How to Be a Successful Remote Web Designer

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Hi, I'm Chris and I'm super glad you're here. 7 years ago I taught my self-web design and freelancing. Now, I do my best to teach others what I've learned so they don't have to struggle as much as I did.

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It’s crazy to think that only a few months ago having a remote job wasn’t the norm. Now, almost the entire world is working from home.

And, while a remote job as a web designer might be a dream come true, it comes with its fair share of challenges.

Being on a remote team makes things like having a healthy work-life balance, getting along with co-workers, and even getting noticed by your boss much more challenging.

And, that’s exactly what I talk about with Charli Prangley on this week’s episode of the Self-Made Web Designer podcast.

Who is Charli?

Charli is a marketing designer who has worked on a remote team with a company called Convert Kit for years now.

Along the way she’s learned a thing or two about what it takes to be a successful remote designer.

Things like being intentional about your career trajectory and being diligent about your work space and productivity have all played a huge factor into how she’s been a successful remote designer for an awesome tech company.

Charli also has some pretty awesome design chops. In fact, if you look closely at my own designs you will find inspiration from Charli’s work.

Whether you’re looking to keep your job completely remote after the pandemic subsides OR not, Charli has a ton of awesome advice.

You’ll Learn

  • The top things you need to master in order to work from home as a web designer
  • How to set up your work space for optimum productivity when you’re working from home
  • How to stay mentally healthy when you’re working form home
  • The things you learn about yourself from having a remote job
  • How tracking your time can tell you a lot about how you work and ways to be more productive
  • How not to burn out when you’re working from home
  • How to maintain healthy relationships with co-workers when you’re working on remote teams
  • How to make sure your work doesn’t go unnoticed when working on a remote team
  • How to dial in your design process for the best possible outcome
  • How to design a path to advance in your career as a web designer
  • How to juggle a full-time job and multiple side projects
  • How to stay motivated with your side hustles
  • How self-awareness is the key to reaching your goals with a side hustle
  • The difference between marketing design and other design fields like UX design and product design
  • The importance of staying flexible as a designer


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Chris: [00:00:00] What's up, everybody. Welcome to another episode of the self-made web designer podcast. My name is Chris and I am glad that you are here with us on the new day. We used to release on Tuesdays. Now we are releasing on Wednesdays and I hope that brings you a little bit of joy, a little bit of excitement to your mid week hump day to carry you through on to the weekend and the guests this week is a fantastic marketing designer. Her name is Charli Prangley. And a lot of you are saying, but wait a second, Chris, at the end of last week's episode, you said we're going to hear from Zach Gordon and listen. You'd be right, but I decided to make a little switcheroo.

And here's why Charli has a fantastic podcast called Inside Marketing Design that she's wrapping up the season for. I wanted to make sure that you heard from Charli before the season ended so that you could go and subscribe, listen to all those episodes and anxiously be awaiting next season.

Like we anxiously await the next season of Stranger Things. And I don't know when that's coming out, but I can't help it think about it every day. So shout out to all the stranger things fans out there.

Charli is a marketing designer for a company called convert kit. And a lot of you are probably familiar with convert kit. They've got a fantastic product with email marketing.

And to be honest, I am a huge fan of Charli's work. And if I'm being totally transparent with you, I have actually copied a lot of the things that she has done. And we talk about that in this episode, along with what it takes to have a successful career as a remote worker. How to stay mentally healthy. How to make sure that your work doesn't go unnoticed by your boss so that you can level all up in your career. How to have healthy relationships across the remote team, all of those things, many of us are having to do with for the first time amidst all that's happening in the world with a pandemic. But Charli has been doing it for years now. And she's got a lot of great tips for you.

But before we dive in, I got to ask how have you subscribed to the self-made web designer podcast? Have you left a comment and a review? It would go a long way in helping other people find this podcast and benefit from hearing all the awesome guests like Charli who have been gracious enough, to be on .
So take a second and do that. Okay. Enough rambling. Are you ready for miss Charli Prangley?

Here we go.

Well, Hey Charli, thanks so much for being on the self-made web designer podcast. Really appreciate it.

Charli: [00:02:57] Yeah. Thanks for having me here. I'm excited.

Chris: [00:02:59] Tell us a little bit about who you are and the journey to what got you to where you are now.

