The solo hustle is tempting everybody lately; whether it’s starting a profitable blog, freelance writing or dog walking, the idea of working in your pjs and starting your own business is a far less daunting process that ever before. You know enough friends or family members to see how its done right (and wrong) and enough people have come forward to tip their hat and show you all the good secrets they have inside.
Like Robin Hercia, the L.A. based designer who started her own agency AWMYL. A yoga teacher turned designer, she found a way to combine all the things she loved about spiritual balance with a highly profitable way to help people solve problems. From branding, promotional content advertisements and more, Robin’s clients range between tarot readers, yoga centers and retail stores. And just before she gears up for her next big project, art directing all the interior design spaces for Dev Mason (think General Assembly for web developers), she first sat down with Zenfulie and did a career rewind — hammering out eight must-do tips for those just starting out in the solosphere. Check it out:
Use The Networks Available To You
“Chances are there’s something in your life that you love, and a community attached to it. For me it was yoga,” she says. “I practiced yoga for ten years and taught yoga for four. When I opened my design studio these people became my supporters, clients and my promotors (a social media mention/repost can go a long way when your work is good). Then one client leads to another client and you’ve got yourself a career that is full of clients you adore, who’s work you enjoy creating for.”
Keep Regular Hours
“Just because you’re working in pajamas doesn’t mean the whole operation can be casual too,” Robin cautions. “Get to your desk at a certain time and make sure you stay there until another certain time. Give yourself a couple of somewhat regular breaks, including lunch. I’ve also been able to drastically improve productivity in setting time frames within each day for particular tasks; creative work is done first thing in the morning, calls are made after lunch, business work is done late afternoon when I’m creatively exhausted. Of course these parameters fluctuate, but they provide a necessary framework to keep the machine running smoothly.”
One tip that Zenfulie can totally cosign on was Robin’s idea of feeding yourself quality foods. She insists on finding “places nearby that sell clean and light healthy food and literally keep a list of these places next to the computer. Skipping meals and/or eating badly was miraculously permissible in my younger years, but in my mid 30’s my body doesn’t tolerate either so well. A skipped lunch has repercussions on your mental and physical state for longer than you’d think.”
Develop Strong Peripheral Networks
“Your business isn’t just you – it relies on services outside of you,” she says. “As a graphic design studio, it is incredibly important to have a good printer. I’m fortunate to have the best printer and a great relationship with them.
Think about the blood, sweat and tears that goes into your project and give it the final state it deserves.
I also have a couple of magnificent photographers. Spend the time to find somebody good and spend the money on them. Look for actual professionals, not friends who can kind-of / sort-of get it done. You will never regret the transition from iPhone photos to professional.”
Take a Field Trip
“Give yourself time to physically and mentally ‘leave’ your work. It feeds your soul.”
Commit To Getting Better At Your Craft
“If you’re good at what you do, people hire you. If you’re constantly progressing at what you do, more people hire you,” she shares. “Also, it keeps things interesting for your own sake. Never rest on your laurels.”
Take On As Many Projects In Areas Of Interest As You Can
“Increasing your body of work increases your legitimacy as a business,” she says, “Again, use the networks available to you to find people who need work done. Before long you’ll have a formidable portfolio and clients start coming in from references.”
Love What You’re Doing
This one feels like a no-brainer, but it feels really nice to know how true it is. “Love it so much you don’t watch time passing, and you keep doing it because for whatever inexplicable reason you have to,” she says. “A lot of time passes and for period, the ratio of time spent and dollars earned isn’t attractive. Persevere with a love for your craft and this will pass.”
To follow more from Robin’s agency check her out on Instagram!