Hello I’m Ryan, owner of this fancy little art shop Design Different. I thought I'd share with you all what's been going on with myself and the company as of late. If you read my previous post from a couple years ago about 'How I cut the web out of web design' you would know how I got started and how I was getting a little tired working in web design. Well since then, even more has changed, all for the better I might add:)
ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHANGES OF MY LIFE
As of November last year I was a full time employee at a Toronto ad agency. I was working there for over 13 years! Yep that's a long time, I know. Back in 2012 creativity and lack of enthusiasm was dwindling and I really needed a creative outlet to explore ideas, so I started Design Different making posters and prints. My side business was steadily growing and my love for advertising and web design was dwindling. I'll admit it, I just was not giving it 100%, and after 13 years I knew what I had to do. My plan was to quit in the spring of 2015 and go full time, I was going to be my own boss and do what I loved! Let me tell you, this isn't an easy thing to do when you have a mortgage, two kids, cars and other living expenses thrown at you, but I talked it over with my wife and we decided that I couldn't continue working at a job that wasn’t inspiring me. Plus I was up late till 1-2 am some nights fulfilling orders on top of my 9-5 job. I was getting burnt out! So the plan was set and I was ready to quit!
Then it happend... My company of 13 years laid me off because there just wan't enough projects coming in. So I was given a final handshake for my years of service and off I went. Wow, you know that dizzy feeling you get when a life shocking event happens? A kind of tunnel vision. I had that all the way home. I was happy, yet sad, confused and sacred. Thoughts like "what did I do wrong?", or "what's the company going to do now?" were racing through my head. It was a huge thing for me to go through. 13 years of seeing the same people, same routine, same environment. Although this was what I wanted, I never thought it would happen like this. The next few months were going to be exciting and life changing.
ADJUSTING TO IT ALL
Days later after the tunnel vision went away, I was ready to start my new career. It was very odd at first because for the first few weeks I still felt like I had a 9-5 job and it was just an extra, extra long weekend, lol. My daily routine used to involve me waking up around 6am (I have kids) and drive 1 hr in traffic to work and then 1 hour in traffic back home around 6pm. I would play with my kids for a couple hours, chat with my wife and then would work on my side business from 10pm - 2 am. Now I get up at 6am (still have 2 kids), get them fed and dressed, and then I drive them 2 minutes down the street to there school:) I come home and usually rush to my basement office and start working right away answering emails, responding to customers and coming up with new ideas. I then drive around 4pm to get my kids from school and get to hear how their day went and spend more quality time with them.
I have to say that my enthusiasm had flipped 100%. I'm actually excited to start working! lol. My passion and drive have never been greater. It's funny, I'm actually working harder now then I have ever worked in my 13 years of advertising. There's a funny saying that comes to mind, 'I would rather work 10 hours for myself, then 1 hour for someone else' and this is so true!
The only difficult thing about running your own business is the ‘what ifs’. What if I don't sell anymore prints, what if I don't make enough money this month, and the biggest what if - 'What if I have to go back to a 9-5 again!' This one was difficult, and still is for me and I assume for other business owners. Once you start working for yourself you are hooked! It's hard to think about working for someone else. But I've learned to deal with the stress as it comes. I find talking with my wife helps and chatting with other people who are in my shoes. Sure there's security in a 9-5 job, but if you are not having fun and it's just a job then why do it? I really have learned to take everything as it comes, that life is too short and you do really need to enjoy the ride.
WHAT HAVE I BEEN UP TO LATELY?
As of late, things have gone great for me. I've recently completed a huge order for a Swiss company that involved packaging 1600 prints with product labels and barcodes. It took me about 2 weeks to complete and now they are in-stores:) I also did a project for the Canadian National Music Centre which I hope to share with you all shortly. That one involves 5 postcard sized illustrated quotes that are placed in an interactive exhibit. Viewers place headsets on and listen to music while viewing the postcards. However the most exciting thing as of late is my upcoming book deal! Yep, it's in the works now and in sometime in 2016 I'll have my very own published book with my art! See my Instagram post below. Needn't to say I am super stoked about that one!
Aside from fulfilling everyday orders I've also applied for the One Of A Kind Show here in Toronto. This will be the first exhibition show for me and will require a ton of work building my displays, preparing stock and packaging design. Plus a huge investment of $5k +. It's super exciting and I would love to meet my customers first hand, something that is very rare when you only have an online shop.
So as you can see life is full of ups and downs, and recently the ups are way up for me;) I continue to struggle a bit with being overwhelmed by it all but it truly is fun! Currently I'm working on some new ideas and hope to have a new line of prints in the next couple months. Launching a new line takes a ton of work and this time I want to make sure everything is done correct. So stay tuned and enjoy the ride with me!