I felt like I couldn’t be happy unless I knew how to create all of these pretty blankets and cushions I saw on Pinterest and Ravelry.

What is your proudest moment?

When I crocheted a unicorn and all of my family and friends loved it.  She’s now one of my prized possessions.

What was the first artwork you ever sold?

I sold a greeting card of a print of a watercolour painting of a fox.  I should make some more!

What are your goals for the future? What do you hope to achieve?

I try to live in the here and now rather than worrying about the future.  I’d love to have a stationery line though!

What was the best advice you were ever given?

To do what you love.  Simple, yet it often gets left by the wayside and life takes over instead.  I try to remember it often.

Any advice for others wanting to get into your hobbies?

Stick with it!  Don’t think that what you produce isn’t good enough.  It’s all progress and part of the journey.  If you’re struggling alone, trying to learn a new skill, consider taking a class in the local community.  That’s what got me to understand crochet, after struggling to read patterns and follow videos.

 

Now for some random questions…

If you were the god/goddess of anything, what would it be?

Ooh this is a great question!  I would be the goddess of literature.  As much as I love being creative, I am passionate about books.

What would your animal form be?

Something quiet and thoughtful, maybe a badger.

Do you have any fun quirks?

I definitely have some quirks, whether they’re fun or not is something you’d have to ask those around me!  When I’m concentrating, I stick out my tongue.  I’ve always done it, ever since I was a child.  I also have quite a loud, distinctive laugh!

Do you collect anything?

Yes; any items of clothing, stationery or crockery with owls on them!  I have a beautiful owl moneybox.

And finally; time for a shameless plug:

www.thelilaclinnet.com

www.twitter.com/thelilaclinnet

Interview with Photographer Fede

Interview

Each month I will be interviewing someone from the online world. They could be someone creative, quirky, geeky or a fellow spoonie. I’m really not picky; the whole point of this is to open up dialogue, share with the world and if you wish, bring awareness to your work or a cause. Interviews are open to anyone who wishes to take part so if you’re interested in volunteering please check out the Interview information page.

The lovely Fede has stepped into the spotlight for this months interview. Read on to find out more about her and her photography!

 

The Interview

Hi …. please tell us a bit about yourself!

Hello! My name is Federica, but on the internet I go by Chibi or Faith, and in real life people call me mostly Fede or Fed. I’m 25, Italian, I live in Scotland and I’m an INFP!

How did you get into photography?

I got into it really early, when I was just a child! I remember using those Kodak cameras when I was little (the ones where you had to manually turn the camera roll yourself!), and I’m sure I had toy cameras as well. When I was around 9, I convinced my parents to get a polaroid camera and I freaking loved it! I brought it with me everywhere (but always treated it with care) and I was amazed by the fact that I could get the printed photos instantly. I think when I got the polaroid was when I became really passionate about photography — to the point where I’d sometimes even reply to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with, “Photographer!”.

How many years have you been doing it?

Well, if you count the Kodak cameras… a bit more than half my life, haha! As a hobby, I’ve always been into it and I’ve always practised it. However, as a job, I’ve only been doing it for a few months. I got my very first paid photography job in September 2016, so technically that’s when it started becoming a job, but I feel like my skills have expanded a lot since then. Let’s say I started as an amateur in 2016 and now I’m working as a semi-professional in 2017.

What does your photography mean to you?

Photography has always been meaningful to me. I love the concept of capturing something — a place, a person, an animal, a sight — forever. I love that you can capture single moments in time that might not happen again, or would otherwise be lost forever and remain undocumented. I want as many things and as many people as possible to be remembered. That’s what I strive to do in my work and what I want to do as a photographer in general.

What was the first time you realised that was what you wanted to do?

I think I enjoyed my very first photography job in September (I was employed by a local band to take photos of them at a gig), but I started thinking I really wanted to do this when I asked friends to be my models and sequentially got a taste of portrait photography. I absolutely loved taking photos of my friends, sometimes gently directing them on what to do, where to look and what pose to strike — and of course, I love their reaction when they see the photos and end up loving them. I love making people happy through my photography. I think that was when I actually realised this is a job I really enjoy and want to do, even part-time.

What is your proudest moment?

