Submitted by Jessica
If you’re actually reading this on the post date, I am sitting in a mastermind group with some really fabulous business owners. We are partaking in some laser coaching with my mentor Vanessa Summers. Over the past two years Vanessa has transformed me and my business to reach more growth in my business than I could have ever expected. It’s not often a start up business owner can say that I am self sustaining in the first 2 years of business without any start up capital or investors. My relationship with Vanessa started many moons before I even considered becoming a business owner and our paths kept inevitably colliding at the most precise and needed moments.
I have developed a website for an upcoming event in April and I invite you to check it out… Not only to show what designKREW can do, but more importantly to share a resource that has given back to me a thousand fold any investment that I have put in – on both financial and emotional levels. If you are looking for that next push into your goal numbers, looking for guidance in your marketing, and if you are looking to elevate what you think is possible for your business (even in this economic climate), then I highly recommend attending this really great event. You will be amazed at how a few action steps can take you to whole new levels. Check it out…. http://www.theonlineevent.com
Submitted by Jessica
We can all have a love-hate relationship with deadlines. Imagine, it’s the 11th hour, you haven’t eaten lunch, many cups of coffee in…but garsh darnit you have to get this finished or you just can’t take that next step into your business development or with your client projects. Not only will your client be upset but so will you, because we entrepreneurs always set expectations and the pile of to – do’s is getting higher and higher. Plus, deep down you are ready to get this project off your plate and out into the world to shine, shine, shine. You can’t beat…wait for it… completion! What a great feeling! You’re happy! The client is super happy! And voila the deadline wasn’t such a bad idea after all. So you know what it feels like to be on deadline, right?
Even with all its ups and downs, deadlines are one of the most important elements of not only your creative projects, but of your business as a whole. Human beings work much better within a structured environment. Deadlines are obviously a great way to create that structure and get results.
When it comes to your creative projects it’s very important to communicate specific deadlines to your designer. This allows your designer to plan their time more effectively and it gets you your projects finished in a fair amount of time for the both of you. There is nothing worse for designer or entrepreneur than a project that drags on indefinitely. So think back to when you have been on deadline, remember you were probably not dealing with just one client but multiple clients. Your designer, if successful, is probably working with a production schedule of his or her own.
Discuss with them openly and honestly your expectations for your creative project. You might have some immediate needs, but of course don’t expect a huge turn around in less than 24 hours to always be possible. Also do not “over deadline,” by becoming a micro manager. Make sure that the schedule works for both of you. It is better to communicate your needs and ask if your time schedule is possible for your designer rather than telling them. Remember they are running a business too and to rush the creative process will show rushed results. I suggest setting up your deadline schedule like such:
1st round review: Nov 6th
2nd round revisions: Nov 12th
Final version: Nov 18th
Email 3 to 4 days before each due date to check in
Post this schedule up where you can see it to keep the flow going.
Set up a communication protocol with your designer if set dates are going to shift for them or for you due to longer revision time and processes. Then, if you feel the need to check in, email your designer 3 to 4 days before to communicate your excitement to take this next step. Also, make sure they don’t need any additional materials or further clarification from you. This will allow for them to share in your excitement and will often show an even greater loyalty to you and respect to your time commitments.
All in all, once due dates have been agreed upon create assurance with your designer to excitedly meet them. You will both be better armed to finish the project on time with amazing results! Turning those crazy deadlines into rewarding “Fun”lines.
Happy Deadline Setting!
Submitted by Jessica
Check out these videos about business cards. I admit that the first one is a little over the top. BUT, he does have a point! You want people to remember you, and how can they remember who you are if your business card looks like everyone elses? The American Psycho clip is hilarious! A classic to share about how we can obsess over small details (as we should). The juxtaposition of these two videos is what I think makes them so great together. I wonder what would happen if Joel Bauer had walked into that conference room in American Psycho.
But in all seriousness, if you have any questions about revamping your business cards or logo, you know what to do! Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org check out our facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/designkrew we’d be happy to share some light on more than just bone, eggshell and pale nimbus!
