Working with a designer can help you create a polished website or a visually appealing piece of sales collateral. But like the old joke about the United States and England being two countries separated by a common language, you may find that you and your designer use slightly different terminology or you have divergent views on the importance of certain tasks.
So, what are the real benefits of working with a designer and why should you engage with one? Emmy-nominated art director Jill Fiore says, “A good designer is also a visual problem solver. They can prioritize things in an eye-catching optical hierarchy of importance, whether it is for a website, a promotional piece, an app, a presentation or a logo.”
Working with a talented designer can be a great experience—if you know what to do. To help make sure that your project comes in on time and on budget, here are some things you need to think through when you are working with a designer.
As a small business owner, especially a new business owner, you may feel like you don’t have a lot of money – but you have plenty of time.
This is a big mistake! Your time is also a precious resource that needs to be allocated appropriately and, more importantly, consciously.
What you may not be taking into account is that time you spend on one thing ensures that you are not able to spend time on something else. This is called “opportunity cost.”
I’ve had the same conversation with no fewer than five solo business owners over the last week. Whenever that happens, I know the topic is something we should cover here on Business Unplugged. My specialty is working with solo consultants and helping them find great clients and build sustainable businesses. There seems to be a pattern that most of them follow.
Initially, they are excited to be their own boss and be in charge. They think they have the knowledge they need to run a business because they are competent in their area of expertise.
They couldn’t be more mistaken.
I know you have heard the phrase “Good fences make good neighbors.” I want to tell you that good boundaries also lead to good clients – and happier entrepreneurs.
I have learned a couple of really important things about boundaries over the last two weeks. I have learned the importance of not bending over backwards to help clients with either time or money. And definitely not both at the same time. This leads to a cranky entrepreneur.
Am I the only one who thinks common sense isn’t all that common anymore? In fact, on my snarkier days, I refer to it as (un)common sense. Want to distinguish yourself from the crowd? The best thing you can do is to act consistently like a professional business person. If you’re rolling your eyes right now, I get it – but many good business practices seem to have gone the way of the dodo. I have many pet peeves – and I’m sure that you have some to add to this list – but here are my Top 10.
Jonathan Fields is an entrepreneur, author, podcaster, friend of Carol's, and someone I have been following for the last five years. I absolutely love the tone and content of his Good Life Project , as it touches on many of the issues I work on with myself, my business, and my clients. He did a short podcast on an issue I have had to help my small-business clients and myself navigate through on occasion. He calls it “product-maker fit” – as opposed to product-market fit, which we think about (or should think about) all the time.
Sooner or later you will end up at an event or bar with friends or colleagues who want to sing karaoke. Resistance is futile. Maybe you enjoy showing off your inner rock star. Or maybe you pick the shortest, easiest song that is more like talking because you can't stay on key to save your life. (Pro tip: Sometimes gusto and getting the crowd involved can make up for being tone deaf.)
I have no fear of speaking in front of a group, but singing karaoke makes me nervous. Weird, right? So when a friend suggested that we go sing, I said yes as an attempt to take myself out of my comfort zone.
Lately, I have been immersing myself in the world of TED talks. Not only are the speakers often presenting fascinating topics, but studying their presentation and storytelling styles can be transferred to other aspects of my business. I am presenting my first TEDx talk on Saturday, May 30. What you may not realize, is that many of the most-viewed talks were not presented on the main TED stage, but at smaller, regional events like the one I will be speaking at.
The working title of this post was "Be a Consulting Pro, Not a Consulting Ho." I can argue that consulting might have come before what is generally considered to be the world's oldest profession. And we are renting our bodies, too - our brains. Yes, fellow brain-renters, people pay us for our knowledge and expertise.
As the Jethro Tull anthem says, "You're never too old to rock 'n' roll if you're too young to die." As a Boomer, I find myself thinking about this from time to time. Don't you? I work with professionals who range in age from 45-65. Many of them feel that they are ready to really make a big push in their careers or grow a business.
It's easy to think that a media mention or radio/TV interview will boost your business. We imagine that our mention or interview will send us customers dying to buy from us, like the stories about Oprah mentioning a product and sales going through the roof. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.
Guest blogging on someone else's site can be a good way to gain exposure for yourself and your product / service, and to boost yourself and your company in search results. It is a sound business strategy for some types of businesses, especially service businesses.
I have been the editor for Business Unplugged™ for more than three years. During that time I have had the pleasure of working with many guest bloggers – some who were well known, and some who had never written a blog post. We run a meritocracy here: If you can write a great post that is of interest to our community, we will publish it.
I am going to say what a lot of you are thinking: Sometimes I dream about getting a job. My fantasy includes the joy of just executing on someone else's plan. What if I didn't have to be the CEO, marketer, business developer, administrative assistant, and janitor? Ahhhhhh...
Public speaking is a major fear for many professionals, but love it or hate it, when you are looking for funding or clients, you are going to have to get comfortable speaking in front of people. I happen to love public speaking. I think it is a blast, and have actively been developing my skills as a speaker through practice and training.
I think I have an easier time with proposals than most small business owners because I was a proposal manager when I worked at Deloitte. I look at developing a proposal like working on a jigsaw puzzle. First, you find the edges, then look for the patterns, and slowly the whole thing starts to come together.
In my recently published eBook, Re-Launch You: Discovering Your Point B and Embracing Possibility, I highly recommend getting very clear on where you fit. There can be huge benefits to going through this process. And knowing what you don’t want is just as valuable as knowing what you do want.
Most small business owners are very busy and commit to a lot of things. In fact, they frequently commit to too many things, and then stuff starts fall ing through the cracks. A very easy differentiator for your business (and for you as a professional) i s to create the habit of commitment and fulfil ment .
Not many people know this, but during my last corporate job part of my responsibilities included coaching consulting teams on their oral presentations before they met with clients to present our proposed solutions. For three years I learned A LOT working with extremely competent professionals who had no idea how to stand and present in front of a group.
"I have tried everything!" you may be screaming at the mirror. Are you at your wits' end? This time of year we tend to get introspective as we look forward to September and getting back to work for real. Here in the northern hemisphere, we are back to school and back to work.