In this week’s episode we look at how external stresses can impact your design work mindset and even your creative business. From depression to recession, there is a ton going on in your world and the wider world, and it’s important not to underestimate the impact this can have upon your creativity.

[smart_track_player url=”″ social=”true” social_twitter=”true” social_facebook=”true” social_gplus=”true” title=”How Stress can Impact your Creative Work”]

Show Notes for This Episode:

[1:00] This week we’re looking at how external stresses can impact your design work
[2:00] Ian mentions illness in the family and juggling work while taking care of his children
[3:30] Tom likes to compartmentalise his life, but then notices that by focusing more on one compartment the other ones end up suffering
[4:30] “A life is like having a four-stove burner: work, family, friends and health and if you want to be good at one of those things you have to turn off one of those burners”
[6:40] Dustin sometimes uses his work as a retreat from his stress, but if things are really bad in his life then he can’t focus on the work
[7:20] Your mind needs a little bit of rest from the stress, and spending just 20 min on your design work can help
[8:20] Dealing with bereavement can be even more difficult as a freelance designer – the work slowing down means less income coming in
[9:20] If you have a well-established relationship with your customers they will understand if customer service slows down a bit
[10:00] During a difficult time it will be very helpful to have a system in place and or a list of contractors that you can get in touch with to help you with some work
[10:50] The hosts are sending their love to all the listeners
[12:00] Dustin gives his friend Peter a mention – when one of his family members got cancer, he created a design non-profit to generate money for that type of cancer
[13:00] How the economic and political environment of your country can affect your work – and this is something you have no control over
[13:45] Adverse situations will often push you to think outside the box and create your best work
[14:45] Growth doesn’t come from everything running smoothly
[15:15] Dustin agrees and confirms that Retro Supply was born from his personal struggles and having a baby on the way
[15:50] Being short-changed with a project led Tom to starting up Design Cuts
[16:20] Lisa mentions living in South Africa being very challenging, but finding peace in her work
[17:40] With the evolving technology the options are unlimited
[18:40] Being very stressed should trigger some introspection into what is stressing you and should lead to making some changes in your life
[19:50] As a designer you can make a lot of changes to your work and your freelance business that are not available to many other people doing different jobs
[20:40] You can put a buffer on your spending and only invest in the business
[22:40] The political landscape can change so quickly and your spending patterns will shift too
[23:30] Design is a luxury and it might be the first thing people give up when their finances are limited
[24:30] Dustin talks about the FCC’s move on net neutrality and how this can impact customers and anyone who makes a living online
[25:00] Tom lives in constant worry thinking what can possibly happen that might end Design Cuts
[25:45] Lisa worries about the value of Rand and how this will affect the value of her pension
[26:50] Prepare for the worst-case scenario but do not waste stress on what you can’t control
[27:30] When it comes to the political and economic landscape we’re all in the same boat – the difference is how you deal with it
[28:15] Think about how you can build up multiple streams of income – if one goes down, you can count on the other ones to support you
[29:00] Think what you can do now to get prepared, so you can alleviate any future stress
[30:00] So many designers would have been affected by the drop in organic reach on social media channels, especially Facebook
[31:00] You need to invest in yourself, as you are the key asset
[32:30] Do a test and live for a day as you would if you didn’t have all that you do now, and you’ll realise that you’ll still be okay if it all goes away
[33:15] You can’t control any external aspects of your life, but you can control how you react to them
[34:00] Dustin remembers the moment when he was able to pay his credit card debt and how it felt
[35:30] Find out how you can react quicker to market changes and try to be proactive
[37:00] Be prepared financially, and most of all mentally, for any changes that might happen in your life
[38:00] Ian likes that he has so many different styles and he is able to move forward
[38:40] Buying an iPad and learning to use Procreate led Ian to doing an Apple workshop
[39:20] Keep an eye on what’s working well on Pinterest
[40:20] A lot of companies are suffering because they didn’t take Facebook seriously and are trying to play catch-up now
[41:00] “All this looking back is effing with your neck!’ – Gary Vee
[41:30] You need to constantly move forward and don’t look back on things you can’t control
[42:30] Harvest the seeds that you’ve been building
[43:10] Ian started doing calligraphy with his left hand, so in case of an accident on his right arm he will still be able to continue his work
[43:50] Tom is a lefty and says that left handed designers are more creative due to the struggle of writing from left to right
[44:00] The hosts believe that Ian’s followers will get even more engaged if Ian were to create with his left hand and Ian is thinking of setting up a separated feed for this
[45:00] Dustin suggest a name for the channel: ‘Ian Barnard’s left hand is better than you’
[45:40] ‘Experience is the best teacher’ – Tom Ross
[46:30] It took Dustin two years to realise that even though sales droped off every Friday afternoon, as people got ready for the weekend, his business wasn’t coming to an end
[47:10] You will get money one month and maybe nothing the next month and it will take you a while to get used to this
[48:00] Tom reveals that he doesn’t invest in the stock market but he would like to
[49:10] Don’t try to get every moment of your design career perfect, but try to stick with it for as long as you can
[49:30] Thank you all for listening to this week’s episode

“A must for every creative freelancer (or those aspiring to freelance). Thank you for being so… honest! Such a wealth of information from people I admire who have ‘been there and done that’. Listening to the podcast every week feels like I’m among friends. Can’t wait for more episodes!”AG_GD