Announcing Stoked: throw fuel on your design business + win a free 1-year subscription

stoked_long
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Today, I’m over-the-top excited to announce one of the biggest developments at Design Blender in a long time!

We’re announcing the release of Stoked our upcoming design community built to help you throw fuel on your design business.

You may remember me talking about GDBPro last year. This post will cover why GDBPro has now become Stoked PLUS how you can win one free year of access to all the content Stoked has to offer.

Keep reading for your chance to win!

What Stoked is (what it isn’t) and what happened to GDBPro

Stoked is an all-new design community starting Feb 3, 2014. It’s built around the belief that designers will do more, achieve more, and succeed more when we work together.

In english: designer-entrepreneurs rock; designer-entrepreneurs rock more when we stick together.

Creating Stoked has been a long, fun, and hard process. Originally, I wanted to create a premium content service for the blog.

Can you say “boring?”

I thought I could model it after someone like Chris Spooner who offers tons of excellent PSD files, tutorials, templates, etc for a fee each month.

Then I realized I would be doing the Design Blender community a huge disservice by creating a program like Chris’s. Not because it’s not a great program, but because that’s not what Design Blender is about.

Design Blender (almost 5 years old now) has consistently been a place where designers can come for tips on building their business. It’s never been about PSD brushes, tutorials, vector downloads, and all that stuff.

It’s about helping you grow your business.

Simple as that.

So then I started thinking through other ways I could offer premium services to Design Blender readers who were really serious about taking their business to the next level.

I toyed around with the idea of video master classes.

I even wrote up a bunch of lesson plans and started shooting.

But it just didn’t feel like me. And it didn’t feel like Design Blender.

So, I was stuck again.

How could I add more value to the Design Blender community (you guys) without feeling like I was going against what the blog stands for or offering you a less-than-awesome service?

As I was thinking on it one day, I started getting all sorts of facebook notifications for our GDB Insider Group on facebook.

People were asking some really tough questions and other designers were giving some really great answers.

It was magical. You guys totally rock.

Then it hit me:

One piece that GDB is lacking, one place I wish we could offer more value, one way I have always dreamed of helping you more is to connect you with other designers and creative entrepreneurs who have gone through what you’re going through now.

(PS: Did you know when I started this blog, my idea was to build a community where “creative juices mix”? Terrible tagline, but honorable mission: to bring designers together to help each other succeed. I’m glad GDB is to a point where we can finally do that!)

Plus it seems like that’s the kind of thing you really enjoy too (judging from the response to Jonathan’s video interview and the GDB Insider group).

I also didn’t love the name GDBPro since it sounded so corporate and stuffy. I wanted something I could be excited to build and you could be excited to be a part of!

And when I’m excited about something, I always tell people I’m stoked.

So… Stoked was born.

Stoked is not a master-class series. It’s not an online course. It’s not shady, expensive, complicated, lengthy, hard-to-understand, or boring.

Stoked is a community for designers who are anxious to throw fuel on their business – and grow fast.

To Stoke a fire means to fuel it, to make it bigger, to get more heat from it. And when someone is “stoked” about something, they’re anxious or excited.

Stoked exists to fuel your business, to get more out of it, to make it more powerful; and to help you be more excited about the work you do every day.

What to expect from Stoked

Each month, the Design Blender team will release new content exclusively for Stoked members. You can expect things like:

  • audio and video interviews with designers who are actually making a living doing what they love
  • monthly “bonfire sessions” with myself and other entrepreneurs using an open Q&A format where you can ask anything
  • new ebooks, guides, and articles for designers who are most serious about building a business they love
  • access to the Stoked book club where we read new-releases and old classics in the creative business genre and discuss how to take action
  • monthly perks and discounts on printing, hosting, software, templates, and more
  • access to the Stoked member forums where you can ask anything about your design business and get a helpful answer
  • and lots of other stuff we’ve got up our sleeve all for only $15/mo USD.

