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One of the widely popular types of employment nowadays is freelance because it allows organizing one’s schedule and simply being your own boss. Those who are willing to start such business, probably already know about all the perks of this carrier. Here are simple steps to take for launching an impressive carrier.
It is better to see and visualize a final goal first of all. You need to be sure in what you want to achieve, whether it is a full-time freelancing or using it as a tool to get to another goal. You can even make a plan of the nearest steps and conduct research regarding the industry you are interested in. it is also extremely essential to find what sphere is interesting for you and focus on it. Do you like writing? Maybe you are into graphic design? Plan out what can you do and what services can you deliver.
There is always competition and people willing to charge less. It is more efficient to narrow down your specialty to one particular sphere and become an incredible professional in it. Find the right niche for your talents and try to define your target customers. Who are these people or companies? Why do you want to work with them? How can you interest them?
There are many ideas and opportunities for freelancers. Some of them choose to work for companies as writers or put their information on a platform providing freelancers with clients. However, if you want to build a successful freelance business it is better to work on your own, create a website promoting your services and invest in marketing.
Depending on the governmental requirements there are several things you need to do. First of all, get a license or permit to provide services regarding the legal requirements of your place of residence. Prepare yourself to separate business and private expenses and pay tax quarterly. It is better to know all the legal details and consult on what exactly should you do.
When launching a website it is necessary to have examples of what you can do, whether it is article or pieces of design. You need to promote yourself and interest clients in what you can deliver. It might also be necessary to give a word about yourself, create a resume. You can use resume services or look at the examples online. Put an emphasis on the actual experience and the innovations you’ve made.
Do not go for the lowest rate, there will always be someone charging lower. Base the price for your services on a quality. And do not too much exposure projects.
Freelancing might seem challenging at first, but with reasonable planning and organization, you can achieve all your goals.
Business can be stressful, especially when you add agitated or angry customers to the mix. Every once in a while, you’ll come across someone who is particularly vile. Maybe they call you names, refuse to treat you with respect, make lofty claims or refuse to pay for goods and services.
It’s not an easy situation to deal with, but we’ve all been there. The most important thing is to keep your cool in the moment so that you don’t lose yourself and damage the brand’s reputation. It’s almost always true that others are watching — including like-minded clientele — and if you explode, it’s not going to be good for anyone.
I’ve had my fair share of dealings with testy customers, and I’ve discovered many ways to make it through to the other side.
Frankie Goes to Hollywood said it the best: “Relax, don’t do it.” Of course, the song has other connotations when you get further in, but the hook sure fits because first, you need to relax. When emotions are running high, it’s not the time to make split decisions or react to others around you, at least not without calming down. That’s when you make mistakes, which can lead to harsh reactions or responses.
I’m not going to spill some mantra about finding your center, going to a happy place or doing yoga right then and there — although yoga and exercise can help. Instead, I’ll share a few tips that help me calm down in just a few minutes, like a spot treatment. If you’re susceptible to panic attacks like I am, you’ll want to remember these.
The eyes are the window to the soul, or so they say. They’re also the main point of sensory stimulation for your body. By sitting down and closing your eyes for a moment or two, you can give your brain a much-needed break, severing an endless stream of sensory input. That's likely why people who are stressed find comfort in sleeping. Besides feeling great, it also gives them a break from the outside world for a small time. And since some people are more sensitive than others, it definitely helps.
It’s rude to close your eyes without saying a word, of course, so just ask for a moment to compose yourself, then retreat to a remote office or isolated area. Sit for a moment, close your eyes, and let your body simmer down. Your client(s) can wait.
Breathing exercises are phenomenal for reducing stress and anxiety. Close your eyes, inhale deeply for about three to four seconds — letting your diaphragm expand as much as possible — then exhale for the same amount of time. Take it slow and repeat it as many times as you need to calm your nerves.
Lots of people squeeze or play with actual stress balls — they feel and work great. But if you don’t always have one lying around, remember that tennis balls are just as effective. Roll it around in your hand to tighten up and stretch your muscles. Doing so will help to release tension.
Fidget spinners are a bit ridiculous to some, but others swear by them. I prefer something a little different. It’s still a toy, mind you, but it plays on the idea of euphoric sensory input. It’s a cube with a variety of buttons, toggles, switches and interactive elements on it. When I’m really stressed, I just palm the toy and play around with it a bit. You can use the same toy or find something different, as there are tons of options for adults.
