#005 The Gap and Getting Better Clients
Common Discourse Weekly Briefing
Common Discourse is a weekly briefing designed to help others (and myself) think through creativity, focus, and intentional work. I send this newsletter out every Monday at 9:17am. To receive future briefings, sign up below.
Black Lives Matter
I took last week off from this newsletter to listen, learn, and respond to the recent acts of murder rooted in racial injustice against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others.
I think many of us, if we’re being completely honest, realize in these moments how ignorant we are. We ask questions like…
What if I say the wrong thing? Is what I see on Twitter impacting my view on what I believe about the severity of racism? Should I go protest? Should I share something on Instagram? What if I just stay out of it?
White people and people of white-adjacency (like myself) have stayed silent for too long as we watch friends and allies of the black community suffer under the fist of racist state-sanctioned violence.
So Black lives really do matter. And they matter enough to say & do something about it. It’s a small start but here are some steps I’m taking to shift my mindset and complacency about systemic racism in modern America.
At MOUTHWASH we’re gearing up to implement change in how we make room for diversity and enable members of the Black community to take part in what we’re doing. This means more Black collaborators. If you’re a maker of any sort, please get in touch with me. We want to work with you in order to make studio projects come to life ($$$), or we just want to tell the world about what you’re doing through our journal and podcasts.
I’ve partnered with Mackenzie in the ongoing efforts of her brand, PDA. The plan was to always drop the first collection of clothing on June 1st, and instead of changing that plan with the world’s events, we shifted our focus. All pieces sold out in 7 minutes, allowing us to donate over $1,000 to Black Lives Matter.
Over the last week, I’ve been collecting a lot of resources from the internet in order to educate myself on racism and racial injustice. You can see all of what I’ve been consuming here.
Ideas from me:
I. The Gap
The gap between what you make currently and what you wish to make is an important thing.
If the gap closes, we never become better artists. But if we don’t find ways to push through moments of doubt, anxiety, and pressure then we give up before we ever achieve some of the things we’ve always dreamed of.
Focus less on closing the gap completely and more on how to maintain a healthy distance.
II. Getting Better Clients
It's common to think that every potential business opportunity is a 50/50 chance that we land on left or right side of the spectrum. But our businesses aren't victim to a randomizer selection of clients ranging from generous to temperamental.
Whether it’s the work in our existing portfolio or the questions we ask before we accept a project, there are measures we can take to help us land better clients.
Are we eliminating projects from our book that we don't enjoy doing and adding more of what we want to do?
Is this client looking for a designer that knows how to operate Illustrator so they can tell them what to do? Or are they looking for somebody that can help them make decisions? The difference could change your entire experience.
Also, what is the benefit to having better clients? They trust your ideas, stay away from micromanaging, pay on time, and want you to do work you’re proud of.
You'll find that working with good people is worth more than most any dollar amount. Our job isn't to say yes to everything, but rather focus on what we're good at and ultimately what matters. The only thing more important than getting clients at all is to position ourselves to win over the type of clients we want to work with.
Quote from somebody else:
Yes, protests often are used as an excuse for some to take advantage, just as when fans celebrating a hometown sports team championship burn cars and destroy storefronts. I don’t want to see stores looted or even buildings burn. But African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer. Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands. But we have to stay vigilant, because it’s always still in the air.
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Favorite links this past week:
🌁 Two weeks ago, Melanie shared with me a postcard pack that she made during quarantine. She’s donating 20% of profits to No Us Without You, which are feeding families of undocumented restaurant staff. Go support!
🖤 Public Display of Affection sold out in 7 minutes and we’re donating 100% of profits to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles. With the positive response, we’re sure to be making more at PDA so follow along.
🎸 One of my favorite bands released a live album. You can stream it for free or pay-what-you-want to own a version of the project. All income is donated to Black Lives Matter.
🎥 Shotdeck is the most impressive library of stills from feature films. Easy to search as well. Sign up for beta to save time pulling references.
Thanks for reading!
My name is Alex Tan and this is my newsletter. I’m a maker & educator, I created MOUTHWASH with my friends, and I own way too many white sneakers. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram.
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