Continuing with my series of posts on discoveries and surprises I’ve made during my first year of freelancing, I want to use this third installment to share some thoughts I’ve developed in my relation to perfectionism.

I’ve always been of this school of thought: great designers are perfectionists by nature. With design being all about paying attention to detail, who better equipped to be relentless in the pursuit of greatness than perfectionists? But in my year freelancing I’ve discovered that while a perfectionist might make a great designer, a great freelance designer needs equal measures of flexibility.

Freelance design is a messy process. You may get called in the middle of a project, to contribute a few ideas to be continued in-house. A project may end abruptly, or be suspended indefinitely. Proposals may go nowhere. The right project may appear at the wrong time, or the wrong project at the right time. Navigating all this requires flexibility.

Perfection should be a goal, not a barrier. I don’t consider myself a writer, but I haven’t let that stop me from setting up this blog. I don’t consider myself an expert in web design, yet I’ve been able to put together a good website to showcase my work. I’ve made plenty of mistakes scoping work in proposals, or with my time management. But everything can be improved, and the only way to learn is by doing.

I know for some, this is old news. Especially for Voltaire, since he spoke of this in 1772 when he wrote in La Bégueule that “the best is the enemy of the good.” But it’s been quite revelatory to me, and quite satisfying to be able to add learn new things within a profession I’ve chosen to embark in more than a decade ago.