For the clip above, CLICK HERE
For American Psycho scene, CLICK HERE
Submitted by Jessica
Have you ever been in the ocean, it doesn’t even necessarily need to be that treacherous, and feel like you are being pummeled, or feel exhausted after only a few minutes? The waves keep coming and keep crashing and you keep standing there and keep taking it because you know if you just swim hard enough, fast enough with the perfect stroke you’ll get to the other side. Or maybe if you just stand there firm and strong, the waves will lighten and soften. But they don’t, do they? As I studied the waves and the relentlessness, I thought wow…the ocean is so much like life. Vast, endless, expansive, beautiful, glistening and in the same breath powerful, irresistible and with storms that can brew at any second without warning.
And here we are trying to float and swim out past the break where there is peace and calm. But we’re missing something here. All we are seeing is the surface! We have completely forgotten about what is deeper, what is below. We sometimes have to close our eyes, hold our breath, and dive deep into the unknown (which can be very, very scary). But, when we take this path less traveled we come on the other side with so much more appreciation and let’s face it, less exhaustion. So look at yourself next time you feel like the waves of life are wearing you down and see where you are playing. Are you on the surface? Or is there an opportunity to take a risk, sit in the fear and dive deep to really get you “past the break” in a more meaningful way. Remove the waves; take the waves out of the equation. Yes, you have the power to do so. Why do you do the same things over and over again and expect a different result? It’s insane! We beat our heads against the wall for no reason!
If you don’t already know, which I know you do, the waves block creativity and innovation, which are the backbone, the soul of your business. Change and evolution are necessary, without creativity the business shrivels and dies. Obviously, as a graphic designer, I rely heavily on creativity to run my business. However, even if your company doesn’t involve construction paper, drawing pads or advanced illustration software, you are manifesting ideas and products and packages and new ways to add more value for your clients and that my friend is the ultimate creativity. To summarize, here is how to best swim past the break whether you are trying to make a decision, get over a creative block or just find the more meaningful purpose behind your actions.
STOP! Stop swimming in the wrong direction, stop kicking and flailing so hard and calm down! Even go back to the shore if you must and study the waves so you know them better than they know themselves. Eliminate the ones that don’t really need to be there like negative thoughts, unappreciative clients and projects that aren’t giving you results. It will calm your turbulent waters into a mellow ebb and flow.
NOW GO! Dive in, run and do it with all your might, your stopping should have recharged you! You’ll be like the Coppertone baby without the dog pulling at your rear!
Either be there 100% or not at all, you choose. If you go, then really go and don’t look back.
ASK! Umm duh…I am sure there are other swimmers around you, no? Are there even ones that have already made it out past the break? What are they up to? What’s their strategy…do their swim strokes look a little different than yours? How fast are they making decisions? Are they going left or right? Let me guess – they have hired a ski boat to ride them across the break or even built the bridge. ASK them! What are they doing and how are they doing it? Research, study and then put it all to work and see how quickly you advance.
PLAY! Have fun in the deep blue waters, dive down, buoy up, and make a splash. And if all you can think is “this IS NOT fun,” then either stop doing it, delegate it or MAKE IT FUN. My coach just recently told me to get a mini trampoline so I can bounce and play when I get stuck creatively and feel like I’m treading water. You can also make a “fun box,” so when those tough moments come you can have “toys” to play with like a kaleidoscope, jump rope, coloring book, foot massager, or my personal favorite a piece of chocolate!
Swimming out past the break is possible for all of us, if we just get out of our own way. So don’t give up, get goin’!
Submitted by Jessica
Pumping Logos like a machine over here at designKREW! Next up we would like to showcase Empowered Women Coaching. Now check this out! designKREW was thrilled to help Layla Saad with her branding development for such a wonderful mission of helping to empower women with their direction and passion in life. Here’s the scoop:
The Company: Empowered Women Coaching’s purpose is to help savvy, purpose-driven women discover and pursue their dreams in their careers and business. Through coaching products and services, clients discover what it is they want out of life and with specific tools they become empowered to go after whatever their heart desires. Empowered Women Coaching heals the hardships of their clients so they can get their power back with practical tools, solutions and resources that help plan and move the client forward.
