Charting a freelance career, lessons from Seth Godin

Charting a freelance career, lessons from Seth Godin


I completed Seth Godins brilliant Freelancer Udemy Course. Really made me reflect on what I’m doing with my freelance career, who I want to work with and what I want to be known for.

Check it out :).



Moment– a moment in time, where is the moment

Management– who is your boss? you are, manage your career

Department- biz to biz, find the right department

Movement- can you create one?

Agreement- you are more likely to make a difference they are happy to see

Environment- you get to pick

Persistent- showing up and staying, being respectful

Consistent- Find a tool and use it and use it even after it bores you

Potent- thing that really matters

Statement- what is your point of view, what do you stand for?

Investment- what are you investing in your work? What lifetime value?

Argument- objections are your friend, listen!

Equipment- better be good enough, doesn’t matter what equipment you use, how does it make us feel?

Element- are you in your element, or floundering

Comment- what do they say when they talk about you

Document- write down what you do

Excrement- every once in a while your gonna step in it, what are you going to do? That’s how we’ll judge you

Assessment- when you look at a problem assess it

Improvement- opportunity not a threat

Achievement- what do yours look like? what stories do you tell and what do you ship?

Instrument- we’ve all been given one, commit and persist


Time & connection, Seth Godin

Time & connection, Seth Godin

Fantastic interview with Seth Godin on the On being podcast by Krista Tippet.
I listened to this a while ago when I first heard about Seth Godin and the insights were just mind opening.
Here’s a snippet:
“The view not based on scarcity but abundance. The thing we don’t have enough of is connection, we’re lonely, and we don’t have enough time. If people can offer us connection and meaning in a place where we can be our best selves we will seek that out.
No, it doesn’t help you build a big profitable company but, yes it helps you make a better difference to the community you’ve chosen to live in.”
Even months later I’m still thinking about time and connection as the highest value commodities today. We just don’t seem to have enough of either in the West.
Weeks learnings/ discoveries 29.04.15

Weeks learnings/ discoveries 29.04.15

I love this collection of photographs of famous artists and their studios. It’s fascinating to see how the spaces they work in.
I signed up for Seth Godin’s course for Freelancer Course on Udemy. I’m looking forward to learning pearls of wisdom from him.
Seth Godin’s post on overcoming irrational fears. ‘Habits are more powerful than fears.’
Great interview with Mark Zuckerberg at the Y Combinator 2012.
I recently discovered the Jungalow, the beautiful blog by Justina Blakeney. It’s an inspirational design blog with some great tips like how to style shelves with personality.
Some lovely style options for natural haircuts on Huffington Post.
Yes! 7 posts, 7 days!

Yes! 7 posts, 7 days!

Day 7: What are you taking with you from this Challenge?
By Grace M
I’m so happy I did the Your Turn challenge. It was brilliant for so many reasons. Seeing all the posts, feeling like I was part of something bigger. Part of a community. It was such a pleasure to see what people wrote, I learned a lot and smiled a lot, and felt a lot. People were so honest in their posts. So what will I take away?
1. I’ve learned not to be afraid of revealing myself. I’ve been so worried with my blog about just how much of myself I want to show but in this challenge helped me break that fear. I revealed parts of myself I usually keep quiet and I showed some of my designs. 
2. I identified something about myself that’s unique. The teach us something you’re good at day, was the hardest for me. I couldn’t think of anything. Then round 11pm, it suddenly struck me I’m good at being happy. People always comment on it but I’ve never really thought about it. No matter how upset or stressed out I am can find a laugh and I can find hope. 
3. I learned that I can be consistent and I can make the time. Even when I was swamped with work and tired I still managed to pull the motivation to write a post. Now I just have to take these principles and apply it to everything else I’ve been procrastinating on.
4. I learned to ship. Having the deadline everyday, motivated me to create something new everyday and ship everyday.
Thanks Winnie, Seth and the rest of the Your Turn Challenge team!
Because I can

Because I can

By Grace M

Day 6: Tell us about a time when you surprised yourself

Today. I surprised myself today by writting this post. I’ve had the longest day, I was running a workshop all day, then had a shift at my service job. And I’m knackered and aching. I didnt think i’ll be able to write today. I’d usually give up at this point, with one excuse or another. I have no time. It won’t be perfect. But i’m determined to complete the Your Turn challenge.

Because I can

P.s i almost forgot to actually ship

The shower principle

The shower principle

Day 4
by Grace M
I’m determined not to miss a day of the Your Turn Challenge, no matter how busy or swamped I feel.
The three things I’ve noticed help me get unstuck
1. The Shower principle (as the brilliant 30 rock episode calls it). It is moments of inspiration that occur when you are distracted from the problem at hand. For me I definitely get my “best” ideas in the shower. My mind can wander and explore different solutions for the problem.  For some people the shower principle is taking a familiar walk, or dive. I remember listening to a Nerdist podcast where the Farrelly Brothers writing their movies whilst taking long road trips. It’s because your mind is in a relaxed state you’re doing something you’ve done before.
2. 90 minutes brainstorming time, preferably in the morning. I usually go to a cafe, with just a sketchbook and pen. Set a timer and force myself to focus on the problem for that time. I learned about this from the brilliant talk on creativity by John Cleese.
3. Explaining the idea to someone else. As they say two minds are better than one. At university, the studio was perfect for this, just being able to talk through a problem and see it from a different perspective.
Laugh at everything

Laugh at everything


Day 4: Teach us something that you do well

I found this question the hardest. I know I can do things like making models, or graphics well but they don’t seem like special skills. It’s taken me ages to work it out but it just hit me. Something i do well is laugh. I smile at everything. It’s got to the point now where I smile at people without realising it.

