During 2013 – my first year being self-employed – I was clear on my purpose.
When I initially quit my job, my intention was to earn a living being a brand identity designer.
Design and branding are all I have ever known. From my pre-school years, to the work experience I had for a branding firm in Manchester when I was 15 (they even offered me a job, and asked me to contact them when I was a grown-up), to working as a promotional merchandise consultant (where I would advise clients on how to get the most out of their visual identity).
My purpose was to help solopreneurs communicate themselves visually, in a way that was truly authentic, charismatic…yet simple.
By the end of 2013, however…I was exhausted, depressed, and felt that my purpose had been shattered. I had no idea what I was even trying to achieve.
My first year in business was, by most people’s standards, a roaring success. I was part of some truly wonderful collaborations, had a client base that many designers would give anything for, and on the surface it all seemed so…perfect.
But it wasn’t perfect. I felt scattered. Confused. Disconnected from my business…as if it wasn’t even mine, somehow. And…although I was delivering great work, I knew that many of my clients weren’t ready for the brand identity development process. I was giving them what they wanted, not what I believed they truly needed – clarity, and self-acceptance.
As someone who prides themselves on acting with integrity, I found it challenging to work on these particular projects. On the one hand – my clients were delighted. But on the other hand – I knew that some of my clients were aching with self-doubt, and using a logo and colour palette to skim over the fact that they didn’t feel ‘enough’.
This really bothered me.
It bothered me so much, that one year into the business, I knew I had to take a break from designing to figure out some way of helping my clients set the foundations for their brand – on a deep, soulful level – before the word ‘logo’ was even mentioned.
At the time, I felt confused. I had been so clear that my ‘strength’ was design. Not just a strength, but a skill I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours of my life dedicated to mastering.
So why was I being pulled in a new direction…where I had little experience, and absolutely no clarity on where I was headed?
As you can probably guess, I decided to follow the thread. Despite the fear and complete terror of the prospect of not being able to make ends meet, this was something I just couldn’t get out of my head.
[bctt tweet=”Sometimes, you just gotta follow the thread”]
I launched ‘The Brand Alchemist’ (later to become Cerries Mooney) at the beginning of 2013 with no plan, no savings, and no clue how I was going to earn a living if I wasn’t designing.
But it was something I knew I had to do.
From that point – until very recently – I have only worked on a very few design projects (mostly with clients I’ve been working with since 2012). I have made my income from creating online courses, like this one, and brand mentorship.
During that time, I have received hundreds of requests about whether or not I’m accepting new design clients.
Fear – and the little voice that says ‘stick with what you know’ – has thrown all it has at me to try to get me to waiver from the work I knew I had to do.
[bctt tweet=”Familiarity promises relief, not fulfillment”]
Time after time, I turned down business because I knew my heart was somewhere else. I knew that there was something else – my ‘right now’ purpose wasn’t designing brand identities, and I had enough faith to trust in my instinct.
Now – three years later – I’m back to where I started. Designing brand identities and websites for soulful solopreneurs.
And I’m LOVING it.
Not only has my archetypal work earned me a living during the last three years, it has taught me how to be a better designer.
It has provided me with an archetypal system for preparing my clients for the process – making it smooth, fun and almost effortless.
The Archetypal Blend Board my clients complete before starting the design process means I can complete projects within two weeks – with next to no revisions.
It means I am more efficient, more fulfilled by my work, and my clients are utterly delighted not only with the end result – but with the whole experience of working with me.
(A couple of years back, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to say that).
If you’re feeling the pull to explore something – a new angle, a different technique, or an entirely different thing altogether – don’t question it. It’s ok to make a decision that seems like it’s ‘off purpose’. If you feel it, it means something. The meaning may not be clear, but it is ALL leading you somewhere. Even the irrational bits that seem to be leading you away from where you thought you were going.
For now, I’m thoroughly enjoying myself.
I’m at peace with the fact that I will probably only focus on design for a while, and then feel called to create a new program (I have an AMAZING one in the wings, that’s currently brewing in my mind).
I may have come full circle, but the truth is this:
[bctt tweet=”The delight is in the diversion”]