For example, for the month of FEBRUARY, for only $15, here’s what we’ve got planned for Stoked members:

  • An all-new ebook from April Greer on how much to charge your clients.
  • An audio interview with Brent Galloway on how he is building his design empire, diversifying his income, and finding success as a freelancer.
  • Another all-new new ebook about how to overcome the most common excuses for starting a business.
  • Access to the Stoked book club where we’ll read a great book for the new year (Switch, by Chip and Dan Heath), discuss the book weekly and make plans to grow and build our business from the things we learn together.
  • Access to the Stoked member forums where you can introduce yourself, connect with other designers, form mastermind groups, find a mentor, ask questions, learn and give back to the community.
  • An exclusive invitation to our first “Bonfire Session” where you can ask me anything you like about your business and get real-time answers live via webcast.
  • Discounts on our entire ebook library. Get our entire growing library for just $1.99 per title.
  • Extra perks from people we love like Dreamhost and PrintKEG. Plus, a few free PSD files (just for fun) and other freebies.
  • And more. We’re still cramming in as much awesomeness into the first month as we possibly can. More to come on that later. Stay tuned.

How to win 1 FREE year of Stoked access

If you’re as…ahem…stoked as I am about February, then keep on reading because we’re giving away a free one-year subscription to Stoked THIS WEEK (a $180 value)!

Here’s how you enter (both steps required):

  1. Enter your name and email address in the fields below and click Submit. (Can’t see the form? Enter here.)
  2. Leave a comment on this post telling us why you should be the winner and what you hope to get out of Stoked. What excites you most about Stoked? How would you use it to grow your design business? Yes, I will read every single comment and take it into consideration when picking a winner.

I’ll send the winner an email at the end of the week and you’re in!

How (else) to be notified when Stoked is ready

We’ll be starting Stoked next month on February 3, 2014. And if you want to be the first to hear about it (and maybe even enjoy first-to-show-up discount…hint, hint), you can do it in 3 different ways:

1. Use the form above and check the “Notify me” box. (Reading in email? Here’s the form.)
2. Sign up for the Design Blender newsletter by clicking here. (Email users, click here.)
OR
3. Join the GDB Insiders Group on facebook.

One last question

As we ramp up to launch date for Stoked, I’m dying to know what you’d like to see from a service and community like this. If there are obvious features you can think of already that I’ve left out of the descriptions above, please let me know by leaving a comment on this post or emailing me at preston at graphic design blender dot com.

Best of Luck in all!

-Preston

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About Preston D Lee

Preston is a web designer, entrepreneur, and the founder of this blog. @prestondlee

Comments

  1. 2014 is all about cutting the schakles from my full time job and turning my freelance design into my full time career. But it’s totally daunting. How much do I charge? Where do I source clients? What happens when things go wrong? How do I work outside my comfort zone and ultimately grow that comfort zone? Winning a membership in Stoked would be downright awesome because it would give me the confidence and support from a network of peers who have been in my shoes before. It’s a downright amazing idea! I’d love to win. Thanks! :)

  2. Hi Preston, Love GDB and the idea of Stoked. A personal concern is – would it be US orientated only? I’m in Australia, and you’ve mentioned the first issue would include what you should be charging….I’m guessing that would be US market etc? Love the idea but just wondered how relevant it would be to someone in Oz especially when topics like copyright laws etc get discussed. Cheers and love what you’re doing!

    • Kristy,

      Just wanted to chime in here: My upcoming ebook on what you should be charging is applicable to any entrepreneur in any service-based business around the world…but it’s tailored to freelance designers. I think you’re going to love it!

      April

    • Kristy,
      Totally valid concern. In all aspects of Stoked, we hope to make it accessible by anyone, anywhere in the world. This particular ebook will focus on figuring our how much to charge based on what you need to survive as an independent entrepreneur, not necessarily on a local dollar amount. So I think you’ll be fine.

      Additionally, I imagine we’ll have a healthy number of Aussies as Stoked members who you can work with in the forums on any questions specifically about how/what to charge.

      Thanks! We’re excited to see you in the community!

  3. Ooh, this sounds awesome!! Finding a space to talk to other designers, bounce ideas and ask advice on sticky questions is exactly what I need. It’s so hard to find a willing mentor, so a place where we all mentor each other, and gain industry specific information makes me STOKED!!! (pick me, pick meeeeee!!!). Thanks :)

  4. GDB is one of the few websites that I visit every morning without fail. The quality of the content on its free site is amazing, which makes me even more excited about the launch of Stoked.

