Specialists vs. All-rounders. And the winner is…

In the creative industry, the term graphic designer describes an all-rounder. His portfolio is full of different works from various fields. He designs logos, posters, brochures and offers illustrations and web design on the side. At first glance, the everyday life of a graphic designer is diverse and therefore exciting. He acts like a Swiss army knife. But something fundamental missing distinguishes him from an expert – a recognizable, individual signature in his work. Even if he masters his craft and reaches customers with his service, he dances on a razor’s edge. Because he doesn’t specialize in a niche, it’s difficult for him to develop his own style that would set him apart from his competition. He simply lacks the necessary time to do so.

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Time is not our currency. Expertise is

We are experts in what we do because we are experienced in our field. The more we do, the more original our work becomes and the faster we get results. In short, we are getting better and better.

Therefore, we can’t calculate our fee by the hour. Our expertise makes us valuable to the client – not our time.

Five years ago, I developed about 4 to 5 conceptual illustration ideas in four days. Today, I draw up to 20 in two days. If I calculated per hour, I would be penalized for getting better.

The client hires our service because he has a problem he needs us to solve (illustrative or otherwise). If we present him a solution in two days instead of four, that’s added value. Apart from the higher quality and number of alternatives, we give him something much more precious: time.

Using time pressure as a motivational power-up

In video games, a power-up temporarily strengthens the player. The most famous one is the mushroom in Super Mario. Time pressure can be our power-up.

Let’s say we have an appointment at the bank in 45 minutes. If we subtract 15 minutes for the trip, we have 30 minutes left. We often fritter away this precious time until the appointment. We say, “It’s not worth it to start something new now,” and bang goes Youtube. But that short time can be our mushroom. We can accomplish so much in 30 minutes, whether it’s work or personal activities like exercise or household chores.

The best part is that we always keep an eye on the clock, which boosts our concentration. I am often amazed that I can accomplish something in an intense 30 minutes that usually takes much more time, like writing this post, for example. 

The art of Email correspondence: three types of interlocutors

The art of email communication can easily be underestimated. Ideally, reading and writing feel like a pleasant face-to-face conversation. We remain friendly at all times. We keep our sentences short and simple by avoiding filler words and refraining from using unnecessary technical terms. Since we lack gestures and facial expressions, we avoid potentially misunderstandable language. Irony, sarcasm, and sometimes even a joking comment can quickly be taken the wrong way. Unlike in verbal conversation, we can change, adapt or delete what we just wrote. We use this advantage.

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Video recommendation: “How do I raise prices without losing clients” by The Futur

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A helpful video by the Futur on the challenging topic of pricing or raising prices. In the conversation are Chris Do (the Futur), Joel Pilger (business coach), and Maryia Bulka (illustrator). Among other things, they talk about how to raise the pricing for existing and new clients, and there is an exciting role-play between client and contractor. The following stuck with me:

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Got a new commission? 7 Reasons why we should jump in immediately

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We just received a new job request? Let’s start immediately. Let’s not procrastinate. Let’s not put it off. Even if we only spend a minute. By doing so, we make our lives so much easier. Waiting for the right time or inspiration is for amateurs. We are professionals. We get to work. Here are seven reasons why we should always start immediately:

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