Category Archives: Advice

Give Yourself Permission

Nubby Twiglet | Give Yourself Permission

Give yourself permission to explore personal interests. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes a week, you deserve the chance to discover something new.

What do you love to do outside of work?

What makes you really happy?

Go do that.

Wait. Let’s back up for a second — I know that’s easier said than done. Pinterest and Instagram are full of inspirational messages, encouraging you to do what you love and to love what you do. But, what if you really don’t have any extra time? What if your life is so full that adding one more thing “just for fun” will make you topple over?

If you’re feeling frustrated because the one thing that you really want to explore keeps getting pushed to the back burner, I understand because I was in the same spot. Sitting behind a computer all day, every day made me want a creative release and I naturally gravitated towards piecing together still lifes (also sometimes known as flat lays). I loved the art of organization and grouping items by theme and color. It was a fun little exercise but technically, not part of my job.

When you work for yourself or freelance on the side, it’s hard to shut off. There’s always another client project and another side-hustle. Doing things “just for fun” starts to feel like a luxury. Or at least, that was my mindset. I soon fell into the trap of “there’s no time so I just won’t do it.” We all know that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy because there’s never going to be time unless you give yourself permission to carve it out.

Nubby Twiglet | Give Yourself Permission

Late last year, I finally gave myself permission and started a new project called Still Life Friday. Every Friday, I’d take 15 minutes to come up with a new composition and Instagram it. The progress was slow but steady. I created still lifes in my office on Friday nights before the sun went down. On cafe tables in Portland. On apartment balconies in Rome. On brightly tiled tables in Marrakech. On the floor of my spare room at home. Not every photo was perfectly lit, not every one a masterpiece. But instead of giving into perfection, I just kept going.

Now, we are halfway through the year and I have no intention of giving up. When I write out my weekly calendar, I automatically add “Still Life Friday” to my list. No excuses.

Today, I hope you’re reminded that having that one little thing you want to explore is okay and it doesn’t have to take over your life. Fitting it into your schedule in bite-sized pieces not only makes it more manageable but also more likely that you will follow through.

Want to join in the fun with me? Hashtag your still life compositions with #stilllifefriday so I can check them out!

Your turn: What hobby do you want to make time to try before the end of the year?

Radical Self Love: An Interview About Entrepreneurship, Inspiration and Motivation with Gala Darling

Radical Self Love: An Interview About Entrepreneurship, Inspiration and Motivation with Gala Darling

One of the most fulfilling projects I’ve worked on over the last year was designing my friend Gala Darling’s first book, Radical Self Love. This is close to my heart because I met Gala online 13 years ago and even back then, she was fanatical about writing. Her dream was to become a published author but it took years of behind-the-scenes hard work to make it a reality.

A few years ago, I designed Gala’s first book proposal and when things didn’t work out, we were both crushed. But, she persevered and never lost sight of her goal. Now, it’s clear to see that everything worked out as it was meant to be — her book just debuted on Amazon’s Movers and Shakers list and the pre-sale alone has already sold hundreds of copies. Gala’s journey is a great reminder that overnight success is rare but if you stick with what you believe in, amazing things can (and will!) happen. We just sat down for an interview that I hope will help you stay motivated and focused on making your own dreams a reality. Enjoy!

Radical Self Love: An Interview About Entrepreneurship, Inspiration and Motivation with Gala Darling

A lot of us have big ideas for projects but as they wear on, staying motivated and on-task can be difficult. How were you able to remain focused on a project that was years in the making?

As a little girl, I’d sit at the kitchen table writing stories, then staple them together, draw a cover (barcode included) and imagine what it would like to be published. Authors were my heroes: I spent hours at the library with my father every Saturday, and I was constantly working through a huge stack of books. Writing a book has always been my big dream. 

