I’m sharing a few tips and lessons that I’ve learned over the last few years of running my design studio. As a creative entrepreneur, I’m expected to be creative and strategic (each day). If I were not, there would be no way I would have a successful business.
I’ve always had different hobbies or explored various interests; some ventures more successful than others. Inspired by something I read or saw, I wanted to explore it more. As a child, I seemed to have something new each month, but as an adult, my hobbies are now fewer, but deeper and more targeted.
When I was preparing for my freelance career, I emailed and met with other designers to find out what advice they would give someone starting out in this field. One meeting left me with a lasting impression – I learned what not to do from this person.
During our meeting, she stated that she refused to learn about components of the business, due to lack of interest. At the time (and to this day), I find that fact astonishing; she clearly did not like what she did. I couldn’t imagine refusing to learn about how to become a better designer or developer, how to implement coding best practices, etc.
The designer’s work started to deteriorate – design flaws and buggy sites became more apparent. Eventually, she stopped. She refused to grow as the industry developed, and therefore, the industry past her up. In my meeting with her, I knew that if I ever had her mindset, I would be in trouble. Not
In my meeting with her, I knew that if I ever had her mindset, I would be in trouble. It’s a depressing mindset. You should do what you love and enjoy the learning process.
Tips for Finding Creative Inspiration Everyday
To be successful, you must be an expert. You must continue to learn and develop your skills in the field. It’s easier to say than do! Daily life can be overwhelming.
Dedicate Time for Reading, Research + Browsing: It’s important to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in the industry. This time is not considered part of my work day. I either dedicate 30-60 minutes in the morning or evening to read my favorite blogs or a related book, and I also browse Dribbble, Behance or Pinterest to see different design trends and inspiration.
Everything is Possible: With my custom projects, I’ve always kept my development skills open-ended. If a client wants a feature, I build it even if I have not built it before. If it exists, I can build it. Even if I’m not sure how I will develop it, I will find out how during the project.
Saying “No” to Projects that Don’t Fit: Even though my approach to development is open-ended, my approach to taking on clients is not. I realized the importance of working on projects that inspire and motivate me. If the project does not inspire me, I do not take it on. I’ll dread working on it, and it will impact my other projects. This approach is only for my completely custom work.
Eliminate Meaningless Choices: I’m a big fan of routines, schedules, and uniforms. Determine how I’ll do something once, so I can focus on the actual process of “doing it.” This philosophy allows me to concentrate more on creative work and less on managerial and administrative tasks!
Diversify My Day: Even though I have my routines, I do build in time for exploration and play. If I set aside 30 minutes for a mid-afternoon walk, I know I will be outside. I never schedule two builds or two installs in the same week. It’s too much of the same thing for me. I spread things out so that I’m working on different components of projects at various times.
Whenever I’m in a rut, I always go for a walk. Nothing inspires me like being outside. Even though I might be thinking about my current challenge, I enjoy the outdoors and seem always to find my solutions!
How do you find creative inspiration? I’d love to hear about them!
Want more Freelance essays? Check out these posts!
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