You can’t do it right in front of the customer, but when you get a moment to yourself, return to your desk or personal area and put on some of your favorite music. It’s even better if you get up and move, dancing to the beat. It doesn’t matter whether you’re listening to Beethoven, Five Finger Death Punch or Lady Gaga — just get up and move.
If you’re agitated or feel uncontrollable rage, it’s probably best to just get away entirely. It's a good time to take a walk, which will increase your circulation, especially if you’ve been sitting most of the day. Walking also releases a lot of built-up static energy.
Relaxed? Good, let’s move on.
Since many different situations can play out — all clients are different — it makes sense to specifically look at what’s happening. For example, what you should do when a client doesn’t pay on time or flat out refuses to collaborate is different from handling a micromanager.
While freelance is one of the most frequent places to find these tough clients (and more), they exist everywhere, even in retail. It helps to know how to deal with them and proceed with your work so that you can stay focused on the finish line.
Keep in mind that sometimes it’s not worth dealing with these clients at all. If you have the power, it may be necessary to cut them loose. If that’s the best option, I’ll point it out first. Don't worry, I've sent many a client packing myself — it's something we all need to do every now and then.
Here are some of the most common troublesome clients and how to deal with them.
The client approaches you for your help, you discuss the project and finalize a deal. Everything goes swimmingly until it’s time for the client to pay up. They flat out don’t pay, drag their feet or continue making excuses. In the end, you deserve to be paid for your work, and you invested your time, so what can you do?
It’s a smart idea to cease future projects with the client even if they pay well. Once they start giving you trouble with payments, it’s time to move on. There are exceptions such as emergencies or major personal events, but that’s up to your discretion.
Sometimes, the client thinks they know best — better than you — and will lob an endless swarm of suggestions, requests and comments at you. Incorporate what you can, but remember, they came to you for help. At some point, you’ll need to use your own judgment and experience to decide what happens next. What you know absolutely trumps what a client “thinks” they want — but don’t tell them that!
Don’t placate the client every time. Follow the process that you think is best for the project and its outcome. Politely explain to the customer that you have more experience. If they do not understand or continue to fight you, it may be best to set them free.
Poor communication is never good. Whether the client is not sharing enough about what they want, sharing too much or being incredibly vague, it can certainly grind a project to a halt. Find ways to meet with the client in person and be specific when you're asking questions or trying to collect ideas. Show them visual examples or past work and try to glean their likes and dislikes as early as possible. Doing so will help you avoid major revisions later.
Poor communication is one thing, but when clients disappear altogether, that’s another. It’s even worse when they’re missing and a big decision needs to be made. That situation can result in your entire team waiting around to complete work or continue.
Of course, you won’t know the client is going to disappear beforehand but get as much information about the project as you can upfront. If you come to a crossroads and they’re not around, move to another part of the project that you do have information about.
The client seemed a dream, you’re nearly done with the project and you approach them with what’s ready. Suddenly, they decide the work you put in is not good enough and they want something entirely different. If you continue, you’ll need to go back to the drawing board.
If you made a mistake that caused the change, own up to it. If no mistake was made and they’re just being demanding — which happens more often than I’d like — make it clear that you kept to the original plans and you expect to be compensated. Be firm, be persistent, but don't be rude.
Explain to them that the costs will increase for the new approach and that the work will take longer to complete. If the client cannot understand that changing the scope near completion causes too much extra work — and may even ruin the deadline — it’s not someone you want to be working with long-term anyway.
I get this all the time in freelance. Clients don’t want to pay my rates and often tell me I either charge too much or have an inflated sense of self-worth. They want to pay an incredibly low price for lots and lots of work. If you’re not careful, they’ll continue to increase the workload as time goes on, but they certainly won’t pay what it’s worth.
If you notice the clients are cheap up front, just walk away. Take a moment to explain that the cost is the cost and you won’t budge. If they can't accept that they have to pay for quality work, they don’t need to be seeking help.
“I can do that in X time so much better!” Great, go do it then, bud.
With larger teams — organizations especially — managers aren’t truly managers, at least when it comes to making decisions. Generally, they have to go through a system of checks and balances. This process means consulting others on their team, including alternate executives. Dealing with these kinds of clients is challenging because getting a straight answer is rarely possible.
Make time at the beginning of the project to sit down with everyone involved, get the appropriate input and collect all the necessary contact information. In some cases, it may be necessary to go right to the source, asking outright what they want or what should be done, as opposed to going up the chain of command one by one.
The client wants something and may even be specific, but they have absolutely no clue what kind of work, value or time is required to get it done. Maybe they want you to complete an incredibly difficult project in half the time you usually do, or perhaps they’re offering a fraction of the overall cost. Again, this is best left to your discretion. Is the compensation they're offering worth all the trouble? If not, walk away.
