Why designers shouldn’t think outside the box

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Have you ever had a client who gives you this challenge?: “Just think completely out of the box on this one.” You’ve probably just gone along with the idea assuming the client knows best (even thought I’ve told you they don’t) and the minute you sit down to “think outside the box,” your stumped. No great ideas. No good vibes. Why? Because what your client forgot to mention when he asked you to think outside the box was exactly which

Can networking with your competition really grow your design business?

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You know as a designer you’ve got to market yourself in order to find new business. But if you’re only selling your services using “marketing” techniques, you’re missing a vital piece of the puzzle: networking. Get Connected. You may think your client pool exists outside of the design realm, but as Preston points out in this post, your best clients might also be your competition! That’s right, design agencies, in-house marketing/graphics departments, fellow freelancers, and production houses all can make

Why most businesses fail, and solid tips for design business success

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Most businesses fail not because their owners aren’t good at what they do. A design studio doesn’t generally fail because they create poor designs. A dentist doesn’t generally fail because he cannot fix your teeth. Most businesses fail because their owners don’t understand how to run a business. As a design entrepreneur, this is the single most important fact you need to understand. If you as a designer can learn how to run a business well, your business has a

My 10 Freelance Design Business Goals + Tips for Setting Yours

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Your design business will DIE without solid goals. April’s new post today is a must-read for any designer who hopes to get anywhere in business. After April shared such a great personal experience about naming her design business (read here), I asked her to write more great content with personal stories and experience. If you enjoy posts like this one, be sure to tweet, like, +1 and comment to show April your support. Enjoy! -Preston I hope you’re not tired

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

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