Charli: [00:03:05] Oh my gosh. Well, that's a big question. Okay, so I'll start by saying I'm the marketing design lead at ConvertKit.
I work for a remote company doing marketing design. I'm the only marketing designer on the team. But, previously in my career I've had experience being part of like wider marketing design teams. My work mostly focuses on web. I would say is the main thing that I design and that I'm really passionate about and get really nerdy about is web version and all of that.
But I also have a lot of stuff going on on the side. I have a YouTube channel called Charli Mari TV where I sort of document my life as a designer and share a lot of projects on there. Have a couple of podcasts. I like to write. I'm starting to work on a book at the moment and all that.
And then on the more personal side I am from New Zealand. So that's the accent that you're hearing in case anyone is wondering. But, I lived in London for about five years and then recently, last year, moved to Spain in Valencia where I'm living right now. Living that remote life.

Chris: [00:04:03] We were chatting before the show, but I have to thank you for your awesome work at convert kit, because I have used it as inspiration slash maybe copied it a little bit.

Charli: [00:04:12] This is the serious form of flattery and all that, you know.

Chris: [00:04:15] Well, you know, whatever Pablo Picasso quote there is that everybody says that Good artists copy and great artists steal. So hopefully I didn't steal too much of your work.

Charli: [00:04:25] I think you've stolen the exact right way.

Chris: [00:04:27] Yeah. Perfect. Perfect. So, I'd love for you to just talk a little bit about your work, doing things as, as a remote worker, having a remote career, on a remote team, because the world has pretty much switched overnight with everything that's happened in this last year, but you've been doing it for for quite a long time. And so probably have the upper hand on best practices and how to stay mentally healthy, how to stay productive. So I'd love it if you could just give us some insight on, on everything that you've learned in doing it for so long.

Charli: [00:05:01] Yeah. So I've been remote now for, I think it'll be four years at the end of this year.

And, I don't feel like I particularly was seeking out remote work when I got this job, but I did always know that at some point in my career, I wanted to be in charge of my own time. I didn't want to have to turn up at an office every day and spend time with other people.
I'm an introvert. I like my own space and I work best when I'm by myself. And I like to be able to pop to the shops whenever I need to ,or have that control over my life that I felt like I didn't get in an office. And I always thought that I would have to go freelance in order to get that.
I thought that I would have to work for myself in order to have that sort of control of my time. But, when I met Nathan, the CEO of ConvertKit at a conference and he offered me a job I started considering remote and realizing that it could be the best of both worlds for me. I could have that freedom, but I could also be part of a team because I do really like working on projects with other people. I find it really motivating and, I get distracted less when there's other people relying on you.
I also just personally, don't like dealing with client work and so I wasn't super stoked at the idea of going freelance. So, that's what I've found with remote.
I really love it. It was quite a bit of an adjustment in terms of working out my workspace and I don't know what path you want to go into. We can go into so many different things, but there was a few hiccups at the start getting used to finding a space where I could fully focus.
I know that's a thing that a lot of people who are new to remote work struggle with to start with is finding focus at home. They feel like it's distracting. There's all the chores to do. There's the TV right there. And all of that. That's pretty common thing to go through.
I will say that I think at the moment with the world in remote work, it's not the usual state of remote work and I feel kind of protective of remote work for some way.
And I want people to know that like, this is not normal and remote work is not normally like this because. I know a lot of people right now are having to deal with kids home from school, as well as the pandemic. Disinfecting all there shopping and worrying about visitors and all this.
That's an extra hassle that you don't normally have in non pandemic times with remote work. So I feel like that might be impacting people even more right now and people struggling with that.
Chris: [00:07:21] Going through all of this has for myself and just being completely honest and maybe this was a therapy session with me and you, and I'm just getting stuff off my chest it's really highlighted the dysfunction I have in my relationship to work and productivity and figuring out I'm much more distractible than I thought I was. It's kind of been like a master class in getting focused getting mentally healthy taking care of myself outside of work.
And so what types of things have you kind of learned in the midst of all this and how has that helped you in giving some insight for people who are asking the same questions.

Charli: [00:08:09] I think that remote work, as you're probably finding is a great way to learn about your ideal working style and how you best focus, what you need to get good work done.
And I think it's that way because there's no hiding with remote work. When you work in an office, you show up for your nine to five or whatever hours it is. At your company, you might spend a couple of hours a day, like sort of just floating around on the internet and chatting to people being distracted, but you're there in your seat and you're there in the office.