I have found that the best approach is to educate the client using industry-specific examples as evidence. Show them your past work and explain how long each project took. Point out the value in your efforts and politely explain why the costs are higher than what they want or why it will take longer. Smart clients will recognize right away that you know what you're talking about.
You probably can't afford to turn away every difficult client. Sometimes, even I have to accept the undesirable client to make sure I can pay my bills on time, that’s just the nature of the business. That said, it’s not healthy to build an entire portfolio with these types of clients. Avoid working with them on future projects when you can, especially if they don’t pay, change the scope of the work entirely or remain unsatisfied with your work. Some relationships just aren’t meant to be.
When you're choosing what clients are good to work with, assess the impact on you and your team's health. If they're too difficult and it's going to cause stress for everyone, it may not be worth the trouble.
The beginning of a new year is an excellent time to set goals for your company and make decisions on where to invest your time and money. Satisfied customers come back to your business in the future and tell others what they love about your brand. Figuring out what your customers want builds your business on multiple levels.
In a study of consumers, researchers learned customers value a positive experience so much that by the year 2020, customer experience (CX) will become even more important than price and product features in highlighting some brands as consumer favorites.
CX is made of intricate layers and hard to define. Below are six key things customers want more of from brands they patronize.
The world becomes more impersonal every year. If you phone a company, a computer offers responses. If you go to a grocery store, a machine checks you out. However, even though more and more things are automated, people want a personalized experience that applies specifically to their needs.
Your first step toward a more personalized experience is understanding your target audience and their pain points. However, you should also target language, offers and customer service based on each customer. Search engines offer information such as the customer's regional location, and social media informs you of their interests.
Coca-Cola has a Share-a-Coke campaign that offers personalized coke bottles with a variety of names. Name Cokes are in stores, but you can also order a Coke with a specific name or saying through their website. Offering a product with your name on it is the height of personalization. Your site might provide ideas for services in the location of the site visitor or something more straightforward, but the more customization you give the better.
Most families today have two people working outside the home and children involved in activities after school. They don't have a lot of extra time, and their time is valuable. Anything that saves a customer time endears your company to them.
Speed up your website. Most people won't wait around longer than a few seconds for your site to load.
Offer conveniences and keep checkout pages and forms as short as possible. If you offer customer service or ordering via telephone, reduce hold times as low as possible.
Don't make customers repeat the same information over and over again. Collect the necessary details to serve them effectively and make sure key people in your organization have access to that data. If a customer calls and complains about a product issue, they shouldn't have to repeat their entire problem when they call back the second time. Instead, the customer service rep should pull up the data and instantly know the issue they're having.
DY Concrete Pumps offers a custom quote that allows them to gather contact information and provide a chance for the user to include a personalized message. The custom quote offer is located at the bottom of the landing page with a bright yellow call to action (CTA) button that grabs the users attention.
Experts predict smart augmented reality glasses with reach 5.4 million people by 2020. Already, augmented reality permeates everyday life. Cinemark theaters offer games on the big screen leading up to movies that work with a Smartphone or mobile device and allow movie-goers to play games through augmented reality. The phone works with the image on the screen.
Advertisers place ads in magazines that work with an app on your phone and come to life. Pokémon Go became all the rage a few years ago, as players used their surroundings to view Pokémon you can only see in the app. As AR becomes more popular, expect to see it utilized more and more.
One way of utilizing AR on your website is through images that, when hovered over or clicked on, become a 360-degree video the user interacts with. You could also consider developing apps for smartphones that allow a user to place the item in their home and see how it looks.
Customers want communication with you to be easy and accessible. Around 51 percent of consumers state businesses should be available 24/7. Smaller companies and startups have a smaller budget that doesn't allow for 24/7 customer service. Fortunately, you can automate email and chatbot responses, answering some questions automatically and letting customers know you'll get back as quickly as possible on others.
Look at the different forms of communication offered on your website. If you only provide your email, add a live chat option and a toll-free number. Make communicating with your brand simple and painless as possible.
Razer offers high-tech products such as laptops, headphones and keyboards. Note how their support page provides several options to get in touch with them, including a searchable knowledgebase, live chat, a toll-free number, email and community help.
Customers come into a transaction with your brand with certain expectations. Once you understand what expectations your typical customer has, you can not only meet but exceed them.
For example, if your typical customer expects 24/7 customer support, work not only to offer 24/7 customer support but to also shorten your response times.