    I’ve got a lot of experience in the nuts and bolts of the business, but bringing it all together is what GDB really helps me do.

    Why should I get a free sub? Well, it’s not really about me. I want to grow my business and offer high quality, high paying jobs in an area of the UK where they are few and far between. While it’ll only be a part of the puzzle to me achieving that, it will nonetheless help me to give more people the opportunity to do what they love doing and getting paid for it.

  5. Great idea! I’ve been toying with the creative co-operative idea for a while now (I’m based in Johannesburg South Africa, so it would make sense to get designers and other creatives involved in something like this locally).
    …But avidly following your blog for (very useful) tips on freelancing – it’s inspirational!

  6. I am stoked that I’m the first commenter on this exciting post! I’m also stoked about… well… STOKED! My design business is still fairly new, but I’m hoping to ramp things up with the know-how that a site like Stoked will provide me with! I feel like there are A LOT of sites out there with tutorials and information about how to use programs and such, but not so much when it comes to the business aspect of things. Thank you guys for providing such a site and I look forward it’s launch!

  7. I’m own Halucinated Design, Inc. where I focus on design and motion graphics for entertainment and nightlife. I love to create brand and identities for DJs, producers, recording artists, and other creatives alike. I am a loyal reader of GDB and I am stoked that you are starting Stoked! The bonfire sessions sound like an interesting way for us design entrepreneurs to share our stories, passion, and resources. I am constantly looking for ways to streamline my business, especially since I am in the process of making my intern my official first junior designer. It’s difficult enough to keep myself on point, but to expand and keep others on point, while creating awesome work is a challenge, but I am excited to see how Stoked can help me (and others who are in the expanding stage) out. Good luck with the launch, looking forward to it!

  8. I would love to win a years subscription!
    I graduated from Full Sail University 10/12, with a BS in Graphic Design and will graduate in April, again from Full Sail University, with a MA in New Media Journalism,.
    At that time I will need to start working to repay my student loans, I am in hopes of working freelance at graphic design (Sweetbarefoot Designs) while continuing to write at sweetbarefoot.com.

  9. Carla Strong says:

    I can’t submit my website, as I am still working on it. I have had various health issues which have prevented me from working on the layout and lack of funds to actually take it live. But the main reason is the “freelancing fear”, remember me from last year? The doubt that I have in myself and my abilities is what really prevents me from continuing to build my website; and that ever dreaded 1st call from a real customer, oh my! That fear is overwhelming, crippling even. That is why I need to win the subscription 1. to beef up my abilities and 2. to learn from you, April and the rest of the staff at GDB. Love you guys! ~Carla

  10. I would use this to enhance my skills & abilities as a graphic artist.
    As I am a new designer just getting my feet wet in this industry I
    feel the information & knowledge that Stoked has to offer would
    be a very valuable tool & resource for me and my business.
    Thanks for concidering me.

  11. Why I should win a free year of STOKED: I am a work at home mom. I have been freelancing for five years now, working hard to make it work well. I should be much further ahead than I am. I am holed up here most days with a punchy 2.5 year old getting only 3-5 hours of design time a day. I NEED more time. I know I should be doing better, making more money, managing my time better but being quarantined here with a toddler makes it hard. I am missing out on that connection and the inspiration you get from talking with other people about the design business. There is so much I could learn. I could be great … if I could find time to get out of my pajamas. And that’s why I should win a free year of STOKED.

  12. Robin Doty says:

    I’d like to be the winner because I’D USE IT! I work on my own in a small town in Iowa and this program sounds like a great idea for me to keep in touch with others and stay on top of current trends. I’ve been around the GD block too, so I’ll have thoughts and ideas to share with others. Thanks for the giveaway!

  13. 2014 for me, will be about diversifying my clients and building a solid revenue base. I’m “stoked” about stoked. I have always found GDB to be highly valuable content. Looking forward to this new year.

  14. I was one of those people who jumped both feet in on my design business. Ten years later it is still going strong but I think it could run even better. When you work for yourself and by yourself it is easy to get into ruts. I think STOKED can help provide a bridge to other designers that are experiencing what I am on a daily basis. I would love to hear how other designers deal with difficult clients, how much to charge and perhaps even shed some light on how to create a better, more efficient work flow. One of my big hurdles is when and how to enlist the help of other designers on projects.

