1/16/2016: Ask

The danger in being the kind of person who wants to learn it, Google it, find it, try it, and D-I-Y it is that you forget sometimes there’s an easier way to find out how to do something. Sometimes it really is as simple as asking someone who has done it before.

This whole print shop thing that I’m working on is definitely one of the greatest challenges I’ve encountered with my biz yet (part of why it’s so enticing, I’m sure).

There are logistical question marks in every conceivable direction (paper thickness? shipping costs? managing inventory?), not to mention doubt and fear and all the run-of-the-mill “will anyone care” question marks too. There have been moments where I feel like I’m on some sort of blindfolded treasure hunt, fumbling around in the dark and guessing which task to tackle next in order to move forward. It's how I’ve always done things — the self-made way.

But, as I was reaching out to a few local printing partners to get quotes, feeling as though I had no idea what I was getting myself into, I remembered a lesson that took me months to learn back when I started lettering commissions a couple years ago: If you don’t know how to do something, JUST ASK.

I used to be so afraid of looking dumb or naive or like an amateur that I would just keep my questions to myself and hope to pick up bits and pieces along the way. Now I’ve realized that side-lining a dream because of the fear of looking (momentarily) naive is absolutely ridiculous. One lasts for a moment; one lasts for a lifetime.

I sent off an email to this printing partner with a bulleted list of 11 questions related to what I wanted to know about the printing process. They answered every one of them. No condescension, no ridicule — just honest help. From that one email, I’m now worlds closer to knowing what the heck I’m doing!

It’s a simple lesson, but a powerful one: If you don’t know, just ask.