This book evolved a lot. It started as a monthly serial — I’d send out the chapters as they were completed — and a couple of years after it was done, I realised I had a whole book sitting right there. I had a meeting with a big publishing company, but they didn’t really “get it”, and my agent told me it was a hard time to sell a self-help book. I was extremely disappointed, but I can see that it was all perfect. I’m so glad I didn’t publish the book in that incarnation or at that time!

Over the last couple of years, technology has changed so much, and has put the power to produce back into the hands of the creators. It’s incredible. There are no gatekeepers anymore. You don’t have to wait to be chosen: you can create your own Youtube show, publish your own book, record your own radio show. 

I was able to stay focussed on publishing my book because even though I experienced some crushing disappointment, I had a burning desire to get it done. Once I saw that a few women I knew had self-published (with great results), I was inspired to give it a try. I wrote the original manuscript for this book in 2009, so this is definitely not an “overnight success” story — it has taken six years to get to this point!

For me, it was essential to break the project down into stages. I did my edits, then hired an editor to go through it again. I researched book design, then hired you to make the book beautiful. I hired a photographer to shoot the cover, and so on and so on. This has been such a massive learning experience for me — I never knew how many small details would become so big and important! 

If you have a dream, I encourage you to pursue it with gusto! You only get one life: you should create and do EVERYTHING that you want to. And if your dream has lost its lustre? Go back to the drawing board. Spend some time alone, contemplating it. You may have outgrown your dream, or it may have evolved. Or maybe you just need some outside perspective. Ultimately, if you really want to make it happen, you will.

Radical Self Love: An Interview About Entrepreneurship, Inspiration and Motivation with Gala Darling

With some projects, not everyone is going to get what we’re doing — and that can be hard to deal with. What are your suggestions for dealing with negativity?

Exactly. In my situation, I was crushed when that meeting with a publisher was a bust! Honestly, I wish I could say I bounced back from that quickly, but I didn’t. It took me another two years to re-write my book proposal, and when I did, my agent told me it was too hard a sell. I was so frustrated, but then I looked around at the people who were self-publishing and decided to give it a shot. I’m so glad I did!

There are always going to be ups and downs with any creative project. Remember that people’s opinions only have as much weight as you give them. My agent told me she couldn’t sell my book… But when I pre-launched it on Amazon, it went to #1 on the Amazon Movers and Shakers charts. 

Know what you’re trying to achieve and why. When you know your “why”, it becomes so much easier. In my case, as much as writing this book is a dream come true for me, the thing that kept me going was knowing that this book would change women’s lives. I knew that if it got into the hands of a woman who really needed it, it could encourage her to get help with her eating disorder, it might inspire her to leave a bad relationship, it would remind her how beautiful she is and how much we need her! You have to have a deeper motive than just stroking your own ego… Tempting as that can be!

Radical Self Love: An Interview About Entrepreneurship, Inspiration and Motivation with Gala Darling

As an entrepreneur, why is loving yourself so important? If your confidence is wavering, what are some things you can do?

Ultimately, loving yourself ties into self-respect and how much you value yourself. If you don’t have a healthy sense of appreciation for who you are and the work you’re capable of, it’s all too common to get stuck. You might find yourself constantly going after the wrong kind of clients, refusing to hire an assistant even if you need one (and drowning in work that is not your zone of genius), not knowing how to pull your business out of a plateau, or undercharging for your work. All of those things lead to resentment and burn-out. The bottom line? Radical self love is good for your business!

If you ever doubt your inherent awesomeness, try writing a list of all the things you’ve achieved. It’s so easy to lose sight of the big picture and celebrate all those small triumphs along the way! Even having the courage to strike out on your own as an entrepreneur is so huge, and many of us downplay that (or forget that for most people, being self-employed is too terrifying to contemplate). I promise, once you get started writing down all the things you’ve achieved, you’ll be amazed… And it might even inspire you to increase your rates!


