This brainchild of Aaron Draplin perfectly sums up the goal of design. Design solves problems. It fills a void that is a cause of pain for most people. For years I’ve wanted sketchbooks that fit comfortably in my pocket that were durable enough to withstand real life as I trotted along in my day-to-day. Leave it to a designer to solve that problem. No more frayed hardcover binding ripping apart at the spine. Hello paper and staples. (Oh, what genius!)
My 8 yr old son recently joined a youth basketball league. He and his teammates were asked to come up with a name for their squad and they chose the name “Bacon Army.” On a whim, I decided to create a logo for their team before the season starts. I will be rocking this design on the sideline with pride as I root on my son. Fun stuff. (It’s very fulfilling when your kids are your clients.)
So, it’s been months since I’ve posted anything new to this blog. I’ve had a steady stream of client-work so you can say that it’s been going pretty well. I’ve managed to make a steady profit and that is a beautiful thing.
However, if I’m to be brutally honest with myself, the ‘business’ part of it hasn’t really shaped into what I originally envisioned it to be. My dream of running a small agency hasn’t yet become my reality. Sure, there has been glimpses off that, where I’ve staffed my team with additional contractors to fill the needs of my clients, but it hasn’t been as constant as I would like it to be. Instead, I find myself doing 80-90% of hands-on design work. I’m spending too much time working ‘in’ my business and not ‘on’ my business.
I’ve got to find an off ramp soon and make this paradigm shift towards being more entrepreneur than employee. At this point I own my own job and not my own business. This is fine for the moment. Being self-employed is awesome. However, if I truly want to grow my ‘business,’ I’ve got to find a way to detach my income potential from my own available hours. I’ve got to transform myself from the technician to the entrepreneur. Time to re-read Michael Gerber’s ‘The E-Myth Revisited’ for some clarity and think up some possible ways if getting this done.
There is a long road ahead with lots of work involved.
Owner/Creative Direction Director
So it’s been a whole since my last post, but for the last month, I’ve been swamped with client work (which is awesome because that means business is good).
When I first decided not to take another job to make a run at this freelancer/independent agency dream of mine, I was terrified that I wouldn’t get enough work to fill the hours in the week. Now, I feel like I have to clone myself in order to get everything done. Aside from a unethical, scientific breakthrough however, that is still not a viable option. I have however decided to expand my capabilities by bringing on some other talented people that I trust in order to meet the growing demands. It’s just happening a little sooner than I expected. It’s a happy surprise to say the least.
In the span of two months, I’ve gone from being deathly afraid of putting myself and my family in the poorhouse, to working 15 hour days in order to meet deadlines and stay on schedule. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind.
The moral of the story: Everyone has fears and anxieties. Success only comes to those who can acknowledge them and push forward anyway.
Even with all the super-fancy computer equipment I have at my disposal, sometimes all I need is a pad of paper and a pencil. When I draw by hand, it feels right and natural and I remember why I fell in love with design in the first place.
I’m often asked by people why I chose design as my profession and I jokingly reply that I’m obsessed with perfecting the curves of the letter s. Though the answer is in jest, it couldn’t be more true. I love drawing near-perfect curves by hand. It gives me a sense of accomplishment that no bezier curve could ever duplicate. It was crafted (yes crafted) by me and not made by some mathematical computer equation.
Whenever I start to feel a bit of burn out, I turn the computer off and get back to basics.
Sally Hogshead said it best with Radical Truth 71 from her book Radical Careering. The antidote to fear is action.
When I’m actively pursuing my dreams, I’m fearless. It’s only when I’m not moving toward my goal that fear and doubt to seep into my subconscious.
When I’m not in motion, even the littlest tasks seem daunting and I tend to procrastinate to avoid dealing with the task. Often times however, when I finally do act, the thing that was once a monumental mountain to climb in my head turns out to be an easy walk in the park.
If you want to free yourself from fear and doubt, don’t ever stop working towards your dreams.
Don’t tell me what you plan to do, instead show me what you already did.
I have found that many people have lofty goals and big plans. Yet, hardly any of these people have the follow through to actually make their goals a reality. A million dollar idea is only a million dollar idea if you can prototype it, test it, and deliver a product to market. Otherwise, it’s just horse crap in your head.
Shut the heck up and do the work.
That’s the only way to make your dream a reality and until then just keep a low profile. Tell only the few people who must know. A little mystique goes a long way. Plus, no one likes a braggart that repeatedly talks a big game but hasn’t actually accomplished anything. Remember the old tale about the boy who cried wolf?
On the flip side, I believe that putting your thoughts out there makes sense. But instead of shouting to the heavens, how about you write down your vision and your plan. Keep it close to your heart and get after it.
I realize I’m writing this advice on a blog about my trials in trying to accomplish my own lofty goals and that I’m kind of being hypocritical. I get it. This advice is written for me as well. I also need to do less talking and more walking. Contrary to cliche, a success doesn’t build itself overnight.