Ask these 5 questions to weed out bad clients early on


I know the scenario well: You get a call from a potential client and set up a meeting. You spend at least 2 hours prepping, traveling, and actually meeting. Then you spend more time carefully preparing the proposal. Then you wait. And you don’t hear back. So you follow up and still get nothing. Finally, you hear: “We’ve decided to work with another firm” or “The department head didn’t approve the budget” or “The project has been put on hold” or

Stand out from your competition with unique, high-quality business cards


Especially in this digital age, you may question the need for business cards. Isn’t it just one more expense that “old” people use? Don’t people nowadays just clink smartphones together or text contact information? You might be surprised. Traditional methods of finding clients still work…and some of them have better success rates now that they’re not “the latest thing.” So before you pooh-pooh a great set of business cards, think about how widely they’re still used: Swapped at meetings and

5 Reasons why marketing to everyone will kill your creative business


Does your website list a half dozen or more capabilities: logo design, website design, print, SEO, photography, video, PR? Are you afraid of losing out on any opportunities that a client or prospect might bring you? Perhaps you figure if you cast a wide net you’ll haul in more fish. Well, you might be surprised that this tactic not only fails to catch very much, it may actually be hurting your business. Here’s why: 1. Lowered credibility The days of

A day in the life of one freelance designer


Trying to pin down one day in my design life is a pretty daunting prospect. I guess that’s what makes being a freelance designer so darn interesting to me – it’s not an orderly, predictable existence. One day is never like the next. I’m always stretching and learning and failing forward fast. It’s not an orderly, predictable existence. One day is never like the next. #freelancing Click To Tweet Communicating, planning, outsourcing, networking and even designing – it’s busy! I

How to freelance while traveling the world: my 6 pieces of advice


Last year my wife (slash business partner) and I spent 4 months traveling Europe and the west coast of the U.S. We also didn’t miss a day of work the entire time, and every venture we were involved in experienced some really great growth. In fact, at the moment, I’m at the end of a 2-month trip through Spain, Portugal, and Israel, and again haven’t missed a day of work (except for the 1-week vacation I took at the beginning

Don’t get stuck with the bill! How to ensure your project costs are covered


Reader Matthew asks: Between the designer and the client, who pays for what and when? Great question, Matthew! It’s one that many of us stress over, especially because it often feels like a trade-off between simplicity, good customer service, and financial security. For example: It’s much easier to cover the cost of web hosting than to ask a client to go through the unfamiliar process of purchasing hosting only to forward all of the emails to you anyway. It’s much

5 Important things you should know before designing your first app


Have you ever had a client ask you if you could create an app for their business? Do you have a great app idea burning in your brain, but you feel like the technical aspects are preventing you from creating it? Many graphic designers just like you mistakenly believe they have to go to an expensive graphic design school, take months of classes, or become code junkies to develop apps. Not true! Any graphic designer that wants to get into app development simply

How to keep pushing when you’ve had enough and are ready to quit your business


These past couple weeks have been crazy. On one hand, things have been amazing. We’ve been traveling through Europe while working, and business has been growing like crazy at the same time. On the other hand, these past couple weeks have been tough. I’ve slept horribly lately, I’ve been scrambling to finish about 5+ urgent projects all at the same time, and some crazy customer “fires” sprung up that had to be resolved too, but not without nearly giving me