Why I paused my revenue-positive membership site (and 3 business lessons you can learn from it)

pause

In February 2014, I launched an all-new members-only section of Design Blender called Stoked. And last Thursday just under six months later, I basically put the whole project on pause. It wasn’t a flop. It wasn’t a failure. And I didn’t lose money on the project. In fact, it brought in quite a bit of extra revenue which allowed me to grow Design Blender in new and exciting ways. So today, I’d like to explain why in the world I

A “done-for-you” direct mail letter to get new, local clients!

mailbox

I love direct mail. The fact that the world has gone digital just makes it even more relevant than ever. We’re so inundated with emails and Facebook and all the rest that holding a printed, crisp, personal letter has a new significance. It demands attention, shows care (after all, writing an email is so easy – but sending a letter actually takes some legwork), and is unique. I’ve used it to generate amazing returns for clients, and for our creative

No one taking you seriously? Here’s how to position yourself as an expert for massive credibility and respect

plant

Back in the early days of our creative marketing business, Clients from Hell was a gift from the universe. It kept me sane, reading all of those stories from fellow comrades in arms. Now, however, I have a much different take on that site and others like it. What I once saw as a safe haven of a website where I could cope with the “realities” of our industry I now see as a place packed with professionals who just

How To Master Your Cash Flow In Under 60 Minutes Per Day

free-above-city

Let’s talk turkey for a few minutes. More particularly… cash flow. Icky, dirty, rotten, dreaded cash flow. Grrrrrrrr How’s yours going? Are you making the BIG bucks? Stashing plenty of dosh away each month so you can retire young, travel the world and achieve the ultimate freedom you’ve always dreamt of? If so, you can probably skip this blog and just get back to it. Go on, off you go. If not and you’re sick of worrying how you’re going

Are client emails binding contracts?

Email Clients

A couple weeks ago, Karol wrote a great post about not getting cheated by your design clients. In that post, we recommended (as we always do) that you have a signed contract with most of your clients. But in the comments on that post, we had a fascinating question posted by GDB reader Ranjit that said this: Would emails and all other correspondence between client and designer not act as some sort of contract? I found Ranjit’s question extremely important

4 Glaring signs you need to take the freelance leap

Grab your parachute!

I don’t think I chose the freelance life, I think the freelance life chose me. While other kids were playing little league, I was trying to build a two story colonial house for my teddy bears out of logs, complete with shutters. That never really panned out so well (lack of nails maybe?!), but it taught me that I am most at home in the wild, without the road map laid out for me. If something failed, I tried again.

How to stay motivated when solo business has got you in a rut

writing-with-laptop

Ever have one of those days (weeks?) where you just can’t seem to get yourself motivated? And I mean REALLY unmotivated, like nothing — not even dusting to avoid work — can tear you away from putting off life in general. Maybe it feels like there’s such a mountain of work ahead of you (house chores included!) that you don’t know where to start. Maybe your current projects aren’t terribly exciting. Maybe you’re feeling a bit burnt out. Or maybe

What to do if a client threatens you with a “bad review”

Stay calm and sound like the pro you are

A few days ago, the phone rang at 10am. “Reliable! This is Lou,” my wife and business partner, Lou, said. (We run a design / marketing agency, but recently started Reliable: our new PSD to HTML & WordPress company). She took the call per usual. The guy had a lot of questions, and she had answers. But then, the call took a “weird” twist… The guy had some pretty wacky demands. He basically wanted us to ditch the process we

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