My proudest moment was really winning against my anxiety whenever I have a photography job. I always get anxious whenever I have jobs, but I manage to combat and control it, and then, once I’m actually taking photos, it disappears completely. I’m proud that I don’t let my anxiety interfere with my photography, both in terms of work and love for it.

What was the first product you ever sold?

I haven’t actually sold any prints yet! But I am setting up my Redbubble shop so that people can get all kinds of merchandise with my photos on it — prints, mugs, phone/tablet covers, bags… So definitely keep an eye out!

What are your goals for the future? What do you hope to achieve?

My photography-related goals are to network more get myself known, so that hopefully (more) people come to me to get their photos! My other goals include getting my degree in Computing and at the end of it either get a web designer job or a full-time photographer job. One of the other things I really hope to achieve is to publish my own books. I have lots of ideas, and one children’s book written (just need it to be illustrated), so hopefully that dream also comes true!

What was the best advice you were ever given?

I’m going to have to post some quotes here, because these are honestly some of the best advice and most inspiring things I’ve ever read/been told:

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re probably right.” (Henry Ford) / “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” (Theodore Roosevelt) / “Whether a thought is spoken or not, it is a real thing and it has powers of reality.” (Frank Herbert)

The quotes above all have to do with confidence and believing in yourself. I have always had issues with my confidence and I saw that it was influencing my photography as well as other parts of my life. A person told me that confidence is about accomplishing things and recognising your accomplishments. It comes from within you and is gained by the things you do. Thinking positively is a good way to put you in a good place, believe you can achieve something and you’ll be “in the zone” — this is true for anything that you’re trying to do. And then you’ll gain a bit more confidence each time. It’s honestly the best advice I’ve ever been given.

Any advice for others wanting to get into photography?

This is a hard question… I think the advice I would give is to start learning, but without stressing yourself. Start small, with the basics, and gradually work your way to new and more difficult things. And do not compare your first photos to professionals who have been doing this for years. As Jon Acuff said, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” Trust me, you will improve. It just takes time, passion and constant learning.

Also, try to “make” a photo, rather than “take” a photo. The sooner you start to get into that frame of mind, the quicker you’ll improve! Photography is a competitive field, and sometimes there are some amateurs out there who just “take photos”, get paid and pretend they’re a professional — but don’t get discouraged! People can still recognise an amazing photo when they see one. Just concentrate on getting those and you’ll see that people will start noticing you.

 

Now for some random questions…

If you were the god/goddess of anything, what would it be?

This is going to sound ridiculous, but… I would totally be the goddess of cute animals! My temple would be full of bunnies, cats, dogs, pet rats… just lots of adorable animals!

What would your animal form be?

Definitely a bunny: small, easily startled, puffy (I’ve got really big cheeks…)… and hopefully adorable!

Do you have any fun quirks?

This is the hardest question for me here! I can’t think of any “quirks” I have… My friends describe me as geeky and zany, as I act quite silly sometimes… I can make some silly little noises without even realising it, I squeal whenever I see a cute animal and I actually yell, “Doggie!” whenever I see a dog in the street. I’ll have some better quirks next time, haha!

Do you collect anything?

I love collecting dice! I have a dice bag that I want to fill up with dice and I can’t help myself buying some new dice whenever I see a set with a colour/pattern I love… They do get used in a lot of tabletop RPGs though, so don’t worry, they’re not just sitting in my dice bag, haha!

And finally; time for a shameless plug:

If you want to check out my portfolio, you can find it at Wallflower.nu.

I also have a Facebook page for my photography, and an Instragram account (which was very recently made).

If you do decide to check out my work, thank you so much and I hope you enjoy it!

 

Interview with Voice Actor Haley

Interview

January’s Interview steps into the world of voice acting with the lovely Haley!

Each month I will be interviewing someone from the online world. They could be someone creative, quirky, geeky or a fellow spoonie. I’m really not picky; the whole point of this is to open up dialogue, share with the world and if you wish, bring awareness to your work or a cause. Interviews are open to anyone who wishes to take part so if you’re interested in volunteering please check out the Interview information page.

