Daniel Schwarz

Week in Review #1

How to Close a Startup and Heal

You may have been redirected here via Airwalk Design (dot com). I’ve since closed down the website, and this article explains why, as well as a few little advices about how to cope with a failed startup. I'll also talk about what the hell I'm doing now.

For those that don't know, Airwalk Design was like Pinterest for design inspiration.

Logo for Airwalk Design

Don’t you hate it when you spend so much time doing something, like waiting for a bus that’s clearly not coming, but you’ve waited so long it feels like a waste of your time to give up and take a taxi? Well that’s what Airwalk Design was like for me.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy working on Airwalk Design, because I did, at least at first, but after two years or so it was obvious that it wasn’t going to become the sensation that I thought it was. Coming to terms with the time that I'd wasted was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It’s taken me an entire year to write this farewell.

My obsession with time

I’m obsessed with time. I often ask myself questions like:

  • Is my idea a waste of time?
  • Should I have achieved more by now?
  • What age did [persons name] achieve their dreams?
  • And the slightly darker question…when will I die?

It’s a little morbid, I know.

But nonetheless, I'm constantly at the mercy of my own mind. When something doesn't work out the way that I thought it would, it bothers me a lot.

Finding the silver lining

If there’s one singular way to overcome the negative thoughts associated with unsatisfactory outcomes it’s to find the silver lining — every bad experience is a learning opportunity. I learnt that my interests had changed; I no longer enjoyed design inspiration, in fact I didn’t even really enjoy freelance design anymore, so I ended up writing about design (Sketch App at first) for several well-known design blogs like Creative Market, SitePoint, Designmodo and Web Design Ledger.

In my opinion, being a content creator/writer is easier than being a designer or developer — no more clients — I enjoy working with editors more, and so I've kept the company (Airwalk Studios) running but switched its interests to content creation.

My advice for failed starteruppers: look at it as a learning experience and move onto something else. Really, you've only failed once you've stopped trying.

What I’m doing now

And now, almost a year later, I’m writing my first book (it’s called Jump Start Sketch and it’ll be out soon!) and finally starting on this damn blog, as well as a few other content creation-type experiments on the topic of design and digital nomadism. If you’re a digital nomad, a designer, a developer or you use Sketch, you should definitely, definitely subscribe to my newsletter or follow me on the twittersphere.

Here’s what my company, Airwalk Studios, is working on now:

  • A monthly magazine for digital nomads
  • Blogging (digital nomadism, travel, nutrition, design
  • Healthy-eating Nomad Nom Guides for digital nomads
  • Books about digital nomadism, design and Sketch
  • A store (Creative Market) for .sketch resources

My wife is working on the Nomad Noms (since she's both a digital nomad and nutritionist) and the digital nomad magazine; she owns the other half of the company. 2016 will see us hiring some freelancers to help us with editing as well.

Stay tuned, follow us, and enjoy my blog!

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