Watch Lindsay Arakawa’s Pep Talk on making connections and growing your creative network

Our latest Pep Talk featured digital artist and social media strategist, Lindsay Arakawa, who answered all of your questions on making connections and growing your creative network. Hosted by Steph Fung, Lindsay discussed building an audience from scratch, why Instagram is a great platform for networking and her experience of moving from New York to Tokyo.

The big talking points:

• The importance of being yourself and being nice to everyone you meet (4:00)
• How Lindsay started working in social media (6:27)
• The differences between working in-house and freelance (13:13)
• Why Instagram can be the perfect for introverts (15:05)
• Why moving to Japan was the hardest thing Lindsay’s ever done (19:20)
• Working with clients worldwide, in different languages (21:52)
• The story behind Lindsay’s digital art (25:46)
• How Lindsay’s ‘bubble text’ graphic style came to be (29:16)
• Tips on creating better balance (31:02)
• How to battle impostor syndrome with validation (34:20)
• Building an audience from scratch (37:47)
• A discussion around the transition to freelancing (41:52)

What did I miss?
After an introduction from our host Steph Fung, Lindsay shared her own mini-pep talk with us: “Be yourself and be nice to everyone you meet.”

Originally majoring in media at the University of San Francisco, upon graduation, Lindsay didn’t know which path to pursue within media. Taking a chance on the world of social media, internships became full-time positions and Lindsay later moved to Brooklyn to work at Refinery29. In retrospect, Lindsay chalks this up to being always ‘on’, while trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

At the end of 2018, Lindsay moved to Tokyo and became a full-time freelancer, “the hardest thing [she’s] ever done”. Transitioning from working in-house to being freelance, she discussed having to learn about taxes and budgeting, and how she offered to take people out for coffee to ask them questions and advice.

“Be yourself and be nice to everyone you meet.”

During the talk, Lindsay gave some top tips for introverts wanting to network, believing that networking is like dating; while you’ll get rejected many times, it doesn’t hurt to try – as long as you’re respectful. When it comes to building an audience from scratch, she also advised knowing what you have to say and focusing on authenticity instead of perfection.

As well as working in social media, Lindsay also spoke about her work as a digital artist. Having now grown an audience of over 43,000 Instagram followers, she describes how a film camera and a chance encounter with a beagle first inspired her to create her own pieces. Finding inspiration in everything from Pinterest boards to Japanese signage, Lindsay also spoke about how her ‘bubble letter’ style came about through from experimenting on Procreate.

Other topics touched upon included playing Animal Crossing, working with worldwide clients as a non-fluent Japanese speaker and how motivational quotes can battle imposter syndrome.

About Lindsay Arakawa
Originally born and raised in Aiea, Hawaii, Lindsay currently lives and works in Tokyo as a creative. After graduating from the University of San Francisco with a BA in media studies in 2012, Lindsay started out as a social media intern and then strategist – before moving to Brooklyn, New York, where she oversaw Instagram strategy and creative for media company, Refinery29.

As a fifth-generation Japanese-American, Lindsay decided to move to Japan in 2018 wanting to get a better understanding of her family’s history and background. Since making the move to Tokyo, she has continued to work as a freelance social media strategist for an impressive list of brands including Netflix, Amazon Studios, Pinterest Japan, R/GA Tokyo, VICE Media, Girlboss and WeWork.

In her free time, Lindsay also creates expressive and empowering digital art pieces that combine hand-lettering with her own film photography.

See more from Lindsay on her website and Instagram.

What is Pep Talk?
Pep Talk is our monthly Instagram Live event to share relatable, easy-to-process tips in conversation with inspiring creatives.

Each session begins with a ‘pep talk’, where a chosen creative gets to share their ultimate advice for anyone who might be feeling a bit stuck, before answering questions submitted by you, our readers.

Mention Lindsay Arakawa
Written by Creative Lives in Progress