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What advice would you give to young people who want to follow your path? What was one of your biggest lessons learned since starting your practice?

To make more than think. Ideas come from making… – .

Take your time, enjoy were you are right now, happiness is made up of a lot of ‘right nows’. Brilliance builds over a lifetime!

Hang out with great clients. They are gold. Work with others who are smarter than you, its humbling and your learning from them. Love your bookkeeper. – Amanda Henderson,.

Persist and to try to remain honest in face of what you are creating, seek an authentic voice in what you are doing and don’t be overwhelmed by trends… I would suggest both patience and persistence as key ingredients when setting up a practice. – .

Firstly, make sure it (architecture) is something you really want to do. Speak with sole practitioners before making your decision. Before starting get as much experience as possible across a variety of different disciplines in variety of different roles. Understand your skill set as you may only be good at one thing and not good at others. Running a business requires a completely different set of skills than designing so ensure you have the right systems and or people in place to help. – .

Never underestimate the support of strangers, and understand that everyone is important! – .

You can’t do everything yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help in aspects of the business that don’t come naturally. – .

Spend some time really thinking about what it is you want to get out of having your own business – how it will be different to working for someone else, and how your work could differ from the work that’s out there.

Planning is always critical to the business, but in the end, you have to take the plunge and go for it. – .

As cliché as it sounds I want to say ‘practice makes perfect’. It’s really all about finding what you love and just going for it. – .

Be very wary about who you collaborate with. Always assess the compatibility. Always stick to your systems – you created them for a reason!

After years of trying to do it all ourselves we have learnt to give up areas in which we don’t need to take on. – .

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What advice would you give to young people who want to follow your path? What was one of your biggest lessons learned since starting your practice?

Get involved in your art network in your city or town, and throw yourself into as many group shows and events as you can, let people know who you are and your ‘mission’ – then do some art. – .

The biggest lesson has been the value of time, and being productive with it. Like most things, if you want to do them, you’ll find the time wherever you can. – .

Do it, but be prepared to work some long hours and sort out all of the administrative things as soon as you can. There’s nothing worse than running up a bill with the ATO in the first year of your business (I know this because it’s exactly what I did). A good accountant and/or book keeper is a must, as are friends/colleagues who are in a similar situation for a debrief, or to convince you to keep at it when you’re about to throw in the towel. – .

Trust your experience, trust your guts on stuff. I’m not suggesting intuition is that useful or to be trusted entirely, but I look back on work and relationships and feel quite vindicated in methods or feelings on how images were realised. And guaranteed the work you felt best about at the time you’ll feel differently about later. However it’s always nice to go back to old work and have it stand strong in your mind. I think that assessment process is always important. – .

The only difference between them (young designers) and us is hard work over a sustained time (and a bit of money doesn’t hurt). – .

If you really think photography is where your heart is and that you’ve got what it takes (baring in mind that some of the best photographers out there don’t think they’ve got what it takes). Believe in yourself and give it a go. – .


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What advice would you give to young people who want to follow your path? What was one of your biggest lessons learned since starting your practice?

Trust your instincts, and the best lessons learnt are through getting things wrong before you get them right. And sometimes wrong looks much better than right. – .

Having a partnership means that all issues & problems are shared which is always a relief… Having empathy with the client is also important, thinking about how you deal with the problems rather than the successes. When meeting deadlines a good practical tip is having a visual reference to continually refer to. The bigger and more colourful the better! Always add FAT to time and budget. – .

Being able to love myself, or trust myself – my decisions, my results, my practice, and perhaps most importantly having confidence and faith in my process. – .

I would highly recommend working for other design firms before starting your own; at least 2 different firms so you can see different ways of doing things…  When setting these systems I found it really helpful being able to draw from previous experience (after all you don’t know what you don’t know). Someone once told me ‘you have to know the rules before you can break the rules’. – .

Patience. And biggest lesson I have learnt is how to deal with disappointment so not to be disheartened, and how not to lose sight of the big picture in both exciting and difficult moments. – .

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

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