4 Simple ways to win clients – even if you’re new to the design game

fireworks

There’s a great line from Oscar-winning movie writer (including Moneyball and The West Wing) Aaron Sorkin’s 2012 commencement address at Syracuse. He said, Decisions are made by those who show up. I love the overly simplistic nature of this statement, and the fact that it’s so very true. We all know that the world is swarming with graphic designers (and would-be graphic designers). What is going to set you apart from them? Your willingness to show up. By that I mean

How to build a stellar portfolio to land your very first freelance gig

laptop

Deciding to jump into freelancing is an awesome, scary, exciting rush of emotions. Unless you have money set aside, you’re probably still working your “regular” job until things really take off, but you’re ready… …all except for one thing: you don’t have any clients. (So your portfolio’s probably a bit thin, too.) How do you present a professional portfolio with only personal and student work (and if you’re lucky, one or two pieces from your current job)? How do you

You’re an expert to someone

expert-to-someone

Last week, I had an opportunity to speak to a group of students at my Alma mater and I had a complete blast. My presentation was titled something like “Skipping 3-5 years: how starting a blog in college helped my skip entry level and land the job of my dreams.” I spent weeks researching, developing thoughts and theories, and really pouring over what I was going to tell these students. I showed up on the day of the presentation, gave 2/3

If you’re “stuck” in print, here’s the easiest way to start getting web design clients

stuck in print? Make switch to web design

I think it’s awesome how many designers are still print-only. I love paper and ink. The way it feels in your hands, the smell, the way it looks under different lights. Digital doesn’t come close to the sensory experience that print design delivers. At least not yet. But many print-only designers have written into GDB expressing a concern: their clients need websites, and they currently have to go elsewhere to have them made. They’re not sure how to start offering

Terrified to hire your first employee? 5 comforting words of advice.

scared

I remember my first time. Nerves. Confusion. Sheer palm-sweaty, nerve-racking, eye-twitching terror. All these manic thoughts running through my head. Constantly. Non stop. Every time I awoke in the morning. Every night when my head collapsed into my pillow at night. Constantly wondering. No, constantly worrying! Am I ready? How do I know I’m ready? Where do I start? How do I do it? How much should I pay? What if they suck? How much time is it going to take

The one word that will offend any entrepreneur (and how to handle it)

offended

The other day I was at lunch with a friend of mine when he accidentally offended me as an entrepreneur. He didn’t mean to. Not in the slightest. And I’m not talking like a huge offense. No harm, no foul. But it got me thinking about this one word he used that could probably offend almost any entrepreneur. And people use it all the time when they talk about the projects we, as entrepreneurs, work so hard on. What’s that

11 Free must-have WordPress plugins that make client customizations super simple

WordPress plugins

Fellow WordPress designers and developers: Doesn’t it just make your day (week) when you find the handiest new plugin?* Something vetted by someone who has used it before. Something that wraps up a handful of hacked-together plugins into one sweet bundle. Something that will improve your efficiency and speed on at least 3 of your clients’ websites just off the top of your head. *Not sure what all this plugin-talk means for you? Check out this post and this post

Don’t make these 7 mistakes when designing a blog for your client

designing a blog - common mistakes

Let’s talk about mistakes people make when designing a blog. Mistakes that can turn out to be quite destructive over time. The biggest challenge here is that the majority of these problems don’t ever surface most of the time. They just sit quietly in the background, killing your client’s site a tiny bit every day. The end result? The client can’t use the site up to its full potential as a marketing tool. This is never good. So, let’s get right into