I am notorious for my loud, tinkling laugh. At university people would tell me they could hear me laughing from the other side. Or I would turn a corner and they would tell me they’d heard me laughing before they’d seen me. I don’t know why I laugh or smile so much. My grandmother was the same and my mother and siblings are the same.

I don’t know how to teach laughter. The only thing I can say is laugh at everything. Most things in life are funny. Try it even for one day, it’ll change you and the people around you.

Miss Mag- Femininity in design

Miss Mag- Femininity in design

Miss- Mag- Miss Talks

Founded by two AA students Vera Van Gool and Mary Wang from a frustration about the lack of discourse on femininity in design. Miss Mag Miss Mag a lovely platform used to promote female talent in the creative industry, no matter how big or small. I particularly love the quirky informal formats they use from tea time talks to talks over dinner. The videos can be found here.

I look forward to seeing how Miss Mag develops.


Vere Van Gool (AA 5th Year) and Mary Wang

Founders of MISS

A great interview where they talk about how it came about can be found here


Alternative Architecture

Alternative Architecture


Image: by Grace M
By Grace M
Day 3: Tell us about something that you think should be improved
I believe that our built environment should be improved and in order for that to happen the makers of our built environment, the architects, urban planners, educators need to consider how design can empower communities and enable a self sufficient future. I was going to write a really long post on how emails should be improved (I feel like I currently spend half my time writing or answering emails). But hearing the news of Architecture for Humanity closing inspired me to write this post. It is a sad occasion. They like the social visionaries of the 50’s and 60’s practiced and promoted an architecture for the people.
Currently one-third of the population live in slums, yet the architecture profession serves only 1% of the worlds population. The wealthiest 1%. Architects are currently under the thumbs of property developers, pushing for profit. Public spaces are being privatised with the building of shopping malls, offices. Housing is getting smaller and smaller. As architect and educator, Jeremy Till says we live in an age of the capitalist production of space. Where long-term social impacts are sacrificed for short-term economic imperatives.
My Current frustration that almost none of my architect or urban designer friends, talk of the end-user and how they use the space. The main focus is on the aesthetics. The form, the light, the materials. The icon and the image, instead of people. Yet architecture is the only form of art or design that we cannot get away from.
humans of new york
Some say it’s too much to ask. Architect Zaha Hadid famously commented when asked about the worker deaths on the construction sites in Qatar, “it’s not my duty as an architect to look at it. I cannot do anything about it because I have no power to do anything about it.” But that is not enough. Architecture and city-making at its heart a political and a social practice. Therefore we need to understand our political, social and economic responsibility.
At a OMA exhibition a couple of years ago I saw a quote that has stuck with me since
The role of the creative class should be less receiving, rather broader and more faithful and responsive
– economic call
– social necessity
– moral obligation
So how do we change the profession? Firstly we need to get back to the why instead of starting with the what, as Simon Sinek says in his brilliant TED talk. We need to be a profession with vision and extend our concern from just the ‘icon’ and ‘the image’ to wider social, economic and political issues, which affect design yet are often ignored. We need to prioritise process not the product. Architecture students should be encouraged to be proactive instead of reactive. Getting out there and engaging, without waiting for permission. As designers of the built environment we should think like Muhammad Yunus, when we see spatial problem we should design a solution for it, and the best solution might not be a building. Of course it’s not just architects that need to change but those who commission it to. They also need to act as responsible clients and engaged users.
Although I talk about architects, the ideas also extend to landscape architects, urban planners and all the makers of the built environment.
There is hope. Since graduating I have become a trustee of a humanitarian design organisation and the work I’m seeing and learning about is encouraging. The growth in recent years of ideas and movements such as Public Interest Design, Design Thinking, Pop-up urbanism, humanitarian and social impact design show a wider change to long-term social concern instead of short-term economic ones. I truly believe that if we push hard enough we can make our built environment beautiful and empowering for all people in society regardless of their economic circumstances.
I want to be like my Grandfather

I want to be like my Grandfather

Day 2: Tell us about something that’s important to you

I want to be like my Grandfather. I want to live a life of integrity. When I was younger, I thought I wanted to be as wealthy as possible. I had read rich dad poor dad as a teenager and realised at perhaps too young an age that the word was sqewed towards the wealthy. And I thought that the only way to get heard was to have power and power seemed to come from wealth.
Then my Grandfather passed away 2 years ago and I realised that I wanted to live a life like his. Although I wasn’t able to attend his funeral, I heard stories of the hundreds of people that attended, his children, grand children, students, congregation. He had been a teacher and later on a reverend, not the biggest professions, but his life had had such an impact that even decades after they’d been tutored by him, his students came. They spoke of his influence and encouragement, pushing them to reach for their best.
When I think of my grandfather, I think of integrity, peace and wisdom. He had a mental and spiritual strength, that came with age and wisdom. He was the calmest person I have ever met. Experience had given him a peace that transcends whatever was happening around him. My grandmother was his opposite. A bubbly, happy woman but you could see that their love for each other had only deepened through the decades. But what I remember the most about him was his integrity. He was known for his honesty and strength of character.
I’ve realised that more than money, or whatever else, is living a life where I can look back and realise I’ve lived the best life I could. A life like my grandfathers.  Where I’d made the most of the opportunities presented to me. Where I’d used my talents and skills to serve others. A life filled with love, laughter and integrity.