If you are a freelancer just like I am, you’ve probably had or will have times when work is slow, extremely slow. You check your email 10 times a day even though your notifications are on.
Everything seemed to be going so well just one month ago, and now you’re stuck in front of your computer browsing what TV show you want to watch next.
Let me start by giving you a bit of context — 2018 has been a great year and it started the same, I remember receiving an email from one of my past clients exactly on January 1-st, followed by other interesting projects and lots of other business inquiries mostly from referrals, dribbble and behance.
It all went great till May, more precisely till the end of it, I had some minor tasks to do in June and that was it mostly, emails have stopped getting into my mailbox, no dribbble or behance messages, no nothing. I had only one inquiry from a client who was on a very limited budget, but with whom I established a very meaningful relationship.
Simple, you create your own work. Establish goals while thinking long term. I’ve learned that if you want to create value with your personal brand you have to learn to give and to share knowledge, this is not only a great way to increase your following but also good for your karma — give and you shall receive, right?
I had this idea of creating small speed up videos where I would show my process of how I create some of my logos using grids and Adobe Illustrator tools, and now that I had lots of free time, why not start?
When I initially posted my first 1 minute long video tutorial on Instagram I remember having 1405 followers, now let me be clear, I am not crazy about my numbers on social media but I do have to admit that when a potential client reaches out to you, in one way or another his decision maybe somehow influenced by your small or large following. This is of course if your works are great, if you’ve used some sort of tool to pump up those numbers and your work sucks, well, you might be in for some disappointments 🙂
Anyway, my first video on Insta got something close to 800 views in the first days, which I thought was “okay-ish”. Let’s see what the next video will bring, and it brought me somewhere around 1.5K views in the first days, I thought “Ok, but I can do better than that”, the next 5-6 videos got me somewhere 2-3k views for each until I posted another one that got 2k in 6 hours or so and now has 8.5K views. My most viewed video is this geometric Letter T with 11.5k views, it got reshared at least 8-9 times from which one of them was by @logoinspirations with a total of 64k views. Impressive right?
Now you may ask, besides growing my following and getting a lot of comments, reshares and DM’s on my Instagram page what else did you get from this? I got attention, and not just any attention but a message from a person I admire and look up to.
I’ve spent the last 2+ years watching and following an amazing channel on Youtube called @thefutur who basically changed my life and the whole way I think about the business of design. I’ve learned so much from them, that I honestly cannot describe into a 10 page essay the impact it had on my career. They gave me the confidence and power to raise my prices, respond to clients in a diplomatic and friendly manner when they ask for lower prices and mostly how to get people to find you and want to work with you and not the other way around. Watching their videos gave me power to get of those freelance websites, and start working on my personal brand, sharing my works constantly on social media platforms so people can see you and reach out to you.
I noticed that as I was sharing my videos on facebook they got liked each time by a lot of my friends, but one specific friend caught my attention. I thought: “Ok, this must be good, this means I am on the right track” and I was. September 12 2018 I got a message from Chris Do asking if I want to be on the new show The Futur is launching — Logo Therapy.
I was so excited that I misread the message — I thought he wants me to submit my logo so someone can critique it, when in fact it was the other way around, I was the one that was suppose to take a logo that one of The Futur fans would submit and describe the steps of how I’d improve it, while all this was being streamed live on Youtube. Quite scary for an introvert like me, who is terrified of public speaking and has never been on a live show while describing his process.
At first I thought about turning down the offer, because I honestly had no idea how I’d pull this of, but on a second thought I said to myself “You can continue being the designer you are now by sitting at your desk and posting logos and videos” or you can be the designer who gives back to the community and shares his knowledge, even if failure was an option for me.
And it was, I did not prepare well enough for the show, because I’d think I would improvise and it will all work out by itself, but it didn’t go really as planned. At some point I totally lost it and had no clue of what I was going to say next, and to make it worse I always looked down on the paper I have printed with the steps I’d follow (one of the dumbest ideas I ever had in my life).
After the stream was done, as I was heading home, I had a mix of feelings, part of me would be proud of this important step I took, and part of me was mad at myself for not preparing well and leaving things in the hands of the fate.
I promised myself that the next stream will be much better, and it was, I felt it when I was done that I did a better job. Verbally wise I was more confident because I’d rehearse the steps 6-7 or seven times and the improving part was also better in my opinion.
After the 1-st stream I received a lot of warm messages from Futur fans and I even landed one client who had seen me on the show,
I would like to close with this one piece of advice for you — don’t always chase money because it will enslave you, rather try to create value by sharing your knowledge. Try to be a person that helps others and on the long run it will all come back to you 10x,
If you have no incoming work, use this time wisely by posting your ideas online, creating self initiated projects, managing a blog or posting video tutorials in an area you are familiar with,
Do this and I am almost sure you will become a better version of yourself.