Vladimir Kudinov. Product Design, UI, UX, Marketing.
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My Journey of Becoming a Product Designer and Entrepreneur.

Hey, I'm Vladimir. I've made a long journey from being an ordinary ui designer to an entrepreneur. However, even when my business was running, one day I've found myself with no money to pay the rent for my apartment. So I created this site to share my story and some important findings I've made on the way.

My family bought their first computer in 1996. My uncle was a software developer then, and it was him who made me love this job. I remember myself spending whole days at the computer, writing down another piece of code - what a wonderful time!

It was my 5th year of professional coding when I decided to try myself as a designer. It meant no more sleepless nights of boring debugging as well as a way more certainty in what I was doing.

For many companies I worked, big and small. Yet I was never a "star" ux designer, and all of my projects were quite ordinary.

One day I was stretching on the floor in my rental apartment in Moscow, a green IKEA rug under me, trying to figure out why my life is so common. Ordinary food, average clothes, riding subway… Have you ever seen Moscow subway?

Meanwhile, a lot of cool product designers were featuring their amazing stuff on Behance and Dribbble, giving interviews, making loads of cash and showing off on Instagram. Why it's not me, I thought. Why am I not good enough to be in their place?

Step by step I recognized that I just didn't actually do my work well. What I aimed for, was to finish the job as fast as possible and get paid, while my true goal should have been to accomplish every design project I took to the highest level I could reach.

Following this rule soon made my results much better. Some more years of hard work gave me the level of competence I always wanted to get. I got used to provide every customer as much assistance as I wished to get myself.

The first important lesson I learned from life, "Do your work well", gradually started to bring me new bigger customers. Funny to realize, but conclusions that simple may actually cost us a lot.

So I watched my endeavors getting me closer to my former icons of the art of design. Behance stars began to notice me at last, I gave my first interviews, people started to ask me for advice.

I started my first business quite spontaneously. Working on different ui design projects, I used to stockpile the juiciest elements I created. One day I found my collection grown big, so I decided to upload it to Designmodo as a free UI Kit. By the end of the month, it was downloaded more than 100,000 times.

I still recall myself updating my Twitter, my hands all sweaty, while new comments on my product were popping up every 5 seconds.

Shortly I built up a new paid version including much more elements. In a couple of days, Futurico Pro was on sale and started to earn me money.

Two months later I quit my office job and totally immersed myself in the creation of new UI Kits, every next rollout being better and greater.

In the following three years my products made me my first million. At this very moment, I realized that finally I have broken the endless money chasing loop. Just one step in the right direction starts the way to the bright future. I was busy creating things that people liked, and that was giving me enough money. And I was happy.

Years have passed.

Gradually, I got used to it and even bored of it. Likes on Behance, which I was dreaming about before, lost their value suddenly. The money I earned just didn't bring me joy anymore.

I couldn't stay satisfied the same things. If the primeval man kept relishing the same stick in his hand forever, we would still remain at the same development stage.

There was a major shortfall in my journey to happiness. The goal was missing. And without a goal, any journey sooner or later becomes a circle run. These circles finally led me to procrastination.

I paid less attention to my business. Could spend all day long gaming, hanging on Youtube, shooting photos etc. 3,500 hours at Counter-Strike - do you think it's a joke?

The fear of another useless day made me wake up tired every morning. It was early February when I hit the rock bottom of my idleness at last. There was nothing in my pocket to cover the rent again. My heart skipped a beat. I had no idea what I should do next. Dead silence in my head was followed by dozens of questions, but I had nobody near me to give an answer.

All my conscious life I just used to ignore any self-help books. Frankly speaking, I could be hardly caught reading. Better act than reading - that was always my firm conviction. However, in this case, I just didn't know how to act, so all that could help was information, advice, tools, anything!

I went to Amazon and picked up Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss - the book composed of the interviews given by world-class performers about their tactics, experience, and day-to-day life. That was when I could recognize the difference between a day of such person and my day. The difference was nothing but impressive.

The very next morning I commenced using that advice and replacing my former ill patterns with the new smart ones: waking up at 4 AM, taking a contrast shower, meditating, using Pomodoro Timer to stay focused all day.

I also wrote a blog post, sharing my feelings with other people. I knew I was not the only one suffering this kind of problems.

I did everything to improve myself. I took even those advice which would make me laugh just a month before. And they really paid me off well. Like a miracle, the world has turned its bright side on me, and my life started getting back on track slowly.

By the end of the year, I swallowed more than 70 books, trying to implement every new one for my personal growth: marketing, entrepreneurship, sales, productivity, time management, mindset, etc. Hungrily I gobbled every piece of knowledge which I appeared to be short of.

There was enough of poverty and senseless life for me, so I chose how I should live after a couple of years. In this life I will have got a house, a car, my girlfriend will have got everything she deserved, I will have been able to travel abroad, launching new businesses to solve people's problems.

I wanted to get one step higher and become able to lend my helpful hand to anyone who hasn't reached this stage yet.

So I barged ahead. I was developing new projects, learning the ways business works, asking questions to those who may know the answer.

At that time I was still making a lot of mistakes, but the difference was that I have commenced to value them. I realized that every fault was making me stronger. Any error was providing me with precious experience which I was eager to implement.

Recall yourself as a kid, trying to self-feed with your first spoon. Most probably the first mark to hit was your forehead or even ear. Second would come the table, hands and everything you could reach. Kids make tons of mistakes, but every one of them brings new experience - that's why toddlers are able to learn so fast.

I was learning too. I began to speak less, and listen more. Only listening to other people I could improve myself.

Today I sparkle with endless energy. Every morning brings me the joy of new goals to touch. Every day I try to live so that I could be proud of myself in the evening. And I can really see the results of my work, that's an amazing feeling.

Looking back, I can clearly see that my former mindset was not able to carry the splendid castle of my happy life. Now I lay a decent groundwork.

I feel grateful to every single day of my past, even the most useless. It was them what has taught me to see my future and keep pursuing it every day.

That's my story. It is based upon conditions I've been exposed to, maybe yours were different. I hope you gain from it some useful wisdom to improve your life.

I believe it's important to share the principles of your life, important findings and stories that led you to them.

You can drop me an email or follow my personal newsletter. You may also be interested in the projects I accomplished or my product designer portfolio.

Cheers 👋

Vladimir Kudinov — Product Design, UI, UX, Marketing. Fail Enhance
Story1  Projects2  Blog3  Say Hi4