Design is a Job, by Mike Monteiro, has been on my list of books to read for at least a year and I finally made some time to read it. Okay, full disclosure, I listened to the audio version, but the whole time I regretted not having a tangible copy to highlight, bend corners, and take notes on. There are so many good nuggets of information in the book that I would recommend any small business owner read it, not just designers. And I am not even talking about the whole chapter that Monteiro devotes to why you need a good contract for your business (yes, it is true!).
Many of the takeaways from his book are lessons that Monteiro learned just by getting out there, doing the work, and learning what works and what doesn’t over time. And generally that is the best way I learn too. But when you are a small business owner, there are so many things vying for your time and attention that it just makes sense to learn from others’ mistakes sometimes.
Here are two things that Monteiro discussed in his book that really resonated with me:
- You are responsible for what you put out in the world. This is so huge! It can be really hard to say no to a paying client in the short term, but whatever your product or service is, it should align with your values and not cause harm.
- Your time is valuable. This is something that I honestly struggle with. In an ideal world, I would be a 100% pro bono attorney. Of course it makes me uncomfortable to ask for money, but when clients come to me they need legal assistance, which is a valuable service that I am providing. And so is the product or service you are providing in your business; therefore, you should be getting paid for the work you are doing. Even if you are running a nonprofit, you are likely providing some sort of benefit to the public, and that value is worth the grants and/or donations the nonprofit receives.
So be mindful of the impact your work has out in the world and make sure you are getting paid for the work you do!