Out of all the New Year’s resolutions made each year, only 8% of people actually accomplish those goals. As a designer, it is important to choose a resolution that can help you grow and achieve bigger success over the next year and beyond.
There are some key strategies to making a New Year’s resolution you can keep. You must find something you can commit to and for which you can track progress. Having trouble coming up with the perfect New Year’s resolutions? One really good one is to learn a new skill or two in the coming year that will enhance your work as a designer. There are several things you can do to learn new skills in the New Year.
1. Take an Online Course
One of the simplest ways to learn a new skill to utilize in your design work is to take an online course or two. These courses can be taken from the comfort of your home and completed in your downtime between client projects.
You can take these courses through sites such as Udemy, Lynda or even some universities that offer online courses. For example, you can take a coding class to enhance your PHP design skills. The great thing about online courses is you can find advanced subjects that might not be offered elsewhere from some of the top schools around. At the same time, you can also find budget courses from experienced designers.
2. Sign up at a Local College
Do you have a community college near you? Many such schools offer courses in design or other skills that might help you take your design business to the next level. Even a business course can help you manage your money better and learn how to seek out new customers.
You don’t have to be working toward a degree or post bachelor degree to attend either. Just sign up and take a class here and there as needed to enhance your skills. You might even make a connection or two in a business class and gain new clients from your networking through classroom learning.
3. Find a Mentor
Is there a technique you haven’t learned but have seen in other designs? Seek out a more experienced designer and ask them to mentor you and teach you how to create that look in your own designs. While it is true that you might be competition for one another, many designers — especially ones with an established client base — will still be willing to help you out.
Another idea is to find a business mentor. Seek out a successful service-oriented business person who is not your competition. Ask that person to teach you how to gain more traffic to your site, or perhaps how to retain clients at a higher rate. There are many skills that can help grow your design business. Think about which ones will most help you in the coming year.
Do you know a PR person? Ask them to mentor you in ways to promote your design business. Get the person’s feedback on your design portfolio and what would make it stronger. There are many different types of mentors. Find one that will help you grow and improve as a designer.
4. Trial by Error
One of the best ways to enhance skills you already have is to use them frequently. As you try different techniques, you’ll figure out what works best and what simply doesn’t work in UX designs. You may also want to teach yourself to use software you’ve not tried before by working through free online tutorials.
You can easily learn new skills through trial and error. As you try out new designs, you are almost certain to stumble across new techniques and skills. To develop new skills in the New Year, go ahead and spend some time working on your own sites.
Have you seen a unique design you love? What elements can you institute into your own work? You may need to read articles online or figure out which classes to take to learn those skills, but with a little practice, you’ll be repeating that design yourself.
5. Read Design Books
Design and coding books can be an excellent source that will help you gain new skills. Although you still have to practice these skills to perfect them, reading text is a great place to start.
Not sure which design skills you most want to develop? Browse Amazon or another online book store for their top design books. For example, there are several volumes called “Web Designer’s Idea Book.” These books offer ideas such as current trends. The book also includes visuals to help you picture how to implement the design ideas in your own projects. You’ll even find a section on portfolio trends.
Of course, you’ll also find a wide selection of books on basic and advanced coding skills. Whatever technique you’d like to learn, you can be almost certain there is a book somewhere covering that topic or one similar.
New Year’s Resolutions for Designers
With so few people seeing out their New Year’s resolutions, it is important to come up with one that makes sense. No matter what new skills you want to learn, make sure it is something you are truly interested in or you’ll fall into the 92% of resolution failures instead of the 8% of resolution successes.
Setting goals for the coming year will ensure you keep your focus on your work as a designer. Learn at least one new skill. Your clients will thank you, and you just might gain a new client or two along the way.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.
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