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Goodbye Design Smarts
Hello everyone, I've been sick for the last couple weeks so I haven't made the attempt to write anything. But I have a few updates for you. First, I launched my new website. Second, a small income update. Keep reading to find out more.
"Should I create a brand name or should I use my real name?"
This was the question I asked myself when I started Design Smarts. At the time I had written a couple articles about design that were fairly well received. Riding that wave of confidence, I decided I wanted to do the "branding" thing right before I wrote any more.
At the time, I saw a lot of freelance designers starting "one person agencies". It's when someone creates a company name and writes on their website about how their team are/is? excited to tackle all your design needs. When in reality, the "team" is one person taking freelancing gigs after work hours.
But it felt like everyone was doing it (good ol' Social Proof) so I decided creating a brand name was what I needed.
Now after 5 years, I'm shutting down Design Smarts and moving everything to joshwayne.com.
In hindsight, I wish I didn't create that brand name. But I learned a lot from the experiment and here's some of what I learned.
Creating a brand name has a lot of benefits: the ability to create a personality separate from yourself, that it's easier to sell, and the certain feeling of legitimacy that comes with a company brand (and the ability to call yourself the Founder and CEO).
But when I reflected on why I actually made the decision, none of that was my reason for doing it.
For anyone who's written something that's gotten semi-popular, you know people come out of nowhere and assume the worst of you. They'll attack you, call you a bad designer (or bad person), and tear your work apart.
So while I could try to justify all the great reasons for doing it, it wasn't the reason. More than anything, I started a separate website because I was afraid of publishing things under my name. The fear of disagreement and the combativeness of our industry made it feel like the smartest decision for my writing.
As time went on, I found myself wanting to write about topics other than UX Design. Things like freelancing, Stoicism, entrepreneurship, psychology, self improvement, product strategy. I found myself saying "oh, I'd love to write about that, but I can't because that's not Design Smarts."
It's ironic the thing that was supposed to make it easier to write was the very thing keeping me from writing.
I convinced myself that I got all of these benefits by creating a company brand but I never thought about what I was giving up.
Not only did I limit myself on what I could write about, I also made it confusing. That became obvious when I had a friend introduce me to another designer by saying "This my friend Josh Wayne but you might know his blog Design Smarts."
Now he obviously didn't recognize my name or my blog but it got me thinking: Why did I spend all this time on a brand just for people to someday recognize the brand name and not the person who wrote it?
I reassessed everything at the beginning of this year. What was working, what wasn't. What I should spend more time on, what I should stop doing and I kept coming back to this brand and what I should do with it.
My old mentor used to say "Fear is what happens when you focus on yourself. How you move past the fear is to focus on helping others."
I made the decision that I'm putting my name on my work. So expect more writing from me in the near future. Because it's not about me.
So, what can I help you with?
💵 Monthly income update
Total Income: $0
Being sick has put everything on hold. So still no progress with making income. I have to get moving if I'm going to hit my goal. My goal for next week is to pick a first product and tell you about it here. Stay tuned.
🖤 Cool Things
📚 Book — The Minimalist Entrepreneur: How Great Founders Do More with Less by Sahil Lavingia
My current read and inspiration for my rebrand. Sahil Lavingia writes about the lessons learned while building Gumroad. It's an excellent read about building businesses differently than the crazy make or break mentality common in Silicon Valley. One of the messages of the book is to "grow yourself and your business mindfully". It's the final push I needed.