Creating Challenges For Creatives

Creating Challenges as Creatives - Studio 404

I talked about this a little in this week’s mail drop about how I felt a bit naked discussing some of last week’s topics (specifically this thing). (I also just noticed a huge grammar error in that newsletter. Sorry friends!) However, getting beside myself, I’m learning to create challenges for myself. I truly believe creating challenges for yourself, getting outside of your comfort zone, and doing something you’ve never done before is the best way to grow as a creative (or person for that matter). I’m going to chat a bit today about getting outside of that comfort zone and how I’ve broken myself in two to create things.

Sorry guys, this might be lengthy so I’ll round this up at the bottom!

Growing From Experiences

Last Saturday, I listened to a friend talk about learning from experiences. He raised a very excellent point about how simple it would be to just go to the school of life (hard knocks) , learn about every difficult situation you’re going to face and how to deal with them, and graduate with the knowledge you need to go through life without experiencing hardships.

I would have been the first in line to sign up because learning life lessons isn’t fun. No one wants to go through life and have unexpected events happen that sometimes break us. It’s true that we do grow from these experiences but usually they’re extremely painful. How often do you think “If I’d only known what I know now.”? When did we become our parents in this sense?

As a creative business owner, I have had my fair share of bad projects. I’ve learned to create a solid contract, implement visual timelines, and communicate clearly with my clients.  Without those poor experiences (which  probably could have been avoided with a few courses in business management), I would not have been able to amplify my design-build process into a steady process that helps my clients flourish.

Challenge Yourself

With all of life’s challenges, why would you want to challenge yourself? Why would you create an environment to make yourself uncomfortable? Why would you want to feel uneasy about your work?

Experience Self-Implemented Growth

When you take initiative to learn something new, it creates a sense or pride in yourself that you cannot get anywhere else. You pushed yourself to do something new. You succeeded in completing a goal. You allowed yourself to be vulnerable. The credit for the growth you experience from self-implemented challenges only goes to yourself. Not only is worth being proud of, it’s admirable. It’s admirable to be a creative who steps out of their comfort zone because creatives usually rely heavily on their feelings. It’s difficult to create when you feel uncomfortable and breaking that taboo opens you up to a world of opportunities.

Pushing Your Boundaries

We all have our limits. My limit for my design work for years was web only. I refused to design for print. After taking a marketing role, I realized 90% of the work I created would be for print and it terrified me. In that year, I designed business cards, fliers, posters, folders, banners, product labels, pen designs, and other things. My boundaries shortly shifted from the web, to paper, to products, and so forth. Challenging yourself is the best way to push yourself outside of the boundaries you’ve created for your work.

Create Your Challenge

What are you unhappy with in your creative life? For me, I’m learning to sell myself, my services, and now my paper shop. Guess what? I’m not doing so great! People who are able to sell themselves online are my heroes because I don’t seem to be doing that so well. When I was creating my goals for Studio 404, I knew my biggest concern was my ability to sell and it would be my challenge. Find out what you need to become a better version of yourself. Once you’ve identified a few things you struggle with, set a plan in motion. Learn to manage your goals and expectations of yourself.

No Excuses Necessary

Eliminate negatives in your daily processes while working through your challenges while being realistic about where you are in the process. No, I’m not doing great at selling myself online but I know I have the ability to do so. I cannot resolve to depending on my failures to quit trying to reach my goals. Surround yourself with people who will not allow you to fail yourself. If you allow yourself to give into excuses you create, you are more likely to give into excuses others give you. Don’t sell yourself short. You deserve to succeed.

Just to conclude, I’ve put together a smaller guide to just wrap this all up into bullet points but at least challenge yourself to do something new this year!

Creating Challenges Guide

In other news, I’ve added the below Hello Pattern card to the shop which you may remember from this wallpaper! I’ve also done some shipping adjustments so it might be a little easier to get a card to your mailbox. 🙂

Hello Pattern Card - Studio 404

Photo Copyright Studio 404

What have you been challenging yourself with lately?



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Angelica Yarde
My name is Angel Yarde. I am a designer, front-end developer, and speaker. I am the editor and designer of Studio 404 whic was founded in December 2006. In January 2014, I launched Studio 404 Paper, a paper shop which includes type-focused greeting cards, note cards, and prints. I currently reside in Celebration, Florida where I co-own a branding strategy studio, Sevenality, with my husband.
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  1. I can’t not even say how many things are right with what you said. I just hope lots of people read this post and absorb what you’ve shared, because it was gold! 🙂

  2. Finding your weaknesses is hugely important to success. I appreciate you sharing your own weakness of not being able to sell yourself. I am not very good at that, either, but I’m constantly reading on how to improve my game at selling products and services. In other news- your hello card is adorable!

  3. One of my favorite quotes is “Smooth seas do not make good sailors” and it’ s so true but going through rough times, whether as a creative or just as a person in general, is so not fun. However, if I’m able to come out of those bad experiences and analyze what I learned from it, I’m for the better.

    Definitely challenging myself and not taking excuses has helped me grow and push my comfort zone. I’m glad that you were able to share your own weakness and I know that you’ll be able to improve on it! I know I have to expand my reach as well.

    On another note, I’m loving your hello card! I’m wondering if you’re making them in different color schemes as well?

  4. This right here is exactly what I’ve been thinking of lately: “I cannot resolve to depending on my failures to quit trying to reach my goals.” Creative writing is one of my main passions, and I often have a bunch of ideas swirling around in my head. However, I usually end up tossing them because I come up with excuses for myself. But this year, I’m all about chasing after my dream without excuses. Thank you for this post! It’s great to read a similar opinion about the creative mind, and how we should go forth. Inspiring Angel! 🙂

  5. This is so absolutely crucial to reflect on Angel! I think I usually see challenging ourselves as a cycle with days that you learn a lot and days where it just feel like you can push through the barriers. Thank you for sharing!

  6. This is all such sound advice, Angel. I think finding your weaknesses is probably the hardest for me, because of my fear of failure. But really, when we confront those areas of ourselves, our creative nature is able to thrive better because we work out solutions and, like you said, challenge ourselves! 🙂 Hope you’re having a good weekend!

  7. Love love love this post! I sat in on a similar session at Alt Summit a few weeks back and my eyes are wide open. 😉
    Thanks for sharing this.

  8. These are great challenges! I often find myself missing the challenges and collaboration that I had from other designers when I was in school… now that I work from home (and for myself) I’ve noticed that my creativity isn’t what it used to be. This post is exactly what I needed to restart my creative juices…

    • Lenore, thank you for your comment! I hear this often from designers who studied in school and I wonder what the equivalent of the collaboration/communication can be from freelance designers.

  9. This is wonderful. Much more in-depth than my Comfort Zone post. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment 🙂 Also, love love love the “hello” design!

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