I hope this interview reminds you that no matter how big and scary your dreams may feel, they are possible. Interested in picking up a copy of Gala’s book? It’s on sale starting today and you can grab your copy here. —Shauna

Skip The Debt, Reap Immediate Rewards: Why I Chose Community College for My Design Education

Nubby Twiglet | Skip The Debt, Reap Immediate Rewards: Why I Chose Community College for My Design Education

Over the weekend, I joined my family at a gathering to celebrate our relative’s high school graduation. High school isn’t easy — and making it through deserves a party! As the party wound down, I asked her dad what the next step was. Did she want to go to college? He said yes and we moved onto chatting about how community college was the smart choice with the cost of school going up so rapidly.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you probably already know that I am a super fan of community college — so much so that I earned three separate degrees on my local campus. Why? It’s practical, affordable, fast-paced and the schedules are set up for the real world since most attendees are probably working or raising a family. It’s full of so many wins and provided the foundation for the career I have today.

Even though I swear by community college now, I’ll be honest — it wasn’t my first choice. Post-high school, the allure of big-name schools with beautifully designed welcome packets definitely swayed me. I looked at art schools in Portland and New York but every time, felt a lump in my throat when I saw the cost of tuition. Without a college fund, there was no way it was going to happen.

Realistically, I knew that community college was my only option at the time so I sucked it up and enrolled. Once I got there, I went from feeling uncool to savvy when I realized that many of my teachers also lectured at much bigger, prestigious schools. And, they had so many success stories of people they’d taught doing amazing things that it gave me confidence in my decision.

When I went back to school in 2006, it was only after I’d toured bigger schools once again, feeling out their graphic design programs. The cost still got to me — paying loans back into old age felt like a heavy weight I just couldn’t bear. I wanted to own a house, travel and have a savings account. A huge bill in my mailbox every month felt like a shackle on my future.

Instead, I enrolled in a limited entry program when I was 25 years old. The days were long but the classes were informative, the instruction top-notch and interestingly, after comparing notes, I later found out that many of our projects were exactly the same as the art schools and universities.

Within two semesters, the skills I’d learned helped me land my own clients and by the end of the first year, thanks to a connection from my teacher, I had an internship at a thriving design studio.

When I graduated, I had less than $10,000.00 worth of debt and made enough extra income from working full-time at a studio and freelancing on the side to pay off my loans in about 2 years.

Having a design degree from community college didn’t stop me from working with companies including Virgin Records, Forever 21, Nike or Adidas — education is important but so is hard work and forging your own path. A name on a diploma only means so much — it’s what you do with your skills that will take you the furthest.

In case you’re interested, this is the graphic design program I attended and I can’t recommend it highly enough. This post isn’t sponsored in any way — with graduation winding up and research for schools beginning, I want to remind you that there are other options for your education that aren’t publicized nearly enough.

Have questions about my program or community college in general? Let me know in the comments!


Photo: Bubblerock.

There Are No Shortcuts To Greatness

Nubby Twiglet | There Are No Shortcuts To Greatness

If you want to be great at your craft, you have to put in the time. It’s as simple as that.

There’s a constant churn of articles, books and courses promising shortcuts to greatness. It’s hard to not be drawn into them in hopes of picking up the latest tips and tricks. While it’s true that most will help you get closer to your goal in some small way, there’s no substitute for putting in the hard work.

In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell famously said said that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. After you’ve put in that amount of time, you’re considered an expert.

Dedicating yourself fully to your craft and putting in those so-called 10,000 hours builds not only your skills but also your confidence. These are two things that no amount of money or advice can buy.

If you’re a late bloomer and only now discovering what you want to do, don’t fret — it really is never too late. When I went back to school for design, I was one of the oldest students in my class at 25 years old. I didn’t graduate until I was 27 and as I sat in a studio surrounded by professional designers who were roughly the same age as me with years of experience already under their belt, it felt like a huge obstacle to get to their level.

The clock started ticking.

