How freelancers can compete with design marketplace sites

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The last few posts I’ve written here have all come from excellent reader suggestions on this post. Today’s is no different. Joe Malleck writes: One topic that I’m interested in is what a designer’s future role in the marketplace is. With the uprising of theme marketplaces and the awareness that you can essentially purchase design as a commodity, where do we as designers fit into this new landscape? How can we leverage our skills and insight to make fortunes, without

Help me name my design business! + tips on naming yours

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GDB readers, it’s time to name my freelance business, and I really need your help. But first, a little back story: When I got laid off last February after 5 years with the company, I was devastated. I loved my core coworkers. I needed the paycheck. I hated that I had been chosen as the weakest link (which probably isn’t true – I also received the biggest paycheck). I cried. And then… literally the next day I started looking for

Is it okay to use templates and themes as a freelance designer?

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Have you ever used a theme or a template on one of your freelance web design projects? I have. And I’m (in my humble opinion) a good designer and coder. I’ve built tons of web sites both for myself and for my clients–and I built them from scratch.Designed; Coded; Tested; the works. I know HTML, CSS, Javascript and Jquery, PHP, and a little bit of other languages. But… But recently, GDB got a huge makeover. We were hacked pretty hard

A Secret Weapon of Successful Designers: Predictability

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Have you ever worried about a situation where a client of yours is not pleased with the site you’ve just finished designing for them because it’s too simple, and not flashy enough? I mean, it seems easy to bill someone for a site that looks like a digital painting and contains some interactive menus, sliders, and other eye-candy like stuff. It doesn’t seem easy, though, to bill for a minimalistic site that incorporates a well thought through layout with just

6 Business Books All Entrepreneurs Must Read in 2012

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Last year I set a goal to read more. More specifically, I set a goal to read at least 6 new books (one book every 2 months – which is good for me since I never read offline). Along with a few other non-business books, I devoured the following 6 business books and think every designer who aspires to run a successful design business MUST read these books. I’ve tried to list them in the order of most impact; meaning

Freelance designers: don’t set new year’s resolutions this year!

Today, to kick off the new year, I want to extend a very unique challenge to you: don’t set any new year’s resolutions for your design business this year. Why would I extend such a ridiculous challenge? Watch the video embedded in this post to find out. After watching the video, leave a comment and let me know what you think. If you’re reading this post in an RSS feed or in our email newsletter, click here to see the

Save your Business Reputation with these 5 Design File Tips

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First, a note from Preston: Hey GDB Readers, you may have noticed a few articles recently from April Greer here at GDB. She’s an excellent entrepreneur,  designer and writer (as you’ve probably already noticed) and I’ve asked April to join the GDB team for the next few months (and hopefully longer into the future) as a once-a-week writer. April has some great experience as a freelance designer and I’ve asked her to write about the things she experiences on a

The secret to saving an underpriced design project (and avoiding it next time)

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One of my very first clients asked me to redesign a “simple” website. Being a young graphic designer, I was so excited that someone was about to pay me to design something (anything) that I ran full throttle into the project with no contract and little research into the size of the existing website. I probably could’ve made more money flipping burgers when it was all said and done. So if you’ve got a lot more work ahead of you

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