How I Made It: ‘I’ve married my passions for music and web design’

Ross Barber-Smith

(Photo: Ross Barber-Smith/

Welcome back to How I Manufactured It,’s weekly career journey sequence.

This week we’re wanting at net style with Ross Barber-Smith, a freelancer based mostly in Glasgow who now focuses entirely on making web sites for musicians.

A songs supporter himself, he wished to make a vocation in that sector but was not sure how to do it from ‘behind the scenes’ – ahead of realising he could use his application competencies to marry two passions with each other.

Aged 35 now, he began building web sites for enjoyable from 12, not recognizing he’d later make a residing out of that skill.

While, at the age of 16 he was informed by a trainer to ‘stop dreaming’ immediately after he admitted his ambition to be performing somewhere in songs.

‘It hit me really tough, as I was now a bit shy and not sure of how I was heading to make it transpire,’ he explain to

‘Initially, it did make me problem irrespective of whether the music industry was out of my get to – whether I would be very good sufficient, no matter whether I would have what it normally takes. 

‘However, I believe I did choose those comments as gasoline to attempt and establish that trainer (and other naysayers) mistaken.’

His job goes to display you can get the job done in a inventive field without the need of being centre phase.

Here’s how he did just that.

Hey Ross. What manufactured you want to get into world-wide-web structure?

I bought into world-wide-web design virtually by accident. A good friend of mine and I were being both equally really into a activity known as Petz back again in the late 90s, and there was a quite active community of supporter web-sites in that area.

My close friend had created a web page about that, and I required to see if I could do the very same.

It just about grew to become a bit of a helpful competition when it came to redesigning the website to see if we could out-design and style each and every other!

As I grew out of the Petz house, I decided to start off a personalized site (this was in advance of the days of Myspace or Fb) and was always redesigning the internet site, striving to find out new capabilities during the system.

Did you ever do official instruction?

I’m truly wholly self-taught.

When I was 12, I was reading as many articles and publications about HTML and CSS as I could, and instructing myself to use Photoshop through on-line guides.

When I made the decision this was what I needed to do as a profession, a ton experienced transformed, so I was studying extra up-to-date guides, took on an internship at a regional style and design company, begun accomplishing a bit of operate for no cost so I could find out how to work with consumers.

Ultimately I began a work at a electronic promoting company – this taught me a great deal about doing work to deadlines.

Ross Barber-Smith

Ross was explained to he’d wrestle to make it (Image: Ross Barber-Smith)

Tech work can be fairly beneficial, but you now concentration on new music, a usually considerably less profitable place – if say you’re operating with a scaled-down act, do you make fewer than your competitors?

It undoubtedly can have an affect on factors, especially if you’re operating with more recent independent artists who are in the very early stages of their career.

There’s a lot of funds in the music business, but it can at times truly feel out of get to.

But it is additional about placing the balance concerning being creatively glad and earning plenty of that you are cozy.

Some assignments present a lot more of a person than the other, but I have learned to be grateful for each and every possibility that comes alongside – and from time to time the scaled-down tasks can lead to much more substantial kinds, even if it’s months or decades in the earning.

Have you generally loved music? Why did you marry these two places jointly?

I fell in like with music at some point in the mid 90s, and just had a gut sensation that it was the field I required to operate in.

Although I think everybody expected me to function with computer systems, music was my authentic enjoy, so in all probability to everyone’s shock, I went on to research music performance at college.

Nevertheless, in my ultimate yr I experienced a bit of a self esteem crisis when it arrived to the functionality aspect of factors, and experienced to make your mind up how else I could be included in music in a more driving-the-scenes kind of part.

Given that I’d been undertaking world wide web style and design on and off considering that I was 12, it appeared like a logical determination to mix my like of music with all those techniques I’d been developing.

The to start with time I had a go at this, it all clicked into location: I could style and design websites for musicians, which would tick all of the boxes for me.

An normal working day in the performing lifetime of Ross Barber-Smith

10am: The day commences, as Ross will get started with his email messages.

11am: He’ll start out doing work on updates from customers or loading in material from energetic assignments.

Tricky at function (Image: Ross Barber-Smith)

1pm: He’ll have calls with new and existing shoppers about attainable tasks and this will go on for most of the day.

5pm: He prepares for the following working day so heaps of the admin is completed.

You’re dependent out in the vicinity of Glasgow, absent from the central new music hub. Do you locate this has impacted your growth at all?

There are definitely days and months in which I really feel like dwelling somewhere like London, New York, LA, or Nashville would be exceptionally helpful – but I think the planet is so substantially extra related now than we ever have been, so site most likely issues much less than it did five or 10 decades in the past.

The most important problem is in all probability finding in entrance of people (specially at larger sized labels or administration organizations), as they are inundated with emails on a each day basis, so obtaining their consideration is harder than it might be if you have been to satisfy them in person.

Many thanks to Twitter while, I basically have purchasers in the US.

I use social media a large amount to meet up with new clientele, but ultimately I believe the referrals and term of mouth is by considerably the most effective way of conference new shoppers.

What do you like most about your job?

I get to help artists represent themselves visually on line, and make web sites that glimpse as superior as they seem.

I also get the prospect to converse with and collaborate with artists on many levels, some I’m now a lover of, and other people I improve to turn out to be a enthusiast of as I get to know them far better.

What do you like the minimum?

I’d say this almost certainly goes for most freelancers and self employed individuals, but in some cases the admin aspect of things can be draining.

Chasing invoices and sending abide by up e-mails are not pleasurable.

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