The Early Hour mentor: Frankie Tortora, graphic designer and DIFTK founder

As the founder of Doing it for the Kids – a community for freelance parents – as well as a graphic designer and mother, Frankie Tortora knows a thing or two about the freelancing juggle. If you’d like Frankie to mentor you, read on…

The Early Hour six-month mentoring scheme offers freelance mums, or women who’ve set up a business after having children, support from someone who is further along; a working mum who has overcome the first hurdles and is now in a position to offer guidance. This article explains who Frankie Tortora is, what she does and the support she’d be able to offer a mentee. If you’d like to apply to have Frankie as your mentor, please read on for more information…

With a former life in arts administration and project management for BBC Learning and a BBC performing arts charity, Frankie Tortora retrained as a graphic designer in 2011 with the aim of getting paid to be creative, rather than working to facilitate other people’s creativity. She undertook a one-year intensive night course and paid for part of the fees through a crowdfunding campaign. She has now been freelancing as a designer for over six years – working with sole traders, small businesses and established brands across the arts, media and charitable sectors.

Rather than getting a design job in-house or in a studio, Frankie went freelance from the off; building up her business and client base entirely on her own. Initially she was a member of the Creative Space programme at IdeasTap where she was given access to a co-working space in return for graphics work in-kind, but since having her son in 2015 now works entirely from home. Her clients include BBC Performing Arts Fund, Imperial War Museums, Southwark Council, Virgin Startup and Breathe Arts Health Research.

Alongside her day job as a designer, Frankie is also founder of Doing It For The Kids – an online (and increasingly offline) community by and for self-employed parents. Through a collaborative blog, Instagram page, closed Facebook Group and face-to-face meet-ups, DIFTK is proving that all sorts of good stuff can occur when freelance parents are given the opportunity to connect. She has also setup a DIFTK Shop selling reward charts and achievement stickers for adults that she designs and sells herself.

Frankie is a big advocate of starting small, seeing where things take you and not being afraid to have lots of strings to your bow. So whether you’re a fellow creative looking to start freelancing after having kids, thinking about retraining/starting something new, or looking to set up a side project but don’t know how or what that might look like; Frankie could be a great fit for you…

If you’d like a mentor – and think Frankie could help you with your freelance work or small business – we’d love to hear from you. Please send an email to Annie: by 17 June 2018, with ‘Frankie Tortora – mentor’ in the subject line and the following details…

• Your name

• The age of your kids (if you’re pregnant, so right at the beginning of motherhood, that’s fine too)

• Your field of work

• Website and social links, if you have them

• What stage you’re at, as a freelance mum (in no more than 100 words)

• What you’d like help with – the biggest challenges/opportunities (in no more than 100 words)

• Why you’d benefit from having a mentor (in no more than 100 words)

Frankie will select one freelance mum to mentor until September.

Frankie’s graphic design work:
Doing it for the Kids:
Frankie’s LinkedIn: