My journey began as a designer. Then I started to bring in other designers until I finally figured out I was a business owner. I remember, as a designer, the tension and some of the anxiety of hiring another designer to do my work. I remember waiting for those initial concepts to come in, terrified that they wouldn?t be good enough and I?d have to rescue the project ? worried if they were good enough that it would make me less of a designer. Worry, tension, anxiety. I hope through these words I can help you skip some of that.
To get better you have to let go.
I had reached a point in my business that there was a good amount of work coming in ? too much for me to manage and have the work turn out at the level my clients had come to expect. But I didn?t want to give up the money or control. I held off for a while until I had the wisdom to realize that, if I wanted to be able to serve churches well, I had to let go and bring others into the mix. As I did, it allowed more space for me to grow the business and build relationships. Not only were we able to complete more work, but it was also becoming better work, both because of who we could work with and who was doing the work.
It?s not your work.
As designers, we must throw ourselves into our work. Our ideas and emotions are swirling away and mixing together to create what people see. When you bring another designer in, they too are going to pour themselves into the work. Just as I learned to let go of the emotions as I handed it to a client for critique and hopefully approval, I had to do the same with my designers ? only earlier on. I had to pass the torch to them, otherwise they would simply try to create what was in my head, resulting in a mediocre translation. This is true today in my role as an experience pastor. In leading a team, I have to let go even more and enable my team to take ownership. The more they feel like an owner, whether as a freelancer or employee, the better the work will be.[quote]In leading a team, I have to let go even more and enable my team to take ownership.[/quote]
So choose the right people.
It?s easy to judge a book by its cover and a designer by their portfolio, but there?s no guarantee either will work out in the end. When I was first hiring designers, I judged solely on their work. If they were producing great work, they must be the right pick. Right? But that only tells a part of the story. Don?t hire based on skill. Hire based on chemistry. Skill will certainly play a part in that; after all, A players want to play with A players. But only if they connect. Look for other artists that see not only creativity, but also life and faith through a similar lens. Notice I say similar. Don?t look for your twin; that?s boring. Find someone likeminded that can bring a little something different to the table.[quote]Find someone likeminded that can bring a little something different to the table.[/quote]
And then tell them where to go.
You?ve let go, you?ve handed off the baton to the right person, now tell them where you?re headed. I?ve been on the other end of the stick; I know it doesn?t work if the creative brief is only a few sentences explaining what you need. ?We need a great logo for this name. Go.? That doesn?t work. Help them understand the person behind the request, the goals and nuances, the story they need to tell, and the personality that?s behind it all.
Remember, this is a team sport.
You will find the greatest satisfaction if you don?t treat your designer like a freelancer, but instead a part of your team. As you pass the baton, cheer them on. After it?s all over, continue to find ways to connect with them both as a creative and as a person. Who knows where it will lead? The two of you could be on your way to building a major studio. Your story could be like mine and what starts as a contract position, becomes you transforming an entire department and the DNA of a church.
And I think that?s the most important thing. The most important thing isn?t the work; it?s the people.