Like so many creatives, I am an introvert. My batteries get completely drained by being around people for too long, and I need to go home and shut the door around me to recharge. For the longest time I didn’t realize that this was my pattern, and I simply carried on working in isolation. Until you are in such a position that you have a few trusted clients with whom you have reciprocal respectful relationships and they provide you with a steady stream of well-funded projects, work most likely will not fall into your lap. Sure, your work should speak for itself, but it’s only half the equation. The first half is the content, the second half is people’s awareness of it. Unless you’re in a situation as described above, chances are you need to keep the work pipeline loaded. As much as I hate it, meeting people face-to-face has been the single most effective way of digging up leads for new work and detecting early on if they are worth working with.
Tobias Ottahal is the founder of Upwards & Onwards. He is a communications designer originally from Öckerö, Sweden, and is currently living in Vancouver, Canada. He runs the design firm Upwards & Onwards where he focuses on socially and environmentally progressive organizations to make the world a better place. In 2010, Tobias co-taught a course at the University of Karachi called Design for Disaster Relief about human-centered design, which responded to the massive Pakistani floods of 2010 that had occurred while he was in Pakistan.
His work can be seen online at upwardsonwards.com.