When They Ask What You’re Capable Of, Will You Be Ready?

The Habit Factory is a community dedicated to helping creatives invest in their professional careers. 

This month, we’ll be opening up our Portfolio Campfire Workshop (hosted by yours truly). 

You’re invited to design and publish your portfolio website this month. It works because you get to do it with a community.

The last day to register is August 15, 2022. 

From feeling unsure about your creative abilities to putting your best food forward in 14 days

Trying to land your first real design job and winning your first client are both hard to do. 

That’s why we made the Habit Factory. 

It’s easy to think that as you’re beginning your career all by yourself, there’s nobody to help you. You’re all alone, and nobody is getting back to you because you suck.

At the Habit Factory, it’s quite the opposite. 

We’ve made the portfolio website building process into a community-centred experience. 

Instead of working in the dark, you get to be surrounded by people with different experiences and points of view. 

You learn to see your work through the lens of someone else, not just your own. 

Best of all, you take action. 

The key to all creatives who are winning is action. 

If you want to join our upcoming portfolio-building workshop, the last chance to sign up is today. Take action and make your work stand out. Learn with a community. Make a portfolio you’ll be proud of sharing. 

I hope to see you there. 

You’ve just built the perfect portfolio website. How did you do it? 

Since starting the first run of our portfolio-building workshop (we call it the “Portfolio Campfire”), we’ve analyzed and have taken apart hundreds of junior-level design portfolios.  Here’s our winning formula on how designers can build a portfolio that stands out: 

  • Find out what your personal strengths are (curiosity, team leadership, organization, impeccable visual taste, etc.) and frame your case studies around them. State your strengths clearly. Use them to your advantage
  • Get feedback from others—and not just nice words from friends telling you that you did a good job. Ask for improvements, clarity, and effectiveness
  • Understand what your prospects need to see from someone like you. If you’re applying for jobs, get familiar with what employers want to see. If you’re a freelancer, learn why your ideal clients buy work like yours. Show your audience what they need

Make your portfolio go from “needs a ton of work” to “clear and enticing, ready to share” in 14 days. 

You can apply these key concepts on your own, or you can join our 14 day Portfolio Campfire workshop where we work on your winning formula together as a community.

PS. Most of our workshop members prefer working together as a community when it comes to building a portfolio.

Want in? Sign up through the link here.

5 Questions That Started Our Business

What would happen if we took away teachers from the classroom? 

What would happen if we let students design their own curriculum? 

If class size was 7, or maybe 150?

If semesters were 4 weeks long, instead of 4 months long? 

What would happen if we put a designer in the driver seat of her own learning journey? 

Like many great things, the Habit Factory started off with a simple set of questions. 

They’re not questions we can answer easily off the top of our heads. It took a long time and a lot of trial and error to develop our current workshops.

Now we’re onto our 8th run of our Portfolio Campfire workshop which starts mid-March. This is a workshop for student or junior designers looking to revamp their portfolios. Lucky for you, the workshop lasts 14 days and you’ll get a chance to meet other creatives who want to make the world a better place through design. 

If you want to join our upcoming cohort, register for your spot through our link. We’d be happy to have you.

There Are 2 Types of UXers in The World

Are you trying to land your first role in UX? From what I’ve observed from those around me, it seems like there are 2 types of UXers in this world. 

A. Those who go in blind and freestyle their job search, hoping that they get what they’re looking for.

B. Those who invest time and energy in job hunt strategy, preparing themselves of the next step of the hiring process at all times. 

If you’re anything like the latter, you should join our UX Interview Sprint at Habit Factory. 

Here’s why. 

The hiring process for the UX field has drastically changed. Breaking into the industry as a beginner with little experience can be difficult. 

Luckily for you, there’s a way in. 

You don’t have to guess your way through tough interview questions. You don’t have to hold your breath until your 20-minute first round is up. 

Go in with confidence. Be you, and know your worth. 

Our next UX Interview Sprint starts February 22 next week. Our hosts will be UX Researcher Mikayla Koo, and UX Designer Sydney Cooling-Sturges. I hope you’ll join us. 

Link to our UX Designer cohort

Link to our UX Researcher cohort

How to Move Forward with Your Creative Job Search

So you’re currently applying for jobs left and right. You have a vague idea of what to expect at your job and the impact you want to make. You’ve been looking through job applications day till night and you’re constantly facing rejection at every stage. What do you do? 

As I see it, you have 3 options. 

A. Continue doing what you’re doing. Perhaps by a stroke of luck, hard work, and grind, you’ll land the career you’ve been chasing for.  

B. You do absolutely nothing. You merely give up and put your efforts somewhere else that might reward you better for all the time you’ve been putting into applications. 

