Are you a designer that’s trying to improve your overall level of productivity, skill and range of projects that you can work on?
Then you need to learn that habits of the most successful designers out there.
Learn by example, and you will have the toolset to tackle any job with a fast rate of progression.
With that thought in mind, here are ten different habits that are worth mimicking if you want to be successful designers.
1 — Great organisational skills
As a designer, you might be working as a freelancer across multiple projects at the same time.
As plans get put on hold, and new ones start you will need to keep track of everything systematically.
Otherwise, you will get overwhelmed and may end up forgetting that a particular project exists in the first place.
There are a variety of software options you can use to improve your organisational skills, but the majority of freelancer platform comes with those features already, such as Freelancer.com and Upwork.
Take advantage of those features to improve how well you keep track of your projects.
Keeping yourself organised not only improves functionality but makes the work itself more enjoyable.
It can be frustrating having to figure out where a particular file is, and what project it belongs to once you locate it.
As you become a more experienced designer the number of projects you have will grow and likewise your organisational techniques will need to improve.
2 — Self-discipline
As mentioned above you will probably be a freelance designer, and even if you are working for a well-established company, you may have the option to work remotely from home.
This means nobody is looking over your shoulder keeping an eye on your day to day progress.
You can be in bed until midday, and nobody will know.
This freedom while great can be highly distracting for the average freelancer.
Therefore, you will need to have the self-discipline to wake up every day and stick to a schedule that allows you to get the work done.
You have the freedom to work in the morning, late in the evening or even at night — whatever allows you to be the most productive.
The point is the work has to be done at the end of the month so that you can get paid and progress in your designer career.
3 — Constantly learn
The amount of skills and knowledge you have when it comes to being successful designers represent the range of tools you will have when working on a project.
It makes sense to expand that toolset so that you can improve the result of your plans.
Furthermore, if you can acquire new skills, then potential clients are more likely to hire you — hopefully for higher paying jobs.
As a passionate designer, you should be enthusiastic about learning new skills.
There are a variety of design skills you need to master, and there are many places where you can learn.
You can hire a veteran designer to coach you or check out a few videos on YouTube.
The internet is a big place so do your research to find the best place to learn.
4 — Prioritise
With many different tasks to do at the same time, you need to figure out what ones are more important, or more time-sensitive.
Some clients might require work to be submitted for a period of 24–48 hours; these are the people that should be given the immediate attention.
Other customers might allow for up to a week, or a few weeks before work must be handed in.
These tasks should be done last, but don’t forget them — stay organised.
To avoid creating a scenario where no matter how you prioritise you will not finish all the tasks by the deadline make sure your scheduling skills are excellent.
Also, don’t take on too much work at the same time.
Over time you will get a sense of how much work you can realistically do per day.
So once you have a particular volume of daily work do not look for further work as you will be late and run the risk of damaging your reputation.
5 — Goal setting
You must set yourself daily goals so that you have something to aim for rather than working randomly.
With goals, you will know how much you need to get done per day so that the project is handed in on time.
This avoids being late on a project, which can come with fines or have an unhappy client.
Goals can motivate you because you know how much work is left for that day before you can do something relaxing.
Without goals, you can feel overwhelmed and perhaps end up procrastinating, which means the working day will drag on for longer than it needs to.
6 — Don’t sacrifice on quality
You are as good as your last project regarding the quality you have produced.
Therefore, if you want a long and prosperous career as a successful designer, you will need to maintain good levels of quality.
Don’t sacrifice on quality by doing the work faster than it needs to be done.
If you are running out of time, it is better to let the client know that you are going to need extra time rather than rushing the work and handing something in that is sub-par.
When handing in a project, you will feel a lot better if you gave it your all and pushed the boundaries of your abilities rather than scraping by with the minimum amount of work possible.
7 — Follow up with the client
Once the work has been handed in, ensure that you follow up with the customer afterwards.
Not only to make sure that they send the payment, but if they are happy with the quality, and more importantly if they can continue the collaboration by providing more work.
However, if they have no further work available right now ask them to consider you for future projects.
If you found them via a freelancing platform, then ask for additional forms of communication such as e-mail or Skype.
This allows you to contact them in the future while searching for work if you are in a dry spell.
During a dry spell, you can get loads of work by getting in touch with all of the previous clients you have worked for, even ones that you have not contacted in a few years.
8 — Understand your value
You can damage yourself by working on projects that don’t pay the amount you are actually worth.
Especially on the freelancing platforms, there are companies and individuals that try to hire successful designers for very cheap.
Even if you have no work right now don’t work for cheap, instead set your minimum and stick to it.
Use the free time to do something productive like learn new skills or look for higher paying clients.
Andy Benger, A CEO of SuperiorPapers, shares his advice on the matter: “Working at low prices damages the marketplace and negatively impacts the amount of money that is earned in the future”.
9 — Take risks selectively
Want to impress a new client and get much work from them in the future?
Then you will need to take a few design risks in the hopes of impressing them.
You’ll need to differentiate yourself from the crowd by coming up with work that is highly creative, but that might not be suitable for all clients.
So you will need to give it a try.
It is a new client, so if you lose them, there is no big damage done to your everyday working life.
However, you have the potential to make a perfect first impression.
This is a particularly great strategy when you are trying to impress a client that is going to provide you with high paying work.
10 — Select projects you can be passionate about
There is a vast variety of projects that can be tackled as a designer, and you should not apply for them all.
Even if there is a project that pays a high rate you should skip it if it does not match your interest levels.
Selecting a project that is quite bland to you or boring will show up in the quality of the work.
It will be uninteresting to work in, and you might get a bad review due to doing work that isn’t that great.
So just skip all of the frustration by looking for the type of projects that appeal to you.
The internet is a big place, and there are plenty of sites to find work.
Just be patient, and you will end up with more beautiful projects that you can handle.
Incorporating as many of these habits into your daily working life will improve the success of your career in the long run.
Habits require consistent action to acquire, and it can be hard to develop new habits.
However, with so much on the line take the time to engage yourself with the tips above and you will be better off for it.
Author Bio: Brenda Savoie is a content marketer, private English tutor, and desperate dreamer. Writing her first romance novel. Seeking contentment through mindfulness. Check her last article “How to Survive Summer and Avoid Learning Loss” Find her on Twitter and Facebook.
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