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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Networking Essential in Downed Economy

September 21, 2009

By Janet Dodrill

Are you networking in this downed economy? There are many networking events available in light of the unemployed and under-employed, most of them free, that you can be taking advantage of.

Join a LinkedIn Group or Facebook Group, or a professional organization of interest to you to hear about networking events, also look on community or professional web sites, or read your local newspaper.

Take plenty of business cards with you, and always have one handy when you go out.

Follow-up with new contacts within 24 hours of meeting them as a courtesy.

New business relationships start with meeting them, and getting to know them. Be a good listener, and learn their needs.

Do you have clients already, and have you been nurturing those relationships? It is wise to rekindle professional relationships with your existing customers, and touch base with them on a regularly scheduled basis.

Whether you own your own business, are employed, or are looking for a job…network, network, network.


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…