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Words of wisdom for designers.

Welcome to the 200th episode of the Resourceful Designer podcast. In celebration of this milestone, I’m going to try something a bit different.

For this episode, I’m going to be succinct and to the point as I share 100 wise words with you, in the hopes that some of them will help you grow as a designer and help your business succeed.

Before I get to my 100 words of wisdom I want to take this opportunity to thank you for being a part of my journey in reaching episode 200. Maybe you’ve been with me from the start, or have gone back and listened to each and every episode I’ve put out. Perhaps you discovered this podcast somewhere over the past 4+ years, and picked up from there and keep listening. It could be that you’re a casual listener and only listen to certain episodes depending on the topic. Or, this might be your very first episode of Resourceful Designer.

Regardless of how much or how little you've listened, I just want you to know how much I appreciate you. YOU are the reason I keep doing this. I love helping designers like you. If just a small portion of the things I talk about on this podcast each week, helps you to become a better designer and a better business person. Then I’m a happy guy, I’ve accomplished what I set out to do when I published episode 1 of this podcast four and a half years ago.

And I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, as long as there are people like you who are willing to take the time to listen and to grow.

So once again, thank you for being part of my journey in reaching 200 episodes. And now, 100 Wise Words To Designers Everywhere.

100 Wise Words To Designers Everywhere.

100 Wise Words To Designers Everywhere.

1. Save your work, often
2. invest in a comfortable chair
3. learn how to give a good handshake
4. splurge when buying your computer. it will last you longer
5. raise your prices. you’re worth more than you think
6. look people in the eyes when talking to them
7. learn keyboard shortcuts
8. make the time to stretch
9. look at application preferences. You may find settings to turn on or off that will make your job easier
10. If you're not sure how to improve a design, try simplifying it by taking something away from it
11. Clean your keyboard
12. Get out of your comfort zone
13. Password protect your computer and other devices
14. Never show a client a design you're not proud of.
15. name your layers. you’ll be grateful whenever you revisit your file in the future.
16. create another user accounts on your computer. never let anyone use your own
17. don’t forget to take breaks
18. turn off distractions
19. avoid open drinks or messy food near your computer. it's called an accident for a good reason
20. smile. it releases endorphins, and that's a good thing. plus, people can hear it in your voice

21. charge for it. you do enough non-billable things. make sure you charge for everything you can
22. step back from your work. literally. stand back several steps. you may notice small details you might otherwise miss
23. eat well. a healthy body creates a healthy mind
24. creative blocks will happen. you will get over them
25. don't forget to drink. it’s harder to concentrate when you’re dehydrated
26. don’t rely on bevels or drop shadows, they rarely make a design better
27 know a good lawyer
28. hire a good accountant
29. find a dedicated place in your home to work
30. claim everything you’re allowed to on your taxes
31. be daring. trends are started because someone dared to try something no one had done before
32. understand the license for whatever you use. know what it allows you to do and what it doesn't
33. empty your trash
34. befriend other designers
35. trust your gut. it often knows better than you do
36. always use a contract. even for free work
37. buy lifetime deals. they're more expensive up front, but they'll save you money in the long run
38. proofread. don't rely solely on spell-check. this goes double for headlines, they’re were most errors are missed
39. make time for exercise
40. doodle whenever you can

41. always under-promise and over-deliver
42. network every chance you get
43. get to know your suppliers and contractors
44. meet clients face to face whenever possible
45. keep a list of people with unique skills you may someday have use of
46. don't fret about your business name. you can always rebrand yourself
47. study the designs of others. it's a great way to learn
48. don't steal. but feel free to borrow ideas
49. it's ok to ask for help
50. never stop learning
51. decide if you want to market yourself as I or We. And then own it
52. diversify. don’t stake your business on a couple of good clients
53. repurpose old ideas and unused designs
54. find a hobby that is not design related
55. get to know your clients
56. give criticism constructively
57. don’t neglect family and friends for the sake of the job
58. remember to thank your clients, suppliers, contractors
59. ask for criticism from your peers. it’s the best way to grow as a designer
60. time your work. you’ll be surprised just how off your guesses are

61. it’s ok to admit you don’t know something. just don’t let it stop you from finding out
62. use we when discussing a project. where we refers to both you and your client. they’re part of it after all
63. upgrade whenever you can
64. get enough sleep
65. have your eyes checked on a regular basis
66. consider everything a client tells you as confidential
67. you only get one chance to make a first impression. make it count
68. apologize beforehand whenever possible. it’s much easier than after the fact
69. hold yourself to your highest standards
70. never discuss a design project over text message
71. admit when you’re wrong
72. find a niche
73. don’t wear fragrances to client meetings. you want them to remember you, not how you smell
74. your biggest competition today is the future designer you will become. crush that competition
75. don’t answer emails after business hours
76. update your portfolio as often as you can
77. don't follow design trends. use them as inspiration to design something unique
78. rules are meant to be broken. know when to and when not to follow design rules
79. be wary of anything free
80. work with good lighting

81. once you’ve made your pitch, stop talking
82. silence your phone when meeting with clients
83. the client is always right, except when it comes to design. that’s why they hired you
84. If you don’t understand something the client is saying to you, ask before it’s too late
85. make both short and long-term goals for yourself
86. as a designer you can never have too many fonts
87. advertise while you’re busy so that you have less times that you’re not
88. when you find yourself in a creative slump walk away and refocus
89. buy insurance. it’s better to be safe than sorry
90. it’s ok to ask a client for their budget
91. identify yourself when answering your phone. even if you work alone
92. software is but a tool. it’s you, the designer that creates the magic
93. using stock imagery as part of your design is acceptable. using stock imagery as your design is not
94. it’s good practice to have someone else look at your work before showing it to your client
95. some clients will like your work, others won’t. that’s the nature of the design business
96. farm out mundane work and concentrate on the fun projects
97. it’s ok to show off the work you’re proud of
98. sometimes you have to let the client go
99. be a good listener
100. never stop creating

There you have it, 100 Wise Words To Designers Everywhere. I know this episode was very different, but I hope you enjoyed my departure from what I normally put out. Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Help nominate Resourceful Designer for the 2020 Podcast Awards.

Podcast Awards

If you enjoy the Resourceful Designer podcast, please help nominate it for a 2020 People's Choice Podcast Award. Once on the site click the line that reads "CLICK ME TO NOMINATE MY FAVORITE PODCASTS". Then select Resourceful Designer in both the Arts and the Education categories. Feel free to chose your favourite podcasts from the remaining categories.

If you're not sure who to select in the Sports category, Wayne Henderson, the voiceover guy you hear at the beginning of every Resourceful Designer episode, hosts the Packers Fan Podcast also on the nomination list.


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Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business, please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com