So, it looks productive and it looks like you're working. And when you're working from home, if your remote company is doing it right, nobody really knows exactly what you're doing at all points of the day, unless you're on a call with your team. So you have to keep yourself accountable.
And that can be difficult for people to start with if you're not super self motivated, especially, that can be really hard. So I found, I guess throughout these years of remote working, looking out for what distracts me. This is going to sound so ridiculous, but a funny story about my first year working remote.
My desk was in our living space. I lived in this small London apartment, so the living space was not large. But my desk was in this little alcove, but right to the side of me, right to my left was our kitchen. And I would just out of the corner of my eye, see the dishes on the bench. I could see stuff happening.
I could see the food and think, "Oh, do I want to snack right now?" And I found myself getting distracted a lot just because the kitchen was right there. And literally what I did was move my desk a couple of inches further into the alcove. So that out of the corner of my eye I just saw the wall of the alcove and couldn't see the kitchen anymore. And I found so much more focus and I was so shocked at how much just seeing the kitchen was distracting me. And I think that to do remote work well, you have to be analyzing yourself and analyzing your working style. If you catch yourself being distracted and not working try to figure out why.

For me sometimes it's that I haven't made a good plan for the day or that I've got all these errands that I need to do today. And so maybe I should just get them all done in the morning so that I can have a good, solid focused afternoon. So I'm not thinking about them anymore?
Looking out for that kind of thing is really important, but I feel like I went on a tangent there and you asked about mental health.

Chris: [00:10:27] But that's great. I think that's perfect. And, 've really been struggling with that question of what amount of, and what type of distraction when it comes to working from home is permissible and what is not.
Because with the company that I'm at, I'm kind of like half in the office, half not. And so when I go to the office and I just have a conversation with a coworker about my family or my day, I don't feel bad about that. But, when I'm at my house and I'm having a conversation with my wife about what's going on with the kids or with what we're doing later that evening, I feel bad. I'm like I really should be working.

And so, balancing that and figuring out what are good boundaries and, and what are okay. So what have you done as far as tracking what you're doing when you're completely working or completely taking a break? And what's okay and what's not okay for you. And how have you determined that?
Charli: [00:11:34] Yeah, that's a good question. So it's funny, you said tracking because I do actually track my time when I work. This isn't something that the company requires, which I'm grateful for, because if you're not working at an agency where your time is billable to a client I don't think that the company should be tracking your design time.

I know that there's some laws in the U.S. About tracking time for other types of roles, but for a designer, I just don't think that should be a thing. It puts unnecessary pressure on you, but I track them for myself mostly so I can keep track of how long projects take me so I can get a better idea of estimating how long I'll need for something when a request comes in from my team.

Tracking my time has also been really eye opening for me to see exactly how much time I spend working during the day. I published a report, actually on my blog a couple of months ago about this, but I don't technically work 40 hours a week. I do not technically work eight hours a day.
Most days there is not eight hours in my tracked time because I am only tracking the time where I'm literally working. The time where I'm at my desk working on a project. And I think this goes back to what I was saying before about when you're in an office. There's a lot of work time that isn't actually getting the actual work done.

And, when you work from home, I think people feel a lot of pressure to prove themselves more in some way. And, there's some element of truth to that. You know, you're not there in the office, so you've got to show that you're working by doing the work. And that's the only way to prove that you're working.
So people can tend to overwork. I found that tracking my time and being aware thata normal Workday for me is probably going to look like about six to seven hours tracked. And I'm okay with that. To start with, I felt a bit guilty about it, but then I realized I'm getting the things done that I need to. I'm getting good reviews from my managers.

I'm getting the work done. I'm there for my teammates when they need me. And so. I shouldn't worry about the number.

Chris: [00:13:28] And that's cool thing about the whole work from home revolution. It doesn't say you've got to work for 40 hours a week it's more about a holistic approach to what you're doing as a worker and what you're producing. And so I think we're in this season of for sure the whole world has been forced to figure it out, but we're figuring out what work looks like. And so with companies like Basecamp being completely remoteCconvert Kit and so many others. And, now Google not going back to work until who knows when.

And so I think it'll definitely be much more common. So, talk a little bit about how you've worked out the relationship with coworkers and collaborating and making sure that you're keeping communication open, because I know that even in an environment where everybody's working right next to each other there's miscommunication, there's misunderstanding, there's things that you've got to work through.

