Interview with Jason Soulton

Interview with Jason Soulton, Director of Jaysoul Designs - 3rd April 2003

How did you get your start?

I started my business while still at Swinbourne University where I was studying my Diploma of Multimedia.  I thought it would be a good idea to register a business as I was finding myself continuously being asked to design things for family and friends.  Another reason was the fact that no companies would give any of us Uni students the opportunity to gain some valued industry experience.  I was constantly hearing; “You sound great, but you need a minimum of 2 years experience”

Why did you choose multimedia and graphic art or did it choose you?

I was always very interested in designing, drawing, painting etc.  In 1997, I was actually the only student in my VCE Graphics class to do all of my assignments on a computer.  Back in those days we were never really taught how to design on a PC.

After that I always wanted to get into computer graphics.  Thus, my skills in multimedia and website design followed suite.

What do you like most about your chosen profession?

Being creative and showing people what I can do for them.  The biggest and best challenge is taking a project from nothing and making something out of it.  As I have done with  Not to mention the flexibility of working for myself.  Even though, it is difficult to build up a business.  Once you complete a good project for a good client, you know it’s all your own doing.

Greatest professional and personal achievements?

Definitely the Derryn Hinch website.  However, there have been several other jobs such as designing parts of the membership campaign for the Melbourne Football Club.

What are the main awards you have achieved?

I have won 8 “Golden Web Awards” for a number of website that I have designed in the past couple of years.  I’m hoping that there will be more to come in the future.

We know each other via the Derryn Hinch connection.  How did the Derryn Hinch website come about?

Well, it all began when listening to Derryn on his old station 3AK.  Derryn mentioned that he was having problems with his website at the time and that if anybody was interested in helping him out, they should e-mail him.  So I did. After viewing my online portfolio and enjoying the letter I wrote him, he chose me out of about 30-40 established web design companies.  Since then we have established a great relationship, and continue to work closely with each other.

Tell me about your ups and downs in the business?

There are many ups and downs in the business. It’s even more difficult when you own your own business.  The hardest thing is to build up a good reputation and portfolio.  It takes a lot of patience and hard work to convince people that you are the person for them.  As most of my work comes from referrals, it’s very satisfying knowing that I have built up my business from the early days of designing business cards for people to now designing websites and graphics for large companies.  We are growing every day.

What are the main changes in web design and graphic art you have noticed in the past 4 years you have been in business?

The industry is constantly changing. There are always new and different methods of designing, different programs etc.  However, the main change in the industry is that it has become so competitive.  There are even 16-17 year olds still at school, who are freelancing for next to nothing.

What style of code do you prefer to work with?

The most common form of coding I use are; html. JavaScript and PHP.

What have been the most time consuming jobs you have worked on?

Probably the most time consuming hobs I’ve worked was a shop front which was covered in top to bottom graphic images.  Most of them were 2 meters high and 2 meters wide.  Print jobs are usually the most time consuming as there are so many different variables you need to take into consideration.  Not to mention that if you make a mistake, it cannot be changed, therefore it will ultimately cost you a nice chunk of money.

What inspires you?

Being successful and building up my business into something special.

What is the main Jaysoul differentiator?  I think your customer service and follow-up is second to none, not to mention the exceptional quality shown in your work.

I think my customer service is probably the biggest difference.  I treat everybody as I have known them for years, and in many cases I become quite good friends with many of my clients.  I think the fact that I produce great quality work has a lot to do with it as well.

What do you do to relax?

I love watching and playing sport.  I am a sports fanatic.  You name it, I’ve played it.  I currently play soccer (goalkeeper) for a 2nd Division team in Melbourne.  I also enjoy going out and having a few quiet ones with my friends.

How has the internet helped you, and what have you done to adapt to the internet “space”?

The internet has been a great help to everything.  First of all, if it wasn’t for the internet I wouldn’t have designed or worked on over 40 websites.  Secondly, I wouldn’t be filling in these questions, as they were e-mailed through to me.

Over the course of your career, who has been the best to work with?

Derryn Hinch.  He is a fantastic guy.  He is so easy to get along with and work for.

Do you have any mentors?

My parents are probably my biggest mentors.  They have owned a number of very successful businesses in the last 20 years.  My dad has given me a lot of good advice on running my own business.

What is the best piece of advice you have been offered ?

My dad once said, “Don’t worry about what all the idiots around you do.  Concentrate on your work and business and you’ll be fine”

Anything else you would like to share with me or our audience?

I just hope that a young 23 year old like myself has provided you with an interesting insight into the graphic and multimedia industry.

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