Changes in 2017
I'm been trying to take some of my own medicine and sincerely evaluate the past year of podcastdesigner.com. I'll be honest, it hasn't been a fun exercise. The good news I have been able to publish blog posts on a weekly basis all year. I've gotten better and faster at writing. I've started a knowledge-base for podcasters and designers interested in the visual side of podcasting.
But there have also been some failures. Namely, I haven't created or shared nearly enough design work. For someone calling themselves the Podcast Designer, that's not a great look.
So, in 2017 I'm bringing some changes to podcastdesigner.com.
I've been trying to use writing to establish myself as an expert in the area of designing podcast covers. Unfortunately, this writing has not led to any kind of organic client lead generation.
Client projects require client acquisition, vetting, research, discussion and contracts/paperwork before I can even get started on the actual design work. There are fewer barriers to writing. I don't need to depend on anyone else, I can just sit down and start. Unfortunately, I've allowed writing to become a form of procrastiworking.
I need to make a change.
I don't plan to stop writing, but I do intend to scale back. Writing one blog post a week may not sound like much. But those who've done it know that it takes more time than you'd think.
If I have the discipline to take that writing time and dedicate it to design, I should produce more projects. Even if all I accomplish is eliminating a distraction/excuse, I think this change will be worth it.
I've always known that I need to do more design work, but I've allowed other things to get in the way. Besides writing, I have a full time job. I like to spend time with friends and family. I love spending time in the hiking or kayaking with my wife and dog.
There are also some less positive habits that I've given my time to. Things like too much social media, video games and watching football.
I've never been interesting in working 70 hours a week and I don't intend to change that. I already dedicate 40 hours to my full-time job, plus the commute time. So how do I produce more work and maintain work-life balance?
I need to prioritize. I need to be disciplined.
I need to decrease the amount of time I spend on activities that are not important. And then I need to make sure this time goes toward activities that are actually important to me.
Triple the amount of projects on my portfolio page.
This is my primary goal for podcastdesigner this year. I currently only have four projects on my site, so I plan to create at least eight portfolio-worthy podcast covers this year.
Creating more portfolio pieces has a ton of benefits. It allows me to hone my craft. I can build word of mouth marketing by overdelivering for my clients. Having a broader, stronger portfolio will help me continue to establish myself as an expert in this niche. And last, but not least, client projects make money.
Publish an Article Every Other Week
As I said, I don't want to stop writing altogether. There are just too many benefits. So I plan to scale back by 50%. If I feel the writing is interfering with my main focus, I am willing to reassess this goal during the year. (The challenge with this assessment is to honest with myself. I don't want to turn the writing into an excuse. But if my time would truly be spent better elsewhere, I don't want to be too stubborn to make a change.)
Share more on dribbble.com
My dribbble account has been sadly underused since I opened it. I think that posting on dribbble will help me improve as a designer as well as build connections in the industry. Another benefit is that dribbble gives people another way to find me and my work.
I would love to share something at least once a week, but I don't want to distract myself from my primary goal. My tentative plan is to try to post on dribbble every other week. These posts won't be limited to podcast covers, it can be any design work. We'll see how this focus develops during the year.
Interact with podcasters more
I want to find a way to connect more with people who actually make podcasts. I'm really not sure what the best way to do this would be. I have found some podcasting communities on twitter and reddit, so I will start by being more active on those platforms. I need to make an intentional effort to look for other ways to connect with podcasters. If you have any advice, please hit me up through my contact page or on twitter.
The time for this can be taken from my normal, unproductive social media time. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, I need to use that time to intentionally connect with and help out podcasters.
So there you have it. My hopes and dreams for podcastdesigner.com in 2017. I honestly don't like setting goals, but I've found them to be very helpful when I force myself to do it. We'll see if I can repeat that success and take my brand where I want it to go in the coming year.