So I'd imagine that you probably have to make double the effort when you're all in different places or States or countries or whatever.

Charli: [00:14:39] Yeah, you're right on that. I think this happens at a company level first and foremost. As an individual, there is a limit to what you can do to foster good communication and good collaboration.

You can try your best, but if it's not fundamental to the company to have that sorted and to be thinking in a remote first way, you're going to struggle. I found this actually in my first job in the tech industry. I started out in the head office, which wasn't Wellington, New Zealand. And then I transferred to the London office when I moved to London.

And that meant that I was away from the core marketing design team. I was in a completely different time zone. You're sort of at opposite ends of the day working between the UK and New Zealand. And I wasn't able to be there for team meetings cause they happened at midnight my time.
And the company didn't have an approach to remote that worked. And so I was left out of a lot of things and decisions and would find out about things later. And it wasn't a good experience. And it didn't matter how much I would try and connect with the team. If it wasn't built in to the team's workflow to be feeding information back to me, it was just never going to work.

That's one of the reasons why I ended up leaving that company and moving on. Because I realized that wasn't really like the situation I wanted to be in. But at Convert Kit because we're remote first communication is built into our core. It's one of the things that we look for when we hire. Even written communication especially is so important for remote work.

I spend so much of my time writing as a designer, which might be surprising to some people, especially when you're starting out. You know, you think, "Oh, I'm going to be a designer. I'm going to be in design software all day making things." But no, I write a few thousand words a week for various team communication project updates. Bridging communication is a huge thing for our companies.

And like I said, the company themselves have to foster this idea of communication and collaboration and be setting the standard for what needs to happen. ConvertKit does that really well. We try and connect really deeply as a team on our team retreats that happen twice a year in person, so that we can then take those connections that were formed into the remote work.

And you know, you're talking to someone on a zoom call who a couple of months ago you were sitting next to having a wine with. And so you've got shared understanding and background to form a good relationship.
Chris: [00:16:56] You mentioned a little bit earlier talking about proving yourself whenever you're in a work from home situation.

And I think you kind of have to have a different approach when it comes to leveling up in your career. Even in your organization. Because when you're right next door to your boss, walking in and showing what you're doing and showing your value, showing your work or even getting feedback is, is much easier.
So what have you done as far as making sure that you're still not growing personally in the company that you're at but growing professionally to make sure that that is still happening even though you're a thousand miles away from your supervisor.

Charli: [00:17:42] That's a really great question.

I think for me, what's led to a lot of growth in my time at ConvertKit has been taking an interest in things outside of the marketing design work. I feel like my interest is spread across the company and I like to keep up with what's going on. You can't read everything and you can't know deeply what everyone else is working on, but I like to make sure I have a good, solid awareness of that and a good solid awareness of how the business is functioning.

So then I know how my work is contributing to it. And so I can come up with ideas of how things I work on could improve business metrics that this team is aiming for. So thinking outside of your role I think is huge for any designer growing in their career, but especially when you're remote.
And, it's more about the work that you're producing than the appearance for everything you're producing. So by being involved in discussions with things, by making sure that I'm posting updates to my projects and looping in the people who you need to be part of it with ideas of different ways, we could be doing things that I think would improve.

That's been huge for me in progressing.

Chris: [00:18:53] So what does that look like practically? Like you jump into a Slack channel and give thoughts and feedback, or are you asking questions? Are you reading documents? Like how does that look practically?

Charli: [00:19:04] Our workshop team needed to be getting more people joining their workshops, more people showing up live, and I think what they asked for was just adding something to the preexisting workshop template that we had.
And, I could see past that and look at their real need and be like, "okay, I've seen them talking about this. I've also seen this happening previously. They've been having this as their experience of people showing up for workshops lately. So obviously something's broken here. And we need to do something to fix it and I can use design to try my best to be a part of that solution."

And so we ended up doing a much bigger redesign building, a much bigger system for them because part of their problem was like the time and effort that things were taking to set up. We could make that better for them and it wasn't what they asked for. Cause they didn't know really that that was a possibility, but it was us listening to the problem rather than listening to exactly what they asked for.

Chris: [00:20:03] Yeah, absolutely. And, I think that's great insight. There's so many times on this podcast that, you know, having a high level of EQ and, and the soft skills that you can't really learn through a traditional education, it has to be number one, kind of your personality, but number two, just a drivenness inside of you to connect with people and relate to people and be a solution oriented coworker that I think is so important. Not just in the coworking space, but also as a freelancer, as a business owner, all of those things.

