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Well, we are nearly there, my favourite time of year. Christmas. The entire winter season is a time I look forward to. Cold weather, Christmas lights and time with the family. You don’t get any better than that for me.
In this article, I wanted to discuss why no one should be working 24/7 for a prolonged amount of time. Breaks are important. I probably don’t award myself enough down time, but then I have a serious work/life balance problem. As my job is also my greatest area of interest. Design.
When I was a wean (Young Scottish Child) my mum used to tell me “oh your dad loves work” and my dad replied in a sarcastic tone. “Sure Dot, I really love work, can’t get enough of it, in fact, why am I not there now?”
The strange thing about this long-running joke is it eventually became my reality. From the age of eight, I knew what I wanted to be. I spent countless hours reading about design, designing self-initiated projects and eventually began to freelance at 13 years old.
I work very long hours every day of the week, for many months back to back. Traditionally I take two “breaks”. One in the summer with my family on our annual holiday for 2 weeks, and 2 weeks at Christmas.
This splits the year up into two 6 month cycles where I work full out. Now that Loudon Design has a body of staff I realise how rare that is in our market. Very few people, even business owners, have that sort of time spent working on or in the business.
For this reason taking these scheduled breaks is super important for me to get down time to recharge and prioritise my family over work and the commitments I make throughout the year.
I’ll share a story with you, and I don’t know how this will be taken. I think it shows how my mind works. I am a little strange when it comes to commitment. I am very traditional and believe fully that a person’s word is their bond. I hold myself to this expectation that I don’t hold others to.
I had a client who desperately needed a pitch for winning new work. This came in my winter break. I wouldn’t normally take on work at this time. Over and above this my wife was about to give birth to our daughter at any moment.
I am a very honest and straight talking businessman, I had made the client well aware of these factors. However, I started work on the project and it got to 3am. My worst nightmare happened. At my most tired, my wife went into labour. So we went to the local hospital in Glasgow and delivered a smiley wee girl. I stayed with my wife and daughter till I got kicked out of the hospital.
The first thing I did was grab food, which I ate in a hurry then resumed working for the next six hours. I’ve never met someone else that does that. For me I have a real issue with saying I will do something, then breaking that promise.
It happens all too often, but it doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t want my clients to feel like that. To feel disappointed in me for breaking their trust. Now in reality, if I had told this client “Look I am sorry, I did warn that my baby was due. You knew the risk.”
They would have most likely accepted it, but I wouldn’t personally be happy about it. Trust is the hardest attribute to build with a client or in any relationship, and it takes no effort at all to tear it down.
In business, you have to project forward, work in the now, and plan for the future. Time worrying about spilt milk doesn’t help you reach success. I am a very positive person. I am the happiest person I know. I rarely get down, but I also don’t take a lot of time to reflect on how far I have travelled.
My career has been on the fastest setting, opportunities and doors opening as I work through each year. Progressively I have seen my career, business and position outside of work improve with every year.
Whilst I have also had pretty horrible stuff happen to me over this period. I am very lucky to be where I am and it’s proof that hard work and dedication eventually wins out. In life very, few things are just given. If you keep your head down, plan and apply you can see great achievements unravel before you.
Christmas gives me a lot of time to think about how lucky I am in life. I have a great job. I own and run a successful freelance business both of which give me regular opportunity to contribute to a client’s growth and profitability. That’s why I feel motivated all of the time. I have a fantastic supportive wife and three and a half little people that are amazing 🙂
It’s important to be reminded of who you are working for. A younger me used to work for the internet points. I was trapped and motivated by likes, favourites and shares. I honestly hate reading comments from my younger self. It’s not a nice attribute to be self-centred and I was very lucky that when I became a husband my primary goal became looking after my people. This was further reinforced when I had kids. The greatest successes and achievements have been made because I took a lot of strength from my family. I would put myself forward for more because I wanted to better support them, and in return, I was able to gain more traction.
The family should never be overlooked. To have people to care for, and to be in return loved and valued is a huge deal. I am big on friends and family. The people around you contribute to who you are as a person. Big thanks to them for having my back and supporting me over the years.
Last but certainly not least I want to take Christmas as a chance to thank all my great clients. There is a little token of my thanks winging its way towards you. My small way of showing appreciation for you believing in and supporting Loudon Design at this early stage of our history.
This is the first time I will have shipped something to 30+ countries. I found it really interesting to realise how international Loudon Design has become by focusing on a global client base rather than trying to keep things purely local.
It’s a big world and I love that my brand is reaching well beyond the Scottish shores.