The Designer Dilemma

I’ve been designing, decorating, illustrating, and organizing for over 20 years. I never imagined I’d make a career out of it. It sort of just happened by accident. I’ve always been that person who sees a design or a project and says, “I can do that.” That’s what I did all through college. Even when I began working in publishing—proofreading, writing, and editing—I still managed to find time to create invitations for everyone I knew, design signs, create business cards, make posters, craft party favors, meet with professional printers, and organize events. Most times I did it for free as a “favor” or even as a gift for friends and family.

Now, here I am, running the design end of a business. I hire and work with contractors to create magazines, articles, books, logos, ads, and even websites. My hobby has turned into work. Real work. That pays the bills. So here’s the dilemma—when does something you love to do turn into work you do just to make money? The answer should be NEVER. But is it?

I guess the key is to do work you love. Then, find inspiration in the work you do daily, so that it doesn’t turn into “just work.” Is it easy? No. Can it be done? Yes. For instance, recently, I’ve been asked to help out by becoming part of a company’s marketing strategy team. I’ve done marketing and sales. Do I like it? No, not really. Can I help come up with new ideas? Sure. Can I design new ideas for them? Sure. So I’ll do what I do best. Design. Create.

No matter what I’m doing at my “day job,” I also find time for me. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or just some random person who wants to hire me to create invites, party decorations, favors, or their new logo, I find the time for it. Break the monotony so you don’t get bored, so you’re not doing it just for the money, and make sure to challenge yourself to do what you love.


Written by Johanna Daproza, Creative Director at Vector TalentMEDIA. For more information about how TalentMEDIA’s design team can help you, contact Johanna at