My knowledge about how to be successful as a designer | by Jeffrey Lee | Sep, 2021

Jeffrey Lee

Disclaimer: The followings are what I have learnt from my personal experience. It doesn’t guarantee success, but it will help you become a better designer and closer to your goal.

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

The upper half of this blog post will be about the mindset that makes you successful as a designer

The lower half of this blog post will be about how to make more money as a designer

We all have different goals in our life. To achieve success, you must know what you want, because it will reflect what you do in the future.

For example, I am now 24. My short term goal would be to quit my full-time job, start my design agency and get my dream car — Mercedes Benz CLS within 7–10 years.

That’s my version of success at the moment

Now that you have set your goal, finding checkpoints are now easier as we’ve set the scope.

From 0–100%, it’s hard. From 0–10%, it’s challenging. From 0–1%, it requires some hard work. From 0–0.1%, it’s manageable. Breaks ng your goal into small milestones will help you get to your goal much easier and keeps you motivated.

For example, to achieve my goal, I have broken it into small steps.

I know I want to start my own design company and afford a Fancy Mercedes, but how? Here is my thought process (just an example):

  • If I want a Mercedes, I need a certain amount of money to buy it and to be able to cover all the expenses. Which means I need to start a company of my own to earn money for myself
  • To start a company, maybe I should start with what I am good at?
  • If I want to start a company, I must be an experienced, high pay designer/creative director (to earn the startup fund for me to quit the job and start my business)
  • If I want to be hired/promoted, I must have a superb portfolio to get the job

By reverse-engineering your goal, you will always know what to do so don’t worry.

Most people are stuck at this stage and might never be able to go across it.

A lot of designers are worried if they are capable of doing this, doing that. But what they didn’t know is the process of worrying has consumed their valuable time of creating. That’s when others get one step ahead.

What I always tell myself when I have doubt on myself is

Why worry about something you don’t even know?

My advice is to deal with Self Doubt. Just be Bold, work on every idea you can think of and make sure to share it on social media. You may hit a Jackpot one day, you never know, especially social media is so powerful these days.

Some of the designers I know don’t even realise how good they are until they start sharing their work online. Trust me, just try it and don’t keep your work under your bed.

Lack of motivation is also a common problem for designers. Often times they get frustrated by their work/family, relationship…. and don’t feel like wanna create anything. And often awhile later, when they see someone who is in their field who is successful, they will start regretting.

Remember, every time you get frustrated, just think of your goal. You wanted it right? So you must make a sacrifice to get what you want. That’s how the world works.

You want to buy something? You save money by not spending less money for a certain period of time.

You want to lose weight? You eat less and go to the gym

Everything has a cost, doing it or not is purely depends on how bad you want it. If you still feeling a lack of motivation when you think of your goal, you should probably rethink what your goal is, as it may be changed over time.

I believe most designers who are my age care about how to make more money. (I know you all got rent to pay and high living expenses and you have a lot of things you want to buy)

Here is my suggestion according to my experience:

  • Try to learn as much as you can from your job and those will help you find better jobs/clients in the future. Don’t use the mindset of “I am just working for someone”
  • Spend time to learn a new craft and refine your current skills during weekends will make you a more valuable designer
  • Take freelance work from friends/online platforms, not just money, you also gain experience by getting paid to design
  • Never underestimate your rate and work for free, your time is valuable, make sure you earn instead of giving away for free
  • A low budget client will end up making you earn less than a fast-food shop worker as there will be tons of revisions to be made
  • Just learn to say no and you’ll end up earning more
  • Whenever you get mad when you receive a revision from your client, you are charging too low
  • Try to create your product, it can be anything, a Photoshop template/UI assets/stock photos … and sell it online

And one last thing

Share your work on social media as you’ll get much more opportunities when you open your door to your world.

Thank you for reading my post and I hope this helps you all a better, more successful design, JUST DO IT!!!

If you like what you read, feel free to clap and share withyour friends. Any comment is more than welcome.

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