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Creative struggles with side projects

Made in The MIA

Just start! Just start! Just start!

I can fill this entire post with that phrase like a kid writing lines on a chalk board. It’s honestly a paralyzing phrase followed by a series of how-to questions that prompt more how-to questions. Which then creates an endless cycle of paralysis, analysis and doubt. This is partially my condition when it comes to creative projects. However, I did start a project but whats next? This is an update on my current project Made in The MIA and the creative struggles with side projects.

Made in The MIA

Made in The MIA is my attempt at designing t-shirts and building a brand. I started Made in The MIA in late 2015 early 2016. The goal was to build a t-shirt brand around the culture of Miami, FL. I started the project after some encouragement from friends and my wife. I also wanted to try my hand at building an e-commerce site. The first domain was actually It was to be a sense of nostalgia to those of us who grew up or spent time in the city. Made in The MIA came a short while after seeing A site by Tad Carpenter that represents the Kansas City creative community. I was encouraged and thought I could create something similar but more specific around Miami and starting with t-shirts. The goals of the site were to build something unique, create an additional source of income and improve my t-shirt design skills. All great goals but difficult to attain due to challenges.


Challenges and struggles come with any project. The biggest of them being myself plus marketing and creating designs. I thought this would be a cakewalk. I easily underestimated how much I would hinder myself through self doubt and procrastination. I was and still remain my worse critic to date. My inner critic haunts me to pursue perfection which is not really attainable.

Marketing and Promotion

Another difficulty is marketing and promotion. You have to reach your audience, right? I had no idea how tough it would be to get the attention of people already distracted. Furthermore, I had no additional money for Facebook ads or any other form of paid marketing. So I maintain with posting to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to fight for attention. Traction is little to none, discouraging and leads to doubt.


Doubt often leaves me asking are my designs any good. How are other designers and services able to sell so many shirts? I see nothing spectacular about their skills or a huge difference between our skill sets. Then what am I lacking? These are the thoughts I have swirling in my head and can’t seem to shake.

With so many things swirling in my head quitting would be easier. But quitting won’t change anything, it just adds to the thoughts, “I wonder if…” or “I wish…” even “Maybe if…” become apart of my thinking. I believe it would be better to keep going. Just keep going, keep designing, set new goals. I am not sure how this will play out but it will be better than quitting. Hard work is on the horizon.

New Goals

My new goals are, design for me, publish designs, share through social media and improve as a designer. Regardless if the project succeeds I will grow as a designer and learn any other lessons to come from it. The lessons learned will be passed on to future projects.

The cure to creative struggles with side projects is to keep going!