lealea's blogblog

because it's nice to say it twice

15 Comments // Filed in Business / Design / Etc

Happy Birthday to Me

Like a lot of designers with blogs, sometimes you get so busy that your site falls off by the wayside. It’s shameful and sad, and I’ve fallen into that trap! So, in an effort to get back on the wagon, I’m posting on my birthday an update on life and business in the past year.

September is a huge month of anniversaries for me. Not only does it have my birthday, I’ve had a lot of life-changing events occur in this month. September was the first month I lived in my new condo and marked the start of being a homeowner two years ago. September 19th was the day my family arrived in Canada seventeen years ago. It was also the day we became Canadian citizens a few years later after that. So, it was almost fitting that when I applied for my business license, it was valid on September 19th. On top of that, September was the month I also furiously worked on the site you’re oggling now.

So, it’s been over a year since I launched this site and launched my freelance career, and so what do I have to say to that? What lessons or observations?

  • Patience is probably the most ultimate virtue to hone and have in this business
  • The flexibility of schedule is almost more important than the money
  • 9rules is freaking awesome for advice, help, friendship and even job leads
  • I can’t live without Skype and Basecamp
  • My love and faith for online communities have been strengthened
  • Great writing/copy is as important as great design
  • Saying “No” is not only satisfying, it’s necessary. It will actually save you money in the long run
  • Saying “No” ensures also that the ones you say “Yes” to will generally end up being amazing clients who give you repeat business, less grief, and better portfolio fodder
  • A clean, organized workspace (which also happens to be my living space) lowers stress levels exponentially. Hurray, IKEA!
  • Owning a cat also lowers stress. I love my cat!
  • Change scenery once in a while: take working holidays, or bring your laptop to a coffee shop instead of working at home
  • Network in person, too. Take a look at local events. Don’t just live an online life!
  • Exercising and eating well also makes you a better professional. Your mind is sharper, focused, and hell, we’re designers. We like it when things look good, and if you don’t think you look good, it affects your performance as a person in a visual profession!
  • You will have moments of doubt and even loneliness, so remind yourself periodically of your goals and the reasons why you are in this profession. The rewards outweigh the caveats
  • Remember that this is a business.
  • Never stop reading blogs and books. Never stop learning
  • Never assume you know everything
  • Outsource when you need to

2006 is the Year of the Dog in the Chinese calendar, which is my year, and it’s so far shaped up to be unpredictable, exciting, lucrative and awesome. I hope this extends to 2007. Wish me luck. :-)

15 blabs to Happy Birthday to Me

Add something to the conversation!

Happy Birthday!

RE: Saying “No”

I need to do this more often. At least a few times now I have learned the hardway.

Congrats Lea! Here’s to hoping the next years are just as monumental as the first.

Picture of lee

Name lee

Date Sep 12
10:33 PM

Hey happy Birthday to you, Happy anniversary to your freelance company.

Picture of Carolyn

Name Carolyn

Date Sep 13
01:25 AM

A wise list. I wish you luck for the next year, but somehow I don’t think you’ll need it. :) Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Lea!

You and I have a little in common; my birthday is also in September, and I have also been freelancing for a year (well, almost… I started in early November) and I concur with all your tips. Good luck for the next year and all that follow :)

Picture of Sugar

Name Sugar

Date Sep 13
02:45 PM

Happy birthday, Lea!

Nice timing for your next blog post…I was waiting anxiously.

Good luck with verything in your life!

Picture of Cuong

Name Cuong

Date Sep 13
06:11 PM

hey happy birthday to you! just want to say, that i like your blog!

Picture of Paul

Name Paul

Date Sep 14
02:49 PM

Happy Birthday! All your work has been of top class, it’s a joy to watch.

Happy birthday! Thanks for the advice. :)

Happy Birthday Lealea! I agree that 9rules is amazing for just about any advice you would ever need! Have a good one!

A belated happy birthday from me, too.

You are without a doubt one of the greatest designers I have seen lately.

I hope that – at some point – I can fill a list of the business virtues you are practicing. :)

Many wishes from the super cold and rainy Hamburg, Germany. :)


Picture of Helwe

Name Helwe

Date Oct 29
01:16 PM

Happy birthday :)

My birthday is on 03/11/06 wish me a happy birthday too

my email : .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Picture of Avinash

Name Avinash

Date Nov 02
08:25 AM

Happy Birthday & All the best! :)

Picture of James

Name James

Date Jun 03
05:00 PM

Happy Birthday

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