If you want to become an entrepreneur, you can’t have a “fallback plan”

“You are have such great experience. I’m sure if this doesn’t work out, you can always go back to the corporate world.”

An acquaintance said to me once after I started my entrepreneurship journey.

They meant well, and it is true — I could always go back. The corporate world is always there as my “Plan B”.

But I won’t.

Looking back at how I made life decisions, I realized I have never had a “Plan B”.

It may seem irrational, irresponsible or even privileged to say that, but I recognized that this is the mindset that could make or…

What happens when companies take a chance on junior talents.

Earlier this year, I relaunched my company Path Unbound as a design school democratizing creative education.

I thought I would work alone on it for at least six months before I’m ready to bring anyone else in.

By chance, I stumbled across an amazing platform and got connected to some great early-career talents. Many of them are still in college and looking to get a career mentor as well as real work experience.

It pushed me to fast track my hiring and boy, am I glad I did. …

Lack of visual storytelling is sending piles of UX portfolios to hiring manager’s trash

The UX design industry has a case study problem.

Many designers “vomit” thousands of words all over their case study pages, detailing every single thing they did for the project.

The result is the exact opposite of what they hoped for — no one wants to read them.

Storytelling Skills Have Been Ignored In Design Schools

As a design educator with a strong background in storytelling thanks to my undergraduate training in broadcast journalism, I have reaped the benefits of knowing how to tell a good story throughout my career.

Before becoming an educator…

Why being a design generalist may serve you better

It seems counter intuitive for me to say this, given that I run a design school with many students focused in UX design, but I’m still going to say it because I believe in being honest — UX design isn’t for everyone.

UX design isn’t for everyone.

If you are reading this, you may have doubts about whether UX design is for you. As a generalist designer who was a career-changer, I’ve been there.

Having spent the past decade working professionally in design after changing my career from television production to…

Sometimes when you struggle, it’s a sign that something isn’t working.

Recently, as I study the design industry and do research for my design school, I found myself browsing through online design communities more often.

We are very lucky to have a plethora of communities to choose from these days.

There are many people there who are incredibly supportive, resourceful and wise.

But I found myself feeling uncomfortable more and more while reading through discussion threads.

The reason is — I felt for so many newer designers who are struggling to get a foot in the door or pay the bills if they are already “in the door”.

Most of the…

What design bootcamps and colleges didn’t teach you

“I don’t like this design, but I don’t know why.”

If I ask every designer who has heard of this client feedback before to clap once, we are probably going to hear a standing ovation around the world.

If I ask every designer who has heard of this client feedback before to clap once, we are probably going to hear a standing ovation around the world.

In design school, we rarely have ways to practice how to respond to tricky workplace dynamics and client drama.

Most school projects are blue-sky.

Most school…

Next time you interview for a junior design job, counter with this answer

“Job title: Junior Designer
Salary: The lowest level we can get away with for an entry-level job
Requirements: 5 years of experience and a degree in Design
Interview Process: Do a small project for us which we may use for free after we don’t hire you.
Perks: We have great culture and free snacks!”

Does this sound familiar to you? It sure does to me.

Young talents deserve better than this type of treatment from employers.

But why is this vicious cycle of “we want experience but we won’t give you a chance to build one” still a thing now…

Here’s my take on this million-dollar question.

Almost every day, I get asked this question by my beginner design students.

“Is the design field too saturated?”

Many students ask this question before they even start classes.

They want to know what they are getting into and if they can handle the answer once they find out from me.

Understandably, they are anxious.

Am I throwing money down the drain by entering into a field so competitive that there is very little chance I will get hired and get a return on my investment?

Will my portfolios and resumes even get read?

Am I good enough?

These questions…

Unexpected Learning From An Unlikely Experience

Last year, I made a huge financial mistake in real estate.

I wrote about my experience first on Medium with one simple intention — if any of my friends asks, I will send them the link to read the story instead of repeating the painful details to them over and over again.

It worked. Some of my friends thanked me for sharing my experience. One of my real estate friends shared my story link to educate her clients.

I felt good about it — at least my misjudgement will help someone else avoid similar…

Things That Make Hiring Managers Stop For A Glance

A few years ago, I became a judge at several international design awards.

One time, I was asked to judge over 1,600 entries at a huge award — in the span of a week!

Judging awards is usually a voluntary, non-paid activity experienced designers do as a service to the community and a way for us to discover new inspirations.

Judges at awards are very similar to hiring managers in companies.

We both determine the outcomes of candidates or entrants.

In the award world, it is a matter of winning or losing. …

Stella Guan

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