So I I'd love it if you could chat a little bit about your design process. Because mainly I'm just a fan and I wanna know, so I can copy what you're doing as well.But I'd love to hear what a redesign looks like for you and the steps that you take to get to where you want to be.

Charli: [00:21:05] So I, I would say that right off in my process, something that's changed as I've progressed throughout my career is my involvement in the content that goes on the page. I feel like when I started out, I would definitely be expecting to get a document with maybe not exact copy, but at least the content of what needed to go on the page.

That would have to be given to me before I would start designing and really know what to do. But as I've progressed and especially, like I said, as I've been taking more of an interest in the rest of the business and learning how that works, it helps that convert converter that I use our product, which is an email marketing audience building software for myself personally.

So I know it really well and know how to communicate it because I am a user. But right now I hear from someone that we need a new page. Right now, the page that I'm working on is a comparison page to linktree because ConvertKit landing pages just had a new feature added, which means you can add a list of links, kind of like people are doing right now on their social bios with linktree.

But with our landing pages, you can have something much more customized and personal. And so we're making this comparison page. So, I take that information that we need this page. I learn about the product and I learn about what the differences are. And I sometimes end up writing a content document myself.

Or sometimes someone might give it to me and say, this is the stuff we need to say on the page and I might take that information and synthesize it, rearrange it into what I call a copy wire frame. I'm not even in a design tool yet. I'm working in a Google doc usually just arranging information thinking about what the flow of the information hierarchy will be on the page.

Because that's the basis of it all, you can have the prettiest design in the world. But if your information doesn't make sense or isn't convincing, or doesn't give people everything, they need the design isn't going to be a good one.
So that's that's the start. Then I move on to doing some webpage wireframes on my iPad. I like to draw in an app called concepts just to get ideas out quickly.

I think it's really important in the initial stages to capture ideas fast and not worry about being too neat because otherwise you end up losing things. I like that messy initial stage is where I come up with a lot of creative ideas.

Once the wireframes done, I tend to bring it into Figma and create a digital version of it that is actually understandable to other people. And here's where I tend to put some of the content from that copy wire frame that I was talking about earlier into the page so that when people are judging the wireframe, cause I share it for feedback after this point, they can get an idea of what the information we'll be talking about in each area, because there is no point, I believe in people giving you feedback on a wireframe withplaceholder text in it.

If there's no indication of what will be talked about there. Cause like what are they judging on? Like yeah, this gray box looks good. Great. You know, that's not useful. Um, yeah. So once I get feedback on that, I move on to the visual stages where I'm sort of like. Filling in the design.

Um, and yeah, figuring out the finer details of the exact UI that you see on the page, creating the illustrations, whatever needs to happen, because I'm a one woman team marketing design team that I tend to create more so that stuff myself, for a page. And that's pretty much it. Yeah. We'll get to the end of that.
And I'll share for feedback. There, there might be some changes, but I'm actually one of the, one of the things I've been craving more of lately is more feedback from my team. Like I want to be pushed more on my design skills, whereas usually they're saying, yup, looks great. Like they trust me, I'm the expert in this.

Um, so that's, I will say one thing I miss about being part of a larger design team is, um, Having more pushback and being told that something is wrong. Like, I would just love that to happen now. Yeah. Yeah. And that's funny because I think a lot of designers would feel the opposite way. They're like, I'm tired of all this feedback.

Um, so, but I think that's a great, a great question to spin off of like what, what do you think are your next steps for, for getting more of that? Feedback and insight. And you know, like I've been looking a lot into design, right. Reviews. And our team has been talking a lot about having some type of system in place where even if we don't have a finished product per week, we're all getting together as a team and reviewing each other's stuff, you know?

And so what are your thoughts on that? What have you seen that's worked and how would you hope for that to look like in the future for you guys? Yeah. So we have as a wider design team in the company cause there's myself doing marketing design, but we do have three product designers. Plus our CEO is a designer as well.

So, um, we will have design team meetings every two weeks for people to talk about what they're working on. Um, So that's a good chance for me to get feedback, but it's also a good chance for me to give feedback to, and be more aware of what the product team are working on so that we can be keeping our design stuff aligned, you know, which is nice.

