A look back at 2018

So, back in the last day of 2018 we decided it was a good idea to meet and discuss our first year as a studio, to actually look at our process and progress, to see what worked and what definitely didn’t, and to plan our next year.

We looked back to how we started, all those initial months until we got the first clients, and what to do to keep growing and get our dream projects.
We had prepared for this meeting, each of us creating a list of things that hadn’t worked so well, how to work on them or cut them, and ideas for growth and evolution. Funnily, we both wrote essentially the same things, and our ideas actually complemented each other, which was great because it was proof we were on the same page!

Firstly, we talked about our biggest project, that we’d been fully invested in for a month, and realized that everything else in our lives had stopped because of it. We were exhausted and burnt out, so we discussed how to avoid it happening again, or else we’d go crazy every time we had a big project. We defined a process, from the initial communication with the client to the way we structure our weekly schedule. From now on, we’ll make ourselves stop and rest every week, even if it’s just an afternoon off, even if it means reducing our working hours. We’ll force ourselves to remember: it’s okay not to do everything today, there’s still time tomorrow.

We also decided we’ll plan our weeks in a way that leaves space for other projects, and for internal work, so that we’re not completely absorbed by one project only.

We can’t stop working on the studio and on personal growth.

This starts another topic we both had listed: we can’t stop working on the studio and on personal growth. What does this mean? When we started, we spent some months without getting any clients. With so much free time, we dedicated ourselves to creating lots of content for social media, we researched and read a lot, we created fictional clients and projects to develop skills and build a portfolio, we built our own website, and we were present in many freelance platforms, being very active and getting our name out there.
Well, it’s embarrassing to say this, but once we started getting clients it all stopped. We were so happy to finally get work that we forgot everything else, and that is so wrong! We went from 2 to 3 weekly posts to maybe 1, sometimes none! We rarely ever read now, we never visited those platforms anymore, we stopped researching, learning and practicing new skills, and we never completed all the extra features we had planned for our website.
After realizing how wrong this is, we decided that in 2019 we’d always save a percentage of our weekly working hours to internal work, no matter what it is. It can be only 30 minutes reading, finishing an online course, or even planning and creating content for social media, as long as we do something every week.

After planning and defining those goals, we actually talked about all the clients we had in 2018 and what each one had brought. So, we decided to, in each new project proposal we get, to ask ourselves some questions to understand what the project means to us: is it exactly the work I want to do in the future? if not, is it really worth money-wise? does it create or strengthen our relationship with the client, which might be good in the future? What if it doesn’t any of the questions above? What would happen if we said no?

some of our field trips in 2018 (Coimbra and Guimarães)

After everything we discussed, we felt so proud of ourselves and actually accomplished for everything we did last year, and the evolution we felt now discussing it. We felt so good in the end, that we actually decided to do a smaller reflection in the end of each month, to talk about what we did, what went well and what didn’t work, and to actually plan the month after, and to write it down, so that one year from now we can look back and — hopefully — see how much we’ve evolved since then.

We’ll document our journey, and we hope you join us and find there helpful, even if it’s by learning what NOT to do!

‘Till next month,