10,000 hours = 1,250 8 hour days which equals roughly 3.5 years with no days off.

Some of us may get there faster but honestly, it did take those 10,000 hours for me to grow into who I wanted to become and earn a decent living. It’s a long path and that’s why so many people get started and then give up.

The point is to push through and to keep going. Work through those roadblocks. As those hours speed by, as you start getting hired, as you start building repeat customers and as your peers start noticing your work, you’ll feel your confidence grow.

It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting on your path to greatness today. All that matters is that you’re committed to getting started.

Advice #58: 5 Tips To Jump-Start Your Design Career

Nubby Twiglet | Advice: 5 Tips To Jump-Start Your Design Career

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” —John Lennon

Your Question:

I qualified in design 13 years ago and had been a full time designer, but the market changed locally and I found freelance tricky to get paid. I’m currently working as the I.T. guy in a civil engineering firm, which I enjoy, although I miss the boom of satisfaction from working on a great design, and seeing it born into print or digital media.

I feel stuck in a rut. Many folks I know who were designers into our 30’s have drifted away from the industry, mainly for financial reasons but I don’t want to be one of them. The freelance angle is something I keep my hand in so I don’t lose my skills, but I’m unsure of what the break would entail, or how to start.


My Answer:

You loved design so much that you majored in it and carved out a career. But then, life threw you some curve balls. Clever and quick, you rebounded, finding steady employment in another field. It’s comfortable and it pays — on paper, shouldn’t that be enough?

Nope.

Why?

If you’re not creatively fulfilled, that void will gnaw away at you every single day. How do I know? Because I’ve been there…and the only solution was to get back in the game.

When the economy crashed in 2009, design and advertising were hit especially hard. Budgets were slashed and work became much less steady. To make ends meet until the industry picked back up, I took on extra hours at my previous shoe store job. I’d never closed that door completely and it’s a great lesson to never burn your bridges! To keep my skills sharp, I picked up as much freelance as possible (no job was too small) and reminded myself that the position I was in would soon pass. And, it did. Within a year, the industry began to rebound and I landed a placement at a local design studio that soon stretched onto a year and a half of steady employment.

If you’re feeling stuck in your current position and want to get back in the design field, here are 5 tips I’ve personally used to build my career:

1. Befriend your design peers.

Sounds simple enough, right? Never underestimate how far being a nice person who is genuinely interested in others will take you!

Branch gets dozens of new client inquiries a week and for the ones we can’t take on, I immediately pass on a list of design referrals for other freelancers and studios. This list is made up of people I’ve met in person or people I’ve known online for years. Having that personal connection makes me trust the people I’m recommending that much more. I met half of the people on that list at Designer VACA.

Even if you aren’t able to hit up every event and convention, make a list of 10 people you admire today and reach out with a simple introduction. Once your relationship has solidified, let the designer know that if they have any work overflow, you’re available.

2. Create self-initiated projects.

One of the biggest complaints I hear from designers who’ve taken a break is that they’re not sure how to land the types of clients they want because they don’t have any of that genre of work to share in order to get hired. It’s a loop that can seem endless but there is a fix.

What’s your dream brand to work with? Whether it’s Anthropologie or Apple, you can create a fictional project to showcase your design chops as long as you clearly call it out as such. Even better, dream up a business of your own and then design it into reality!

Self-initiated projects do hold weight. When my brother was trying to get into Nike, he created his very own shoe design and ended his portfolio with that piece. It showed that he was serious about working there and took the initiative. He got the job.

Need more insight on self-initiated projects? Check out this post.

3. Brush up on new skills.

If you’re feeling stuck and uninspired, the easiest way to remedy that is to sign up for some new courses. My top picks are on Skillshare because some of the most talented designers in the world are teaching you their tricks of the trade for a reasonable price. Learn from the best and then show off those skills in some self-initiated projects!