The Colors: Grays: Gray is a variant of black and adds a bold and sleek element. Gray is associated with independence, allure, strength and intrigue. Purples: This Purple/Magenta variant encourages vitality, it is dignified and impressive. It is attributed to passion and motivation. It is a feminine color without being too “girly” or predictable.
The Concept: This logo uses the concept of the key to communicate the idea that by working with an organization such as this, you will unlock your potential, the answers you have been looking for, your true calling, who you authentically are. The “E” is the head of the key forming into the image. Empowered remains in all caps to signify strength and sturdiness while women is written fluidly in a script font to signify the flow and softness of the feminine. Overall it has a very elegant quality.
Submitted by Jessica
Sir Ted Robinson, a writer and Creativity Expert speaks about how our education needs a major upheaval in order to let children flourish in their own unique imaginations. In this funny and enlightening 20 minute discussion, he points out how the world focuses on only one side of the head. I love how he points out that creativity comes from being willing to make mistakes and be wrong. But there isn’t room for mistakes in school or in the business world, and the only thing that has come of it is a world where a degree isn’t even enough anymore. We aren’t taught to learn the things that we have a talent for, like music or dance or art. “You won’t earn a living as a musician.” How many times have we heard a parent tell that to their child?
My favorite part is when he discusses the legendary choreographer Gillian Lynne, who choreographed for such famous productions as Cats, and Phantom of the Opera. Did you know, Gillian was thought to have a learning disorder in school because she could not focus? Thank goodness a specialist put her in a room alone, turned on music, watched her dance, and sent her to a dance school. What if they had diagnosed her with ADD and put her on medication?
Take a minute to listen to him speak. Maybe more and more people will share his belief someday, that creativity in education is as important as literacy.
Submitted by Jessica
So I guess our moms were right all along (or maybe it was your dad or a best friend)…on the first day of kindergarten, when we had no idea what was behind our first classroom door…on our first date, when we were all jitters…on our first job interview, when all we wanted to do was impress and now she is more right than ever. As we build our business and our brands we must heed the words of wisdom from that fabulous lady…Just Be Yourself!
If you try to create your business outside of who you really are, if you try to make the sale in a way that is not cohesive with you, you will be spotted a mile away, and in this case, it’s not a good thing. It’s uncomfortable to be anything but yourself, it doesn’t feel good inside when you try to go with the crowd without your own personal flare and touch. In fact, this “personalization” is the very thing that can differentiate you from your competitors, so why ignore it? It is also the very thing, if discovered and nurtured, will attract the type of clients you are looking to work with. Below are three areas to examine and see if you are truly following the sensible, everlasting words of “Just Be Yourself.”
Your Physical Brand
What do I mean by physical brand? I mean you! You are the spokesperson of your business! Are you really being yourself when you get dressed every morning? What about when you go on client meetings? What I mean by this is, do you stress an image of casual and inviting in your core business values but then dress up in a three-piece business suit when you meet with your client? And even though you might work from a home office, are you staying in your PJs all day? Now I know that’s one of the perks of working from home, but you have to understand that there is an energy that goes along with what you wear and its an internal choice that dictates your outer appearance, as well as the way you carry yourself. PJs mean sleepy time and you might move slower or in a different, Sunday morning kind-of-way, when you may truly desire a more high-energy flow. You might want to examine what you are saying you are and how you are truly acting in your business. After all this is not just a hobby you are creating a company!
Try to align your inner and outer more closely, even with the type of clothes you choose. Maybe the three-piece suit is because you don’t believe the client will take you seriously, and that might be directly because you don’t take yourself seriously. Or maybe you love the feeling of a nice blouse and dress pant…only you really know who you are, now show the world exactly who that is!
Your Business Brand.