  15. Ariel Almanzar says:

    I love the idea about stoked, but what got me really excited was the idea about finding a mentor. Someone that is willing to share his knowledge and experience in the field. I am a father of 3 beautiful girls, who had to make a change of field and with the support of the Queen of my house I got into GD.

    I found myself always fixing signs, newspaper columns and more. Coming from a Telecommunication design field (which the part that got me really excited was the drawing part and building), I feel even more free now design and to express as much as I can.

    In the past year I have been looking for a mentor, someone that not only share with me what he/she likes of my design or does not, but how to become better at it and how he/she did it.

    The rest of the offering it is good to me, but the platinum idea is the mentoring. If I do not win this, I am willing to exchange my haircut money for “Stoked”….

    What are you willing to exchange for something like this if you were short on money?

  16. Whether you’re a web designer, usability designer, visual designer, or in my world an online training (elearning) designer, keeping things looking a feeling fresh and new can be daunting. Part of my daily routine (random as it may be) is being constantly on the lookout for inspiration. Having a design community to help with that inspiration, bounce ideas, or just be in a room where people don’t look at you goofy when you describe the importance of PARC. “Stoked” is that one place I think I’ve been looking for.

    I broke away from the day job after 15 years to go full time at home. Almost two years now. While I’m independent and not dictated by what my work hours are or if I have to wear socks every day, I cannot and would not recommend anyone doing this without a support community. Any person in any job needs a PLN (Personal Learning Network) that extends beyond co-workers. For us independent freelancers, we rely on folks like you. I’m stoked about the launch of “Stoked!”

  17. I’ve been a partner in a 2-person design biz since 1995 — but not only has the world changed a lot since then, but in the past month and a half my biz has gone from a 50/50 partnership to a 95/5 thanks to my husband taking a full-time job. Now that it’s all me, I’m having to rethink everything and that means re-examining all our processes as well as digging into all the things that weren’t originally on my plate. It’s very overwhelming in the moments when it isn’t being exciting. Being part of Stoked would go a long way toward helping me transform my business so that it’s ready for the next 20 years.

  18. I’m stoked about stoked.
    I’m stoked about being involved in a community of creative goodness.
    I’m stoked about grilling you and other creatives on the bonfire. (You liked that didn’t you! )
    I’m stoked about going freelance sooner than I thought.
    I’m stoked about getting all my business questions answered.
    I’m stoked about leaving my full time job to follow my dream.
    I’m stoked about ebooks, tutorials.
    I’m stoked about book club.
    I’m stoked about all your help.
    I’m stoked about winning this amazing subscription (everyone loves a freebie, right?).

  19. I’d love to win Stoked because I it would help me to achieve some 2014 business goals such as getting connected to a community of entrepreneur designers. Also it would help me serve my clients better by allowing me to stay updated with other creative professionals, which will allow my business to learn from their success and failures. In 2014 I want my business to serve and help more people, to transform from a freelance service to a design company.

  20. I am so excited about this! GDB has been the most help to me in my freelance design because it’s one of the few places I can find honest and up-front answers to questions I didn’t know others were asking. I love that it’s taking a step further and opening up even more doors for people to learn and build their dream.
    Why should I even be considered as the winner…? To be honest I don’t see too much that separates me from the others who’ve given their comments. Financially this would be a tough year for me, so not only do I need to get my business to a new level but I would like to have access to the most useful resource I’ve found! I believe I have the talent and creative capacity to do something great but starting off has been rough, but all of this can also be said for many of the designers here… therefore I am more than grateful for the help I’ve received thus far and I’m sure they are too, so I know whoever does win will be truly blessed! This sounds like a great addition to GDB and I can’t wait to see its launch. Thank you for the hard work and generosity you’ve put into this awesome resource!

    Hannah Garner
    The Brink Design
    http://www.thebrinkdesign.com

  21. I would be totally Stoked to be given the pleasure of your new service!
    I will shout it out to everyone I know if I am given the opportunity.

    Can’t wait!

    Thanks!