4. Put up an online portfolio.

The easiest way to get more work is to share the work you currently have. The golden rule with sharing your work is that you only want to showcase what you’re willing to do more of. I have piles of work that I did for sports brands and the NBA and NFL but you’ll never see it in my portfolio. Instead, you’ll find work from creative, innovative small businesses because that’s what I’m most passionate about.

Allergic to code? No problem. Sign up for Cargo Collective, Squarespace or Behance and give yourself a deadline of a week to get your work together. No more excuses!

5. Share, share, share.

Wrangle an invite to Dribbble and also pin projects from your design portfolio to Pinterest. As a side note, I just had a project that got repinned 50 times from my Pinterest board — think about how many times it then got pinned from those 50 boards and it’s digital marketing gold. Finally, don’t be afraid to share those behind-the-scenes shots on Instagram — often, they’ll get more engagement than a finished project because people love to feel like they’re part of the creative process. Stay consistent, be relentless.

Remember, the right clients are out there, they just have to know how to find you. Give them the “in” that they need — and if you do a great job, they’ll refer you to everyone else they know! To this day, I can draw out a spider diagram from five core clients and everyone else I’ve worked with since literally connects off them. Even with the internet at their fingertips, people still value personal recommendations the most.

I hope these five tips help you jump-start your design career once again. It’s never too late to pick back up where you left off.


Your turn: Do you have any tips to add to the mix? Have you been in this situation and what were your solutions to remedy it?

Little Lessons #11: Live The Impossible

Nubby Twiglet | Live The Impossible

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” —Audrey Hepburn

Last week, I flew into Vegas and hopped on over to Makeup Forever alongside Kat and Gala for a hefty dusting of glitter and some serious false eyelashes. We’d talked about seeing David Copperfield’s show for years and it was finally happening.

We arrived at the MGM Grand where Copperfield has his own theatre and took our seats in the front row. I’d seen many of his TV specials throughout the 90s and was expecting a handful of mind-blowing magic tricks but what I ended up with was something I didn’t expect at all: inspiration to keep following my dreams.

David’s show wasn’t just a traditional magic show. While it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, I appreciated the walk down memory lane, starting with a photo flashed up of him as a child, clutching a dinosaur skeleton, Frank. Copperfield was a lonely outcast as a child and Frank was his best friend. During the show, Copperfield told the audience to “Live the impossible” and by the end, Frank reappeared as a massive mechanical skeleton that took up most of the stage.

In real life, Copperfield managed to live out a seemingly impossible dream, going from the awkward kid who called a dinosaur skeleton his best friend to being the most successful solo entertainer in history with over 40 million tickets sold. Oh, and he owns a string of islands in The Bahamas. Not bad at all.

What does all of this have to do with you?

When you have big dreams and are trying to live the impossible, you’ll get shot down time and again by people who don’t get it. I want to remind you that just because someone else doesn’t think your dream is possible, you’ve got to keep believing. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.


If life has thrown a major curveball at your dreams, here are three quick and easy suggestions to get back on track:

1. Write down an affirmation.

Words have power and an affirmation can be repeated when you’re feeling down as a way to cut through the negativity in an instant. Affirmations are simple reminders of how you want to live your life and the more often you repeat them, the more realistic they become. For instance, “Live the impossible” is a great reminder to follow your dreams, no matter how far-fetched and scary they may seem. I’ll sometimes write an affirmation on a sticky note and place it next to my computer.

If you want more information on creating great affirmations, you can read up here.

2. Make a vision board.

A vision board is a visual representation of your goals. This is your chance to go big and own your future. The formatting of vision boards can be open-ended so feel free to piece together your images in Photoshop and set the composition as your desktop wallpaper or buy a huge piece of tagboard, grab some scissors and glue and get to work!

I’ve recently read a few different accounts of how making vision boards produced fantastic results and there were too many particularities in each to simply be a coincidence. To get the most out of your vision board, you need to be very specific. For instance, if I wanted to live in Palm Springs, I’d place an image of the midcentury modern house of my dreams and the words “Palm Springs” on my board instead of just a gaggle of palm trees.

