asking for trouble

Five Years!

five years

It’s five years since I handed in my notice for the freelance life! I feel really lucky that I get to make a living designing cute things, messing around with code and mostly getting up whenever I like.

The main thing I’ve learned in the last year is how to do less work. That might sound crazy but turning down unprofitable stuff, charging more for my time and outsourcing things that others can do more quickly or efficiently than I can has made a huge difference in my life. I now take time off every day to watch TV or read or work on something for myself, go for walks most days and don’t stress about every little thing. It gives me time to think about new projects and where I want to be going, and keeps things interesting. I really believe you can’t have a successful business if you do everything yourself, or are chained to your computer 18 hours a day.


When I was trying to figure out a savings plan for my next Japan trip, I made a pie chart of my income breakdown from the last tax year. I’m pretty pleased with it, as I’m not relying too much on any one part of my income. My aim is to increase that purple section since that’s money that comes in every month without me doing much work for it. It includes things like licensing payments from sites like DENY, Zazzle etc, advertising (from SCK) and affiliate/referral payments.

I don’t often share my freelance work here, but you can always check out Even then, there’s loads of things that I can’t share yet. I should have a few cool things to add soon. And if you need a hand with your blog, shop or graphics, do give me a shout.


Hello! I’m Marceline Smith, the designer and owner of Asking For Trouble. I create illustrated stationery, accessories and gifts using my cute characters inspired by Japanese kawaii. This is my business and personal blog where I write about my creative doings, inspirations, travels, Japan trips and daily life. Read more »

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All text, photos and illustrations are © Marceline Smith 2007-2024 unless credited otherwise. You may repost my images with full credit and link. However, do not reproduce full posts without my permission or use my images or writing for commercial purposes. Thank you!


All opinions are my own and I am not compensated or sponsored for writing about any products or services featured unless stated in the post. Links to shops and websites may be affiliate links – I receive a small commission from your orders at no cost to you, which helps me fund this site. I do not accept advertising.