  22. Hi,
    First of all, I’d like to express my appreciation on the work you are doing here and for all the great stuff you share with the community.
    Currently, I work as a .NET Developer for about 2 years, but for some time, the idea of becoming a web designer and to start my own business in this domain is becoming more and more attractive in my mind. I find this idea of a community very useful, considering that the first steps are always the hardest: there is so much informatin on the web that I don’t k ow what to begin with. And this is the point, I find this place very clear and well structured and also learning is more simple when experience is shared.
    I wish you best of luck and keep up the good work on GDB articles!

  23. Hi,
    I have recently made the decision to move from print to web. I think all that you share has tremendously helped me in becoming a developer without having to have the extra expense of classes at the community college. I look forward to learning more through Stoke.
    Thank You,
    Brenda Zapka
    http://www.bzb-designs.biz

  24. Stoked will continue to give me a great place to find awesome information and help. It will give me encouragement when feeling down and it will give me tools to become more successful.

    GDB Rocks, and I am so excited about STOKED!

  25. I need Stoked to stoke my fire!

    I have dreamed about quitting my job and being my own boss for over two years now. I’ve saved some of your most important posts relating to what (I think) I need to know or what I want to do with a business of my own since November 6, 2012: Why most freelancers are work-aholics (and how to save yourself before it’s too late) – GDB (<— I saved this one because I will stay at work until the work is done even if it's past dinner time or closer to bed time, then come back in a 9AM.)

    I haven't been able to save any money, so your post on the $100 Start Up has pushed me, and again most recently the post on how business plans actually hold back entrepreneurs. I've decided to stop thinking so much and let certain *things* holding me down work themselves out.

    I made myself a business card, a Facebook page and starting letting people know who I am and what I can do for them. (Still working on the site, which I need to stop trying to perfect and just get it up there!!!)

    I really believe Stoked can light a fire under my @ss and move me towards who I want to be and what I want to do with my life.

    Thanks for your consideration!
    Katie
    (A wannabe entrepreneur)

  26. I’ve been receiving the email newsletter for over a year now and it has blessed me greatly. I’ve starting my own web design business and the information you’ve provided has been instrumental, particularly your Contracts for Designers bundle. I just finished my college degree last June so I’ve been working on my business since then. Should I be chosen to receive the free 1 year of Stoked, I would not only use it for help with my own questions, but I would help answer other’s questions. I fully believe that, as my Mom says “We shouldn’t reinvent the wheel.” If I can help someone not make the same mistakes I have, then I’m happy. I’m always looking for ways to improve and excel and I think that this is an excellent resource. I have a vision for where I want my business to be and I know I have a ways to go to get there, but I also know that when I reach it (and I will reach it), I’ll have a new vision that will be bigger than the last. Everything I learn, I will use to help others, to bring them higher.

    Thank you for all that you do and for making these resources available.

    Angeline Gores
    Around The Web Designs
    http://www.atw-designs.com

  27. I’d love to win 1 year of free Stoked because I am always excited to read GDB posts and have learnt a lot about how to start a freelance business.

  28. Joan Rueca says:

    Hi, thank you for being a great inspiration to me and providing amazing and helpful tips on how to get started as a freelance designer. I thought I’d share my story of perseverance and my passion for design. I love all things creative and I’ve known it from a young age that I wanted to be a part of the design industry despite the hesitations of my parents….it’s not that they disapproved…but merely preferred another career path…you know….in the “medical field” of course. I didn’t apply for any medical courses…. instead I was accepted to be a part of the design program in OCAD University.

    University was an amazing experience. It was the “stoked” experience for me. I was constantly surrounded by other designers who shared the same passion, nervousness, anxiety and excitement of this field. There was constant feedback from my peers and ideas sparked and beautiful design came into fruition (with the exception of all those last-minute-I-really-shouldn’t-have-procrastinated-why-did-I-go-to-that-party type of work). Everything seemed to be smooth sailing…I was on my way to building my career and I had a steady boyfriend of six years. I was in my third year of university when I was blessed with an unexpected surprise, and just like they say in the commercials, “the most advanced technology that I will ever pee on” read I was pregnant.