My favorite of course, this is what I do! Your business brand must really reflect the personality of what you do, the services you provide and how you like to provide them. This comes through in your visual marketing materials, your copy and even the procedures you go through when attracting and maintaining business. Is your brand more fun, open and relaxed? Or is it professional, clean cut and precise? Your materials must emulate the feelings, mood and visual stimulus that will show your potential clients exactly what you’re all about so they know whether it a good fit for them or not. It is by far more difficult to attract anyone and everyone than to narrow your focus and target the people you really want to work. Have your copy, marketing materials and business practices reflect the company culture and personality at every opportunity. If you need to get more clear on this there are number of exercises I can take you through. Remember when you show your true colors in every thought, action and material you begin to truly develop your brand at the next level. Evaluate if the core elements of your business brand are truly reflective to your style, make minor changes or make an upheaval, which ever will get you there!
Area #3 Everyday Correspondence.
I personally love that I get to be myself in this area. When I write emails and make phone calls I make sure that I am nothing but myself. Are you holding back when you call a potential client? Are you not showing your full personality and opting for a more “stiff, play it safe” approach? Why? These are the people that you will be working with, hopefully, on an ongoing basis. If you act one way now and attract the client that responds to that skewed version of who you are then you may not enjoy working with them as you begin to unfold who you are to them. Let me give an example. If you are a more spiritual based business and need to work with people who are open to expanding thoughts and feelings but come across as technical and black and white you will not attract the type of clients you are looking to work with. Of course I don’t deny that relationships evolve and comfort levels grow as time passes, but being yourself and starting off exactly how you hope to be is essential to the right client magnetism. For instance, I have one client that loves to put XOXO in her emails (we are now going to incorporate it into her business brand). I personally always use smiley faces in my emails. If I didn’t put that grinning colon and parenthesis and if my client didn’t put “X’s” and “O’s” a part of us would missing from the way we do business. So find your flare, your tone and never stray from it!
So what was the lesson? Be Yourself! No matter your trepidation, no matter what you think others might sum you up as, because all the greats have paved their own path by being authentic to their core. Trust me, your clients will love it.
Submitted by Jessica
Did you know that a cow costs $60.00? No, really it does. In Bangladesh it does. For $60.00 a family could buy a cow and help earn profits in order to invest in their future, by putting children through school, and living off their own money, rather than marrying off their daughters because they can’t afford to feed them.
The Girl Effect is an organization that is trying to get the word out about helping girls, boys, and families in poverty stricken countries. When given the resources they need, these families can thrive and grow and help their communities fight against poverty, HIV/AIDS, and hunger. Check out this video for a sample of what The Girl Effect is all about.
How awesome is that? And when you think of the domino effect this could have across the world, it’s unreal. But I won’t try to explain it ally myself, just check out the website HERE. Even if you can’t donate right now, it’s worth a look, and you can add them on facebook and help spread the word.
For more info, go to www.girleffect.org
Submitted by Jessica
This article comes about from an experience I had awhile ago that has just stuck like a popped gum bubble to your cheek! I went rock climbing with some close friends of mine in this indoor set up. I had only been rock climbing one time before out doors and it was almost 3 years ago, so I couldn’t really remember the difficulty or the exact emotions that went along with the experience. Needless to say I was excited! I tried a few baby climbs first and then I really wanted to try this super tall climb that I knew would take some endurance and strength. I was climbing up, putting one foot then the other on the tiny shelves (I’m sure there is a technical name I don’t know).
I finally found myself close to the top, heart rate up, breath going strong. There was one more divot but it was quite a reach and I was tiii-eeerd! My brain was screaming “you’re done, you’re tired, you need more upper body strength for this”…but a slightly larger voice came up, the one from my heart and it said “you want this and you can do this, if you do this, you can do anything. Do it!” So I mustered everything I had and shut the brain off and lead with my heart. Before I knew it I was tapping the top of the climb and I had made it past “my big hurdle.”
How often have you let your brain get in the way of your heart? How many times have you sacrificed passion for practicality? I have learned from a great teacher, Osho, that the mind only knows the past and can only think and conjure from memory, from what once was. BUT it is the heart that can lead, create and guide you into the future; to help you face uncertainty with courage.
