Why is everyone else finding jobs when you can’t? What do they have that you don’t? 

Honestly, nothing. 

Successful people just hustle. Every day, regardless of anyone asking them. They place themselves in opportunistic situations time and time again until things fall into place. And these “opportunistic situations” are everywhere, for all of us. The trick is turning your undivided attention towards them. Quit worrying about your title, your status, and long-term goals, and do something you can be proud of now. There is no lifelong career without today’s project. And tomorrow’s hobby. And next week’s introduction to some random stranger you’ve never heard of that will one day introduce you to your soul mate … who knows. The point is that these opportunities are free. They pay nothing but are worth everything.

I learned this firsthand as a teenager, not realizing that hip hop culture was teaching me the unsubtle art of not giving a fuck. I got picked on as a punk ass white boy, filling journals with graffiti sketches and writing rap lyrics. A rebellious 14 year old who thought he was fighting conformity, when in all reality I was crafting the skill sets of an art director and content strategist. Funny how that works. Turns out if you’re relentless enough in creating the things you care about, someone else cares too. And will pay you for it. That success may look a lot different than what you’d imagined, but there’s no way I’d now be creating the look and feel of cohesive brands without also experiencing that music and culture all working in harmony.

Sketchbook graffitti

Today I can quickly spot that same punk ass kid who doubts their own purpose, but for some reason keeps grinding. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to their parents. Maybe college doesn’t offer courses built for their talent. Personally, I’ve bought dozens of books on typography, but still haven’t found one that breaks down ligature styles of inner-city bombing (graffiti term for you noobs), or the swag captured by reverse italics. That book just isn’t available. The “type experts” will tell you that street art doesn’t even count as typography. I disagree, and more importantly, I could sell that book.

Pencil Icon
So here’s my advice if you’re an aspiring whatever: 1. You’re doing not enough. 2. Don’t wait for someone else to give you ideas—there are no rules. 3. Be honest, be kind, and don’t talk shit.

If you’re a designer, make up a fictional dream client and build their entire brand identity. If you’re a project manager, research company efficiencies within an industry you love, then post reports on LinkedIn about controversial workplace trends and obsolete business practices. If you’re a writer, why am I giving you ideas? Come on. At the end of the day your profession doesn’t really matter, it’s your drive. Now go assign yourself something cool.

A few things I’ve made during quarantine, all for $0:

March 6 – Louis VA identity system with seamless handbag pattern
March 31 – Fortnite ‘Quarantine’ logo (for my little dudes)
April 6 – Sidekick RVA logo, website UX/copywriting, social media (Think team collab with Nick Davis)
April 7 – Restoration of old ass door with etched-glass Think logo insert
April 21 – ‘Thinking of You’ greeting cards (Think team collab with WH&A)
April 26 – Sauer’s Garden brass historical plaques
April 27 – 24-hour Social Distancing graphic
May 5 – Slate & brushed gold address plaque
May 15 – erth Garden logo concepts
May 17 – Vegetable garden fully clad in razor-sharp chicken wire (hands off, squirrels)

Don’t worry about gaps in your resume, worry about the gaps in your side projects.