    My son is an absolute blessing, but as you can imagine at that moment, having just come from being in school for 16 hours, that having a baby just seemed impossible. I was met with daunting questions from family and friends like; How are you going to finish school? how are you going to provide? Where will you live? My belly grew and so did the fire inside me to finish university. My beautiful son was born and after three months of break I went back to school. With no money for baby sitters or day cares I continued school as a part-time student. Taking evening classes and working on projects in between my sons nap times and pulling a lot of all nighters. During one of my scheduled “all nighters”, My boyfriend (who worked very long hours to provide for my son and I so I can continue school) made me a cup of coffee, kissed me in the forehead and went to bed..a few moments later my son began to cry. Not wanting to wake my boyfriend, I carried my son to the table where I was working. I stared at my son and at my work spread out across the table and just started to cry….I was exhausted….after pulling myself together and finally getting my son to fall back asleep I continued to work. You know you truly love what you do, when you are overwhelmed with exhaustion and still become energized by the project you are working on (just as a side note: this project was for a packaging course which at the end of the course I received the Packaging Design Award! Yay!)

    I was on my last year of university (thesis year…. queue in “scary murder scene music” ) and guess what….I was blessed with another unexpected surprise…oh boy…(or in my case oh girl!) I know, I know, sheesh lady wrap it up! haha sorry if that was inappropriate…GDB’s main audience is above 18 right? Anyways…I continued with my thesis year with yet another full grown baby bump (sucks that I couldn’t use the 15-lb freshman as an excuse). two babies later, an overwhelming amount of all nighters and complete exhaustion…I graduated from university and with honours to boot!

    And now here I am…I graduated last year and have been taking up a few design projects here and there to try and replace my school work with real professional work. Being out in the real world means you are on your own, no more class mates, and no more professors to guide you and it’s scary but exciting! Fortunately I have found GDB, a community of designers who have been a constant inspiration and support (along with the support of my now-husband whom I married just last month on our 9th year anniversary).

    “Stoked” would be an amazing asset to help me launch my career. They say having a family and starting your own business is impossible but my family is the reason why I work so hard and why I want to succeed in catching my dream not just chasing it. After all, GDB is where I found the quote in which I choose to live by, “Bite off more than you can chew…and chew like crazy!”

  29. GDB I want to win this exciting new resource that definitely has me very stoked. Last year I made a strong start to fire up my Graphic Design website. GDB was part of the reason that has kept me afloat on staying on top of my game. This year, I will need more than reading material to inspire my freelance venture. Stoke will provide me real world dialogue to connect with a community of top level designers that know the freelance game. This exciting new publication will be an essential part of achieving the freelance business that I have been visioning for years. Thank you GDB!

  30. Hi Preston! I believe I should be the winner because your blog is the ONLY one that has inspired me as I grew (and continue to grow) my freelance print design business! I think “Stoked” will only amplify my success and from a personal standpoint. I’m starting to see my humble income increase, however, my budget/debt load is in rebuild mode since I spent my youth traveling, living a mountain life (and NOT making money). Please pick me!! (even if you don’t I’ll keep reading what I am allowed access to!)

    Thanks for all you do, much gratitude, Roxy

  31. Just when you think GDB can’t get any better.
    As a graphic design student at Pacific Lutheran University I have learn so much from this site that will help me become more successful in my freelance business that (literally) just started today.
    Thank you guys so much for all the great articles.

  32. I’m not a business numbers person (actually, I’m not a numbers person period). Knowing how to run a business & keep track of all the number scares me. I’d love to know what is a good rate to charge, as well as a host of other things. I feel (I hope) that this membership would help.

  33. I think Stoked sounds like an exciting asset for the design community. Although I’m not sure that I would be anymore deserving to be the winner of the Stoked subscription than any other person submitting an entry here, I can tell you that I would like to be the winner!

    I would use it as an opportunity to get more involved in the online design community, because sometimes as freelancers we forget that we can grow our business (and maybe help another at the same time) by reaching out and asking for help or advice, and get a little motivation or inspiration along the way. We need to remember that everyone in the design community is dealing with many of the same issues, they are not our competition, they are our peers. Thanks for bringing us all together!

  34. Preston, congrats on this great idea. You are very right that the internet is full of routine normal stuff like free tutorials, free files etc which are good for filling your hard drive ( and rarely used ). There are very few good sites that provides real stories of real people who earn money because of their passion for designing/coding. This will be a great service for every one as one can learn to stay in this business by following them.