It takes courage to nurture and grow a business to its maximum potential and I find that when we get too heady, when we have to make it just right by mental standards that often when we get stuck and the heart-centered creative process shuts down. This can occur especially when creating a brand for your business, as it required utmost clarity to structure the foundation in which your business will be built upon. Have no fear! Below are 4 simple ways to allow courage to come into your space and move to the next levels of passion in your business:
ONE – Accept That Life is Uncertain.
And why would you want it any other way? This idea freaks “the mind” out because we try endlessly each day to make everything certain. But can we really argue that if everything was exactly certain that we wouldn’t be bored out of our gourd, let alone try to bring some uncertainty just to test ourselves? It takes courage to relinquish our need for certainty to step into our greatness. If you know exactly how to fulfill your ideal vision of yourself, I would say you are not dreaming big enough. Try getting more comfortable with the uncertainty of life and embracing the magical mystery that lies ahead despite all your planning.
TWO – Ask a Different Question & Get Out of Your Own Way.
A fabulous coach of mine recently stated to a group “stop stepping over the dollars to go chasing after the pennies.” I thought this was brilliant! How often have you let the statement “I can’t afford it” stop you from making an investment with a high chance of return? How often have you seen the value you in something but kept yourself waiting for a more opportune time. Let me tell you something…there will not ever be any better time than now, because that is all we have. A tactic I have learned from Susan Scott’s Fierce Conversations is “if you truly don’t think you know what the answer is to something, imagine that you did know the answer. What would the answer be if you did know?” Can you feel the shift in your brain from that very statement? It’s a doozy! Incorporate this into every challenge that arises in your business and face it with courage.
THREE – Realize It’s Not About You.
Ouch! Sorry if that struck a cord with some of you, but it’s true. We are all here to serve in one way or another. When we know that we are doing something for the collective whole, courage takes over, because it is much bigger than just you and it will be guided by something bigger than just you. If any of you are out there helping entrepreneurs and other business owners like I am, the most rewarding part of what we do is when someone else feels a sense of accomplishment and we all get to share in that celebration with one another. I am not talking about people pleasing, which I am sure we have all done our fair share of. I am talking about making the world better by lifting up those around you through your service. This idea of giving takes out all the feelings of obligation and entitlement, so that we can just share our amazing gifts to those who seek us out. And trust that when you give from this space it will come back to you a thousand fold.
FOUR – Know Your Values.
This will help negate the people pleasing I just addressed. When we know our values we know where to operate from as an individual. It’s like your own personal branding and mission statement. If I value being sunshiny yellow and I am feeling muddled blue maybe it’s time to check in and see what needs to shift. Do a body scan right now both physically and in a more energetic subtle way. What comes up for you? Where is there tension physically and emotionally? Work on removing those blocks with some self-care and feel the courage rise up fiercely again.
These four steps will help you tackle the more challenging aspects of your business and life with greater courage and awareness. Remember to find balance and be as gentle with yourself as you are courageous. May your bravery flow and the abundance follow.
Submitted by Jessica
Do you have video on your website? You should. DARNIT!
After creating the logo for Your Video Solution and being in the middle of creating their website, there is just no denying that video in today’s market is essential. Check out the YVS logo below:
The Client: Your Video Solution
Your Video Solution is a company that provides a video solution with an understanding that the web has become a video world. YVS offers options for every client depending on their marketing needs. YVS believes in creating long lasting, REAL relationships with clients. YVS clients put their faith in a vision that then is developed in a very collaborative process. The difference between Your Video Solution and those other guys is the communication, authenticity and delivery of your message that is better than anyone else.
Red: Red is stimulating and dominant. It is associated with warmth, passion and prosperity. Its vibrancy creates energy and strength.
Black: Black is bold and sleek and is associated with independence, allure, strength and intrigue.
The YVS logo is modern and clean with a bit of a funky feel. The rounded corners to the square give it the characteristic of video or television viewer. The uneven lines that run through the square create a fun texture, much like that vibration of waves being emitted from a screen. The texture also creates a buzz like quality as though if you could hear what you are seeing it would completely grab your attention. The Slanted ‘V’ is bold and striking like a brand that has been placed across your vision to not be forgotten. The logo is powerful while retaining a modern simplicity.Older Posts »