Um, I've also been. Testing out using dribble or like actually asking for feedback. And I know dribble has this reputation for just being pretty things and you know, it's not going to gradient, you're not going to get any likes or whatever the trend is at the moment. You know, people are just going to comment saying nice colors is how the joke goes, but there's been times on there where I've asked a specific question where I've.

Put up and said, Hey, this is what I'm thinking about. Should I have this button on an article or a blog? Or should I not like, well, people just know it's clickable because it's a Cod and that's the web and it inspired some discussion there. So I think that honestly, sharing my work online is how I get that feedback.
Like scratch that itch, um, from strangers on the internet, which is wonderful. Yeah. Yeah, no, that's great. And I wonder how you distinguish. Marketing design versus kind of the other assets, you know, because, um, we, we, on this podcast talk to all sorts of designers, um, marketing designers, web designers, UX product, um, even going to like development, front development, um, All sorts of stuff.

So how do you differentiate that for you versus all the other disciplines? So I would say that marketing design is designing the marketing materials for a company. I think it's a very common role in tech, but. Lots of other companies have them too. There might be named different things. You could be brand designer, some are just called graphic designer and you're placed on the marketing team.

Um, if you're in tech, you'll focus will tend to be on web and digital design just because that's where marketing is focused. Well, the company in tech, you know, um, That's what I would say. Marketing designs focuses and what you tend to work on. And your goal as a marketing designer is to communicate about the product that you're marketing and usually metrics you're responsible for are like conversion rates, website, getting people to sign up and getting a certain number of attendees in an event.

That sort of thing, your design is about convincing people and showing the right people that it's the right tool for them. You recently had a video, um, that talked about career goals and, um, being intentional about what you're doing, uh, in order to level up. So I'd love for you to give a little bit of insight, um, from what you shared on that.

Uh, because it was a great episode. Um, but also what you've done for yourself. I know we've kind of heard a bit of your journey, but I'm sure there was some maybe inside scoop, um, that we might be able to dig in a little bit deeper there with any sort of goals, whether it's career goals, side hustle, goals, personal goals.

I don't know. I'm just such a big believer in goals and having things to aim for. I find it really motivating, and I think that without a goal in mind, without knowing. Where you want to be in the future, what you want to be doing? What, like kind of life you want to be living you won't yeah. Really know what to aim for and how to seize opportunities or make decisions when they arise, because you don't have this framework.

Right. That's what I use my goals for as a decision making framework in a way. So will this thing get me closer to where I want to be. You know, it is the thing that I can ask myself. And, uh, I shared a little bit about that before. Yeah. In taking this job at ConvertKit because it was a goal for me to have more control over my time, be able to work from anywhere.

I thought that that would be freelance. But, um, the important thing there was that my goal was to have that state, my goal wasn't to be freelance. I just thought that would be the way I would achieve my goal. Uh, so having that in mind, when this ConvertKit opportunity came up, I was able to see that this could get me towards my goal.

Um, and that was like part of the reason why I took the job, which was great. Um, right now in my career, I'm definitely seeking more of a leadership opportunity. I feel like I'm doing a lot of like, Oh thought leadership, even though I hate that word, um, you know, on the internet, you know, teaching people from afar.

Mentoring people from afar and that sort of thing. Speaking at conferences, which is great, but I do really want to lead a team one day. That would be something that I want to do. I've been mentoring a person on the team at ConvertKit, who was actually on our customer success team, but she's had design training and wants to like, you know, move into being a designer for a career.

So we've got this little mentorship set up where I meet with her and give her projects. And I just love it so much. It's so fun seeing her. Succeed. Right. And seeing her learn and seeing her do great things. And I'm just like, you know, there's already been times where she's produced better illustrations than I could have.
And I'm like, that's amazing. And I get it. Now, when people say that, um, as a leader, you want your team to be better than you are. And I'm like, okay. Yes, because this is the feeling and you feel like I helped her get here and I gave her the space to make this happen. And, um, you know, she's amazing, which is cool.

So I really want to lead a team so that I can. I guess give people that good experience. I guess I want to be a good manager for people, and I want to, um, have more of a team to be bringing the ideas I have to life as well. Cause often a problem I have is that my ideas are far too grand for the time and resources that I have available to achieve them in.

Um, so that's what I'm working towards and that's, that's something that I've had conversations with my manager at ConvertKit about because we are a small team and we don't plan on, you know, Growing much and becoming a big team. I, I don't know if that's the thing that's going to be able to happen to me at ConvertKit, but I know that we're going to find a way to get some, some of that for me, if that makes sense.

