Through her work as a Squarespace freelancer, she was able to bootstrap her two business: ilovecreatives doubles as an educational resource and digital community for creatives, while Peoplemap is an Instagram Marketing Tool that supports brands, agencies, freelancers and micro-influencers. Digital entrepreneur, UX Designer, and web-designer, she also builds comprehensive, educational tools like the Squarespace Design Course. This course, among other resources and services, supports creatives and freelancers build the work, and subsequently the life, they envision.
There were of course some “steps” that Puno Dostres took to get to where she is, but one of the most inspiring parts of her story have to do with the decisions she made about the kind of life she wanted to live. These decisions have become a foundational basis of her work, and can truly serve as pocket-philosophies that anyone can adopt.
“I don’t subscribe to that word.” - Puno Dostres
“Don’t Hustle” almost sounds counterproductive to what we assume is required to attain what might collectively be described as success. But I mean, look at Puno. She tells us it’s a word she just doesn’t “subscribe” to. In our conversation, Puno explained:
“I’m not against working hard--not against growing. Not into being emotionally exhausted for absolutely no reason.”
She asked herself questions like: Am I helping someone? Is this going to make me happy? She also made a distinction between working and worrying. She is proof that you can accomplish what you set out to without debilitating stress and worry, and that “the hustle” is not a required ingredient as it can sometimes seem to be.
She also explained that “hustle” is often attached to ego and is an evaluation of what others are doing--allowing that to dictate what we need to do. But when we separate our ego, we are able to center what was genuinely valuable, and just, do that.
How can you do it?
Ask yourself, am I working or worrying? Is this productive? Is it necessary to accomplish this task? How can I be productive without “hustling”? Is this my ego, or is this really what I want?
A running thread in my conversation with Puno was a notion of transparency. Being transparent is a call-to-action for ourselves and an approach to working with others. It’s a matter of asking ourselves: Why am I doing this? What does it mean to me? And expressing those answers to clients, customers and those we work with. It is a way to maintain the integrity of our intentions and be accountable for them.
For example in regards to her courses, Puno is transparent about the reality that they function as a monetized service that she offers, but that they’re primary function is built out of an observed and expressed need by members of creative and freelance community. Her commitment and intention to the value of the course is visible in the way it is designed: fun and engaging, and of course, informative. Not to mention that Puno’s work by nature is transparent-- she is sharer of knowledge and everything that she knows, and makes that available to others. She stated:
“I’ve never thought about the stuff that I’m doing as sacred or secret. I just never believed that [sharing what I knew] was threatening.”
Developing her businesses, began from a willingness to simply share what she knew, what she had learned and be a resource to others.
How can you do it?
Make a list of what you’re doing, or what you plan to do, and ask yourself: Why am I doing this? What does it mean to me? How can I best, authentically express this to my clients, customers or team members?
For Puno, there is no “go big or go home”. While this statement can seem to lean toward the idealistic, Puno reminds us that there is truth in it. The road to getting there isn’t always fast and very rarely, if ever, easy. But a lot of it has to do with making a decision that you will strive to do what makes you happy:
“Before ilovecreatives I think some people in my friend group even or some people at work even kind of called me like a “know it all” or [someone] always trying to give advice--but that was never my intention...I just always wanted to help people.”
And as we know, she doesn’t like to keep what she knows--what could potentially be helpful for others-- a secret. So she found a way to take what she authentically enjoys and make it what she does.
How can you do it?
Consider what you are you already doing that you love or enjoy and how are you already engaging with others in a way that can evolve into a business or a service.
Maybe it’s saving money to bootstrap a business venture, or maybe it’s learning a new skill or further developing a current one to do so--like signing up for a Squarespace Design Course like Puno’s. Maybe it’s gathering a group of like-minded people with the same passion and pulling resources. Maybe it’s discovering helpful resources like Puno’s Do the Math: Freelancers spreadsheet tool to identify your hourly-rate and kick off your freelancing career.
No matter, Puno has shown us that the jumping off point is deciding the life you want to live and then discovering the most tangible, sustainable ways to do so. And, it works.