First, keeping with the theme of understanding different functions within a cross-functional team. In this article, we chat with a designer – Fajar Siddiq.
Tell us who you are and what you do?
Hey, I’m Fajar Siddiq, I’m a Serial Entrepreneur from Singapore. I run three companies related to creative work & communities online. Furthermore, I’m working on bootstrapped micro-startups (side projects) as an indie maker. I also travel and work online as Digital Nomad. In addition, I also produce videos for Product launches.
Chat with a designer – Fajar Siddiq
What are some of the products you have worked on?
I have worked on multiple varieties of products and services. You can view my products over on my website. In addition, I also provide design and product feedback to the bootstrapped & indie-makers community.
In your opinion, what traits do good designers share?
Designers are very talented and possess many skills, however, the below is not a comprehensive list but rather a starting point.
- Passion and Drive
- Ability to Take Criticism
- Problem Solving
Walk us through your creative process
I like to break my creative process down into 4 stages:
FOCUS: Think about the things you want to do (ideas), write them down, and make a plan to execute. There are a number of todo task app/website or write it down on a piece of paper/book in bullet points.
LEVERAGE: Explore the ideas and problems you’d like to solve. Look at them with a different lens and think about how you can leverage examples already out there e.g., portfolios and other people’s work. Consider this as experimenting & leveraging at the same time to put your ideas together. Your mind must be strong because you need to paint a picture or visualize how it works.
ENGAGEMENT: You need to be driven by passion from the moment you want to work on that idea. Stay away from the problems that don’t exist because there will be over 1,000 freaking problems if you go looking for negativity. So stop and focus on the part where you get excited & get 100% full energy on it. Time to lead and produce.
ACCOUNTABILITY: You must not let the idea get away from you but to make the idea come back to you. I don’t care about your timelines, your plan, your goals, or your talent. If you are not consistent in action, you are out! Do not compete with your priorities because you will lose focus & passion. This stage is the hardest because you will need to shape and develop. You need to release, share, or launch to the whole wide world. You must be ready for constructive criticism & adapt to changes. Ask for feedback. Remember connecting your ideas is to complete all the stages.
How do you stay organized?
It totally depends on the level of priorities. If you’re busy or super busy:
- Create a todo list, however, remember to get things done rather than creating more lists.
- Email can be useful, as can chat apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. If your not active with the conversation, considering archiving them. You can also create folders (back up if needed) or save your messages or create your own group (for your own ideas).
- Declutter everything from your home and work. Also, declutter the tools you use. Do not install all the apps that you get excited but install selectively the apps/software that helps you get things done and helps you make the best of your time helping you achieve your goals.
- Create habits & patterns. For example, create your morning or evening routines. I prefer the mornings because it allows me to exercise, surf some websites/social media, read to some newsletters, listen to podcasts, and watch some Netflix/videos before my day starts. Focus on your food intake, your work, people around you like family, friends, and colleague/acquaintance/community. In between remember to take breaks & eat healthy snacks. You can power nap as well.
Chat with a designer – Fajar Siddiq
- Don’t ever get shit pile up. If you have to save yes to everyone and everything, you need to know how to efficiently use technology to help you with time management, and things get done faster. There will come a point where you need to start to say no more often. Saying no is an art, you need to practice and learn to say 1,000,000 NO times.
- There are things that are difficult to complete and we are humans. We may be fired up and plan to complete it, however, get distracted. This is very common. Especially when it comes to workload, better offers, and procrastination. One of the ways to prevent distractions is to break down the tasks into smaller manageable tasks, part by part, day by day, week by week, and work on the workflow. Practice your workflow and master it till done.
- Don’t ever get scared to get messy. Messy is normal especially when you’re busy. When you’re super busy you can get super messy. Take things one at a time, give it the focus to do your best. You will feel proud of achieving the task(s) and doing the things that you need to do. If you have bad habits, work to remove the bad habits because it can affect the whole entire process and progress of your workflow from work to your daily life.
Chat with a designer – Fajar Siddiq
How do you balance competing priorities?
Keep it short, sharp, and simple. Always in bullet point form, keep 1,2,3 or step by step. Once done, move to another from big your break it to small pieces.
How do you handle conflict?
Email the person or company and write it down properly, always call up and talk if you need to. 3 important powerful words: 1. Sorry, 2. Thank you, 3. Love you. Don’t talk about it and solve it, tell them when you are going to complete the tasks, and show the results.
What is your biggest achievement?
- Created a project for clients with $50,000 in sales in 2 months, not for myself. I like to do it for others because I like others to be happy first. Don’t ask me why because I like to create value first then money comes second.
- I sold some of my products to clients and made a lot of money. But, I used to pay bills and also buy gifts for those who in need. Giving back is important, it makes you a better character. Remember, you can hire a great character and master the skills by learning.
- Improving my health from time to time. I’ve been in the worst situation in my life. I almost lost my business because I wanted to give up. I came back strong wanting to learn more. I find like-minded people, by joining online communities, and help people by giving feedback on their product and also sharing good tips/advice on making their company or product better. I lost my mom, dad, and brother, but I came back to build my business better. I also was overwhelmed with tons of bills and debt that lead me to an unhealthy mental state, anxiety, and burnout. From there I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I also had other health issues including needing a hernia repair. It was a crazy challenging time. I’m back for good because I know what I want to do and not only do I want to add value to people but most importantly myself first. Because from there I want to help other people create an impact and help them become driven and passionate. Create a better life, people friendship, and partners in business, and also design better products.
Where can we find you
Thank you, Fajar for sharing your design experience with us.