Sara Blake
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
Lack of confidence. I was nervous and constantly insecure about what I did not know, and frustrated that my skill level was far beneath my tastes. And of course, in the beginning I was broke and sleep deprived all the time. Long hours, little pay, no sleep.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
Be a jerk. Refuse to do jobs that s/he thinks are beneath her/him. Rip people off. Be arrogant. You can be confident while also being humble and agreeable. No matter who we are, it’s just a fact that when we start out there’s lots of stuff we don’t know yet. You do, in fact, get a little wiser as you get older. No one likes an overly confident intern.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
“It’s all going to be ok.” In the beginning I was always just scraping by, always hustling and trying to protect myself. I wish I knew it was ok to give a little more. I don’t mean work for free, I mean give your work to the world without seeing it as a cost to yourself or expecting anything in return. I also wish I made sure some of my early clients knew how grateful I was to work with them and for giving me a chance.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
Write out lists and mark self-imposed deadlines on your calendar. I have one to-do list for client work, one list for personal work, one for my personal life and errands, one wish list, one for pending projects, and a whole other set for goals: one month, 3 month, 6 month, year, and 5 years. I also have worked from home for the past few years. I just got a separate office space to divide home from work. It’s made my days incredibly more efficient. It’s important to actually put on real clothes, get out of the house, and occasionally turn your work-brain off after business hours. In general, I think getting yourself in a routine is very important for working happy and effectively. I was starting to feel like Gollom.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work  by Mason Currey, The Shape of Design  by Frank Chimero, I Wonder  by Marian Bantjes.
Sara answered the questions on May 31, 2014.
The answers were published on June 1, 2014.