Place Under the Sun

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In Sound State

This past week may have been like any other week, but it was not. There was a shift in my thoughts and mindset and I am still not sure how to describe it. I guess the best way to say it is: I am okay being a solopreneur and freelancer. I know this career path is not for everyone and even I have doubted if this path was for me. But despite the uncertainties, the fears, the doubts, the financial risks and professional risks, this is where I’m meant to be.

The work I was doing this week definitely influenced this new layer of confidence. I started the past week designing business collateral for a Vancouver-based photographer. I think her work is amazing and her involvement with impactful businesses is inspiring. Mid-week I was working like crazy with my friend and client Mario in developing and designing his professional website. We have been working on the content for the past couple of months and now we are almost at the finish line!

The week wound down with a meetup for Communo members in Vancouver. It was an evening of great conversations, advice and renewed motivation. When you surround yourself with hard-working and professional creatives you start to feel really motivated to keep up and succeed. I used to feel very inadequate in these settings, but their humility, honesty and hunger to grow and develop is such a great environment and community to be a part of.

Friday was my fun day this week. Aside from designing, I have been taking salsa classes in Vancouver. I may have mentioned in earlier posts that during the summer I participated in salsa dance socials in the city. It was so much fun! I found that the dancing in this style is not only challenging in a good way, but also relaxing. You can meet new people in a social way and learn something new. I also enjoy the collaborative aspect as salsa is a partner dance.

You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.
— Heather Schuck

I went to my first social dance at the studio I take classes. During the event, you can dance with members from different studios and at different levels. It was a lot of fun dancing and being around people who are passionate about the dance, music and culture. I know that this may not seem to relate to being a Branding and Graphic Designer or even a solopreneur or freelancer, but I think it does. I think balancing your work with your other passions is very important to be successful.

Having something that relaxes you or gives you a healthy break from your work is necessary. That can be spending time with friends and family. A hobby like photography or playing a sport. And in ways, I think discovering this for myself gave way to this feeling that everything is falling into place. I am learning how to take care of myself as a solopreneur and freelancer.

I think many forget that taking care of yourself is important. How can we expect to keep working and pushing if we are not healthy or not properly taking the steps to be in tip-top shape, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Our best stems from our habits, mindset and work ethic. Each piece relates and is connected. Therefore, these quiet revelations from my daily life are telling me to keep going and continue to do what I can.

It is a funny thing to say, but I know that I will be a success. Only because I know that I am where I am meant to be in the here and now, hustling everyday and designing. This past week I have been blessed enough to do what I love. I truly believe my skills and talents can help people, motivate people and inspire people. Finding and building those connections will take time. But I know that if I do my best each day, I will reach my goals.

Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.
— Betsy Jacobson

I still struggle with the amount of work and risk this path requires. The responsibility and pressure is overwhelming. Yet the freedom, flexibility and growth is so rewarding. The growth in this lifestyle is not only professional but also personal. I am a different person than I was when I started freelancing almost two years ago. I have learned so much about myself besides designing and business.

Starting my career as a freelancer was never my first choice. I always saw myself working for an agency for several years before branching out. I am sure many new graduates and working designers have that desire, too. Sometimes, when work is slow or my schedule is so hectic, I would not mind having a set schedule and guarantee of incoming work.

But without my choice of freelancing, I not have learned what it was like - the challenges and successes. I would not have stepped out with my own brand and business. So looking back, my mistakes, experiences and decisions have gotten me to where I am now. And for that, I am grateful.

The year is not over yet, there is still more to squeeze out of this year! I am excited, focused, confident and positive. So wherever you are in your journey (because it really is a journey), keep learning about yourself and stay honest and realistic with your work, your goals and who you really are. Only then, I believe, will we find our place under the sun. ■

Patricia Atienza