Where Do I Start? Part 2

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In my previous post, I highlighted 7 tips to follow when starting out. I decided to break it into two because I hate long articles lol and there was more to share. Here goes the rest of the tips

Understand the design landscape.

It’s important to understand the country you live in and how the design industry works. There’s nothing wrong with watching ‘foreign’ tutorials. But not everything that works outside works here. Whatever you learn, try and translate it locally. Just because someone is charging $30k doesn’t mean you can charge same here. This way, you don’t place certain unrealistic expectations on yourself. Talk to other people in the design industry here so that you’re able to have a proper understanding of the scene.

Value your originality

As you grow as a designer, you develop a style. Most of your clients who will see your work and will reach out to you will do so because they have seen your style. Don’t compromise on it just because of certain client request. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn to get better and improve on your skill or take up new challenges. But it is important that you don’t settle for any project at all if it doesn’t align what you stand for. If you will take up projects like that, then you should probably make sure it does not appear in your portfolio.

Don’t lose sight of why you started

Why did you start this journey? It’s a very important question. Why are you doing what you’re doing now? At every point in your life as a designer, you need to keep going back to this question. It will keep you focused and keep you going when things get tough.

Learn to say No

One of the most difficult things to learn is when and how to say No. You don’t have to work on every project. Not everyone has to be your client. Not every project is portfolio worthy. Find a very nice way to say it but decline if you’re uncomfortable with a project. If it doesn’t bring out the best in you, say No.

Understand the Business

Once you start this journey, whether as a freelancer or on contract, it’s important to learn the fundamentals of basic accounting, contracts, negotiation and basic customer relationship skills and processes. These are the signs of a true professional. You can’t grow as a designer without fully understanding the business of design.

Explore

I believe that it is totally okay for every creative to have an exploratory stage especially if you’re unsure of what area to specialize in. Your exploratory stage helps you try and fail. It helps you know your strengths and weaknesses and where to channel your energy. It even teaches you where you can make the most money. Enjoy that process till you get to the point where you know who you are.

Share

I have always said that the more I share, the more I know. Why? because I have to keep learning to be able to share. Share your work and share your knowledge with others. In the process, you’ll learn new things from other people because you have opened up to them.

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