Um, because I have this very clearly in mind where I want to go next. It lets me have those conversations. And, um, when opportunities arise, like right now, managing a huge campaign we're working on, um, as sort of like a, you know, a leadership. Chance for me to, to work in that. And if I hadn't been talking to my manager about those career goals I had, and if he didn't know that that's what I wanted.

Um, he probably wouldn't have offered that or suggested that as the thing we can do. So, yeah, I think it's important to have goals and to share them with people who might be out to help you reach them. Yeah. And, and speaking of goals and everything that. You do and have your hands in. Um, you know, you've, you've got so much content out there.

You've got a full time job. You just started a new podcast that I want us to be sure to mention and talk about how do you have time for it all? How do you keep it all together? Yeah. Well, I think it's partly. From passion. And partly because I just need it, you know, like my side hustles all fulfill something in me that I don't get as part of my job.

And this is why I don't freelance, honestly, because I get my fill of design needs and like, you know, solving design problems, all of that's covered with my job, but I also really love teaching. I love making content and connecting with people and yeah, it's not part of my job. And so I've got to do that on the side, you know, so.

It's something that I just feel drawn to do. And I think it's always easier to make time for something when it's something you truly love doing. And when it's something that you truly want to do, but over the years, I've experimented with different types of routines for making stuff happen. And I think it all comes down to a few things.

One is writing lists. And being very clear about what you need to do next, uh, setting small, like achievable goals for yourself, um, to make them things happen and carving out a little bit of time every day, or if not every day, then at least every week to make things happen. So for me mornings are my side hustle time.

That's when I'll. Work on my projects and move things forward. And I break things down into very small chunks. So, you know, today I may need to edit this video the next day I might make the thumbnail upload it. You know, I'm not trying to do all in one go because that would take too much time and I don't have that available, but you can always do a little bit, like, I don't know if you want to write a blog post and you don't have time.

You probably have time to sit down and write a couple of sentences or at an outline, you know? So you just got to break it down and do the smallest piece possible every day. Um, so yeah, that's how I'm handling it right now is working on site houses in the mornings. And then switching over to the full time job work, which usually spends into the evening because of my time zone based when I was first learning, how to, how to code, how to develop, um, You know, something I, something I heard was right, at least one line of code every single day.

And, and inevitably what happens is you write more than just one line of code. You know, you go on to write, you know, a full, a full page or whatever you need to, to finish that section of whatever it was that you're working on. So it's kind of a neat little. Hack to convince yourself to just keep going. So yeah.
Yes. I'm all about like tricking yourself and like setting up little, little things so that you can't help, but do the right thing and do what you intended. Right. Right. You know, because at the beginning of any type of project, or if it's a passion project, if it's a side hustle or whatever, you know, like.

There's all these grandiose ideas of like, no, no I'm going, I'm going to do it. I'm going to be committed to this. And, and I'm, I'm just going to go for it. We're going to get it done. And then you get there and you're like, I am exhausted and I don't want to do anything, you know? And so there's, there's battling that out and, and figuring out how to reconcile.

No, I really want to do this, but man, You know, like for me, my baby kept me up. I got three hours of sleep last night, you know? So, so how do I do this? You know, w what do you, what do you find helps you to stay motivated? And in the midst of, you know, like, like stress or, or getting tired or, or everything like that?

I think there's a couple of things here. One is knowing when to push and when not to I've, I've burned out before, by being too strict on myself with, you know, doing great at work and also doing great at side hustles and making it all happen. Um, There's going to be different seasons in your life where you need more rest and others.

It's just a fact, you know, and, uh, you gotta be aware of yourself and aware enough of, um, how you're feeling, how you're working, how you're responding to things to know when you need to take a break. And when you need to go easy on yourself, but also recognizing when maybe you're just being a little bit lazy and you need more of a push.

Um, and those things could look the same from the outside, you know, but only you will know internally what you truly need. So. I think side projects are wonderful because they encourage that sort of self motivation, which is just going to help you in anything that you do in life. I think understanding yourself, understanding how you're feeling today and like what's motivating you today.

