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Direction > Speed: distancing yourself from your project might be exactly what it needs.

6 minutes read

Hello my friends, this is my first "episode" of off-grid journal, a (probably very sporadic) series of more mundane and personal insights about scaling my design studio and traveling the world in the process.

These past months have been fun, wild and overall absolutely unpredictable. Much to write, I will try to keep these shorts (yeah right). To sum it up: I went off-grid for three months; I deleted social media and Whatsapp, and the hardest: I didn't work on my studio for these three months. This is the first time I've taken so long off since I started freelancing (21, I'm 27) and it has been one of the most productive and poignant moments for my freelancing career.

Wu-wei moment, "when nothing is done, nothing is left undone". This episode is about the importance of a perspective slap when it comes to growing your creative business.

New shapeshift downloading

Two weeks ago I was in Hanoi and reality kicked in. "Bitch you closed all your old client projects, you're not on IG or Pinterest (where people find me) and you need to open the studio at some point". Damn, what a wreck. I stayed up night after night polishing my onboarding decks, my media kit, updating my website, etc. It was all pointless; in the past three months my values and mission changed so deeply that I felt like Blank Page was not my project anymore.

Too many things have changed, but the biggest shift has been the realization that I will work only with clients that I share these life values with. I want to help aspiring freelancers find their own authentic voice and build their brand, vision to visual. More intriguing stories, more people that want to go off-grid and ditch the "perfect instagram feed". People that are real, connected to this three D world and interested in connecting further with it. I want to build brands that are very much alive.

I realized that if I want to get entirely different clients I need to entirely change the approach. New shapeshift downloading, please don't refresh this window.

As you might have guessed by my fairytale the biggest conclusion of spending time away from your project is allowing yourself to grow as an individual and coming back to it without a business plan, but an honest intention to align.

I left Hanoi and all my manic nights behind and came to this little Island in Thailand called Koh Tao. I found out that it's also called "death island" for all the travelers that have gone missing. I was wondering why everything was so cheap.

Despite the spooky legends I've been able to come back to center through being on my own again and re-creating a routine. As a nomad (and a human) nothing works better than building a routine to find clarity. Also some disheartening news pissed me off to the point that I joined a Muai Thai gym, and training is my antidote to stagnation. And like fucking magic, I woke up today knowing what I had to do.

All very cute, sandy, sweaty and salty but not going to lie going back to work has been spookier than the thought of my dead body floating in some deserted beach of Koh Tao. I've been bullshitting myself with the narrative of "I have no client work, I don't need to work on my studio, I will wait until a client comes to me". I laugh and laugh at my ways to avoid working on the back-end of my studio. From being fully booked three months in advance, to zero current clients and no "business plan". I'm still laughing.

I am re-purposing this space that I pretty much only use to re-purpose it every time I have a new idea. And I am re-purposing myself as a designer to serve as a resource to anyone that wants to fuck an office life right off. For anyone that wants to build a life where work IS play.

But more on that very soon, now the juicy shit.

☺︎ TLDR: Conclusions of distancing yourself from your creative projects

Fuck consistency, aim for honesty.

Originality and alignment are far more important than however long (or much$) you spent building your brand. Originality comes from self-connection, from having a real fucking talk with yourself – at the end it is nothing but an act of honesty, and you need honesty to grow as a freelancer. In the www world of 2022 every business is a copy of a copy of a copy. Be original, but in order to do so you need self-honesty. Ask yourself if your values have changed drastically, how can you do business as usual if you're not the same person?!?!

It's not a rebrand, it's life.

Forget about the concept of a "re-brand" and accept that we are eternally growing, shapeshifting and re-drawing ourselves. If you think of change as this "big moment" that you have to build anticipation to, it will be very overwhelming. If you're stuck on a "re-brand" for a "re-launch", you're like a restaurant that has a "grand opening" sign that no one goes to because the sign has been there for years.

If change is calling, embrace it

I see this all the time as a brand strategist; people are terrified of change. They're either too uncomfortable with pivoting their business or too confortable with a cookie-cutter formula that gets them the same results over and over. And this is fine if you're an established brand, but when you're a startup I promise you will want to change your concept over and over, and over. And you should. You don't want the same results when you're growing, you want to test all waters.

Don't build a brand, build relationships

Finding your place and people in the creative space will allow you to understand how you want to pivot. This is not "networking". Quite the opposite if anything, a period of ghost riding and not interacting on social media will make you question who you want to spend time with online and offline, and this will take your business into a more authentic, organic direction that aligns with you.

And that is a wrap! I will keep sending these updates every once in a while, and if you don't hear from me I'm either re-re-re pivoting my concept and having another manic insomnia saga, or I'm floating somewhere in the south China sea.

☺︎ Relevant Articles

Wu Wei: The concept of Non-Doing for productivity recovering addicts
Understanding wu-wei: a chinese philosophy to find flow, practices to ease into it, and science behind learning how to work with the energy of the moment.
My journey from burned out freelance designer to launching my own design studio.
On this post I’ll walk you through my journey as a full-time freelance designer, important lessons I gained on the way, and how my mindset shifted thanks to systems, self-reflection and mindful productivity.

⚄ Brain Candy

✄ Mixtape

This issue is powered by insomnia and this playlist that I made called :: uggggly cry :: for all the ugly criers out there.

"if outside validation is your only source of nourishment, you will be hungry for the rest of your life"

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