Welcome to KREWnews! Even though we rarely take breaks from the deep pool of graphic design creativity, we gotta make sure we don’t get too pruney. Catch our personality in this space and see what other things we are up to! Also get the inside scoop on some great advice, tips and tools for your abundance! Enjoy! And leave us comments, we like those!
Submitted by Jessica
There are all kinds of stuck when it comes to biz. I’ll talk about not being stuck mentally some other time. Or it just might weave itself in — guess you’ll have to read to find out – I’m tricky!
I have had so many companies come to me lately who spent BIG BUCKS on a site say 2 years ago and its stuck. So…
How do you get UNSTUCK from your current website?
Well first, do any of these resemble your STUCK situation?
Dag nabit…The visuals are great but there are flash elements that don’t work on mobile/smart devices…you can’t change it yourself.
Bah humbug… why do I have to call a designer to change this paragraph to say we’ve been in business 7 years not 5….you can’t change it yourself.
Bummer…We just launched this cool new thing I’d love to update it on my site…you can’t change it yourself.
Grrr…I have a gallery of photos that I would love to show simply on my site…you can’t change it yourself.
Poop! ….I just want to add a freaking press page so I can showcase all the PR play I’ve been getting….you can’t change it yourself
I could go on and on and on.
The good news is – YOU ARE NOT STUCK. What we have been doing for some of our new clients is moving their old non-flexible sites over to WordPress platforms that really fit they’re needs!
This is another MUST HAVE of our series. If you do not have a site built on a content management system you are wasting time and money and on top of that FLEXIBILITY.
In an RAPIDLY ever changing market place you need to be able to make changes and make changes again at the pace in which the market dictates – which right now makes speedy Gonzalez look like he’s taken a siesta.
Get unstuck mentally (snuck it in boo-yah!) – There is a misconception out there that WordPress sites look like blogs or are limited in functionality. Quite the contrary. There is so much flexibility and customization possible with this amazing Content Management System (CMS) platform! And really it allows your site to grow as your business grows ….IF YOU SET IT UP RIGHT.
Get unstuck mentally (there it is again!) – Already have a WordPress site you say? Now that you’ve had it for a while – is it doing everything you want? You can add functionality as you go or change that old plugin for a better one!
Get unstuck mentally (third time’s a charm!) Its not going to cost you an arm and a leg to move it over. And if you’re already on WordPress you don’t have to sell the farm to add features that would make your site better and have it do what you want.
Get moving so your business can get moving too!
In the comments below, tell me exactly what is ailing you about your website.
How could having the website of your dreams help grow your business or life?
Thank you for reading and I’ll “see you” in the comments!
Submitted by Jessica
Submitted by Jessica
I haven’t heard this much buzz about a new year since Y2K! There are ALL sorts of theories around 2012; what it means, and what’s going to happen. I’ve been hearing everything from it’s the end of the Mayan calendar… to the end of the world… to just another hype-machine.
But one of my favorite theories is that 2012 is our golden ticket to make HUGE positive changes in our lives!
Heard that one? Well, watch this video from McLean Masterworks to hear all about it. And if that piques your interest, there’s more where that came from! Our designKREW diggs includes a fabulous gift that we are SO excited to be sharing with you today!
So watch, enjoy, partake and then share! What do you think the 2012 buzz is all about? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Tell us all about them here on the designKREW blog!
Submitted by Jessica
One of the most crucial of the 8 components, that often gets pushed aside, is your vision. I find that most often, my clients end up creating a vision, reminiscent of the visions seen in the corporate world. Short catch phrases that once had meaning and now only hang in a frame on the conference room wall. With this kind of conditioning, visions created by my clients, are often flat and unexciting. This is not the kind of vision that will compel you forward during the times when you face obstacles in your business. It is not the kind of vision that will help you get out of bed and into your home office to create the marketing campaign or make the follow up sales call.
In order to create a vision that truly compels, it needs to come from the heart and include your most secret desires of the life and business you want to create. When you take the time to really explore, what’s possible for you and what you want, the end product will be inspiring and uplifting and the motivation you need to stay on track.
So you may be wondering, how do I create such a vision? Below is a tool that I use with my clients to help them create their compelling visions, schedule time on your calendar and give it a try!
Designing the Vision Activity:
Directions: Complete the following Lifestyle Business Vision by pulling from your wildest dreams. The only rule here is that you must be selfish. Don’t worry about how you will get there, but really consider what you would be doing, seeing, being, enjoying, etc. at that time.
