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Real work

The apparent reason for building the perfect portfolio is:

Do the work you love. Get (better) clients.

What if you can do the work anyway? What if your clients are good enough? What if there is enough opportunity coming your way? Even then, should you be building that perfect portfolio?

I love to think about concepts that communicate a specific value, a story or a situation. And the same thing happens whenever I’m thinking about a project to take on. My mind jumps to the “what do we call this thing” question.

It may be part of the lizard brain that goes above and beyond to defer real work. Yet, making brands, marks and systems is work, too. Satisfying work. But it may not be what I set out to do in the first place.

This is where the Work comes in. This is the hard work, the work of the professional. The work you put in when it’s expected of you, under the deadline.

The professional sets his own goals and delivers on all milestones. She is focused and reliable. Take the right step today and come back tomorrow. Clients are ready, opportunities are plenty.

Are you still building the portfolio? Or are you doing the Work?

Martin Uhnak
Present moment

My only teacher.

Whatever the situation, presence will show up for the task. She is the guide for the anxiousness. She is the ultimate authority. She manifests the impermanence of things.


We can all enjoy a little present moment attention. This one is a gift.

And this.

And this.

Martin Uhnak
We're no workers

We're makers.

Sure, we put in the work. Yet primarily, we make things. Things with no blueprint.

The blank canvas. Those things with no answers provided, that is the work to be appreciated.

If you're willing to go where few have gone, that's where you find your price. Your price is negatively correlated with the number of makers in your category.

What's your category?

Are you one of us?

Narrow the scope

You can always narrow the scope. And maybe you should. It’s easy to think too big. It's easy to stick everything up there. Everything is a priority!

Rather than doing everything, you can pick one thing. That thing can be pretty small, but complete. Say you need a website and a new logo. And then you may want to make a video, some stationary, catalogs and hey, you should make some t-shirts for the upcoming off-site.

There is no such thing as more than three priorities. Precisely, it should be a single priority. Priority means the one thing. 

But we can't say goodbye to our agendas and our egos. So we stretch the list. Now we have multiple priorities. That list is called a to-do list.

List of priorities, better yet objectives, shouldn't be the to-do list. There are multiple ways to reach an objective.

Doing less of more might be the way onward.

Doing unpaid work?

We, as everyone, get called up to do a free pitch.

No one wants to work for free. You even shouldn’t want to have work done for free. Money establishes leverage and enforces responsibility. Also, if you’re looking for the best result, are you sure you want to hire the one that has space to do work for free?

When they say yes and deliver the pitch, what do you have to gain? You’ll have something to judge. Something that is neither representative nor well made. Hence, free work.

If you’re not sure how to go about a project on the buyer side, call someone you respect and ask them. Or, you know, google it. There is enough information from great sources to make a well-informed decision.

There will always be someone willing to do free work. There will always be someone asking for it. If you’re one of those looking for something remarkable, take another route. Service businesses are complete professionals, not just working hands for rent. 

What do you want?

Martin Uhnak