When I started Abduzeedo, almost 10 years ago, in 2006 I had no idea what it would become. I started blogging as a side project, the whole idea of blogs was something quite new in Brazil but it was already relatively mainstream everywhere else. It was a great time, Web 2.0 was the revolution. Designing for that meant to know web standards, CSS and of course being able to create your Wordpress theme. I chose Drupal for the CMS because it was a more robust tool for my design studio and we using for most of our clients.
Abduzeedo 5 Years - 5 Lessons Learned
This month Abduzeedo celebrates our 5th anniversary. It’s been an incredible journey, starting after a terribly demotivating robbery that ended up being the best thing to happen to us. Nothing could be worse, but as the art of war says: when you cannot go back the only thing you can do is to move forward. And that is what we did.
During these five years we’ve posted tutorials, inspiration, wallpaper, and interviews. We learned a lot through sharing, and that in turn made us better in our professions and we hope in yours too.
“By changing nothing, nothing changes.” -Tony Robbins
So in this post, instead of a design tutorial we will share five things we learned during these five years.
1- Admire Designers
We believe that the best thing to evolve is to find, admire, and learn from designers. It’s really important to have idols because they help us to try hard in order to reach their level. They push us to overcome our own limits. So instead of envy or getting frustrated because you’re not at the same level, use that as a great motivator and a path to follow. We always admired designers and digital artists such as James White, Chuck Anderson, Scott Hansen, Eduardo Recife, and many others.
2 - Take risks, embrace change
“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” -Karen Lamb
Most of the time we over-think things and end up doing nothing. With us it was the same, we were running Zee in Brazil and our business was doing fine and that sort of made us afraid of taking some risks and trying new things. After we lost everything we kept doing our job, but it made us less worried about risks and we tried more things like starting Abduzeedo and other web services. Some worked out, some didn’t, but we had an incredible time in terms of evolution in our careers.
Traveling and working away was also something we started doing. I started spending 3 months in the USA working on Abduzeedo and Zee miles away from Brazil. That also created new opportunities to meet new designers and learn a new culture.
3 - Don’t be afraid of criticism
“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching” - William W. Purkey
With the Internet we all have our own voice, we can always express our opinions and thoughts. However it’s common and easier to criticize as well. People asked me why I didn't have a blog back in 2006 and my answer was always the same: Who wants to read what I say? What will I say? How will I deal with the critics? We were always afraid about what others would say about our work. When we started Abduzeedo our situation made us stop thinking about that. We also decided to write in English and not our native language.
Don’t let other people slow down your goals. Criticism is always good but learn how to take only what really matters. Don’t let bad words affect you, make them a motivator.
Our first tutorial, December 2006.
4 - Share what you learn
Sharing what we do and learn has been our mantra. It was the second most important thing we’ve learned and we have been doing that since. When you share your knowledge it’s like killing two birds with one stone because it helps you to promote yourself or your business through teaching and helping people. As Dan Ariely says in his book Predictably Irrational, when you give something to someone that is not money you enter in the social mode and that creates a much stronger bond with your audience.
5 - Do what you love
We know, it’s as cheesy as it sounds but you can always follow your dreams and do what you love. As Gary Vaynerchuk says we live in the Thank You Economy. We have free tools to do anything we want to promote our work and create our audience. It depends only on us and nobody else. Of course it requires a lot of hard work and persistence, but in the end there’s nothing like waking up on a Monday morning and knowing that you will have great things to do.
“As soon as anyone starts telling you to be “realistic,” cross that person off your invitation list.” –John Eliot
We also have great examples of people that changed their games by doing what they like and have been doing great. Guys like the Envato founders Collis and Cyan Ta'eed, James White and the amazing SignalNoise, Scott Hansen, Shelby White with Designspiration, and our editor Francois Hoang with Montreal Meets.
Abduzeedo 5th Anniversary Poster by Alex Beltechi
These are just five things we’ve learned, but they are without a doubt the most important ones. We share these ideas pretty much all the time, but we think it’s worth repeating.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and an amazing 2012.