The following questions and guides are here to help you make as complete an experience for your long term vision. You do not need to answer every single question; however I highly recommend you try.
Imagine that I had a magic wand and could grant you any life you truly wanted it is 5-10 years from now and you are living that magnificent life…
Submitted by Jessica
I was so honored, flattered and frankly, flabbergasted when the gals who publish the Talented Twenty Something’s blog decided to feature me this month!
Here’s what came of it….
Owner of designKREW, Los Angeles, CA
How was designKREW born?
I was working as an Art Director at an independent magazine and I kept having all these ideas and I would present them and they wouldn’t be heard. Being that the job was in the publishing industry, I had a hunch that the company wasn’t going to last very much longer. I jumped ship even though I had zero clients, zero money and ZERO clue what I wanted to do. I actually call it my “zero moment.” I said to myself, I have two options; I can freelance for a while and just see or I can try to hunt down another job. Trying to hunt down another job did not seem like fun and I am a firm believer if you think you can do something to better yourself then you better go and do it. So that’s what I decided to do. Organically, a client fell into my lap and I started doing work for that person…and then another one… and then another one … and then all of the sudden designKREW was just happening without me realizing it. It confirmed for me that I had made the right decision. And I went for it…jumped all the way in.
How did you make the leap to starting your own business? (Did you have any financial backers or did you just start small on your own?
Really, it’s that I met the right people at the right time and it evolved from there. No financial backers. It was savings and credit cards and a HUGE leap of faith in the beginning. I actually spent most of my savings to hire a business coach to get me started. That was my way of putting faith and investment into what I was creating.
What have been your biggest learning’s since starting designKREW?
You can’t do it alone – no matter what stage you’re at in the process of building a business! Even if it’s in the beginning when you have no budget, make sure you surround yourself with motivating people who can support and guide you. That way when you are ready to throw in the towel or are feeling overwhelmed (which will happen many, many times), they’ll step in and cheer you on. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking you should (or even can) be doing everything or you’ll burn out and you’ll lose your passion. And now that I have had the experience of a solid, beautiful team both in business and in my personal life…I’ll never go back!
You have quite an amazing and talented KREW of employees. How did you find such great people?
Step One is I’m really clear on what I want as well as what my expectations are and I try to communicate that as clearly as possible. Step Two is I don’t settle. That’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, fire quickly and hire slowly. Be really clear on what it is you want out of your team and then communicate that as clearly as possible. Do as many interviews as you have to for as long as you need, to get the right candidate in place. Also make sure they aren’t just like you, you need people who will fill in your weak points versus want to be doing what you’re already a natural at.
How do you market yourself? Do you find your own clients, or do they come to you?
Our clients come to us for the most part. I’d say our clientele is 98% referral and it’s something I’m really proud of. To have the clients that we work with be so thrilled that they can’t wait to tell other people about us is a great testimony to designKREW as an agency. I don’t know that it was always that way as I did a lot of networking in the beginning. We’ve always put the focus on creating relationships rather than clients, and I truly believe that is a huge component to our success.
Words of wisdom for other entrepreneurs who are looking to make the jump from on-the-side freelance to full-time business owner?
There are a few guidelines I put in place right from the get-go and I’m happy to share:
Get Guidance! Don’t try to do it on your own. Either find a mentor who is doing what you want to do or get a business consultant ASAP. Really interview them before you work with them and make sure they are a right fit for you.
Dive In! Don’t feel like you have to have the full blown-out plan to make the leap into starting your business. You actually don’t have to have all the pieces together to start because you don’t know what you don’t know yet. The business environment is changing so quickly anyways – a 5 year plan is ridiculous. I say have a guideline and be flexible.
Trust your Gut! Trusting my instincts has been one of the most successful and rewarding experiences of running designKREW. Always trust your own instincts about your own passion project. There is no greater authority on the matter. The caveat to that is FIRST make sure you are in touch with your instincts, however you need to do that. Make it a practice to get in touch with your intuition – you inner-guidance system – and then always trust that.
You’ve Struck Gold! Once you land a client, you’ve struck gold. Truly. The effort it takes to conjure up a new client is to high compared to the effort it takes to retain one you already have. So make customer service even MORE important than the product you put out.
