Make Your Mark
I started reading, Make Your Mark: The Creative's Guide to Building A Business with Impact after seeing it on the My Creative Connection Instagram feed. I'm only 20 pages in and I'm having all kinds of A-HA moments. Great book for creative entrepreneurs to read. In the beginning of the book, the author drops this gem:
Art, without distribution and discover, moves nobody. Did it ever exist? Science, without clear explanation and advocacy, won't be understood by the masses. Will it make an impact?
It makes you examine the purpose behind your work! I'm looking forward to applying the practical guidelines that the author provides throughout the book. I'm already feeling inspired! What are you reading?
Back to the Routine
My kids are back in school. MY KIDS ARE BACK IN SCHOOL! As a WAHM (work at home mom) I can't tell to you how excited I am about this!!
I am realizing I need more routine than my children. I'm looking forward to getting back on the track -literally- I haven't been on the walking/running track in months!
I am also looking forward to interruption free work days and getting started on some of the projects on my calendar. On the horizon before year end:
1. New podcast
2. New online shop
3. New book release
In the pipeline for the first quarter of 2016:
I'm so excited and feeling energized and ready to focus on finishing the year strong! Sending positive vibes to everyone out there with goals they are trying to finish before the end of the year!
Entrepreneur Music Playlist
I love music. I specifically love old school music. Mainly from the 80s. Hip hop, pop, rock. . .most of the music from that decade was fun and energizing. I've created a playlist with some of the songs from that time period (some are more recent) that I listen to when I'm working. They help motivate me to get my day started and keep me productive. Although I have to admit, I do have the urge to get up and dance every now and then.
It's no coincidence that this list has song titles that entrepreneurs can relate to. . . Enjoy!
This is a little free writing/brainstorming that I've been doing in between editing my next story. I start most of my stories like this. . .from a single incident or scene and then work backwards:
The next time I saw Damon, I was standing in line at the store buying tampons.
“You’re a hypocrite.” He whispered harshly in my ear. He had managed to approach me from behind without me seeing him.
I turned and pushed his shoulder. “Get away from me.”
“You walking around talking to me and being all friendly just because you knew about my parents? Then you come to the frat house again after saying you’d never come back and leave with some guy?” He spoke through clenched teeth with so much vitriol that I was shocked.
The people around us were staring but I didn't care. I'd had enough of his anti-social and unpredictable behavior.
“First of all, if you would’ve taken a chance and got to know me you’d know I don’t pretend with anyone. Me wanting to be your friend had absolutely nothing to do with your parents. And yes, I knew. Should I have disclosed that? Everyone on campus knows!”
“Who was that guy?” he asked disregarding my words.
I removed my Advil, tampons and cookies from the hand basket and put them on the counter.
“None of your business.”
“Since Patrick wasn’t there, you just left with a stranger?" he asked incredulously.
I closed my eyes and tried to keep my emotions and temper in check. I remained silent as the cashier scanned my items.
“$11.32” the cashier said. Just as my hand went to my pocket for my money, I remembered I had changed shorts.
“Shit.” I mumbled. “I’m sorry I- I left my money in my- I’ll have to come back.” I said to the cashier.
Suddenly a $20 bill appeared on the belt. She looked down at it and then at me. I turned to see Damon putting his wallet back in his pocket.
“Thank you but no thank you. You are an asshole and I don’t need you buying me tampons!” I yelled and ran out of the store. I managed to make it all the way to my apartment before I broke down and started crying. I knew my hormones were a little jacked up but I couldn’t explain why he had such an effect on me. I barely knew him.
I lay down on my bed for about thirty minutes before pulling myself together. When I got up, I took a ten and five from my purse and decided to head back to the store. After the scene earlier, I wished there was another store nearby but the campus was out in the middle of nowhere.
I opened the door and almost had a heart attack. Damon was sitting on the porch. He extended the bag containing the stuff from the store towards me in offering.
“How did you know where I live?” I placed a hand on my chest to help calm the pounding in my heart.
He shrugged. “Maybe I’m stalking you?” he said recalling my exact remark to him from a few weeks ago.
I hesitantly took the bag. Although I was mad at him, I really needed an Advil. I tried to give him the money in my hand him but he wouldn’t take it.
“Just so we’re clear, I’m mad at you.” I said folding my arms. The plastic bag dangled from my wrist.
“I know.” He said simply. He sighed and then stood. He looked out at the parking lot before turning towards me with an expression that broke my heart. Such sadness and confusion.
“I should go.” He said.
We continued to stare at each other for a few minutes before I went back inside my apartment and closed the door.
(This is NOT a part of my next story but this one has been keeping me up at night....STAY TUNED! In the meantime, you can purchase my lastest books HERE.)
Building Client Relationships
As a freelance graphic designer I will tell you the secret to the success I've had so far: REPEAT BUSINESS AND REFERRALS.
Plain and simple.
I have been freelancing for almost three years and have not really spent money on marketing or even investing in much promotion because I have been blessed to get a steady flow of clients or at least enough to even call myself a designer.
Every project (with the exception of two) have been referrals and repeat business. I did a good job for someone and they told a friend or family member who called me. Or I did a good job for someone and the next time they had a project, they called me. I'm humbled by it and I really appreciate the business. For me it boils down to these simple principles when approaching a project for a client.
1. I put myself in their shoes. (How would I want someone to treat me. I'm patient, I listen and I offer solutions.)
2. I charge a fair and reasonable price. (I make money by offering discounts which leads to additional work. I once did a logo, stationery, business cards, flyers, and postcards for someone who initially only wanted a logo.)
3. I collaborate every step of the way. (Feedback is critical. It's THEIR brand!)
4. I guarantee their satisfaction. (The project isn't done until they like it and start using it.)
5. I keep in touch. (6 months later: How's that site/design working for you?)
In other words, I treat my clients as people, colleagues and some have even become friends. I look at the people and project first and the money always follows.
Writer. Reader. Designer. Creative Spirit.
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”