Once your board is finished, it’s important to set aside a few minutes to focus on it every single day. The goal is to firmly implant your ideal existence so deeply in your mind that you begin to believe there’s no other option than to make it a reality.

If you want more information on vision boards, click here.

3. Keep a gratitude journal.

We all have those days where it feels like we’re moving backwards. But if you focus in closely enough, you can find things to be grateful for. Maybe the bus driver waited an extra 5 seconds so you could hop on. Maybe the grocery store clerk scanned an extra coupon that saved you a few dollars. Maybe the Starbucks barista remade your drink free of charge when you accidentally dropped it while getting into your car. Gratitude doesn’t have to focus on massive, life altering events. It doesn’t have to feel like fireworks going off ever time your pen hits the paper. Gratitude can be simple — it’s lurking in everyday occurrences.

I’m new to the world of gratitude journals but my entry was unexpected — my studio, Branch designed one for the Olivine Happily Ever After course where writing in one is required for 28 days. I participated and it definitely shifted my perspective.

If you’re looking for more information about gratitude journals, click here.

I hope these tips help you move forward with living the impossible and remind you that no dream is too big if you truly believe in it.


For even more Little Lessons posts, click here.

Ask Me Anything Q&A: Part 2

Nubby Twiglet | Ask Me Anything Q&A: Part 2

Last week, I answered the first 10 of your life and business questions and now I’m back for the second installment. Enjoy!

1. If you want a life in the arts, what do you need to do and what kind of commitments should you be ready to make? —Asuka

If you’re not independently wealthy or keeping your creative outlet as a side project and want this to be your full-time gig, expect to work very, very hard. Competition is stiff but if you if you’re kind to people, dedicated to your craft and stay focused, you’ll find a way to make it happen. I’ve always felt that anything is possible and that mindset has been key to pulling me through slumps. If you’re serious about giving this path your all, expect to give up plenty of nights out with friends as well as weekends in the beginning. Don’t let bright and shiny Instagram accounts convince you that a life in the arts is effortless and overflowing with beautiful inspiration — these moments do exist but the daily grind is pretty unglamorous.

2. Do you feel bad when you are not able to get to every question, tweet, or request? —Rayna

There’s probably a balancing act going on for most of us. I always try to get to my paying clients first (because without them, I can’t eat or pay my mortgage) but once they’re taken care of, I think it’s important to take the time to interact with my audience as much as I can. Some days, I’ll have time to answer blog comments, tweets and so on…and other days, I just don’t. I do think it’s important to let your audience know you care, do your best and try to answer questions as often as possible (like now!)

3. Up until recently, my art has been a side project — it paid for itself. Now, it’s doing well and it may be able to pay for me, too. How does one set aside their own pay? How do you know whether profit should go to you or to creating more? —Gabriela

Great question! When I launched Branch, I quit all outside work cold turkey. There was no backup plan. Because of this, I lived off my personal savings for six months while I built my business accounts to a comfortable level and worked out of my house for the first year to save money.

My suggestion would be to go to your local bank and set up a set of business accounts separate from your personal ones. Get a debit card and checkbook for these accounts. Next, if you’re your only employee, set up a pay schedule that’s consistent. If you plan on buying property in the next few years, I’d recommend taking this a step further and paying your accountant to run payroll for you and cut you an actual check — this demonstrates that you’re stable and it will be much easier to get a loan.

My general rule when it comes to business and investing in your work is to never fork over more than you’re comfortable with. There’s nothing more stressful than getting yourself in a bind — it kills the creative flow instantly!

