I know that I’m not the only one who gets hesitant when it comes to sharing work online. What kind of work should you create and share? Will it resonate with people? What is the purpose of it? And so on… So let me share some of my thoughts on the topic.
First of all, you need to know WHY you are creating and sharing your works.
Here is a couple of basic WHYs for most designers:
- Doing it just for fun
- Doing it to build an audience
- Doing it to get new clients
- Doing it to achieve all of the above
Of course, everyone is unique and has their own goals, so really think about your reasons and what you should share/create to achieve them. To give you a more specific example, I’m gonna take each of the above-mentioned goals and analyze what type of content I think you should share based on these goals. However, even if you already know what your goal is, don’t skip the article to jump straight to it. It’s important to see the overall picture because all the points are interconnected.
Doing it just for fun
That’s easy – create content you love creating and don’t care about anything else. But this is also a non-negotiable step if you want to achieve any of the following goals. It is the most important thing. You must enjoy the process so that you can do it for an extended period of time. And no matter what your goal is, you must understand that there are no shortcuts here, and you’ll have to stick to it. So creating something that you love is crucial!
Doing it to build an audience
If your goal is to build an audience and reach more people, you have to be way more mindful of what you create. It needs to be something that resonates not only with you but also with other people. You need to combine Content you love creating and Content people love consuming.
I often see people doing work they love but not getting enough traction or the recognition that they would like to receive. And that’s because the work they are sharing isn’t resonating with others. It means that they need to change something (while still creating what they love).
So, if you’re in a position like this, here is a couple of actionable tips.
What are your most successful posts?
Look into the data. See which works of yours got the best engagement: views, likes, comments. Analyze them to define the most successful post is. Try to create more works like that and see how it overlaps with what you enjoy creating.
What could you change?
Experiment a lot. See what you could change to get better engagement while still creating what you love. This will allow you to discover new insights.
Think about the trends and what people love.
Let’s take illustration as an example. Let’s say you have a specific style you like to work in, and you’re creating your own characters but not getting enough traction. Try to use this same style and re-create the characters from trending TV shows or movies. Back in the day my Star Wars icons/illustrations I did for the movie premiere allowed me to ride a crazy trend wave. Look for similar opportunities.
Doing it to get new clients
Do you want to make a living out of it? Client work is the easiest way to get paid for your skills. In order to achieve this, you need to combine Content you love creating and Content clients need.
This would be your typical portfolio, case studies of the projects that you enjoyed the most, and where you were able to make the biggest impact, reach the best results for clients. Every single work presentation is optimised to bring you more client inquiries.
In this case, a trendy movie character illustration wouldn’t work as good as illustrations for an app onboarding (e.g. illustrating actions like adding your image, creating an account, choosing the payment method, etc.)
Nevertheless, the better this content resonates with a wider group of people (not just potential clients), the bigger the chances for it to become viral and hence reach more clients. This leads us to the last point.
I want to have everything!
How does it look? Getting tons of client inquiries and working as a freelancer or even opening your own design studio, while having an engaged audience on the side, maybe some passive income from your passion projects like prints or other content. To achieve this, you have to combine everything: Content you love creating + Content people love consuming + Content clients need.
As you might imagine, this is the most difficult thing to achieve. But the rewards are fitting. High difficulty, high reward.
As you can also see from the graph, the overlap here is the smallest, so it’s difficult to find the right fit. And realistically, you will never be able to keep this perfect balance. Every single work you share will lean towards one or the other area of the overlap. And that’s okay. As long as you know what you want to achieve, you can course correct.
Area to avoid
As I mentioned at the beginning, creating something you like is non-negotiable. You won’t be able to stick to this whole thing if you hate doing what you’re doing. And it is a long-term play, nothing happens overnight. So to achieve anything, you must enjoy the process behind it. Believe me, getting a ton of money or attracting a lot of followers won’t matter if you wake up every day hating whatever you’re doing.
Avoid sharing anything that you didn’t enjoy creating at all costs. Whatever you project, you only attract more of it. So be careful, you don’t want to get stuck in the endless cycle of unfulfilling client work.
You share something you didn’t enjoy creating > you get more similar inquiries > you create more work that you don’t enjoy >
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