Failure and forcing yourself
It’s hard to get over your own laziness and invest time into things that you often don’t feel like doing. When we started Bureau Clarté, we wanted to be transparent and share our process and deliver regular updates to you. What is it like running a studio as recent graduates? How do we run our business? What are our achievements, our failures?
One of our biggest failures is certainly that – we haven’t been exactly transparent or given you many updates. We’ve fallen into the motivation trap that is a blog: when creating a website, many people and companies often feel like they want a blog to deliver updates, in order to be able to drive more people to their website, create trust and loyalty, or convert more visitors to customers.
But what’s worse than not having a blog? A blog that’s never updated.
Time and expectations
Even minor updates, like posting something new on Instagram, can take a lot of time. If you want to carefully organise your feed, you not only have to plan things out in advance, but you have to edit your image, crop it, sometimes create a mock-up, write a text and include hashtags, and finally post it to Instagram, as well as respond to possible reactions. As a one-off event, it’s done relatively fast. But repeating it and trying to grow an audience takes more time.
As for writing articles (and designing corresponding imagery), those can take up to several hours and are, in terms of income and business strategy, relatively inconsequential. None of our clients have found us via our blog nor have they mentioned it – and why would they? It’s pretty empty, and as long as it stays that way, it will remain a self-fulfilling prophecy. Only once we’re able to update it more regularly, and provide value, will we be able to see growth and, maybe one day, become known as the “transparent design studio”.
So how can you get over the hurdle that is the lack of time and motivation? I, for one, can’t. At least not really – that’s why I have to force myself. Don’t get me wrong, we’re well able to deliver client projects on schedule and regularly work on self-initiated projects too. But both of these things pay the bills and let us do what we’re originally in the design world for: design. However, taking the extra step to maintain our brand’s web presence is a little different, as it involves both another kind of work and sacrificing more time outside of the usual working hours.
If you have the same problem as we do, have you tried applying strict rules and outside pressure to yourself? Let me play a little into the corresponding stereotype and tell you that I’m a vegetarian, without you really me asking about it. I was a vegan for multiple years and, despite it being a very restrictive diet, it was relatively easy for me. Why? Because it involves a simple rule that’s easy to keep track of – don’t eat or buy anything animal-related. As soon as I made a few exceptions on a vacation for simplicity’s sake, I stopped being a vegan and became just a regular vegetarian, never fully returning to the vegan lifestyle. Once you’re out, you’re out.
Letting go of your rules – your framework – can make you give up on the entirety of it. Some of the members of Bureau Clarté have been posting daily design work on our personal Instagram accounts, specifically designed to expand our skillset and possibly increase the amount of followers we have. This was typically done for only a few weeks at a time because other priorities came up and – you guessed it – updates after that period became scarce. But because we did it together and motivated/forced each other to do it, and also announced our plans to the world, it’s much easier to keep going, even if you don’t have much motivation in you left at the end of the day.
So how does this affect the future of Bureau Clarté? Well, we’re back on the daily grind – but instead of creating more design work outside our working hours, we’re dedicating our time to our web presence and marketing in general. One day we’re working on an article, another day we’ll be posting something on Instagram, the next day we might launch a campaign to gain a few more leads. We hope you’re along for the ride and we’ll see you in the next article in the not too distant future!