Make your business the case study

If you run a web design agency, you may find yourself too busy working on client work to spruce up your own website. If you’re a freelance writer, you’re too busy ghostwriting for clients to put pen to paper for your own thoughts. If you’re in marketing, you promote your client’s products, but you don’t have the creative energy to apply in promoting your own work

It’s the classic problem, and it’s one of the best places within arm’s reach to apply your time and energy.

Find time after a break: There’ll never be a convenient time to do this. You carve it out of the marble of the day. As Karri Saarinen writes, “There is never a good time to do a redesign.” As Karri was returning from parental leave, and the company was still in good shape without his direct involvement, he was in a position to make time to redesign the Linear app. Similarly, the team does their monthly content day on a Monday to reduce the impact of an interruption on flow.

Demonstrate your expertise: When you practice your craft for yourself, you’re free to do all of the things you wanted to do that clients couldn’t say yes to. So there is a chance you can do your best work. Moreover, it shows a level of enthusiasm and passion that draws people in; they want to collaborate. When advertising agency Chiat/Day lost their biggest account, they wrote up a story and put it into an ad.

“Can you do that for us?” If your work for yourself energizes people, they will want to become your clients. Your business’s collateral—your website, your projects, your print—represent you when you’re not around.

If you don’t own a business, you can just apply the same principle to your work and your personal brand.

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