4. I’m graduating in June, and I don’t know if I should focus just on web design/development, or take some time to explore graphic design as a whole first. —Carrie

In the beginning, I’d keep an open mind because it will allow you to have more opportunities. Even if you take a job at a firm advertised as one thing, your skills and drive could easily transform it into something else. Once you have some experience under your belt and have decided what you love (and what you hate!), then it’s time to specialize.

Nubby Twiglet | Ask Me Anything Q&A: Part 2

5. What do you think about mailing lists for blogs that don’t sell classes or products? Are they better than social media to engage your readers? —Emma

My take is that mailing lists need to serve some sort of purpose and not just rehash your blog content. Mailing lists are fantastic if they have a focus — for instance, we have one for Blogcademy that shares upcoming dates, product launches and discounts. A good rule of thumb is to set up a mailing list long before you even need to potentially use it — there’s no harm in collecting email addresses so when you’re eventually ready, you already have an established audience ready to go.

6. How many pairs of shoes do you own? —Steff

The short answer: too many.

The longer answer: enough to fill a dedicated shoe closet. I worked in shoe stores for five years while I was in college and that time gave me a whole new appreciation for unique, quality footwear. I view each pair as a wearable piece of art!

7. You have been blogging since before blogging was even well known. Did blogging or the content you wrote about ever interfere with jobs you held? Have you ever been in a position where you felt like you had to edit yourself because of employment? — Scarlett Ballantyne

Having a blog back in 2001 was a double-edged sword and I definitely felt like I was living a double life. I worked some really mainstream jobs where people definitely wouldn’t have understood my creative expression (if you can call it that!) and I never wanted my blogging to interfere with my professional life. Because of that, I kept it under wraps.

This worked for the first few years but then, people started discovering who I was. I had one particular interview in 2009 at an ad agency where they asked me point blank if blogging would interfere with my job. My response was quick: “I’ve been blogging since 2001 and I’ve never had a problem — I get up at 6 am, push my new post live and then come to work.” I didn’t get hired.

Three years later, I had an interview at the same exact place and the owner hired me on the spot, partially based on the work he’d seen on my blog. Times have definitely changed! These days, blogs are amazing calling cards and can open a lot of doors — if you’re open to being who you are and sharing I strongly believe the good far outweighs the bad.

8. What blogs do you follow? —Kristen Ellis Williams

I follow around 100 blogs in Feedly but the ones that immediately come to mind are Breanna Rose, Cocorrina, Sea Of Shoes, Gala Darling, Door Sixteen, And Kathleen, the greenroom section of Rock n Roll Bride (full of great business advice!) and Garance Doré.

Nubby Twiglet | Ask Me Anything Q&A: Part 2

9. As an owner of creative businesses, how much of the non-creative work (management, accounts, operations, client servicing, etc.) do you handle yourself and how much do you delegate to others? How do you manage your personal bandwidth so that you can maximize the time you have to do the creative bit? —Sankhalina Nath

In the beginning, as a small business owner, chances are that you have to do everything yourself. I’m now at the point where I’ve been handing off more and more tasks. In the past year, I’ve handed off bookkeeping, errand running and web development. I basically gave up everything I’m not great at to focus on what I still love the most: the creative exploration and design.

My advice would be to do everything yourself at least once so you truly understand how your business runs before asking someone else to do it — that way, you’ll be more compassionate when something goes wrong!

10. If you could jump back in time to when you were just starting out as a freelancer (but knowing what you know now), what would you do differently to get started and established? —Sarah

I’d make sure I had clear processes in place. In the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing and I wasn’t good about setting expectations. There’s nothing worse than over promising and under delivering! When I started Branch, the first thing I did was put together a media kit laying out our packages and processes. Thee next thing I did was design a series of informational sheets that explains each step of our process in great detail.

Think of your business from your client’s perspective — this is probably their first time working with a creative like you and you can’t expect them to know everything. Keeping them in the know will make your life a whole lot easier!

Thanks for your awesome questions! This has been a fun little experiment — let’s do it again soon!


Photos: Chellise Michael Photography.