Focus on your Strengths

I’ve been catching up on blog reading over the past few days. I follow a gazillion blogs – design blogs, lifestyle blogs, fashion blogs, crafty blogs, food blogs – and due to travel, work…life, I haven’t been keeping up with them. Three days ago, I had over 900 unread posts in my feed reader. I’m now down to about 20 (yay!).

I just finished reading an interview with creative director Joy Thigpen on Design*Sponge. She’s a wedding stylist, so not quite the same career as me, but I still enjoyed reading her interview and found her to be very relatable. Some of the advice she gives and personal lessons she learned are very reassuring to me as an artist because they are things I’m just now learning, implementing, or experiencing.

Here’s a quote that stuck out to me most:

“You have to focus on your strengths and learn to manage your weaknesses. Every market is competitive. You’re only going to pull ahead if you are able to work in your sweet spot. It’s nice because it’s your best shot at both success and happiness. I work to enrich my life as much as others. I love doing what I do…and it helps others achieve their dreams — even better. When I have to spend too much time doing the parts I don’t like everything suffers — the work, my attitude, etc. And me, struggling to work in my weaknesses cannot compete with another person who is rocking it in their zone. At the beginning you have to do everything yourself and that’s fine and good. You need to learn a basic understanding of how every part works. But at the very earliest moment possible start outsourcing the things you don’t like so that those things can be done better and you will be freed up to do the things you do best.”

I recently made the decision to start outsourcing web development. My college degree is in interactive design, so yes, I can code a website. It’s not necessarily what I enjoy doing, though, and it’s not my strength. My joy comes from designing. I value my knowledge about development because it’s a huge help in designing user interfaces…understanding how it all works and what’s possible, but I’d rather pass along my design to a passionate developer rather than code it myself. I feel that by outsourcing, I can put my all into design. I can design things that maybe I couldn’t code, but a “real” developer certainly could. I’m also more confident delivering the final product, knowing that it will have integrity — a developer who is an expert in development, as opposed to a designer who has some development skills, is likely going to create a more structurally sound, neatly coded website. Yes, I’m personally earning less money per project than I did when I did the development myself, but I’m happier in my work, and I can take on more projects since I have that extra time that would be spend doing development.

Be sure to head over to Design*Sponge to read the rest of her interview!

**edit: The next article I read following the one I posted about here also discussed outsourcing so you can focus on your strengths. The interview is with Lucy Feagins of The Design Files. Here’s a quote:

“There is plenty of stuff I am not great at (book keeping, photography, graphic design) and I have found it is SO much better to outsource those things. The end result is always better when I do.”

Perhaps a sign that I’m making the right decision? :D

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