This commissioned project was a collaboration with Ran Segall to develop 10 illustrations.
Ran came up with the title and caption for each illustration and I worked on the art direction, 3D modeling and rendering. One of the key points was to have the title of the illustration be incorporated in the illustration itself.
1. Take time to think
A lot of my failures could be avoided if I took more time to think. During most of my career, I was so busy executing and doing the work that I didn't take the time to stop and review and ask myself: Am I doing the right things? Am I seeing the results I want to see? What can go wrong with this approach? A key to getting better results at work and life is taking some time to reflect.Now it's part of my routine: I have set time every week / month / quarter / year, to think about how things are going and if something needs to change. I cannot recommend this enough.
If you need ideas of what to think about, read the book: "The Road Less Stupid" (Keith J. Cunningham)
2. Nobody wants a website
Here’s an uncomfortable truth for you… nobody wakes up in the morning and wants a website. Clients wake up wanting to get their problems solved. That means: 💰 They want to make more money 🗣 They want to make communication with their customers easier 📈 They want to scale their business ...Or some other big, higher level business goal. The better you are at speaking to those pain points and making recommendations for them, the more they’ll trust you -- and in turn, the more money you’ll earn. You want your clients to look at you as a business consultant, not just a web designer.
What do you think? Are you comfortable digging down into the root of your clients’ issues, or are you still just checking boxes to get things done?
3. Marketing is not evil
Think you're too cool to market yourself? Think again 👇
If you feel like it's "sleazy" to promote yourself, you're making a huge mistake.
Some "cool" designers love to hate on social media people who promote themselves, but who are you kidding?
If your clients don't know you exist can can you help them?
You're not doing anyone a favor by sitting quietly hoping for "word-of-mouth" miracles to happen.
Most designers would rather have the anxiety & fear of not paying rent next months vs promoting themselves and having people look down on them on social.
Come on. There are exactly 0 successful business who don't market and millions of broke cool creatives.
Choose your camp wisely.
4. It's okay to say no
Giving good service does NOT mean saying YES to everything your client asks you to do. Making lots of money does NOT mean saying YES to everyone who wants to work with you. Part of being a high-value professional means having your own standards & values: the things you know you need in order to do good work and be happy.
If those standards & values are not met - you should be saying NO.
5. Clients are hiring you
Most designers miss out on the fact that their biggest competitive advantage is: THEM.
Clients don't hire your portfolio (which is so easy to compare with 1,000 others), but they hire you as a person:
💬They hire how you communicate
🎩They hire how you behave
🧞♂️They hire your personality
🏃🏿♀️They hire how fast you deliver
Stop comparing yourself to others, focus on improving YOU.
6. Business is not a hobby
Are you focusing only on "doing what you love"?
Well, let me break it to you - winning a freelancer is not about "what you love" it's about doing what the business needs:
💁♂️it needs someone to service clients
💵it needs someone to negotiate prices
📢it needs someone to market to new customers
and while these might not be "what you love", they are required to succeed in freelance.
This is not to say that you shouldn't do what you love, please do! only that it's not enough, and you must MAKE TIME for the rest of the work as well.
Note: The title for the following render was not included in the 3D render as it was added later by Ran.
7. Start scrappy
I know you don't want to "humiliate" yourself in front of the whole internet until you feel "ready" and "good enough", well let me tell you something:
It's never going to happen.
I don't feel ready or good enough myself, especially after scrolling through Instagram or dribble.
However - you'll never improve or get ahead if you wait or hold yourself back until you are "ready".
Scroll down my feed to see how ugly my first posts were.
Watch my first YouTube vids from 5 years ago to see how bad I was in front of the camera.
Check out my first portfolio to see how bad I was as a designer.
But that doesn't matter - you start scrappy and as long as you work to improve, you will win in the long term.
8. Always get a down-payment
Here’s why this is key 👇
1️. You have cash to pay the bills while you work.
2️. it gets the client committed. They will be much more involved and want to make sure the project succeeds once they are already invested.
3️. It reduces dramatically the chances that you won’t get paid since they already paid half + you’re details are in the system already
4️. Gives you leverage when Negotiating - you might reduce the number from 50% to 40% or 30% as a concession to get something else you want (or give the client a feeling that “you’re going the extra mile for them”).
If they refuse to pay down-payment which is a standard business practice, this is a big red flag 🚩 watch out!!
9. Invest in yourself
As a freelancer, your biggest asset is YOU.👇
Imagine you owned a machine that produces cars.
Wouldn't you want the machine to go faster, never break, and produce the best cars?
Every investment in building a better you will pay huge dividends:
Invest in learning how to work faster.
Invest in new skills.
Invest in a healthy body & mind.
Invest in learning new mental models.
You'll be able to produce more value to your clients, resulting in better returns for you.
10. The riches are in the niches
Most freelancers think that by limiting whom they work with ("choosing a niche") they will earn LESS, but the reality is the opposite:
When you choose to specialize in helping one VERY specific type of clients, an amazing circle of growth begins:
🛠 You become familiar with their specific problems, and how to solve them
📢 You have an advantage when selling because you speak directly to them
💼 Your portfolio becomes very focuses, which makes it easier to sell
Steve Jobs said: "to be the best, you have to say NO to most things"
So choose whom you want to be the best for, and say NO to everything else.