This one goes out to all my fellow female warrior women. You know who you are. You get up early to get this shit cracking and you’re not opposed to throwing it down when the man-splainin’ starts. This is a call to action. One from a place of heartfelt indignation. Like what I did there?
As a designer, I get to work with a slew of clients. Big clients, little client, clients who don’t know what they want, clients who have their 50 year plan engraved on their forehead. And the best part is the differences. The uniqueness. But my biggest pet peeve about working with women is simple: stop playing into gender roles.
I know, I know. Big talk. But hear me out. Too many times I get a female client who has a really stand out personality. They are funny or weird. Usually both. And they’ve got a lot to offer their clients. They’re surgeons and lawyers healers and writers and on and on and on. And I’m so jazzed to jump in and get them started. And then we come to the design bit.
”Well, I don’t want to be too masculine or strong...” or “I don’t want turn off my prospects...” or “I’m really in love with the color “blush...” comes spilling out of their lips and I want... to... yak.
You know what my male clients say? “I want to instill power and experience...” or “Something that will help me make money...” Yeah. Do you notice a big difference there?
One is geared toward putting their business in the best light and the other is worries about rocking the boat.
ROCK THE FREAKING BOAT.
Seiously. Rock the shit out of it. Rock it so hard the wake makes other boats capsize.
Stop falling into the demure and meek stereotypes. Stop allowing the gender ideals of 1960 to tell you what to do with your life. Just stop. It’s counterproductive to work and life.
Now, am I saying all businesses should be hard edge? No. Should all businesses be aggressive and outspoken? No. But the minute you find yourself second guessing your idea. Stop. Follow your gut. Your “women’s intuition.” The same visceral reaction you use when someone is telling you how to and not to wear your hair. Or how not to talk. Or how not to dress. You know what is right for you. And what is right for you is right for your business.
If you offend someone with the color of your business card, guess what? That’s a blessing. Because that person is deeply injured and will never ever evvvveeerr be a good client. Ever. They’re carrying around baggage that they need a UHaul for. Let them go and do your thing. Believe me, I know this firsthand. The best clients I’ve worked with had their own light to shine and they weren’t worried about whether my website was different from the others or whether my shoes matched my hat. Their shoes didn’t match their hat and that’s what I love about them.
Know your people. Embrace the difference and the similarity. And be passionate about your work. It’s the only way to live.