We had the good fortune of connecting with Jaclyn Havlak and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jaclyn, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
Learning to say NO. In my industry, experience is valued above most things. When I began, I took every single offer I received, and after many years I discovered that leaving myself available for the kind of opportunities I wanted was better than keeping myself BUSY all the time. Not that I wasn’t busy! I just stopped taking on the friendly ‘favors’ and other small gigs that only paid because they couldn’t get someone to do it for free. Learning to value my time and services and being more selective set me on a path of GOOD money and being appreciated for the time I gave.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think my website URL says a lot about me. Design with a MIND. I have always taken an analytical approach to being creative – it sounds counterintuitive – but it’s what makes me different as a designer. I love making things, but I like it to be precise and have a purpose. Graphic design is my form for visual COMMUNICATION, of messaging and showing, expression… just like artists, but I don’t get a lot of my feelings involved. Art can be very subjective, but I try to see things from all points of view and use that to create a more holistic answer. I don’t consider myself an “artist” – I’m a creative visual problem solver. Give me a problem and I’ll give you an unbelievable visual solution you might not have considered. I like weird and wonderful, and I love to approach things in strange and unusual ways.
For the past several years, I’ve focused on experiential and environmental design. Working with the BEST agency on the planet (lacymaxwell.com) to create authentic experiences that connect people and create positive change. I have never loved my work more than I have making events that are unforgettable.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in Austin because everything creative is here…and NATURE! There’s a park in the middle of the city – literal blocks from the best places to eat, drink and listen to amazing music. Everything from fashion shows to dj dancing and art parties… every day and night in Austin is about getting outside and connecting with people while making art in one form or another. That’s all that matters to me, so this is my city.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
One of my first jobs after college was working with a print broker, Pat Quinn and his company Innovative Print Management. It wasn’t only the work stuff I learned – he took the time to help me prioritize my career and money management. I was still waiting tables thinking, “cash is king!” but he encouraged me to take the leap and dedicate myself fully to my design business. I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough work, but as soon as I quit my server job I was overwhelmed with work.
Chad Wadsworth, Showfolk ATX