End is the New Beginning

Year-end reflection

This year has been very educational and meaningful for me and I’m positive that better things are coming in 2016. While a lot of people are preparing their lists of Resolutions, I wanted to reflect first on what this year has taught and given me. All of the things I’ve been through and the lessons that will help and guide me to keep pushing forward.

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I was a person who likes to talk about ideas and say big words, but never took action when it really counts the most. I accomplished very few things because I brag more rather than work my ass off and make it happen. I was a dreamer that lacked motivation to actually do the things that I wanted to do, because the truth is, I really don’t have a clue about the reality of how things are done “Freelance” style, and I kept comparing myself to others who have done so much and ended up criticizing them because I hate myself for not being able to achieve what I set out to do years ago. I got used to being spoon-fed and I never took initiative nor cared what the outcome would look like as long as I did my job and was compensated.

A lot has happened since I started Freelance and one of the realisation is that indeed, talk and ideas are cheap if you can’t turn them into reality. I started caring more for the process and the end result of the project, and learned to embrace revisions as part of the transition in design. I’ve learned to voice out and communicate my ideas better in the form of educating clients on my methods and how I work. I’ve been doing and creating more things now, and able to talk about it later, which used to be the other way around.

There will always be failures, disappointments and frustrations. There will be more sleepless nights and challenges ahead but I know I‘ll be able to overcome them because 2015 is the year I knew myself better of what I do best, and what to do next when things gets a little off-balanced. 2015 has given me the confidence I need to stay on the path I’ve started 3 years ago which is Freelancing.

I’m only just getting warmed up and somehow, I’ve started to get the hang of the life of being a Freelance Visual Director and Designer and here’s some of it:

Furnishing Project Proposals

The project starts when a deal has been closed, so it really comes down to whether my Leads are interested in doing business with me when they see my proposal. I’ve revised my project proposal several times this year and I’m continuously simplifying and improving my Terms and Conditions for my future clients, and be direct and as easy to understand as much as possible to avoid any confusion in the future. Along with the proposal are sets of schedule of when payment should be made and deliverables they can expect every two weeks.

Planning the whole duration of the project ranging from 2 to 6 months or even a year can be very exhausting, but once I’ve laid out the schedule of the deliverables, it makes it easier for me to keep track of the things that needs to be done. I never cared for any of the legalities before but if I want to protect both myself and my work, learning to create proposals and agreements that won’t scare my prospect clients away is a must. This also helps me and my clients to clarify both our responsibilities and have a safe legal way out when things get ugly.

Promoting my work

I’ve managed how to creatively promote my work and myself with the help of today’s social media. I post less of the personal dramas and focus more on the things I create, and things informative and educational for design reference.

Posting my works online is like throwing bottles with messages in the ocean and hoping for the right client to find it. Thus, I developed an outlook of which I tell myself that “My work doesn’t have to be popular, it just have to reach the right people.

The Email routine

I’ve gotten used to checking my emails in the morning and before going to bed. I used to hate reading emails before, but there’s no one who’d do it for me on a regular basis. Reading 10 to 15 emails minimum a day hoping for feedback of a closed deal is somewhat exciting and scary.

There’s also the part where I get emails regarding proposal rejections and project revisions where I have to answer back in the most clear and polite-mannered way no matter how pissed-off I am. I‘m religiously practicing proper etiquettes on how to start and end a conversation, and be quick on what I really want to say because every second I waste is a time I could have spent in work.

I’ve learned to appreciate more what I do

As someone who visualise, design and create, I always have this certain attachment to certain projects. That attachment is what makes me proud and responsible for what I make, being able to be there from start to finish gives me a sense of parenthood to care for the project, long after I’ve licensed the design. If you’re a Visual Designer, you know that every minute of figuring out what works best is a lot more difficult than the actual designing part. The time and effort I put into projects are my life spent that can never be brought back. My work is my life because I love what I do, and I intend to keep it that way.

Technically, my work can remotely be done anywhere as long as there’s internet connection. Not everyone has the privilege to stay at home, be there for your family 24/7 and still be able to provide for them financially. It’s one of my source of happiness and it’s what motivates me to get up in bed every morning.

First time for everything

This year was one of the memorable moments of my career since I started Freelance because this is the year I’ve somewhat gotten the hang of it — the art of negotiations, continuous promoting and getting featured online for my work. 2015 is also the year I got to be a Guest Speaker.

And this last day of 2015, for the first time, I wrote an article here at Medium.

I know I’ve barely scratched the surface, but thankfully I’ve taken the first step of becoming good, if not great, at what I intend to do for the rest of my life. I look forward to creating more design projects in the future and writing my next piece here.

Farewell 2015, and thank you.


Marlon Mayugba
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Interdisciplinary creative focusing on brand visual identity, and in building contemporary, idea-driven graphic design experience. Work includes full branding design scope such as logo design & development, design collateral, packaging, signage, illustration, front-end web design & development, product photography, etc.

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