I still remember my first year as a graphic designer. My portfolio consisted of TAFE projects. I was a top student at Enmore Design Centre and I possessed everything I needed except for confidence and experience. I had no choice. If I was going to get to where I needed to go, I had to fake it till I made it.
I went door knocking showing my work to potential clients. My first client didn’t need to know that I had not yet been ‘paid’ to create. I had the skills, I had the talent, I knew how; I just didn’t have the track record to lean on and feel secure in my work.
I took on my first project. It was an $8,000 brochure. This was back when designers were paid seriously well. I had invested $30,000 in equipment. This was back when computers and software cost the earth. I completed that project and my client was more than satisfied. Sure, I made some silly mistakes along the way, all at my own expense of course.
I still remember the feeling I had when I took out one TAFE project and replaced it with that first brochure in my portfolio. I no longer had to fake it. I was now a paid professional albeit very green. For me, ‘keen’ outweighed ‘green’. I had the passion of a thousand lovers for what I did and that held me in good stead.
You can’t start at the top. You have to begin with your first step and that can be a scary move. You have to stand on the first rung of a ladder to know that it will hold your weight and then you begin to climb. Trust that first rung and begin the ascent to meet your passion. When you eventually step onto the roof, you will surely enjoy the view.