Danielle Evans
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
I was attracting terrible clients — argumentative and indecisive types that rarely or never paid — which left a poor taste in my mouth after each gig. I thought I was destined to service these kinds of people and wondered why I wasn’t landing high quality jobs. After a round of bad freelance clients and several poor in-house jobs, I realized these situations were my fault. I didn’t believe in my own work enough to say ‘no’ to poor prospects or interview for better gigs. Once I realized this, I made a conscious effort to be bolder and slowly saw better inquiries.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
Be noncommittal. As a young, inexperienced, and self conscious designer, I thought I should to defer to the schedule and preferences of others in a “whatever you think is best” manner. I thought I was being flexible and easy, but I realized I was burdening others by being indecisive. Clients wanted my opinions and a clear window of time in which to schedule meetings.
Be lazy and fearful. Laziness and fear are often cloaked in a similar response: procrastination and a guilt-ridden Netflix marathon. Laziness can manifest as not asking enough questions about a potential gig, sketching the bare minimum, not doing your best on a side project because it’s not paid work. Fear is the societally accepted vehicle for these actions because no one wants to crash and burn. Regardless of motive, the end result is often the same.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
Any mention of finding one’s passion would make me queasy. I had so many interests but didn’t know how to funnel them into umbrella statements like “designer” or “illustrator”.  Finding my passion was more of a journey about what I hated or didn’t like, eventually landing on my career. Trying new things and generally being bold made the most progress on this goal, and I didn’t have to succeed with shareable project to learn this.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
No work after 12:30 am. My eyes are no good, and this burned me countless times as a student, once as a professional. Never again. Always breakfast before a big job and remember to hydrate under hot, studio lights. Finally, I save 2–5% of every jobs as blow money for something fun and treat myself to a nice dinner at the end of a shoot day. If I didn’t intentionally do this, I’d never remember to treat myself for working hard.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
Quitter  by Jon Acuff, isn’t for designers specifically but for people with dreams searching for courage. I had zero confidence in myself and needed someone to pave the way between jobs I tolerated and the life I wanted in a relatable manner. I cried all the way through Art and Fear  by David Bayles and Ted Orland then felt like a champion. They relay the strange duality of creating both ordinary and extraordinary work simply by making.
Danielle answered the questions on May 15, 2015.
The answers were published on May 18, 2015.