    The idea in itself is brilliant that we can hear real stories from real people through interviews. We can learn how they tackle their day to day issues in this field and stay brilliant, always. Audio/Videos, Forum and book club access is also something that will benefit all. I am really looking towards this service because you learn every day and can learn from every one.

    Not to mention, keeping my fingers crossed if I can win a one year free membership ;)

    Jay

  35. It is my hearts passion to be a full time designer by 40. I’m striving, pushing and working long hours. Stoked sounds like a great tool for my toolbox. 3 years to go, help me get there.

    IntelDesignCo.com

    Thanks

    Joshua

  36. I am stoked to see a real forum to help us struggling start-ups get our businesses off of the ground. I have been working for the past 3 years, but I am not quitting. I need to get info on how to acquire clients. I have been to the small business, minority business for ideas, I have produced volunteer projects with local organizations, I have offered free services with local service providers (of which most did not show any interest in my help), and I live in a small town, where there are many small businesses in need of good design for their retail businesses. I feel the problem for me is that most of the small business organizations do not understand our field. Many of the suggestions given will work for some service providers, but not necessarily for design services.

    I am looking forward to learning effective techniques for starting business connections that work.

    I was happy to have found your site, for this is exactly what designers need. I currently am working full-time (3rd shift) because I need to purchase important equipment for my businesses. But, I am not giving up getting my design business off of the ground. I believe in graphic design and I know how important it is for effective communication. But, the business side of starting a business is not taught in college. I wish I have taken more business courses, but perhaps this forum will be just the source for helping with this aspect of growing our businesses.

    I hope I will be chosen for the 1 year free membership, as my business is not where is will be in the near future right now.

    Thank you,

    Bobbi

  37. Stephanie says:

    I love GDB and suggest it to other freelancers! Stoked sounds like exactly what I have been looking for! I have been trying to find a freelance “mentor” of sorts as I have a lot of business questions. It is competitive out there, which seems to be the reason why so many designers are unwilling to give feedback and advice to the younger crowd. GDB has already provided me with a lot of guidance, but I am still looking for more. I am a young designer who is passionate about her clients, I want to provide them with the best service possible! I am most excited that Stoked could fill this need that I have for more insight into the freelance graphic design world!

  38. You’re stoked, I’m stoked. Let’s all get stoked together!

  39. I am stoked like everyone else. I have been working in graphic design for 6 years. I don’t have a degree in the industry, but I have been told my work is professional quality. I started off as an audio and video editor for a non-profit organization. And while there I was mentored into graphic design by a guy that worked there. He then left and the job fell on me. During this time I began working on the side to supplement my income doing design work through a friend’s website. in October of 2013 he offered to sell me his company. So I bought it and am trying to get the business rolling. I love reading the blogs here and belong to the Insider Group on facebook. I would really love to win the subscription in hopes it can help me in my journey to go full-time owning my own design business.

  40. Simply put, I’ve been “doing”, but it’s time for me to be “doing more.” It took me a long time to embrace the fact that I’m a freelancer graphic designer. I’ve been all over the place mentally, whether I’m in the right field (I have a Bach in Architecture) or wondering if freelancing is even a viable option. GDB has already helped me answer so many questions and given excellent resources. Your simplified ebook on contracts, priceless!

    This year, I’m going to be more focused, grow my business, and develop long happy relationships with clients. Their success is essentially my success, but I’m a newbie to the whole “business” part of things. What gets me stoked is being able to connect to other designers and possibly find a mentor. Where I live right now, I only know one other graphic designer. I’m lucky that I can email my friends in architecture for feedback, but it would be great to hear from persons in the graphic design biz.

    I would also like to add value to the community by sharing things I’ve learned or resources I’ve found. I’m self-taught in graphic design, so I truly understand the importance of and appreciate it when other creatives share.

    Yeah, I’m stoked about what’s coming in February.

  41. 2014 is the year of the entrepreneur and business is expected to grow significantly. As a part-time freelancer I am looking to be a part of that significant growth. I have been moonlighting as a freelancer for 5 years now and need to make it a full time gig. Stepping away from my “day job” to make my freelancing my everyday gig is frightening. Having the support of other designers to keep pace with what is going on in the design world, bounce ideas off of and to receive support from, is exactly what I NEED. I am “Stoked” about the possibilities of growing to be my own boss and feel having the connection outside of a cubicle could be exactly what will help my graphic design business grow. I don’t know everything, nor am I skilled at it all, but what I do know is how to be a designer and network with the right people.

