My heartbeat quickened and I drew in a shaky breath of sticky Savannah air. It was so early in the morning, the sun hadn’t risen to burn off the dense fog. Sweat rolled down my back. The ballistic vest rested heavily on my shoulders, and the mask I wore didn’t help. Time seemed to slow as took slow, intentional breaths. My mind cleared and my senses heightened. I felt a small squeeze on my shoulder — it was time.

The weight of the ram in my hands seemed to lighten, and the grass squished beneath my feet as I glided…

I’m scared of heights. But that’s not what this is about.

I’m going through a little bit of self-discovery. Probably because, for the first time in nearly 10 years, I have room to think. I’ve spent the last decade so focused on the journey, I haven’t had the mental capacity or space to really consider what’s important: the why.

You guys know I talk a lot about work ethic. The hashtag #hustleharder is overrepresented in my social channels. But I’m not blowing smoke. In the last 3,650 days, I have:

  • Scored an incredible design internship
  • Graduated with a degree in Media Arts
  • Landed full time job as a designer
  • Been promoted…

Working on UpWork? You need to read this.

We’ve all been there. Upwork, eLance, Freelancer or other platforms are easy ways to kickstart a freelancing gig. Many of us, myself included, got our start with Upwork (well, it was oDesk back then). The clients are all there, they’ve outlined exactly what they want, and they’ve told you how much they expect to pay. Seems like an ideal situation, right? Almost like going fishing at the aquarium: everything is transparent and everyone is on the same playing field.

But after a few projects, Upwork begins to become uncomfortable, and you realize…

You’ll never make enough money on Upwork.

It’s sad. But it’s true. …

Why Tribes Matter More Than Demographics

The internet has changed the ways we connect with each other (and no, we’re not talking about Facebook memes). It has created a place for people with very unique interests to interact with each other with very little difficulty. This easy connection has given rise to tribes: groups of people linked together by common interests, philosophies, or experiences.

These tribes can be broad (new moms, outdoor enthusiasts, Apple fans), or incredibly narrow (people who really, really like a certain brand of leggings). Tribes are connected with each other, with the beliefs they share, and with the brands that support their…

One year ago today, my life changed. Now, before half of you abandon ship, this is not a fairy tale. This isn’t a ‘Five Easy Ways to Make Your Dreams Come True’ post. And actually, this saga isn’t really even about something that happened to me. This is a story about a simple decision I repeatedly made that yielded incredible results.

This hero’s challenge, however, began a few years earlier.

I am a designer by trade. At that time, my freelance career had grown to the point where I could support my two-person family — barely, but I thought I…

Ben Burns

Digital and Creative Director. Award-winning designer. Father of the year. Youtuber. Proud member of The Futur. You can probably find me anywhere by MrBenBurns.

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