What’s the Endgame? Can’t remember where I heard it but you got to begin with the end in mind. Make sure you’re doing something that motivates you and moving toward something you want…REAL BAD. Whatever your “WHY” whatever your vision is, hold it close to you and revisit it Every. Single. Day. because when the cinnamon hits the fan you got to remember what you’re doing it all for! My staff and I bust out our own personal vision boards and visualize for 5 minutes every morning.
Submitted by Jessica
Consensus says… Being anti-social not an option. With social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube massively changing the way businesses interact with their market, the future of business IS SOCIAL. There will not be an option. Those choosing to stay out of it will disappear. Why? Because Trust and Credibility, accompanied by top of mind awareness will win customers every time over.
The “In” Crowd Is The E-Crowd. Don’t believe me? 93% of the worlds population under the age of 40 have joined a social media group. In fact,
If Facebook were a country it would be the 3rd largest in the world:
Whoa! Right? I can go on… Twitter averages 50 million status updates a day – 20% of those updates reference a product or a service. The math on that — 10 Million tweets. That’s a lotta tweets and potential transactions! And like we told you before, video is the new black. The average internet user watches over 12hrs of video online per month. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world. It’s the 4th most visited site online.
Mixing Business w/ Pleasure. It’s not just about being cool, it’s about credibility. 90% of people trust the recommendations other consumers over advertising. People want information but they don’t want to be sold, they want to feel empowered by their choices and what makes them feel empowered is not only feel like they are making the choice, but that EVERYBODY’S doing it.
News You Can Use. Some of the largest challenges people have when trying to market their business through social media is where to start. According to marketing execs @twitter there are 4 Simple Steps to Social Media Success:
2. Deliver quality content
3. Capture information
4. Stay in touch
Focus, Focus, Focus. You can pick and choose where you want to play out these steps, or make it easy on yourself by using the three most popular sites to suss out your audience.
Use their provided search tools to find people interested in your product or service from the:
- 355 million FaceBookers
- 35 million business people on Linked-In
- 50 million people on Twitter
Wikipedia says that “A study by the University of Maryland suggested that social media services may be addictive, and that users of social media services leads to a “fear of missing out”
We grow up, some things change. Some things don’t. (#1 Activity on the web == Social Media grx)
So that’s just a nugget from the mountain of information about social media practices.
Submitted by Jessica
Submitted by Jessica
- Email: Want people to respond to a promotion by email? When the user snaps the code, this automatically launches the email application and populates the “send to” address with the email address you choose.
- Phone number: Want people to respond to a promotion by phone? When the user snaps the code, it displays the phone number and automatically launches a button for the user to dial. No more lost sales because the prospect dialed wrong.
- Plain text: Users can access plain text too. They can scan the code to view exclusive portions of an interview or access a discount code. If they are visiting a trade show, they might see a booth number.
- Business card: With one snap, you can populate the user’s mobile phone contacts with your name, address, phone number, email and URL.
- Calendar: Want to remind users about a scheduled event? Once they snap the code, your event’s date and time are stored in their phone. If they have a calendar app, users can select the reminder function so their phone alerts them when your event comes up.
These are some under-appreciated ways that QR codes can make your marketing collateral, trade show graphics, manuals, direct mail pieces, and business cards even better!
Submitted by Jessica
What’s love got to do with it?
A lot! If the search engines love you, they will send customers to you. So the trick is to make the search engines fall in love with your site and a hot SEO program is an aphrodisiac to search sites.
I can’t make you love me if you don’t…
Oh yes you can! Here’s how love can be captured, caught and bought through SEO:
- Thorough keyword research: What are your customers typing into Google?
- Comprehensive Website Optimization: Make your site SO SUPER search-engine friendly, it’s like they’ve known you their whole life.
- Quality Link Building: Why should the search engines rank you any higher than your competitors? They rank the site that everyone else is talking about- so get people talking, forwarding, sharing and clicking!
Here’s a snapshot of the return on investment when you get your site moving up, up, up the search results chart:
- 40% of all businesses that use SEO see more than a 500% return on their investment.
- 60% of all organic clicks go to the top three organic search results
- 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
- 88 billion searches are conducted on Google per month.
You can advertise and market and network till the cows come home, but it’s hard to beat popping up in the first few rankings of a search result. Here are a few frequently asked questions by folks like yourself who are considering taking the SEO plunge:
When you look at how many interested customers you are putting your business in front
of all day every day, SEO is one of the cheapest and most targeted forms of marketing
around. Typically there will be thousands of people searching for your services online.
