5 Times I Picked Myself
Thanks to Seth Godin I picked myself (and I think he kinda likes my tartan pants and booties). I read his "Pick Yourself" manifesto back when I was beginning my new freelance business and I've been revisiting it now and then to get a little boost.
Here are 5 times I picked myself. I hope they will inspire you to pick yourself, too.
1. I Created a Beautiful Web Site (All By Myself)
I have owned margotaustin.ca for about 7 years now. Squarespace has been my hosting service of choice since the beginning. These guys are the tops in design, rates and in timely and very helpful tech support. Back in the day I experimented with a million templates, chose one, plugged in my info, uploaded some portfolio shots and added a blog section on the site. I did blog posts on and off, but confess I was a lazy blogger. I updated my portfolio occasionally, but over time the site design and function started to feel dated. When I relaunched myself as a freelancer in Dec. 2015, updating my site was job No. 1. My main portfolio site, margotaustin.ca is still with Squarespace. I used the Ishimoto template because I like the opening slideshow and the clean uncluttered design. For my logo, I just signed my name, snapped a photo and uploaded it. I have no graphic design training but you can't argue with the pure authenticity of a signature as a logo. I've been popping back into the site now and then to tweak the design and the copy, and I think anyone who picks themselves should do the same.
TAKE BACK CONTROL OF YOUR OWN WEB SITE PEOPLE! I have met so many creatives who are held hostage by web developers who
a) Don't understand or speak the language of interior design and refuse to do the homework required to serve their clients effectively.
b) Demand crazy high rates for elementary changes — or refuse to do the changes outright (WTF?!)
c) Cannot turn around web site tweaks in anything remotely approaching a sane amount of time.
Guess what? By picking myself I discovered a problem waiting to be solved: creative people in design need help getting gorgeous web sites. Bam! Site design consultation and creation is now part of my business.
2. I Launched The Design Edit
The fact is, I've got the gift of the gab and working freelance, largely alone in my home office was, and is, isolating. I'm getting out there to events as often as possible, always keeping my ear to the ground. All of this added up to the fact that I've got stories to share. I created The Design Edit to help keep myself connected with all my fellow design-loving peeps. I've discovered that daily posting isn't realistic for me, but I do have at least 3 or 4 stories to tell per week, so I'm cluster blogging — posting a few stories toward the end of each week. I still need to do some blog pillar posts and create a media kit. But I'm moving forward. I'm monitoring traffic numbers but trying not to obsess on them, and I've had one sponsored collab so far and another is in the offing.
3. I Created A Facebook Page
When you are the chief of communications for your company, you must employ all of the tools available. As I consult with interior design brands and recommend they devote time and resources to their Facebook pages, it seems only right that I would do the same for my own brand. Give The Design Edit page a like!
4. I Said No
On the face of it saying no doesn't seem like picking yourself, but those of you who are prone to over extending yourselves or are overly eager to please and prove yourselves know that "no" can be the hardest word to say. I've said no to a couple of meetings and events I felt would't be worth my time. I've said no to brand collaboration requests that weren't a good fit for The Design Edit. I said no to a nice big fat styling job because I knew I didn't have enough room in my schedule for it. That was a painful no, but I don't regret it one bit. I was chilling out on the hammock at our place in Tweed one day right around the deadline for that gig and thought Thank the Lord I didn't say yes to that job. I said no to others so I could say yes to whatever the hell else I decided I wanted to do with that time.
5. I Planned Not 1 but 2 Vacations
When you begin freelancing you assume you will work every day for the rest of your life trying to make enough money to pay bills or just in case someday there is less work. But after weeks and months of work you realize a break is in fact very much in order. This very moment I am writing this marks one week to the day we will head out of Toronto and go East to our place on Prince Edward Island. Two more perks of picking yourself (as both my husband and I have done): we are taking extra time on the way there to explore through the US in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine; and our return date is still somewhat undecided. That feels amazing.
Our second booked vacay will take us to Paris, Antwerp and Amsterdam in Oct. I once read that those who book their vacays far ahead enjoy them more due to the longer period of anticipation. We booked this trip a few weeks ago — the furthest ahead we have ever booked — and I am definitely feeling the positive effects of having something to look forward to. Both vacays will not only provide the much-needed time away but also the inspiration to propel both of us and our businesses forward. And if truth be told they will both be "workations" because we never really switch off our design-loving eyes.
I hope you will take this opportunity to think of 5 ways you can pick yourself. Have you been meaning to update your web site? Get on it. Want to up your Instagram game? Type " How to up your Instagram game" into Google and then get reading and then get posting! Need some Me time? Book a pedi. Need to figure out how to say no? Read The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck.