The month of September is a pretty exciting one for Studio Alexia — because it’s the month I started my design journey! September 2022 marks my first trip around the sun as a freelance brand and web designer — which means Studio Alexia is one year old! *cue confetti*
I’m a pretty sentimental gal, so of course as I’m celebrating the birthday of the studio, I can’t help but feel nostalgic for the Alexia that started this whole journey one year ago. I was just a girl with a pretty little dream, and I made it happen. But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows (although, it really has been the sweetest year of my life). That dream, though it was worth fighting for in the end, took a lot of convincing and encouraging to actually get the party started.
Maybe you’re like the Alexia of September 2021, and you have that exciting glow in your heart that’s telling you to take the leap and become a designer. Maybe it’s what you’ve always wanted to do, but you don’t feel creative enough, or good enough, or ready enough. Here’s the thing though: you’ll never feel ready enough. That’s why I want to share my number one piece of advice with any aspiring designer reading this — so you can finally get to building the life you’re dreaming of.
Before I share my top tip, there are two things you need to know about me.
The first one, we’ve already touched on: in September 2021, I launched my own brand design studio and I now work as a freelance brand and web designer, doing the very thing I’ve always dreamt of doing (you can read more about Studio Alexia’s origin story in this Journal post).
The second thing you need to know about me is that I am not at all a risk-taker or a jump-in-headfirst kind of gal. I’m overly cautious, I underestimate myself, and I don’t make bold moves because I’m afraid it might not work out. I could find about a hundred reasons not to do something if you gave me enough time alone with my thoughts.
And that’s fair, right? There are a lot of valid reasons to feel doubtful or anxious to do something big. It’s always scary to forge your own path. But at the same time, you know it’ll feel so good when you’re on the other side, looking back at how you got to the place you were dreaming of being a year ago.
I know how it feels to have really big, exciting, butterflies-in-your-stomach dreams. I also know how it feels to second guess those dreams and doubt they’ll come to fruition. But if I had allowed the weight of those doubts to overpower my dreams, I wouldn’t be here with the alignment I now feel in my life with this job that is everything I’ve ever dreamt of.
So here it is — my tried-and-true tip for anyone wanting to follow their dreams and start their design business.
That’s it. Just jump into it and figure it out along the way. Don’t wait for the perfect moment, because it will never come if you sit around waiting for it. The more time you wait, the more excuses you’ll find for not doing the thing you’re dreaming of doing.
When it comes to creative work, there are a thousand scary reasons that we may not take the risk. I know it because I was there, too. But one of my mentors once encouraged me to just start posting on Instagram, even though I knew I wasn’t very talented yet (hello, imposter syndrome), and just see how I grow throughout the process.
So… I did! I started posting on Instagram to about 30 followers that were pretty much just my closest friends and family, and my design besties from Camp. I shared the only few designs I had that I was actually proud of, and then I posted the ones I wasn’t proud of, too — which some people actually didn’t hate, and I was shocked. I took part in design briefs to practice designing brands. I made friends by DMing other designers who are now the first people I go to when my clients are giving me a hard time or other designers are ripping off my work. I did what I thought was unthinkable, and I kept showing up.
And naturally, I’ve grown a ton since that first day. I’ve grown in social media followers, gotten a few booked-out months (which, when I started out, I never thought I’d get there), and created dozens of brands that I really love. But more importantly than the numbers — I’ve grown in confidence, skill, and mindset. I’ve learned a ton over the past year, and not every day has been pleasant. But every day has taught me something, and every day I keep coming back to this dream of a job. Because it’s worth it.
I’m sharing my story because I think it might be a lot like your story. Maybe you’re sitting there, telling yourself all the reasons that you’ll fail if you take the first step. I was there, too, and I had to force those thoughts out of my mind. Instead of thinking “what will go wrong when I take this risk,” ask yourself “what will I miss out on if I never get started?” See if that can put it into perspective and light that fire for you to jump headfirst into getting started.
Because you’ll learn so much more by just getting started than you ever would learn by waiting for the right moment. I know it can be scary to take the leap of faith, but you deserve the life you’re dreaming of.
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