In this week’s episode we look at the power of saying ‘No’ as a designer. Most designers we work with are lovely hardworking people, however they hate letting people down, and can often back themselves up into a corner after taking too many projects and juggling too many things at any one time. If this sounds like you, you’ll love this episode.

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Meet Your Hosts

The Honest Designers Show started when our founder Tom found he was regularly chatting and sharing tips with top designers; Ian Barnard, Lisa Glanz and Dustin Lee. We soon organised a weekly call where we would help each other with areas we were struggling with and try to give each other actionable feedback. Soon we realised that the collective experience of the group was proving so valuable for each of us, that we thought ‘why not share these conversations with the world?’.

And so, The Honest Designers Show was born! This podcast is an insight into how to succeed in the creative industry, as well as giving you a totally transparent, under the hood look at some of the tougher, less glamorous hurdles to overcome! We also tend to get a little goofy along the way, so this is a chance to get to know each of us a little better :). We’ve loved recording this show for you, and we hope that you find value and enjoyment in listening to it.


Please find full show notes for this episode below:

[1:00] This week we’re talking about the power of saying ‘No’
[2:00] Lisa struggles with saying ‘No’ but knows she needs to learn how to do it
[2:40] Sometimes the circumstances force you to say ‘No’, even if you wish you could do the work
[3:20] Saying ‘No’ can also be beneficial as it allows you to focus on things that are important for your career
[4:00] As a graphic designer, Lisa said ‘Yes’ to everything and found that the work load took over her life
[4:50] You must explain your long-standing clients, that you have to say ‘No’ to the small stuff so you can be fresh for the big jobs
[5:40] Making everyone happy can end up making you miserable
[6:15] Lisa was almost killing herself so she won’t let her clients down
[7:10] Taking on too much work will not only effect you but it will also affect your partners and your close family members
[8:10] Stop and ask yourself: “is this the way I want to live?” and if not, then it’s time for something to change
[9:40] Work is a big part of your life so think how you want to feel every single day
[10:15] The negativity surrounding your work load can affect your love of design
[11:00] At the beginning you might feel pressured to say ‘Yes’ as you want to improve your skills and your earnings
[12:40] Stretching into too many directions might not be as beneficial as you think
[13:30] Ian found the balance of working on multiple projects and still delivering good work
[14:15] ‘You can do everything that you want, you just can’t do them all at once’ – Dustin Lee
[15:40] Organise your work in batches and assign a time frame for each project
[17:15] There are nice ways of saying ‘No’ to your clients and not feeling bad about it
[18:30] If you are unable to do the work, recommend other designers that can do it
[19:15] Saying ‘No’ to one person could mean letting them down, but saying ‘Yes’ to a lot of clients might end up in letting everyone down
[20:00] Dustin said ‘No’ to clients work and ‘Yes’ to retro stuff, which made a great difference to his life
[20:30] Every ‘No’ let’s a ‘Yes’ happen
[21:15] It might be hard to say ‘No’ to work, but choice is ultimately a good thing
[22:10] It can be overwhelming to have so many choices, when looking back at the humble beginnings
[23:15] Don’t feel pressured to say ‘Yes’ to work just because you think this is the type of work a designer should do
[24:40] Having choices changes your thinking and lets you learn more about yourself
[25:30] Confidence is a great effect of choice
[26:20] Set-up your goals and see how saying ‘Yes’ to different projects fits into achieving this goal
[27:00] Tom is a big believer in delegation and knows he must delegate the work that keeps on getting pushed to the next day
[28:00] Use the 80/20 rule in your decision making
[29:40] Tom gives an example of a project and explains how much he is involved in and how much work he delegates to someone else
[30:30] Lisa delegates other things in her life to help with her work load, like the house cleaning
[31:30] You should always be able to delegate some of your work, no matter how specific your skills are
[32:50] The person you delegate work to might end up delegating work to someone else as well
[33:00] Ask yourself which is the work that brings revenue and delegate the stuff that are taking time away from it
[34:30] You don’t necessarily have to hire someone full time, you can delegate small tasks to someone working remotely
[36:00] Advertise when you’re busy so that when you’re quiet you’ve already built the momentum to bring in more work
[37:00] Ian realised he’s invested 80% of his time in his Social Media strategy but it’s not bringing the revenue that the other 20% could
[37:50] Social media might not bring immediate revenue but it creates opportunities
[38:30] A blog can support the business, but it’s not business in its own, you need the money-making work alongside it
[39:40] There is a risk of drowning into the attention that you’ve built for yourself
[40:15] It’s hard finding the balance between work and social media promotion
[41:20] Ian is thinking of reducing his social media posting to make more time for other work
[42:15] A big social media following doesn’t always translate into sales
[43:20] Allocate specific days for specific tasks and alternate work with social media promotion
[45:00] Find a partner to help with parts of your work that you’re not that good at
[46:00] Focus on the things you’re known for and that people love about you
[47:00] Everyone is struggling and you need to find what works well for you
[48:00] Saying ‘No” to things is something you’ll do for the rest of your life
[48:50] What goes up must come down
[50:50] Living in the constant terror that it will might come crumbling down
[52:00] Audit your work and go for something small that you can say ‘No” to

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