C. You invest a little bit of time to take a step back. You evaluate and define in what ways you really want to spend your waking hours. You refocus your energy into researching and developing a strategy towards your job hunt. You prepare yourself accordingly for the inevitable interview with a new company. 

Which of the 3 is the better option for you? 

If you picked C, the good news is that the Habit Factory is starting a new workshop specifically for UX Designers and UX Researchers on the job hunt. We have 2 incredible hosts—Mikayla  Koo and Sydney Cooling-Sturges—both of whom have been through the UX hiring process recently and can live to tell the tale of how it all went down. 

Learn how to: 

  • Navigate through tough questions
  • Nail whiteboarding challenges 
  • Send cold messages and build professional relationships
  • Present your work in front of a live audience
  • And more

We start February 22nd next week. If you want to join our UX Interview Sprint program, click the link below: 

For UX Designers: https://www.thehabitfactory.space/uxinterviewsprint-design

For UX Researchers: https://www.thehabitfactory.space/uxinterviewsprint-research

We have 2 streams of each program running at the same time, each with limited seats. 

Register for your spot in the workshop today. I’m wishing you the best of luck in your search 🙂 

Dear Recent Graduate: Everyone’s Thinking The Same Thing

Do I really like this? Is this really for me? If I continue, will it be worth my time and effort? 

These are the questions I hear increasingly more often from recent graduates and young professionals. If you’re asking yourself these questions too, you’re not alone. 

For many career transitioners, the field of UX has been a ripe option for change as UX is a very learnable skillset that comes in many forms and sizes (not to mention UX positions pay relatively well on average—60k isn’t shabby at all). 

If you’re a creative who is ready to enter the UX field and need some help polishing up your UX Interview skills, we have a workshop opening up this month that might be for you.

The UX Interview Sprint from The Habit Factory presents a series of exercises to help you succeed in your incoming interviews. Get practice doing white boarding challenges, portfolio presentations, and learn from our workshop hosts who have recently been through the UX hiring process as well. 

If you’re ready face change and find a career path that suits your needs, I hope you check out our workshop. 

If you’re a new UX Designer, go here

And If you’re a new UX Researcher, go here.

We can’t wait to see you there.

My Story of Starting A Creative Business

In 2015, Mikayla Koo and I met each other in class (it was Form & Structure). We didn’t talk much, but I thought Mikayla’s work was pretty neat.

The following couple of years were kind of a haze. I don’t recall ever having a chance to get to know this incredible human being (now business partner) until our final year in school.

In 2019, Mikayla and I found ourselves at OCAD University starting our 5th year of study. It was our thesis year, and again we found ourselves in the same class. 

Somewhere down the line that year, we met up in front of a white board and that’s when we really got to know each other. 

The following picture is a brainstorming session we did for what was the initial version of the Habit Factory (a 4-week passion-project bootcamp called Marathon). 

Believe it or not, I haven’t seen Mikayla in-person for 2 years but we’ve been working together since that day.

Now at the start of 2022, we took another step forward with our business, The Habit Factory. I’m proud to announce the launch of our newest workshop called the UX Interview Sprint. It’s specifically for UX designers and UX researchers looking to land their first serious role in the industry. We’ve got Mikayla Koo herself to lead the UX Research cohort, and Sydney Cooling-Sturges to lead the UX Design cohort. 

I’m beyond grateful to learn from these talented, hardworking folks. 

If you know anybody who would be interested in joining this UX Interview Sprint, please do them a favour and share this opportunity. It’s not everyday that we offer this workshop. In fact, there are only 3 seats available in each section because our team wants to give their full attention to our members. 

The UX Interview Sprint starts this January 17th. If you know of anybody who wants to register for their spot, the link is here: https://www.thehabitfactory.space/

If you’re reading this, I hope 2022 starts off on the right foot for you.

Oops, we forgot about our end user

When we make food at the restaurant, it’s easy to think that things are going fine when the reality is the opposite. The reality is that the customer went back to their table and made a complaint to their friends, but aren’t going to confront staff about what went wrong. The customer then proceeds to go home and make a poor review. By then, they’ve made up their mind about your business. 

This is an oversimplified (but real) story about working on projects yet never being the end user. It happens everywhere around us, all over the world. 

The real question becomes: how do we make room for project makers, business owners, designers, and engineers to connect and listen to the people they already serve? How do we get real feedback to the people who need to hear it?

Don’t Wait For The Perfect Portfolio

You, the designer, might care for a perfect portfolio. However, an employer, client, or recruiter doesn’t know what your definition of perfect is supposed to be. In fact, perfection probably isn’t what they’re looking for.

In many cases, people looking to hire creative talent aren’t looking for a perfect portfolio. Instead, they are looking for somebody who can do work they need.

There’s a big difference between the two.

Don’t hold yourself back from applying to opportunities and meeting new people, just because your portfolio isn’t to your standard of perfect.