Let’s talk about how much I suck at business lately….

A couple weeks ago, I saw a tweet come through my Twitter timeline from my buddy Tim Smith, a designer and podcaster saying, “2014 was my worst year in freelance. My business revenue declined by ~10k.” I immediately related, but hesitated to reply.

Who wants to talk about their failures? Business being slow is actually pretty embarrassing to me and the idea of broadcasting it out to the world sounded terrifying. I sat at my keyboard for a few minutes looking at Tim’s tweet — my hands poised over the keys. I wanted to reach out!

It was extremely brave of Tim to be so honest! I saw someone I admire standing out on a limb and I knew he didn’t need to be out there alone, so I typed out the words, “the last 2 years have been crap for me! Trying to turn things around this year!” and hit return. Of course Tim, came back with a compassionate and encouraging response. It was a good feeling to connect and reach out to someone about something I haven’t shared with many people.


Then he proposed something that I did not expect “want to talk about it next week on The East Wing?”


The tiny step of sending a single tweet out that would only be seen by those who follow both me and Tim on Twitter had my knees shaking, how could I possibly handle talking about my business failures live on a podcast and then having the recording of that live forever online?! There is just NO WAY!

Then Aaron Irizarry had to speak up, “But it can also be liberating, and encouraging to others who might be feeling the same way” Great, he hit right at my heart with that one. If Tim’s initial confession about his struggles hit me so hard and made me feel a little less alone, how could I turn down the opportunity to reach out to other freelancers and small-business owners in the same way? I took a deep breath… and then agreed to do it.


On Tuesday Tim and I recorded The East Wing Episode #7: If I Don’t Produce, I Don’t Eat together. It was both fun and terrifying, like karaoke… but with less whisky. Tim lead the discussion through talking about the things we’ve done right in business and then where we have fell short. We fielded a few listener questions and more than a couple times Tim said “you don’t have to answer this question, but…” I pushed myself to be honest and was inspired throughout the show to continue doing so because of Tim’s frankness. I took away from it, that being open and honest about my struggle is always the way to go. There are people out there who will be able to relate to you and who will have compassion, not judgement.


If you want to hear our full discussion, head over to goodstuff.fm/theeastwing and follow Tim on Twitter to stay on top of all the awesome podcasts he is involved with!

Did You Know I Make A Podcast?

It’s 2011 — CMD+Shift Design is almost 3 years old now and things are going well. I admit, I have gotten out of the groove with this blog, but I am still creating content! If you haven’t already you should be listening to Pagebreak Podcast.

Pagebreak is a podcast I started back in August with Niki Brown from the DesignOBlog. Niki and I spend our spare time reading a book about design, development, freelance or marketing and then at the end of each month we record a discussion on it! Throughout the month, we send out short-format shows where we read a blog post targeted to our industry and give our 2cents on it. We release something for you every Wednesday, so subscribe via RSS or on iTunes!

I am so glad we started doing the show and I have been having a lot of fun work on it. Our goals for the show in 2011 include revamping the website, having guests on Snippets from time to time, including our listeners more, and getting better at SPEAKING without saying like, ya know, kinda like or ummm… so much!

PageBreak Podcast with Niki Brown & Liz Andrade

(Hey, that’s me!)

So the wait is finally over, Niki and I have been scheming about this for a long time now and then over the last couple weeks pulled it all off…

PageBreak is a design, business and marketing-themed book club and podcast, started by Liz Andrade and Niki Brown. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of designers, developers, freelancer (like ourselves) and to discuss and enjoy books about the stuff we love to do!

We’re starting out with the plan to pick a new book and record a show at the end of each month, so if you have a suggestion we’d love to hear them! You can subscribe to the show via iTunes or stream the show at pagebreakpodcast.com (we’re working on a site with commenting and all that jazz, so stay tuned…)

Book #1? Rework by 37Signals Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. Make it through the show (or download it and skip to the end) to find out what we’ll be reading for September, maybe you’d like to read along? If you’ve read Rework and you want to discuss it with me and Niki or other listeners of the show – head over to the GoodReads PageBreak group!