What I wish I'd known in my 20's


I’m now meandering into my thirties, and along the way I’ve learnt some crucial journey changing nuggets of information. And so, if I had a time machine – I would tell my twenty-year-old designer self…

  • Have a plan.
    Fear of the unknown and not wanting to offend often left me just plodding along. When I went freelance I had to start being more proactive about my time, chasing work and choosing the right opportunities. What kind of designer did I want to be? What work did I want to do? As time went on, I made sure that my decisions were working me towards ‘my end goal’.
  • Go with the gut.
    From everyday design choices, to knowing which clients are good to work with – my gut often steers me in the right direction (not always, sometimes it is just the curry from the night before). I’d kick myself when a dodgy client didn’t pay, or I missed out on a freelance stint somewhere but my gut had been warning me from the off.
  • Focus on yourself/stop worrying about what people think*.
    To be fair it didn’t take me too long to figure this one out. I’m still a worrier but try to keep it at a level that makes me contentious rather than indecisive (this is not always achieved). It’s also worth realising that not every bit of information needs to be shared with your peers/competitors etc.
    *Except the client, who is obviously paying for you to care what they think.
  • Make time to do what you love.
    We all have those bring-home-the-bacon jobs, and sometimes we need those more than others. But even when you’re up to your eyeballs it’s important to make time for the little creative jobs that keep you sane. Yes they may be less money. Yes they may be more of a ballache to manage but they’re good for your portfolio and your sanity.
  • Realise your worth.
    When you enjoy what you do, it’s hard to put a price tag on it – but you’re undervaluing your skills if you don’t. Nothing is worse than doing crazy hours for a job that you’ve under-costed for.

And finally – that age old sum up point. Chill out. Things will work out. What’s meant to be will be.

Katie DonaldsonComment