I thought I'd share a few things that I feel I wish I'd known from day one. I'd love to hear if you agree?
2. Be positive. This one is super hard because sometimes it's really hard to see positives in complicated and generally negative situations. But I recently read a really good trick- Will it be as bigger deal in 20 days? Will you feel as stressed once 20 days of life has passed? If the answer is no, then you can get through it with a little patience. If it's yes, then talk it out with your other half or your best friend. Get another point of view and don't act in haste. You can do this.
3. Be honest. Sometimes it's hard to be honest if it might hurt someone's feelings. I used to be really bad at this. I'd take on too much work and agree to things I wasn't happy with for a quiet life, and it always backfired. Lately, I've grown a strong(er) backbone and I'm more upfront and honest with artists and customers. Just stay positive when you're chatting and use cheerful, upbeat words.
As an example, I recently had to tell an artist whose work I LOVE that I couldn't stock her work. I was dreading it and rewrote the email twice. I was honest and explained that the pricing was just a little high for us and she replied saying that it had helped her understand her target store and customer and saying thank you for being honest!
4. Hire an accountant (if you're self employed). For the first THREE YEARS of Yellowstone, I did all my own accounts, bookkeeping and self assessments. It was horrific. Don't put yourself through it. Spend a little time finding the right one too. Mine understands my small business and what we are about and it means I'm not scared to ask silly questions or make mistakes.
5. Reply to people on social media. I try my best to do this even if I didn't see it for 20hours. It costs nothing to be polite. If someone has taken the time out of their day to reply or comment, give them a nod of thanks for their time.
6. 'Dream' jobs aren't always as they seem. So we all strive to 'Do what you love' and 'Make your dreams a reality' but work is work. I created my dream job and you know what? Some days, it sucks. If work was incredibly fun and easy all the time, it wouldn't be work! You wouldn't get paid for it. I think it's important to be patient too. If your job doesn't feel like it's exactly 'you' yet then think about the stepping stones you need to take. It's vital that you work your way up so that you understand different aspects of your industry. You can't expect to go right in at the top. Just take your time, work hard and stay positive.
7. Holiday. Take a break. Holidays are PART of work. Every job has a 'holiday entitlement' that you have earned. So take it! Your body, mind and family need it. It's hard when you have to work double hard before you go and catch up when you're back, but trust me- it's worth it. Hard workers deserve play time.
8. Trust your instincts. Whether it's on your new internet provider, your latest creation, or hiring some help, listen to your gut. If something doesn't feel quite right, it usually isn't.
9. Self edit. As a designer, self editing is tricky but vital. I tend to work on designs in one go and then come back to them with a fresh head the next day. In July, I was working on my 2014 Christmas cards and I was running out of design time. I was rushing, stressing and cutting corners. When my other half saw one of my designs he said 'Well that one's a cop out, it's the same as your other design! You can do better than that'. It made me step back and be more critical (and embarrassed!). The next day I worked my butt off and created 6 original ideas that I'm SO proud of. So push yourself- you never know what you'll do next.
10. Ask for help. You aren't a superhero and there are only so many hours in the day. In my experience, people respect you if you're honest and hold your hands up when you're stuck or need some advice. So ask for it. You'll end up creating a support network of some awesome people who you can help back one day.