Why ‘doing work that matters’ doesn’t mean you have to quit your job

work that matters

Half a decade ago, I (along with half the world, it feels like) got caught up in the lifestyle business craze when I read Tim Ferris’ The Four Hour Workweek for the first time. Since then I’ve read dozens and dozens of books on self-help, entrepreneurship, lifestyle design, and more. And there’s one phrase that has really made the rounds. One that has turned into a bit of a buzzword in books and on the internet. And I totally understand why:

5 More ways to not get cheated by your design clients

danger-sign

Here’s an idea: people – including clients – are generally not bad, bitter, or overall evil. It’s just the circumstance that sometimes result in us – the freelancers – getting screwed during the process. I really believe this is true, and that there’s just a small number of genuinely crappy people out there who go into a business project with pure intention of screwing the other party. And unfortunately, there’s hardly any protection from those people. I mean, if someone

5 Systems that will turn your freelance design business into a well-oiled machine

Well-Oiled Machine

Running a freelance design business is one of the most fulfilling careers you can embark on. Think about it – you spend some time honing your design skills, and then use your skills to make an income, hopefully enough to support yourself full-time. And beyond doing work that you’re passionate about, you also have the luxury of working remotely from virtually anywhere in the world. Who wouldn’t love it right?! Mmm, I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but it

Find time in your busy schedule with this ONE mental shift

No time

How many times have you made this excuse? I would love to work on <insert side project>, but I just don’t have time. I used to say this too (more than I’d like to admit), but worse, I used to believe it. “But April,” you’re thinking, “it really is true!” I know. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that you’re out of control of all the varied obligations placed upon you in both your personal and professional

Why you should always have a contract – even for small jobs

Handshake

As creative freelancers and business owners, we all know written contracts are useful – no, necessary – when dealing with customers. After all, we’ve all been reading Graphic Design Blender, haven’t we? Whether it’s a $2,000 logo or a $20,000 web site, investing time and money on a service agreement is, as we’ve seen before, completely worthwhile. Why? It gives both parties an idea of how the relationship will be framed. It protects you in case the relationship breaks down.

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