  42. Would love to join a like minded community of creative people that I can learn from, and where we can help each other grow, challenge our design boundaries and connect with our shared love for what we do.

  43. Hi, having Stocked would be a great addition to me, coming from an island in the Indian Ocean, where practically everyone is a graphic designer, either pro, amateur or just simply knows how to use basic PS. Looking for new ways to to spice up my work make it more attractive and more competitive towards new customers, GDB, has become like a bible to me. So adding resources to the existing theory part is a wonderful idea.

    Thanks,
    Fernando

  44. Sounds like you followed your intuition about the name. From an energetic perspective, the feeling of being stoked/excited/happy good vibes is what you need to generate in order to attract what you truly desire.

  45. I love that I just got the email telling me about this and it’s over already. Not that I would have won anyway. Without bad luck I’d have no luck at all.

    But it would have been nice to enter at the very least.

  46. Yep, I’ve taken the time to read –almost– every comment here, and found a lot to be valuable enough to win.
    I also could –selfishly– say “I’ve been in this for 10 years now”, or “I run a couple design companies”, etc…
    BUT, beign all of this true, I honestly think it just doesn’t matter if you count 10 years or 10 weeks freelancing.
    You NEVER know everything of aything. You got to ALWAYS keep on learning. Experience counts, but it is next to worthless if you can’t share with felow colleagues round the block or at the other end of the world.
    That’s why I think Stoked can be of great help.

    Helpful for newcomers who doesn’t know how much to charge and helpful for seniors that –as well and most of the time– still struggle to figure out how much to charge.

    Helpful for young guns who still lack the skills of client-finding and also helpful for seniors who, again, have to run those extra miles to get and retain clients and get paid.
    And so on… We all want to make a living of this beloved profession, both young & old –well, not so old ;) –.

    In short, I am absolutely confident that Stoked has a place in the design practice & management niche and I just can’t wait to see!

  47. I did the DISC personality test tonight and was reminded that I am an “I” for Influential. The biggest thing that stuck out to me, was that an Influential person can have a fear of rejection. I think that is why it took me years before I finally stepped out on my own as full-time freelancer this past September. Why do I say this? I am not really sure, other than it is a bit of a glimpse into who I am. I skipped all the comments in this post, for that same fear that someone else has a better story or greater need. For fear of rejection.

    But, this fear is not paralyzing me anymore. I believe that every attempt to be in authentic likeminded community is necessary for me to tip the scale on my own insecurities. Simple as that. I cannot tell you exactly why I would love to be apart of Stoked, other than I NEED a good place to push myself to the next level with other creative peers. I guess, I have no other place right now to have my fears turned into fuel.

  48. Currently a Full Sail student expected to graduate in mid 2014 with a BS Graphic Design degree. I would to see and read more about the processes, discussions, business tips, current trends, how(s) and why(s), learn from well-seasoned designers and artists, from tutorials to learning techniques, most importantly da Free stuff! Living in Hawaii, as we locals do, we like to give aloha back to our community. Mahalos for reading my comment.

  49. I’d just love to win something for a change and if it’s work I love related it’d be even better :D

  50. I’m a new designer who just graduated, with honors, with a BA in Graphic Design. After the divorce of my 32 year marriage, I decided to go to college and change careers to something that inspires me. Being married to a military man who wasn’t home much, I didn’t have the option to grow a career. I’ve always done jobs that made me available for my children and husband, but also put the most money into the checking account. None of those jobs made me very happy. I am proud that I made sure everyone in my family was successful. One of my daughters has a BA, the other a BA and Masters Degree and my ex husband was working on a PHD when we divorced. I helped to facilitate their success. My daughters are grown and I’m on my own now. It’s my turn to be successful. I love the idea building a freelance web design business, but It’s difficult to decipher where to start! I really like designing and I’m not an expert in HTML. I appreciate the information from GDB, I know with the “fuel” from Stoked, I could rocket my business!

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