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What if you couldn’t design EVER again
Based on a true story of my life
Imagine waking up one day and not being able to use your dominant arm to manipulate Figma. I thought I never would be able to work again.
As designers, we rely not only on our brains but on our hands to control the most powerful tool known to mankind: our computers. For those fortunate, our hands provide us a way to move rectangles for a living—and that’s pretty damn neat.
But what if all this was taken from you? What would you do? What job would you contemplate doing next without hands? What happens when your purpose in life evaporates?
Before we continue, check out our interviews on YouTube where you can see me interview top-tier designers and hear their stories, strategies, and tactics to learn how to mimic their success.
What I’m about to tell you actually happened to me.
About 2 years ago, during the COVID-19 banaza, my employer forced us to work from home. And during this time, we were all worried about catching a cold or any sickness that could lead us to be severely ill. So, our employer recommended we get a Flu vaccine—free of charge, at the company office—and so I complied.
Who doesn’t want free things that improve their health, right?
This was my fatal error.
As soon as the physician injected my arm, I felt something odd. I realized he wasn’t even looking at me, but instead a pamphlet of how to inject somebody’s arm…
I would quickly learn that my arm was paralyzed and would remain so for 4 months.
No doctor could see what was wrong and any CAT scan that involved using contrast (a gross liquid to help the imaging process my organs clearly) would result in me throwing up everywhere.
I felt hopeless.
To end this on a happy note, I successfully recovered by rehabilitating my arm over the course of 11 months through the knowledge of the internet. Hooray!
But what did I take away from this experience? Well, it made me ask 2 questions:
Do I have a backup plan in case anything ever happens again?
If I wasn’t working on a computer moving pixels, what could my skills enable me to do?
These are questions I think everyone should be asking as life is too short to get to the end of our journey and shrug.
Here’s how I addressed them and how you can too:
Build your passions to make money
In all honesty, these newsletters and YouTube videos and podcasts and templates are not just about making money—they help guide me to know I can have alternative income streams to help me out in a pinch at the same time as aiding others in their design careers.
That’s something more people should consider—running a passion project that makes money.
And designers are uniquely positioned in that we can apply our skills to so much! We know how to build into users’ needs and that crosses every medium (digital and physical) even if we haven’t explored those yet.
Think of ways you can apply your design skills and make that into a passion project. If ya need help, reply to this email.
Think 5 steps ahead
To be honest, I do plan on making lots of money one day. But that day started yesterday. My plan was simple—find a way to make a lot of money. But making a lot of money to be financially secure can take quite a while… or does it?
I knew the pain in my arm could return with a vengeance, so preparation for that led me to decide I needed to take greater risks.
The bigger the risk the greater the reward.
And that’s why I landed myself a job as a designer at a startup. This isn’t a sure-fire way to make it, but often if it works it, it really works out.
I highly recommend this as a designer—and if not, consider becoming a design founder!
Working at a 9-5 job for some big company isn’t going to get you to your retirement faster. In fact, they may be keeping you stuck in the loop of hoping for one day to be released.
Try your best to consider your plan of action for the next 5, 10, and 20 years. You’ll be surprised to see what you actually come to terms with.
Although the pain comes back in waves, I retain my healing knowledge and continue to rehabilitate 2 years later.
I hope this newsletter inspires you (or scares you) to deeply consider your backup plan and alternative means to pursue your passion as it did for me.
If you want to kickstart your no-code web design career, I highly recommend trying out the best no-code tool for creating your piece of the web: Framer
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