Articles tagged as ‘Business’

How The World’s Fastest Growing Blogging Platform All Began With One Small Freelance Blog

Back in 2008 I was a freelance web designer just starting out, exploring WordPress for the first time and all the wonders of web development. It seemed – at the time – like there was just so much to learn. Far too much for any one person to be able to master. Now I look back on those as “the good old days” – when I could open my RSS reader and go through just about every great web design blog out there, including Vandelay Design.

Today, I run one of the web’s newest and most shiny publishing platforms, called Ghost. We launched 2 years ago and currently turn over $411,000 in annual revenue (you can watch this live on our public revenue dashboard and have just under 300,000 users. It’s been quite the roller-coaster ride! But I’m getting ahead of myself: Let me tell you how this whole thing got started…

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When You Should Design Against Client Expectations

The age-old battle between designers and their clients rages on. Your client expects a certain type of design from you. They give you examples of what they want. Then they share their goal for this design, and your heart sinks. You know that they need something entirely different than what they expect to accomplish this goal.

Steve Jobs said something very wise about designing a product for a customer: “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” And the same is true of design clients.

Now, of course, some clients are the perfect client. They tell you their needs, their goals, and may even give you a couple of examples, but they leave the whole of the project up to you. When you present your design, they are in love and can’t wait to hire you for their next project.

But many times, designers have to be prepared to either sell their soul (i.e. creative pride) to get paid or be prepared to walk away from a project into which they have already put too much time. Any time you cross a client, you will probably need to be prepared for one of these worst possible outcomes. Remember the saying, “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best”?

Very often, you may only have to compromise a little on your design pride to get to the invoicing part of the job. But disagreeing with a client’s opinion is no light matter, which is why you need to know exactly why you should not always design to client expectations…

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Presentation Tips That Will Win You Clients

So you have been shortlisted for that project that you are desperate to win. All that stands between you and your dream project is a presentation followed by a question and answer time. How do you ensure you give the best pitch of your life?

There is no single approach to giving a successful pitch. It depends on the client, the project and your own personality. But there are some things you can bear in mind. These presentation tips are about more than what goes on your slides and how to make them look pretty.

When a client asks you to attend a pitch they want to know two things: can they work with you and can you deliver. This means any pitch is about making a connection and instilling confidence…

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Top 2015 Internet Trends To Watch Out For

After the holidays and welcoming the New Year we feel elated and inspired to start the year off right. Soon, after a few days or weeks, we get caught up in the routine again and lose focus on all the opportunities and positive changes we had envisioned. In this post, I’ll discuss some of the biggest internet trends to embrace in 2015…

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How to Choose the Right eCommerce Platform for Your Digital Content

If you are a blogger, designer, or budding online entrepreneur, you probably have something to sell. And you might not even know it.

In this age, digital content is all around us. From eBooks to graphic designs to articles, the market for digital content is booming and becoming larger by the minute. Yes, you read that correctly: market. More and more consumers are looking online to purchase everything from self-help ebooks to images for their blogs. With one-click downloads, the gratification is instant for the purchaser. And from the perspective of you, the seller, selling eBooks or digital content is a great opportunity to make passive income – once you create it, all you have to do is put it out there and let it run (OK you’ll need a bit of marketing too).

So how can you take this into the market? Well, it’s fairly simple. All you really need is a digital product, a website, and a top-notch ecommerce platform. Once you have that, the rest is plug-and-play. However, choosing the right ecommerce platform can be challenging, depending on your business needs. But you’re in luck…

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A Guide to Passive Income for Designers

There are a number of different ways to earn a living as a designer or developer. Of course, you could work as an employee for a design studio, you could work as an in-house designer for a company, you could freelance, or you could start your own studio or agency. While those are the most common approaches, they are not the only options. With loads of competition for client work, a growing number of designers are actually using a combination of a few different sources of income in order to earn a living.

You may have heard or read about earn passive income as a designer. In this article we’ll take a detailed look at the opportunities to use your design skills for passive or recurring income…

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How To Build a Telework Team That Gets Things Done

Telework teams are becoming very common these days, especially with the growing amount of tools available to help companies keep remote employees accountable. In fact, an article on telecommuting in the NYTimes.com mentions that “those who work at home tend to put in longer hours and are often more productive.” Small business owners and freelancers can certainly vouch for this and know just how beneficial building a team remotely can be, even if only for single projects…if you have the right team building techniques in place, that is.

The entire process can be a bit intimidating if you have never used a virtual team before now. Hire the wrong members, and you could get burned pretty badly and may even lose valuable clients. Without the right processes, possibly even training, and of course the right technology, building effective teams is nearly impossible.

On the other hand, using team building techniques that have been tested by those who have forged the road before you can make your experience a very positive one. A telework team can save you money, time, and energy, providing you with a much better outcome for your clients than you could have produced on your own.

So, where to start? With the hiring, right? Wrong. Before you ever start looking for your team members, you first need to come up with a plan. The same NYTimes.com article from above points out that telecommuting “works best when a company has developed a plan, including the best technology to use.” The following will take you from the very beginning, your plan of action, to the actual management of your team using the right resources. Of course, you have to decide what works best for you, but these tips should give you a great starting point for the best possible results in building a team no matter the length of your project…

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11 Essential Skills Every Freelancer Needs to Succeed

There is a lot more to being a successful designer or developer than having creative and coding skills. While those skills are a great start, freelancers also need to work on developing other skills, and some of them may not come as naturally to you as others.

In some cases you’ll need these related skills to do a great job for your clients, and in other cases you’ll need these skills to run a successful business or to offer additional services to clients.

In this article we’ll take a look at 10 related skills that designers and developers should not overlook. Chances are you are already pretty good in many of these areas, but some others may present opportunities for you to improve what you have to offer…

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Should You Run Holiday Sales as a Designer?

It’s that time of year again when nearly every business is offering holiday sales and specials as consumer activity increases by leaps and bounds. You may even know of fellow freelancers who offer discounts for the holidays, but is this something that you should do as a freelance designer? Do holiday sales hurt or help graphic design freelancers?

The first thing to realize in order to answer the above questions and ultimately decide whether or not to extend discounts is that every freelancer is different. You have different goals than the freelancer just down the street from you. And not just because you are a graphic or web designer. Discounts may work for the web designer across town but not for you – it all depends on your unique situation…

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5 Successful Freelancers Share the Secrets to their Success

What defines success and “making it”? Not everyone has the same definition for successful freelancers. For some, it could be to become wildly famous in the industry. For others success may come when they can pay their bills as their own boss. For still more, a successful freelancer may be one who works with lucrative or infamous clients.

The freelance graphic and web designers and developers below fall into at least one of these above categories for freelance success. Some of them were formally trained and some self-taught. A few of them worked for agencies before going freelance. Others have been freelancing from the beginning. They all seem to specialize in more than one skill set, even if they have one niche that seems to draw them most of the time. One thing is for sure, though: each of the following stories are quite inspiring…

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