Be Your Best in Business

August 26, 2011

By Janet Dodrill

Are you doing everything you can to grow a successful business? By being self-employed, doing some things could put you in a better position to get work, grow your business, and acquire and retain the right employees. Katherine Miracle of Miracle Resources gave an inspiring presentation tonight to CDPUG members at Virginia Marti College of Art & Design on Cleveland’s west side. Her best advice is to read the book, “The Successful Business Plan”, by Rhonda Abrams.

A few things covered were, that, as business owners, we need: money to start the business, a good networking source, self-confidence, and a role model/mentor. Also, we need an accountant and attorney to stay legal. When selling our company and services, we need to inform what sets us apart from the competition and state how the potential customer could benefit by using us. Do we have an operations plan for the business, in case we are away, so things can run as usual? What criteria do we have for hiring, and are we prepared to resolve internal employee-related problems, as well as client-related problems?

How much profit are we making on projects and are we tracking our income and expenses monthly? Do we have money set aside for a business emergency, and are we always asking for a deposit on projects, and/or receiving progress payments?

It may be a good idea to communicate regularly with your client to give them a project status, even if it is in a short email. Build alliances with other designers in the event of overflow work to subcontract out or accept in.

Review projects well to avoid mistakes and to keep costs in check.

Stay flexible with this economy and be prepared to reinvent yourself and your offerings to stay appealing and relevant. Get opinions and feedback.

Most importantly, be good to yourself and get what you need each day, and each week. This will help you to be the best you can.

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Blog Blog Blog – Archive 1

June 30, 2009

By Janet Dodrill

In an effort to consolidate my blog posts across multiple blog sites, I have decided to make WordPress my blog of choice. Past posts on my other blog site at janetdodrill.blog.com will remain. Here is a list of the posts you can find there:

Twitter’s ‘#followfriday’ Following
6/18/09

Have You Ever Been Asked to Write a Press Release?
5/20/09

Urban Dictionary
4/21/09

Tutorial Web Sites for Graphic Designers and Web Designers
3/3/09

Fun Obama Poster Style Icon-Maker
1/20/09

How to Create a Panoramic Image in Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended, Janet Dodrill’s Holiday Card 2008
12/10/08

Also, please check out my past blog posts for Cleveland Digital Publishing Users Group (CDPUG), and check back periodically, at blog.cdpug.org:

The Rise of Cleveland Tech Events
6/24/09

Ning and Bebo Among Fastest Growing Social Media Sites
4/30/09

Educational Online Tutorials and Podcasts
3/18/09


Get an Agreement and Get Paid as a Freelance Graphic/Web Designer

March 3, 2009

By Janet Dodrill

One of the most important way to assure getting paid for your freelance graphic design or web design work, is to have an agreement where everything is in writing up front.

Have the agreement include things like requiring a deposit (i.e., 50%) before you begin the project, determining payment terms for the balance (i.e., within 30 days or less, or upon release of the final files), and if there will be a penalty fee if payment is not received within the designated timeframe. Will you be providing the native/original source files with the project? This should be clear to both you and the client at the beginning, and if there will be additional fees for this. Who owns the copyrights to the work? Will you request the use of samples in your portfolio? The rules may be different if you are a freelancer, than if you work as an employee of a company. Avoid charging surprise costs to your customer. Be honest in your business, and act professional. The agreement will stand as a legal contract outlining your business arrangement, and have an attorney review your agreement before you begin using it.

Resources:

Never Work Without a Freelance Design Contract

Writing a Great Web Design Contract

Graphic Design Agreement

Rookie Designer 104 – Getting Freelance Clients to Pay Up Podcast

About Copyrights. Graphic Designers maintain copyrights of all artwork…


Freeware Product Recommendation: Webcam to GIF

January 19, 2009

By Janet Dodrill

Create animated GIFs using your Mac's webcam and post to your favorite social sites.

Create animated GIFs using your Mac's webcam and post to your favorite social sites.

Webcam to GIF is freeware and works with Mac OSX. Download and install will include Adobe® AIR™. Also, you will need a webcam installed on your computer system.

Install and launch the program, Webcam to GIF converter. See yourself on your webcam in the image window on the left side of the dialog screen. The default size is 160 px x 120 px, but a size with more detail and better visibility is 320 x 240.

Click on “Capture Image” multiple times, changing your position or expression each time. You will see the series of captured images in the image window on the right side of the dialog screen.

Use the controls to view the individual frames of the animation. You can delete an individual frame that you don’t like in the series. You can adjust the number of loops of the animation, the image quality, and the frame delay. Click on “Save” to name and save your animated GIF, being sure to type-in the “.gif” extension after your file name. (You can also create standard non-animated GIFs by saving a single frame.) Before you begin to create another one be sure to “Clear All Frames”.

Then post and share on your social networking site, post onto your web site, or send by email. The fun and possibilities are endless.


Recent Favorite Links:

January 1, 2009

By Janet Dodrill

Online Utilities for Graphic Designers
and/or Web Designers:

Louder MP3s

Alter raster images online

Convert bitmap images to vector images

Securely share files that are too big to e-mail for FREE!

Improve your site’s visibility in Google search results

Gifts:

Get an awesome ‘Friends’ TwitterMug

Video:

Hulu is an online video service that offers hit TV shows, movies and clips at Hulu.com and other online destination sites – all for free, anytime in the U.S.

Photograph of Jesus by Laurie Hill in association with the Getty Images Short & Sweet Film Challenge

A little ditty about dead magazines

Articles and Blogs:

24 ways to impress your friends/24 ways is the advent calendar for web geeks

49 Great Website Designs Using Hand Drawn Elements

A – Z of Web Design

Cool Stuff:

Photo Viewer By Flickr

1. Type note here.
2. Set as homepage.
3. Get to work!

2008 Twitter Tree

Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar 2008


Pleasing the Customer vs. Defending Your Ideas in Graphic Design

December 15, 2008

By Janet Dodrill

Which is more important, pleasing the client with your graphic design concepts or designs, or satisfying your professional integrity and design sense derived from your education and/or experience?

The important word in the above question is ‘client’, for without it we have no business. But is it also our duty as a hired designer to guide and steer our client toward good design? Yes. What about presenting them with risky or edgy or innovative design? If it meets the project objectives, yes.

We need to fulfill the project objectives and use our good design sense and please the client. One way to achieve this is to present the client with concepts or designs that they want to see, but ALSO present them with concepts or designs that you as the hired designer want them to see.

By showing the client visual options backed by sound reasoning, any new direction can be more easily persuaded.