28 LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED AS A GRAPHIC DESIGNER

A few helpful tips on my 28th birthday.

At the time of writing this post, my 28th birthday is tomorrow. I thought it would be fun to share with you 28 things I have learned working in the graphic design field.
This is by no means listed by order of importance, but I do group the ones that are similar.

1. Everyone Has a Brand

Yes, everyone both professionally and personally. Your brand is how people remember and perceive you through your values, your actions, what you share, and the way you present yourself.

2. Show Up Every Damn Day

Every. Freakin’. Day. For you to get better at your passion and get noticed by the public, you have to show up and do the work every day.

3. Patience is Important to Success

Success is not something that comes overnight. Work hard toward your passion every day and understand your hard work will pay off in the future.

4. Wake Up Early

Get up before the sun rises. Know that while everyone else is asleep, you’re getting work done. Use the the time to write or work on your passion.

5. Write Every Day

Everything starts with writing, whether it’s a blog post, a podcast, or a project. Writing allows you to find clarity in those things that you are confused about. If you haven’t tried this yet, start writing just a couple hundred words when you get up in the morning. Write about what’s important to you and why. This will allow you to find your voice and what makes you unique.

6. Don’t compare yourself to others

We all have role models – they’re the people who inspire us to do what we love. But do not believe that you can achieve their success the same way. Their lives are completely different and are not exact blueprints for your own success.

7. Teach what you know

Through teaching, you establish yourself as a professional because you’re proving you know what you are doing. When a potential client comes a long and sees you’re teaching other people how to do your work, they will know they can trust you as a professional.

8. Share what you learn

You learn new things every day. Be sure to share those things especially if they pertain to your passion. By sharing, you enlighten your audience and you will remember what you learned better by reiterating.

9. Admit when you’re wrong

And I mean publicly. If you said something incorrect and people call you out on it – whether misunderstanding, or you need to clarify. Be louder than the people highlighting your mistake. Tell your audience, “I was wrong, here’s what I learned…”

10. Have long-term goals

What do you want to achieve in life? Do you want an exotic car? Do you want to have your own business? Remind yourself of these goals and work toward them every day.

11. Have short-term goals

The easiest way to achieve your long-term goals is by breaking it up into short-term goals. Create goals that you can achieve in a shorter amount of time that will help you make progress to your long term goals.

18. Have a Schedule

Create a roadmap for your improvement by scheduling out your goals. Break up your larger goals into smaller attainable ones you can complete in a matter of days. Cross out each day and take note of your achievements as you make progress in your passion.

13. Have an accountability partner

Find someone who is pursuing in his/her own passion and will push you toward yours. Meet with this person once a week so you can catch up on your progress and make sure you’re both on track to reaching your aspirations.

14. Find a Community

Just like having an accountability partner, one of the best things you can do to nurture your passion is to find a group of people who are working hard toward their similar passions and are interested in helping the people around them.

15. Treat Your Personal Projects Like You’re Working For a Client

If you find yourself procrastinating on your personal project whether it’s because you have other work to do or you forgot about it, schedule it out like you would a client project. Create a schedule, set a due date, and execute.

16. Aim for 90%

You need to realize how much time you spend to get from 90% to 100%. The amount of time you spend trying to perfect the curves and getting the right placement could have been spent getting another project from 0 – 90%.

17. You Need Your Own Platform

Your platform is a place where people can experience your brand in its purest form. You need a place you can call home where you can share your content and sell your products without outside distractions or relying on someone else’s platform.

18. Use Social Media to Grow Your Brand

Everyone is using social media and you need to be present on the platforms where your audience is. Share your content and interact with your audience to build a better relationship with them.

19. Curate What You Share

By filtering what you put out in the public, you get to define how your audience remembers you. Share only the content related to what you want to be known for.

20. You only get bad clients by allowing them to be your clients

You have obviously heard of the “Clients from Hell,” but the truth is they can only become a client by being allowed to hire you. Look for the red flags before taking on a project.

21. Have a questionnaire

This is the best way to avoid those bad clients. You need to have a filter to make sure you don’t end up taking on a client that would otherwise not be a good match for you. Have a questionnaire that will help you easily spot the red flags.

22. Say “no” to good things so you can say “yes” to great things

By saying “yes” you are saying “no” to something else. Start saying “no” to the unpromising, mediocre projects that you would take on to just to get paid so you can get the chance to work on better, more fulfilling projects in the near future.

23. Weed Out the Time Wasters

You need to find the areas in your life that are hindering you from making progress toward your goals. If it isn’t going to help you make progress, stop doing it.

24. Take Sabbaticals

To make sure you do not burn out on your passion, you need to take care of it. Spending every waking second working on your passion is great, but there will come a day when you get tired of it. Avoid that situation by scheduling regular time away from it to recharge and take care of those things you have said no to but need to get done.

25. Don’t go into debt

Debt is not a tool. It’s only a means for you to live a life you can’t afford. Live below your means, save up your money, invest your money, and build an infrastructure where you can buy the life you want in cash.

26. Work Out

Your physical health is just as important as your improvement in your passion. By being physically healthy, your brain can function better making you more efficient. Physical activity is also a great way to let your mind unwind and destress.

27. Podcasts are Awesome

There are a lot of podcasts out there and finding the good ones can take some time. Here are a few of my favorite (sorry for the seanwes bias):

  1. Behind the Brand
  2. seanwes Podcast
  3. Unemployable with Brian Clark
  4. Lambo Goal
  5. Hidden Brain

28. Make Your Family a Priority

This can be a boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, children etc. Your family is always there and cares for you. Make sure they know you appreciate and love them too.

Clearly, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but I would like to know what you think is important.
Let me know by sending me a message through my Contact Page.

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