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My Journey to Finding More Passive Design Work

April 21, 2024

If you missed my last blog post, you may have missed some of the reasons I’m deciding to pivot towards more passive design work. You can read that blog entry here.

Ultimately, I’ve taken inventory of my studio this year and I’ve realized I desperately needed to pivot to better align my work life and home life. For a long time, I tried to fit my design studio into a box it was never going to fit into. There is a lot of noise on the internet regarding the most “successful” ways to run a creative studio, and often they don’t take into consideration the unique home lives of work-from-home designers. This has caused me more stress and heartache than I’d like to admit. But I’m finally deciding to put on my figurative noise-cancelling headphones and carve my own path towards success.

“But I can’t” has been in my vocabulary for too long. I can’t work on a dedicated weekly schedule, because my husband works shifts and every week looks very different for us. I can’t take on too heavy of a workload because I’m the primary caregiver at home. I can’t work in the ways others do, for reason X, Y, or Z. You get the point.

Recently, I’ve realized that the things I have felt guilty for not doing for so long are things I never actually wanted to begin with? And then it dawned on me, I’ve let the definition of others’ success become my own when in reality, my version of success looks so different. I don’t want to retire my husband (sorry, Grant lol) and he probably wouldn’t want me to anyway. I like love being a stay-at-home mom. I don’t want to put Paisley or my future babies in daycare because I want them home with me. And I am better at being creative in my work than I am being rigid.

This revelation has been super eye-opening for me, and it’s helped me make shifts in my business that I’m really dang excited about. The biggest change I’m making is focusing more on passive ways to work. Branding will always be at the core of what I do here at Poised Avenue, but this year I’ve worked a lot towards opening up more passive income streams. The two main ones being: my children’s book and Minted.

Designing for Minted as an Independent Artist

At the very end of last year, I entered my first Minted challenge in hopes of exploring passive work. I quickly realized how competitive the landscape was, and how much work I would have to put in to see reward. But I was having SO MUCH FUN. Designing for Minted’s challenges unlocked creativity in me, and allowed me to practice design in ways I wasn’t used to.

Today, I still have yet to win a challenge so I am not officially a Minted designer (yet). But I’ve become really dedicated to learning Minted’s design style, exploring my own design style, and I even joined Minted’s mentorship program and have learned so much from my group already. It’s been FUN.

Currently, we’re in the thick of the Christmas photo card challenge and I’ve submitted nearly 15 designs. My goal is 20. I won’t know if I’ve been chosen as a winner until June, but either way I’m not giving up until I’m in. What I love about Minted is that I can design freely and when I want to. Yes, there are challenge briefs and deadlines, but this work feels so much more fluid than 1:1 work and there’s always a challenge or brief to be working on. It takes out the marketing aspect of running a design business, and allows me to focus solely on designing. Maybe that’s what I love so much about it? I also truly love the challenge, the community, and the opportunity. I would be so excited to be a Minted designer one day and offer my designs to people who may not otherwise ever have interacted with my work — I think that’s the most exciting part.

This idea of offering my work to people other than 1:1 clients has also gotten me really interested in surface pattern design. I’d love to design patterns for household items, baby’s and children’s apparel, or things like wrapping paper for Minted’s collection.

And those two ideas have really sparked my interest in the child and family industries.

So, you can see how the one realization I had earlier this year has sparked so many ideas and changed the trajectory of Poised Avenue. I can’t say I’ve broken into these passive income streams or ways of working just yet, but I’m excited to keep you all updated along the way. As vulnerable this is to share before finding success in it, this new design journey feels fresh and exciting, and I’m eager to see where it takes me!

And most importantly, all of this allows me to better my craft and grow as a designer and studio owner in a way that works with my life and supports my goals as both a designer and a wife and mommy.

Current studio “rules”, parameters, and goals I’m reminding myself of recently

  • Schedule a babysitter to work only on days my husband is on shift.
  • Remind myself it’s okay to not work M-F — that’s what I’ve always wanted! Don’t feel guilty about it.
  • Remind myself that playing with new design skills still gets me closer to success as a professional designer, even if it’s not paid work I’m doing.
  • Fill the days I’m not working with non-work related things: being creative for fun, reading a good book, mommy and Paisley dates, dates with my husband. It’s okay to think about work during these times, but try not to feel guilty or like you’re “missing out” when you’re not working during traditional working days/hours.
  • Remember that focusing on passive design work is a long game and instant success does not equal failure. You’re building a portfolio, skills, and work that will support your lifestyle in time.
  • Remember to have fun!! Being a mommy and wife first, designer second is what you’ve always wanted, so enjoy it and stop comparing.

Cheers to that! xo

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