The One Essential Tip For Business, That I Wish I Had Known

The One Essential Tip For Business, That I Wish I Had Known

Practically dead, white daisies, standing petrified in their terra cotta pots. 10 of them!

This is what was on the tables at our Napa Valley wedding reception 16 years ago. I didn't know this until we were sitting comfortably at the head table. {Cue the gaping mouth and wide eyes from the bride!}

I left the centerpieces to one of my bridesmaids. I decided I wasn't going to micromanage. With so many things to plan, this was one thing that I thought would be fine to delegate.

We got a deal at the golf club in Napa for the reception and did everything on a strict budget. The photographer left before the cutting of the cake, my cousin took pictures of me before the wedding, waiting in the church hall...not one came out and then, as for flowers on the altar, we just used the ficus plants that were already there in the quaint little Catholic church, nestled among the vineyards. No limos.

My life seems to be one series of MacGyver moments after another. Yep. Duck tape and paper clips! Good thing I have a sense of humor and a love for great stories.

Which brings me back to the dead centerpieces.

They were important to me. I thought they were to her too. I couldn't understand how she was OK with putting these arrangements out, when they were quite obviously DEAD!

Thinking back on that day, I realized all the other important things that went right. I married a great man and am still happily married. All wasn't lost.

However, this is a great lesson for those of us in business. If you want something done right, do it yourself. There are certainly some things to delegate, but the amount of attention to detail that you pour into your own business will pay off. Literally! Which leads into why you started reading this in the first place...

The One...Essential Tip

Solopreneurs: Put Yourself First!

Essential Biz Tip For Creative Freelancers.jpg

Don't Skimp on Designing For Your Own Business

When I first started my freelance design business, social media wasn't around yet and many graphic designers didn't have websites because they were so expensive.

I had a bad experience with a web developer and had to teach myself web design so I could get something up online.

I worked from home and had three babies in four and a half years.

Needless to say, I didn't have time to network, but we needed the money, so I put my first website together. Time went on, years really, and I didn't change much of what I did. I opened social media accounts one by one, but I didn't brand them. I said I was a branding specialist, but my own online presence didn't show this to be true.

Can you relate? If so, this will be a great place to start.

Here is how you can make sure that what is important to you, your brand, gets done, is impressive and has your personality woven throughout it too.

This isn't just for graphic designers either. Many other creative professionals such as, marketers, content writers, public relation professionals, photographers, event planners, floral designers, calligraphers and illustrators (the list doesn't stop here), leave cohesive design out of their online presence. Especially the work-from-home types.

Your Sure-Fire, Must-Have "YOURSELF" Checklist

  1. Hire yourself.
    Graphic designers and non-designers alike, need to pick days and times that will work for you. Pick the one social media platform that you use most. Design a cover photo in Canva. For more information on how to easily set one up, go to my last blog post that dealt with just that.
  2. Be yourself.
    The one easy way to inject your personality into your designs, even if you are not a graphic designer, is to use your own photos. Most everyone has a phone these days. These phones also take pretty amazing pictures. Go to your gallery and see if you have anything amazing you could use. Sometimes you don't even know you have a "usable" image until you are looking for one.
    That is exactly what happened to me when I was in need of what is called a "Hero Image*" for my home page. I looked through my image gallery and found the image of my son in our kiddie pool, after he had pulled off all the daisy "heads" from my garden. At first I was mad, but then I looked down and saw how beautiful it was! I am so glad I snapped that picture, because it was the perfect hero image for my website, months later.
    *The hero image is a large format image that makes a great first impression. Many designers like to use shots of themselves that their computers, but I would recommend being different and saving that for your about page. Use an image that creates an emotional response in those viewing it. Look for the one that really impresses you. If you are on the fence about it, keep looking.
  3. Time yourself.
    When you are ready to start designing your cover photo in Canva, set an online timer, or your favorite timer, to 50 minutes. 50 minutes is the perfect amount of working time for your brain. You can even use it as your goal to complete this cover design, but if you don't finish in that amount of time, no problem, come back to it after a 15 or 20 minute break. Walk the dog, have a cup of coffee, whatever. Just step away from the computer...and your phone!
  4. Reward yourself.
    Set up a carrot for yourself and put it on the calendar. Plan a dinner date with an old friend or your spouse at a restaurant you don't go to often. Whatever you would like to use as an incentive, do it!
  5. Take pride in yourself.
    I am speaking from experience when I say that it is hard to actually sit down and put together a cohesive set of designs for your online brand. BUT, these will be your calling cards on the web and are a necessary evil nowadays. Taking pride in yourself will show that you pay attention to detail and will be an obvious example of your expertise. A picture speaks a thousand words and you are worth using every one to inspire your audience! Did I say you are worth it?

2016 is officially here and with the new year comes a list of to-do's for your business, right? Designing and marketing are my favorite items on the list and if you need help sprucing up your brand, I am here for you.

Thank you for stopping by!