~ 3 Minute 15 Second Read | Audio version below
Like almost every other designer, freelancer, or artist that I know, I suffer from
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome or the imposter experience) is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
I am at the weird stage in my career where I recently finished school but also have a decent amount of experience on my hands. This makes me think of myself not necessarily as a professional but as someone working towards the goal to be one. That being said, I have settled for jobs that weren’t as high-paying as I would expect. I still have the fear of providing work to others and them not thinking it’s worth their time or money. Even though I get great feedback, there is always going to be an underlying insecurity in my delivery. I still have a side hustle of working my butt off in creating my own brand (writing these blogs, updating my Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / YouTube), and establishing myself as a designer online for potential clients to find. I know that since I put a lot of time and effort into this (especially lately), that it’s important to show support to others that mirror the hustle.
So, if you know someone like me and you want to show them that you support what they do – here are some ways to do that, that they will appreciate.
ENGAGED FEEDBACK: LIKING, COMMENTING, SHARING
I have a friend who makes YouTube videos and I make sure to watch every single one of them and give it feedback because I know that she’s putting her time and effort into something she loves doing. That’s not to say that I would “like” all of her videos. If she was the type of person to half-ass her work and not put the effort in, I might not be as inclined to support them. But that’s not the case. I can clearly see she puts a lot of time into them and that it’s become something that she loves to do. This makes me do my best to keep up-to-date and support her online.
Mentioning YouTubers makes me think of a huge topic that has come largely to scale with the site itself. The demonetization of videos. Meaning: popular YouTubers are currently getting hit with a huge reduction in their ad revenue. Now we all are extremely lucky not to have to pay for YouTube and to get to watch all of that content created for free. The least we can do is help in any way we can. If you don’t have any money: like it, share it, and comment on it, and support other work they do (where they haven’t been demonetized) such as listening to their podcast, liking their Instagrams, etc.. If you do have money: buy their merchandise or support their channel via separate sites such as Patreon. Some of you might be thinking “Ah, they make too much money anyway”. But they work for that money. They take hours out of their day to create and they push to meet deadlines just like everybody else.
Another big portion of YouTube is collaborating. This is a great example of a way to boost your friends/peers up. And it doesn’t have to be as specific as doing a video together. For example, I write a blog. If anyone were to read my posts and decide that they support what I’m doing they could reach out and become a feature. Whether they are someone in a similar industry that I could interview, someone who’s learning the ropes so I could critique their work, or someone who has their own side talent that they would want to mesh with mine. The great thing about graphic design is we are familiar with all types of media so collaborating with another artist could mean some seriously cool stuff. Below is an awesome video of what happens when a tattoo artist and a gold-leaf painter collaborate:
This is a huge thing for graphic designers and freelancers. I would say the majority of the time, when we get a new client it’s from a referral. Sometimes, our work speaks for itself and people who see it ask who created it. Other times, someone will be asking for a recommendation and that is your chance to mention people that you believe in. My sister does eyelash extensions in downtown Vancouver and that’s the type of thing women my age talk about a lot. If it’s worth it, how much it costs, and where to go. This is my opportune moment to hit them with the pride I have in my sister and let them know she is worthy to go to as a Lash Extension Master (that is the actual job title, I swear*)
Something people that aren’t in a digital industry often overlook is giving credit where it’s due. Every little bit of meta tagging and information you can provide helps someone. If you take a photo in a restaurant, tagging your location will help their business. Anyone who sees that delicious ice cream with a cookie crumble in the fancy new joint wants to know what it’s called so they can go there. Same goes with people. If I was with you at a networking event and we ended up in a photo together, it would greatly benefit me to be tagged in that photo. It’s sort of an indirect referral. We choose to follow people we know and people we trust. So when they post a photo with someone they are comfortable with, the audience indirectly already has a bit of trust in that person. Which is an excellent starting point to business.
So next time you see one of your favourite creatives posting, support them the best way you can. And if you see a friend or peer working hard to push their work through the infinite vacuum of the internet – give them a boost with some of these tips. The smallest of interactions can mean the world to someone who is just starting out. Likewise, what goes around comes around. You never know when in the future they could return the favour.
If you have someone that you think deserves more recognition than they are getting – leave their links in the comments and I will take a look. One creative that I think could use a lot more love (again a YouTuber, you see a pattern here) is Paul Goodyear who just uploaded a video for the first time in a while yesterday:
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