When you receive a complaint, solve it beyond what the person asks. If they want a replacement for a product damaged in shipping, include a small free item and thank them for the chance to make things right and overnight the package. Create goodwill with your customers, and they'll tell others about your brand.
If you're not sure what your customers want, ask them. Send out a poll and ask what areas need improvement. Pay attention to customer complaints, as well, and see if there are any patterns. No matter what type of business you're in, your success boils down to the relationship between you and your customers. Find the right mix, and you'll keep the customers you have while also attracting new ones.
This guest post is written by Alex Black. Alex writes for printing experts Print Express. In his spare time he studies graphic and web design and is learning to code.
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For most people, it’s important to stay refreshed and inspired when they work – especially for people who do creative work. When you’re in an office that’s interesting, vibrant and colourful, it’s more likely that you’ll be inspired with the creative work that you do. The opposite, of course, is true – it’s hard to be inspired when you’re in a dull, lifeless cubicle. While large corporate businesses tend to have focus on a working environment like the latter, it’s the fun small businesses and startups – and those of us lucky enough to have home offices – who are opting for more fun and colourful working environments.
The artwork that hangs on the walls of the office can have a huge impact on the atmosphere and culture of the workplace, whether it’s the slogans used (Facebook famously has posters that say “Move fast and break things”) to the more subtle, beautifully designed pieces that improve the overall aesthetics. If you’re looking to liven up your office and help inject some colourful creativity, we’re here to help give you some inspiration. This collection of colourful, beautiful office artwork is sure to make an impression.
I'm sure everyone knows that having an impressive resume can sometimes be the deciding factor in whether or not you land a spot at your favorite company. With so many resumes hitting employers desks these days, the first step is to get your seen by the right people to give you that fighting chance.
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It goes without saying that some employers might not jump at the chance of having a resume sitting on their desk in the form of a milk carton, but the up side to such a resume is that you are sure to get noticed.
It doesn't take drastic actions such as that to impress your new potential employee, but creating a clean, well-designed, and easy-to-read resume might be all it takes to get them to notice you and consider you a candidate.
With so many people on the hunt for a job these days, adding a bit of personality often times give your potential employers enough reality about who you are. And if they like what they see, you could jump ahead to round to.
This is also a great time for you, especially as a designer, to show off some of your skills right then and there.
Just like with business cards, your first impression has to be something worth looking at. I have always been a fan of the sewn business card, but this resume with a sewn detail on some awesome fabric is another cool way to stand out and show off your personality a little more.
Do you have the whole package? Show it off with more than just a piece of paper.
Of course, landing a job really comes down to the right fit for you and the company, and a resume isn't 100% going to be the deciding factor, but presenting a well-prepared and unique resume gives you the best fighting chance at getting your body of work seen by the people who could be your future employers. Giving them something something to talk about and something that they don't see dozens of times in a given day will at least come as a breathe of fresh air and something they will definitely remember.
The designs of Simon Page take us back to basics, to the literal building blocks of good design: geometric shapes. Page, a London-based graphic designer, is all about creating a visual experience that stimulates the emotions. His philosophy is “Good Design Excites.” And you’ll be surprised how exciting circles and squares can get after Page is done with them!
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Though all of his designs jump-off from basic geometric shapes, his work gets more sophisticated as he layers on his color palette, cuts and rearranges the shapes in the frame, and develops unexpected patterns and textures. In the words of one commenter, he creates work that “you can get lost in - they are busy, but somehow calming at the same time.”
At first glance, the design covering this pillow seemed to have sequins on it, but on second glance, this is illusion created by bold color choices and the juxtapositions.
The same type of visual tricks follow in his other four pillow designs, which would make a striking focal point in any living room.
Poster design is a really fun, inexpensive and unique way to explore your creative side. From the 1,000's of fonts, variety of poster sizes, and layouts, sometimes, it's difficult to know where to start!
Once you master your design techniques visit Next Day Flyers for fast poster printing at great prices.
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Today we are interviewing Jessica Sprague, design guru and owner of JessicaSprague.com. In February, Jessica is heading off a four week Poster Design course. She is also giving away not one, but TWO seats to this really awesome class! I couldn't be more excited about the class after taking Jessica's Subway Art class. I'm a busy mom, so I don't have a whole lot of time to join in a live class, which is why I love Jessica's classes- they are self-paced and available forever!
Can you tell us about yourself, how long have you been designing? Teaching? Do you have a job outside of JS.com?