SEO consistently reports ROI of 500% or more!!
Do I really need SEO?
Every business needs some form of marketing to survive and thrive, and the internet is
now totally entrenched into the way we live. Google is like the largest, most accessible
directory in the world and being listed at the top of the results gives you first chance at
winning new customers. Just having a website isn’t enough – you need to make sure your
customers can find you, otherwise you’re just another website hiding in the shadows.
What happens after a website gets to Page 1? Is the SEO campaign won?
Great problem to have, right? The higher you rank on Page 1, the greater slice of the available traffic your site will receive. The Top 3-5 rankings typically attract almost 70% of the traffic, so this is exactly where we want to get your site for maximum ROI. SEO is like a race, and if you stop running when you get to the front then eventually your competitors will catch up and overtake you.
So that’s the scoop on search engine optimization! It’s sounding sexier to you now I bet. You know you want it, you know you need it, so get it girl! Or guy Here at DKLA, we don’t just get you all gussied up — we’re happy to play matchmaker too. Just throw us a line!
Submitted by Jessica
Most of us feel like there are not enough hours in the day, enough people in our office or enough arms on our body! So today we will let our focus be on streamlining life so that it gets lighter, easier and more FUN! Yes, life can be fun. But it usually isn’t when we are feeling burdened and overloaded. Here are a few DELICIOUS TIPS that may significantly help you to lighten your load:
TIP DELICIOUS: GOOGLE CALENDAR
This one is easy Google Calendar! Free of charge, this web-based calendar is a VERY GOOD starting point if managing time is your challenge. You can plug in all your appointments, save the details of those appointments and Google will email you a reminder when that event is (or should be) happening. Definitely worth a shot! Gotta love good ‘ol Google.
TIP DELICIOUS: TIME LIMITS
Another tip.. give yourself allotted times to do things. For instance, set a timer for one hour to answer emails. Don’t spend more than 90-minutes without getting up for a break. After 90-minutes we lose efficiency. Another tip.. give yourself allotted times to do things. For instance, set a timer for one hour to answer emails. Don’t spend more than 90-minutes without getting up for a break. After 90-minutes we lose efficiency.
TIP DELICIOUS: TASK MASTER
I am a list person. So being someone of creative-mind, I have a million big ideas and triple that amount of small to-do’s that can end up on pieces of paper, which inevitably will end up in piles. The piles then ended up as an item on another list: #8) Sort piles of paper.
There are several software programs designated to help you manage tasks, so in essence it becomes your virtual to do list. These are very useful if you have other people who will be collaborating with you on getting things done. Whether it’s your family or co-workers, there are programs specifically designed to make everyday run a little more smoothly and efficiently so that balls don’t get dropped, everybody stays accountable and ultimately, you are running more efficiently. So there is more time for… yes, FUN!
A couple of such programs to look into are Central Desktop www.centraldesktop.com, My life organized www.mylifeorganized.net, and Basecamp, www.basecamp.com. Do some comparisons, there are lots and lots of great task management software programs out there. You may need to play around with a couple to see which one works best for your lifestyle and needs. It should work the way you work or it will feel like, well … more work.
TIP DELICIOUS: FREE YOUR MIND
Of remembering ALL those blessed passwords by using a trusted password keeper. We are a big fan of Last Pass. It’s free, installs onto your favorite browser, and will auto-fill all your website info including passwords, usernames, personal info and credit card numbers. It’s the BEST. It’s easily saved me hours I would’ve spent digging for information, as well as requesting and resetting passwords. I’m sure you can relate! You can download the free software at www.lastpass.com
TIP DELICIOUS: NEVER HURTS TO ASK
This suggestion will take some time, but will be well worth it. You’re going to make a list (one last one of all the companies you have a monthly service through, i.e. cell phone, cable company, internet provider. One by one you are going to call customer service departments. I KNOW! Deep Breathe. It’s going to be easier than you think. Once you’ve got someone on the phone let him or her know you are looking to reduce your monthly charges. Ask them to look at your current usage/package as well as any promotions they may have to see how they can save you some money. I can almost promise, by your next billing cycle you will be saving some mucho dinero, just because you asked.
Good luck! Feel free to share your stories with us here. We love to hear how much better life feels as your busy life gets light and fluffy and your flex spending account gets big an bulky!