Posts Tagged ‘blog’

Just Say No

Sunday, February 21st, 2010


Learning to say “no” to people is tough, and can make you feel like a jerk in the moment; but it is oh-so-necessary, in both business and your personal life. If you say “yes” to every project or favor that comes your way, you can set yourself — and anyone you’re working with — on a path toward potential disappointment.

I’ve gotten much better at saying “no” in my personal life. Professionally, I’ve been trying to focus more on the creative projects I want to work on. That means I need to withdraw from tasks that don’t fit into my time table or wheelhouse… which is easier said than done. Walking away is especially challenging when you are short on change and could simply use a few extra bucks. And when a project falls into your lap… why not take advantage of it? Seems quick and easy, right?

Lessons I learned from my most recent project:

  • It is never quick and easy. Never ever.
  • The client inquiring about your services needs to understand what you provide. For me, I need to point them to my portfolio and make sure that they know what my artistic style is — I don’t do soft charcoals or life-like sketches. On the flipside, maybe ask for some examples of what they like. This helps make sure everybody’s on the same page, and can save time and energy later.
  • Be aware of the subject matter. This project was for a religious blog and in this particular case meant detail work. My style tends to be rather simplistic and cutesy — robed Jesus is neither of these, and it was not a natural fit.
  • Custom work will always take longer than you think it will. Illustrations will take four times longer than the client thinks they will. I need to charge appropriately for the time involved, even when it scares someone away. My time is worth more money than what I’m usually charging, and I could use that time to do something more personally fulfilling (which could in turn lead to a better paying, more Rachel-appropriate project down the road).

The gentleman I worked with on this project was an absolute pleasure to correspond with, and I believe all parties were pleased in the end. Unfortunately, I now have a final product that will not go into my portfolio, because it is not a style I’d like to do again in the future. Now I know I need to better probe potential clients for what they’re looking for, make sure it fits into what I do, and be brave enough to say “no thanks” if we aren’t both going to benefit from working together.

The wheels in brain go round-and-round

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Josh has planted the seed for another blog.

I need another blog like I need another hole in my head, but I have to say I am tempted.

I enjoy Pittsburgh’s public transportation system every weekday, and Josh is delighted every time I come home with a new Bus Adventure. I’ve been riding the public transport in Pittsburgh and Charleston, WV since I was in 7th grade… I can recount such entertaining tales as:

  • The guy that pretended to kill me every time we rode together (via fake grenades, rocket launchers and machine guns)
  • The guy that called me “Sawah” and was my best friend until I got my nose pierced and he and his religion were very disappointed in me
  • The lady that smacked me in the shins with her umbrella because I was “in her seat”
  • The multitude of people who have sat on me

I am fascinated with the how, why, and what-the-hell of people… and the bus carries every kind of person imaginable. Maybe it’s not a bad idea after all.

Also, it might not be bad practice for writing some short stories. Hm.

Of course, I could just put them here, but I have the best idea for the banner graphic…

Ye Olde URL Renewal

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

I got a reminder my url expires the day after Christmas, which raises the question of whether to remain or change it to something more vague and interesting.

The current name conjures confusion sometimes, since “sum” is a homonym and my name is obviously not David.

What to do… what to do… I think I’ll keep it for now.

And if I don’t see you — happy holidays! Be safe and have a great time doing whatever it is that you do.

A Break in our Regular Programming…

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

joshandrach.gifJosh and I are in London at the moment, with train tickets to Paris later today, so there will little to no updating here in the near future. If you’re interested in following along, however, you can do so via our travel blog. Or, if you’re feeling playful, you can check our “guide’s” account of showing us around.