 

The Interview

Hi Haley please tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Haley and I’m a 20-something American expat livin’ the island life off the coast of Auckland, New Zealand. I work full-time in a really cool retail specialty foods store here on this little island I live on, but in my time away from retail I can usually be found behind a microphone recording lines as a professional voice over actor (VOA or VA).

 

How did you get into professional voice acting?
Voices and performing with them have always been my passion, but I only really officially started into it a few years ago when I first moved to New Zealand. I’d been living in Australia prior and had dabbled in screen acting for television/commercial in Melbourne, so those experiences kind of sparked further motivation to pursue voice acting, as well. Once I moved to New Zealand, I bunkered down and produced my own demo reel to send out to casting directors/producers in the indie project community. Once I started to get roles, the rest was history!

 

How many years have you been doing it?

I’ve been practicing and perfecting voices my whole life, but my first role as a voice actor was back in the end of 2015, so about a year and a half now.

 

What does being a voice actor mean to you?

Being a voice actor means I get to express myself in some incredibly unique and challenging ways and I get to entertain people across the world, which is something I love doing. I love making people happy and laugh, so getting the ability to do that via a character in a game, cartoon, film, or something else is really ideal. My work also gives me a fantastic avenue to collaborate with other creative people to produce something awesome together. Whether I’m working with seasoned professionals and they are teaching me, or I’m helping novices by sharing my wisdom, collaborating in the creative community is one of the biggest reasons why I do this.

 

What was the first time you realised that was what you wanted to do?

I’ve wanted to be a voice actor from the time I saw the late great Robin Williams in “Mrs. Doubtfire” where his character – like Williams himself – plays a VOA. Admittedly, though, I didn’t really consider it a valid career goal for the majority of my life. After a lot of soul searching and self-esteem work, I got the confidence up to get an acting agent in Australia back in November 2014. After I did a few productions, I realized, “Hey, I could do voice acting too now…” and that kind of planted the seed for me!

 

What is your proudest moment?

Getting an IMDb.com listing as an actor via my work, hands down! It was always on my life “TO DO” list of [mostly] fantastical probably-not-gonna-happen achievements to have a listing on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com) via an acting project – like REAL actors do! In late 2016, that actually happened. It’s a pretty minimal page, but having it in the first place was a huge achievement and let me cross something off a childhood list I never really thought I would!

 

What was the first job you were paid for?
My very first paid gig as a voice actor was voicing Queen Elsa in a “FROZEN” cartoon parody created by a popular YouTube animation studio back in 2015. It was a pretty cute Christmas-themed cartoon and I got paid about $40 USD for a few lines, not to mention the video got multiple millions of hits on YouTube. Pretty decent in the realm of up-and-coming voice acting!

 

What are your goals for the future? What do you hope to achieve?

I’d love to expand my career in voice acting, but also screen acting again, as well. I’m currently working towards New Zealand residency so I’m restricted by my visa in a lot of things, but once my residency is set I’m anxious to get an agent again and put more time into performing overall. Getting to work for a studio on a long-term/big project is obviously a huge dream, but just expanding my career and working on additional awesome projects is always good!

 

What was the best advice you were ever given?

Be unapologetically yourself. Do not apologize to someone else for being who you are if they don’t like it and don’t you dare try to conform or change to make them happy! It rings true not just in acting, but in pretty much every field/situation possible, so I try to stick to it.

 

Any advice for others wanting to get into voice acting?
If it’s what you wanna do, don’t let anybody/anything get in the way of it! It doesn’t take much to get started into voice acting, so whether you’re a teenager, low on funds, anything…you can still get into it so give it a go. Just be brave and step a toe in the water – you won’t know how it’ll go until you try!

 

Now for some random questions…

 

If you were the goddess of anything, what would it be?

Laughter. I love making people laugh and I’m always laughing at something!

What would your animal form be?

A big fat calico kitty wif a huge white spot the shape of a heart on its tummy! 😀

 

Do you have any fun quirks?

…does performing a hundred different voices and accents in one day count? Haha!

 

Do you collect anything?

Tasty food items that I can devour later!

 

And finally; time for a shameless plug:

You can check out my official website at http://haleyjay.com, as well as my YouTube channel to see my videos and watch projects I’ve been a part of!