What you're feeling passionate about. Knowing when to give yourself a break, knowing when to push yourself more, those are all things that I've learned from doing side hustles. And no one taught me them. I just figured them out by like doing the wrong thing a lot of the times. Well, I'd love for us just to chat about, uh, your, your, the new podcasts that you've been working on it since the pandemic has happened.

And it sounds like you're, you're wrapping up the first season. Um, so, so tell us about that. What does that look like? And what's coming up for it. Yeah. So it's called inside marketing design and it's a look inside marketing design at different tech companies it came about because I was just, I don't know.
If anyone listening is a web designer or a marketing designer, they'll probably know that there's a lot of content online about UX design, about UI design, product design. And there's so much less out there for the marketing design side of things. I can sometimes feel. I don't know if it's just like, I dunno, um, a complex that I have, but I sometimes feel like it's looked down upon in the tech world as the lesser important design job.

Um, Where product design is like, put on this really high pedestal and marketing designers, just sort of there to make things look pretty, you know, which is absolutely not the case. Um, and so I wanted to know how the companies handle things and just to be like putting out a voice for marketing design onto the internet.

So it's very niche for, you know, it's for marketing designers and we get deep into how marketing design works. Um, it features a designer or two from a tech company. We talk about that, the process about like the team structure, challenges that they face in their role. Yeah. Really going deep on the details of how design works at that company.

Um, and I'm really proud of it. It's been, yeah, like you said, I. Decided to do it during the quarantine in here in Spain, made it all happen. And season one is wrapping up soon, but you can see all the [email protected]. I am going to subscribe and definitely be listening to it amongst all of the other things that you have out there.

So, uh, any, any last words that people who are just getting started and kind of dipping their toes into the design world? I would say when you're just getting started. Try things out, find what you're passionate about because I didn't go into design expecting to love designing websites and thinking about
conversion rates and the business side of things.

That's not why I started design. I went to design school thinking that I'd work at an ad agency and, you know, be in boardrooms suits. Every day, which I'm laughing, cause that's like, you know, completely opposite of what I do for work now. Um, but I, you know, had my mind open to this idea of, of other types of design.

And I think it's really important to be on the lookout for that and be trying things out and figuring out where your passion lies and we, our strengths lie too. So don't put yourself in a box too quickly, but always be building skills, um, that, you know, You are skills that you enjoy walking on because they're going to come in handy in some way or another.

Like, I don't just do web design. I like doing hand lettering. I like writing and all these other things, motion design, and it's all come together for me to form who I am as a marketing designer, as my core thing. So, you know, All these other skills that you're picking up and trying out along the way, and all these other passions you're finding will help towards whatever you decide is your main thing.

Yeah, that's awesome. Well, Charli, I really appreciate you being on the South main web designer podcasts, or if somebody is looking for you and wants to connect beside, uh, inside marketing design, uh, where would they be able to find you? I think go to Charli has no E on the end. It's very weird.

I know, but this has links to all of my videos there. My writing, my podcasts. My social media. Yeah. Check that out. Awesome. Well, thanks again. Hope to have you on the show again in the future, Charles, I love the idea of being intentional about your career as a web designer or a marketing designer or UX designer, product designer, front end developer, whatever it is because a lot of times we can look back at a few years and go.

Where, where did it all go? What happens taking a second and having a vision for the path that you are wanting to take can make a huge difference in what you say yes to and what you say no to, and can ultimately be the deciding factor on whether or not you find success as a web designer. Such fantastic insight.

I know that I've benefited a lot from hearing from Charli and I'm sure that you have to, I want to remind you, take a second, go find inside marketing design, subscribed to it and listen to the episodes. I know that you'll love that podcast. As well, well, Hey, next week, it's a bit of a milestone for us here at self-made web designer. turns one year old. Okay. We, we are, we're starting to get into the toddler phase. And so I'm going to talk about that. We're going to celebrate, or I'm going to talk about. There's some things that I've learned from helping people learn how to be web designers for this past year.
Believe it or not. There have been reoccurring themes that have come up from the people that I have talked to over this last year. And so I'm just going to lay all those things out and we're going to dive into it. So be here for our birthday next Wednesday at midnight. It's going to drop. It's going to be fantastic.

I hope you have a great week and don't forget if you don't quit, you win.

How to be a successful remote web designer || man on laptop overlooking city skyline


Hi, I'm Chris and I'm super glad you're here. 7 years ago I taught my self-web design and freelancing. Now, I do my best to teach others what I've learned so they don't have to struggle as much as I did.

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