Jesse Showalter - Skills that will take you further than talent


Jesse Showalter shares his advice on things to consider before you become a Freelancer and how to get started in product design and content creation. Read the blog below and listen to the full episode for great design and career advice!

🚫 Don't go freelance just because it has become the popular thing to do!

There are SO many things to consider before going freelance.
🏠 Would working remotely work for you?
👨‍💻 Is working without daily office and team collaboration right for you?
💪 Are you strong at self-assessment and goal setting so you can continue to grow and improve in your career?
📚Will you take the time to learn the business tasks associated with freelance work? From taxes to client documents to setting up processes - you need to be willing to work on all of it to succeed.

🔥 "Hype is not real."

Stop believing everything you see on social media. Everyone who finds success has been working behind the scenes for years to get to where they are. Just because you finally heard of them doesn't mean they came out of nowhere!

💡 "Failure is the pathway forward"

Overcoming imposter syndrome and failing repeatedly will move you forward and allow you to grow. Go ahead and make bad designs, videos, or podcast episodes. Then ask for feedback and keep getting better! Don't let your fear of failure hold you back from making progress.

Skills that will take you further than talent

In episode 16 of The Product Design Podcast, Seth Coelen interviews Jesse Showalter, a freelance UI/UX designer, and online educator. You have probably watched his popular YouTube Channel, which just hit 200K subscribers, where he shares videos about design, code, and life! 🔥Jesse has a fascinating journey that led him into product design. His ability to self-assess and follow his heart has led him to become an inspiring mentor and content creator that provides immense value to the design community. We are so excited for you to listen to the full episode to hear more about his journey in design, what he has learned in his career, and the advice he offers to new designers!


How Jesse's curiosity and encouragement from a loved one changed his course

Jesse was extremely curious about learning how things worked from an early age. He would immediately take toys apart that he had received for Christmas to see how they worked. After high school, Jesse joined the military for four years. Once he got out, he spent time touring and playing music.At this point, Jesse did not have an established career path, but his then-girlfriend (now wife to 12 years) encouraged him to use creativity to build his career path where he could combine the things that he loved! He knew he loved technology, was interested in how things worked and enjoyed using his creativity to make things. This combination led him to design.

Jesse's career path from print design to product design

When Jesse started down this new path, he found himself more in traditional print design. He began by making band flyers and then worked as an intern at his church. His first real job in design was at a tour company in Hawaii, where he was hired to make brochures and business cards. The tour company asked him to design a website, which he had not ever done, but he worked hard and figured out how to do it for this role.

Jesse loved how web design brought creativity, technology, and problem-solving together. He quickly fell in love with the iterative nature of application software and website design. When he saw that this career path allowed him to make something that not only looks good but also works well, he knew he was on the right track!Over his last 14 years in the design industry, Jesse has worked for marketing agencies, startups, and Fortune 500 companies. Several years ago, he designed to go freelance which he continues to do today while creating content to support the design community!

"Failure is the pathway forward because that's the pathway of progression."

Below we focus on how to determine if freelancing is right for you and Jesse's advice for new designers getting started in the industry who are also interested in content creation.

Figure out if freelance is for you

When Jesse decided to go freelance, the online and remote capabilities were not what they are today. Currently, many people want to become entrepreneurs and be their own bosses. Going freelance is a decision that should be thought through before you leap. For Jesse, waking up each day and dealing with his own employment problem gave him the motivation he needed to do his best work. Here are some of the things to consider before going freelance!

🎨 Are you able to get far more accomplished during the day when working remotely?

Jesse learned that working remotely worked better for his personality. He loves being around people, so he became his own distraction in the office because he wanted to talk to people around him. Working remotely, he defined creative blocks of time that helped him accomplish more work in far less time than he could in the office.

🤔 Do you love design and creativity, or do you love solving problems?

Jesse loves solving problems and challenging himself to learn new things. Being a freelancer means you need to dig in and do all of the business tasks outside of design. Are you willing to manage things like taxes, business strategies based on client needs, client documents, and processes? These are just a few things that you may not be involved in if you are at an agency or an in-house product designer.

"The maturity that other people see in me is forming around the fact that I've just given up on trying to be good at things I'm not good at."

🏃🏻 Are self-assessment and goal setting strengths of yours?

For long-term success as a freelancer, you have to ask yourself some hard questions and be honest with the answers. You will not have a manager or business owner measuring your success or supporting your growth. You will need to take ownership of what success looks like for you, how you want to grow, and what kind of work you want to do!

How to get your start in product design and content creation

Jesse has spent the last 14 years building on the foundation he initially built in design. He shared the top 3 pieces of advice he would give to a product designer starting out who may also want to create content to support the design community!

💡 "The foundations will always take you further than the fancy things."

Learn the design fundamentals. Get back to basics as a designer, as a person, and as an employee. Put your head down and grind - it will take you much further in the long run than someone who doesn't understand design basics.

🔥 "Don't believe the hype. Hype is not real. What's real is you putting in the time and dedicating yourself to something and then staying the course."

There is no such thing as an overnight success. Jesse believes that the formula for success is consistency over time equals success. Put in the time, dedicate yourself, stay the course and ask others if they can see the change in you.

🚫 "There are enough people in this world that are already against me. I'm not going to add to that."

Don't allow imposter syndrome to stop you from doing what makes you happy! Go out and make 40 bad websites or videos, 10-15 podcast episodes, or do 40 daily creative challenges. Whatever you want to get better at, don't stand in your own way. Put your work out there and ask for feedback so you can get better!!!

Thank you so much, Jesse!

What a fascinating conversation with Jesse full of practical advice in design, for your career, and in life!  We are so grateful that he joined us and shared all of the incredible wisdom he has collected during his product design career path. Listen to the complete episode on The Product Design Podcast, which includes the hurdles of pride Jesse has overcome and the obstacles he believes provided him the best learning experiences of his career, and what specifically led him to create an extremely successful YouTube Channel!

Don't forget to follow Jesse and watch as he continues to create content and new ways to support the design community! He has exciting things planned for 2022! You can also find him on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Dribbble, and his website!

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