2015 has long gone, and here’s into 2016! Hooray! I’ll admit, I was actually relieved to see the back of 2015 when we shouted ‘Happy New Year!’ to our friends that night. It was a blur of a year for me, being my most emotionally unstable year due to personal issues. Plus it was my busiest year for work, even though I may not feel like I have much to show for it! I took on new retainer clients and did less individual client work, but I actually enjoyed it all! It’s was a big year of learning and growing, and I’ve love to share some things I’ve learnt, maybe at the end of 2016 I’ll have some more things to share.
Try Something New.
I’d taken on some new projects this year that I never thought I’d take on. Before, I would’ve seen the project being too far out of my scope of abilities. I would’ve rather sent it onto someone else who could’ve done the project, saving me some stress and time. But, instead, I took them on, and they actually turned out great. Pushing myself wasn’t a bad thing, so now I have new things to add to my little box of tricks, and I have happy clients.
It’s ok to say no.
This year I was lucky enough to get two new full-time retainer design clients, so a lot of my design time went to their projects. While other branding and website projects were knocking at my door, and I so badly wanted to take them on, I realised my time was limited. If I try take on a project where I physically don’t have the time, I’ll just end up making a mess of the project, and letting the client down. Saying no meant I had fewer large projects, but I had fewer disappointed clients, and projects I was proud that I’d completed. I also followed my gut when I received an enquiry from a client and felt that it wasn’t going to be a good match between client and designer. I’m a firm believer in things happening for a reason, that things are meant to be together. There were some briefs I received that gave me this uncomfortable feeling in my gut that couldn’t be ignored. So I turned them away. Just because I’m a designer doesn’t mean I’m the one for you. I realised it’s part of my job to realise that not every job is meant for me, so I refer them to other designers who I think will be a better fit. And it’s ok!
Don’t try please everyone.
I had a number of ‘pro-bono’ jobs I did for family and friends because, well, I just couldn’t say no to their puppy-eyed pleas. But it took just one experience that gave me a great wakeup call, and I realised those jobs aren’t such a great idea. I had someone ask me to do a ‘quick logo design’ over a weekend. I’d had things planned for that weekend, and I cancelled pretty much everything for the weekend. I stayed up late to work on it, only to find the worst lack of communication ever, and they went with a logo that has been “slapped together in 10 minutes”. Not only had I missed out on a great weekend, but now I looked like an incompetent designer. I quickly realised it was a bad idea to try please someone who needed something urgently because I thought I was helping them. Instead, I got burned. I learnt that it doesn’t matter who is asking the favour. Just don’t say yes to jobs to please someone.
With all of that said, I’ve also grown a lot in my design skills, and I’ve got a little more in my pocket for the next year of design! I can only put it down to my clients who’ve stuck with me and trusted me with their design work! I can’t begin to thank everyone for their patience, trust and enthusiasm with each project! Here’s to more exciting things coming in 2016!