We haven’t heard from our old freelancin’ friend, Steve Gordon, in a while. So here’s an excerpt from his column at Rockport Publishing’s blog, RockPaperInk.
Creative professionals have a hand in the conception and production of any number of products—be them vital, or simply too much fun to ignore. We know packaging, color theory, marketing, identity and branding; or at least we are less than 6-degrees of separation away from someone who does. We like to think we’ve cornered the market on bolstering brands, visually swaying the thoughts and minds of the attentive masses (oh go on, admit it—we think we’re the bee’s knees at this stuff). Why not turn this formidable set of skills loose on ourselves? I’ve heard it said that if a designer is not making something for themselves, they are failing to do their job in the worst way.
I bring this up as a call-to-action in post-holiday lull that finds the momentum of the past year exhausted, and finds us searching for the next round of energy to get us back up and moving. That will happen, as it almost always does. But as everything and everyone re-aligns and gets their motivation, we have to realize that we are a very important cog in the machine, with a set of skills that would find us very capable of creating something of our own while in the space of waiting to create something for someone else.
Here are some simple starter tips you can do to make something—of yourself—this year:
Give yourself some credit: Give credence and credibility to the ideas that you have floating around. Too often we discount what we know or what we can accomplish because we are thinking in terms of doing it for ourselves. If we were cultivating ideas for a client, we’d know what to do. Why lose that confidence when thinking about our own self-propelled ideas?
Don’t take “sides”: Side projects get treated as such; unimportant bits that are easily pushed out of the way by seemingly more crucial things. Well, of course they’ll be deemed as unimportant if we actively treat them as such. If you are giving any effort or thought to an idea or project that you think has merit, then it is most certainly important.
Ah, yes… your name is on the list—Client #1: One way to give importance to your own ideas is to do something that we creatives are already familiar with; give yourself a “client” code or name, and give each viable idea a very real project number. The chance of following-thru gains a few percentage points if you can see yourself and your project on the list. That way you give visual—and mental—importance to what you want to work on. You also have to actively ditch yourself if you quit the project. There’s something disheartening about that and I doubt you do it as cavalierly as you would a “side” project.
And check out Steve’s book, 100 Habits of Successful Freelance Designers.