In my former life I was a web & user interface designer for a software company, so I've been designing in some form or another for about 14 years. I started teaching digital scrapbooking, Photoshop, and graphic design in 2007 when I opened JessicaSprague.com. Since then it is my full-time job, and I love it!
What three (or less) singular colors do you most identify with, why?
My favorite color is green - I love it in almost all of its shades from lime to olive. It's the color of growth and regeneration, of calm energy, of prosperity, learning, balance, and harmony.
If you had to describe yourself [currently] as a five color palette, what colors would they be? Could you provide me with HEX codes so I can create a JS palette for you? :)
I feel like I am a blue, two greens, and a red, coupled with a dark grey. Hex: aed835, d9ea65, 81c9c0, a90c19, a90c19
The greens I've already described. The blue is an ocean representing responsibility, stability, trustworthiness. The red represents fire and emotion, and the dark grey brings some gravity, but also represents the dark that balances the lighter, fresher colors.
If you could be a shape, what shape would you be? (i.e. a polygon = triangle, hexagon etc...)
I would be a 5-pointed star. :)
We bring you a great interview with Jason Allen, of Haft2.com, an intriguing firm that focuses on, yeah, you guessed it, color! The focal point today is to showcase their 2012 Haft2COLOUR Calendar Project, and absolutely amazing piece of quality!
It's not too late for 2012 calendar printing projects, visit Next Day Flyers for good prices and fast turnaround.
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I was highly impressed with the presentation of the calendar. It was delivered in a nice silver tin with a branded paper wrap and a wonderful opening letter about the project and the Haft2 mission - I felt like I had just received a very nice gift!
Haft2 is giving away three calendars to some lucky winners on a fun challenge (see bottom of post). I would like to add that I just so happened to come across this project originally from the comments on our previous post about 2012 Calendar Print Trends. I just had to know more about it, see the real deal and get to know what Haft2 and Jason were all about. I'm sure glad I did.
We have come to the nail biting finale of the Full Color Training Scholarship Contest where two winners will get to spend four days saturated in color with Leatrice Eiseman (colorexpert.com) in Burbank, California. COLOURlovers were asked to submit a palette they connected to their life, how color impacts their life as well as how they would like to use color more, to impact the lives of others.
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We asked each finalist what they would expect to bring back from the class to apply to both their life personally and if applicable, professionally. Lastly, if they had any questions for Leatrice Eiseman. I have included these responses below. So without further adieu, because I know many of you stayed up waiting to hear...
Occupation: Designer / Photographer
What she does: Owner of New Light Redesign (newlightredesign.com).
Location: Massachusetts, USA
"My intention should I win would be to apply my new color knowledge in my business. I have been doing interior color consulting for the past year but I want to take it to the next level. Like I mentioned in my application, I feel like the more I learn about color the more I realize there is to learn. Since my eye was trained for so many years as a photographer to see color as "light", the switch over to seeing color as pigment has been profound for me. I never knew until I bought Leatrice's books that color affects our moods. I guess I knew it intuitively but I am just fascinated by the whole psychology of color. Please please please pick me...I REALLY want to come. I promise I will work hard and be a good student!"
Linda's Questions for Leatrice:
1. Has Leatrice had a life long love of color and what was her path to becoming the "guru" she is today?
2. What inspires her when it comes to choosing color pallets?
3. What is the process for Pantone in choosing the much anticipated "color of the year"?
Linda has had this class on her calendar every year for at least the past two years. It is a lifetime dream for her to attend. Congratulations Linda!
First place will receive a fully paid scholarship for tuition to the Color + Design Training Program, plus a copy of the book, PANTONE® The 20th Century in Color, by Leatrice (co-authored with Keith Recker).
Can you remember a time when people used to write letters—by hand! Or, read books made of paper, glue and ink? As our increasingly digital world seems to be moving farther and farther away from traditional print media, companies like Paperlux step in to remind us that nothing can replace the touch, smell, weight, and color of a real hold-it-in-your-hands magazine.
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When the graphic design magazine Novum commissioned Paperlux to come up with an innovative magazine cover, the creative juices kicked into overdrive and the result is truly something spectacular to see and feel.
Paperlux, a design studio based in Hamburg, Germany, was seeking a way to focus on the palpable nature of paper. The result was a very tactile approach as a way to draw people to a colorful product sporting a geometric design that makes you ache to just reach out and feel it for yourself.
Geodesic sphere at Epcot Center in Walt Disney World (left - source)
The design was fashioned after what is called a geodesic dome (source). Although the magazine represents a much flatter version of the dome, it still has the texture and look of the real thing.