January 2016

WhatWhen I’m at a networking event, one of the first things that I often get asked is, what do you specialize in?  While I do work on a range of projects, from web design to flyers and print collateral, my niche is branding.

The goal of Stacy Kleber Design is to be the design arm of your business. I want to know your branding as well as you do, and help you to roll it out consistently in a variety of mediums. This may mean that we develop your logo, or we develop a new logo for you – but it may also mean we work with your existing brand guidelines to further embellish your company look and feel. Your success is our success, and we seek long term relationships.  We aim to help you grow, and grow with you.

I have numerous clients that see me as one of their own – and I love that. Using a freelance design studio is a great way to get quality work when your business isn’t ready to take on a full-time staff member. It is also a great way to handle temporary overflow.

If you are ready to invest in quality design, contact us today!  We want to work with you.

There are many reasons it rocks to work with freelancers – and now we give you one more…  When everyone else takes a snow day, our commute to the next room means we’re there for you when you need us!  Be safe, DC!  We’ll be here to help you with your design emergencies no matter the weather.

Ready?

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Let’s get personal for a minute. It has been almost a year since I took the plunge into full-time freelance, and the year has been a ride. Here are 5 things I’ve learned as I took the leap into self-employment.

1. You will work harder than ever before.

As a freelancer, you get a lot of freedom. Want to wake up at 9am?  Do it. Want to go to the store in the middle of the day? Done. But like they say on Once Upon a Time – “Magic comes with a price.” In freelancing, that price is that only you can get the work done. Sick days? Days off? They only sort of exist, because if you are on a deadline, there is no one there to pick up the slack for you. You will work harder than ever before. But…that brings us to number 2.

2. It will be more rewarding than ever before too.

I work harder than ever before, but because the work is mine, I want to. I love my clients, and I love the feeling of satisfaction finishing up that job that I’ve been striving toward for ages. I do a bigger range of work now, and I find that extremely rewarding. Instead of an employee, I am a partner – helping people achieve their business goals. That is an incredible responsibility, but it also comes with a lot of satisfaction.

3. There will be quiet times. This is ok.

I am still working on this one. There are times when all your projects are out for review, and the work is…well, done.  You sit down, and you stare at your inbox, and you wonder what the next email will be. It is scary – but it is ok. I consider these days “forced days off” – days to recharge my batteries and work on the projects that keep my business running, like updating my website, writing blog posts, etc. And tomorrow, either I will find work or work will find me.

4. Everyone will say, “It must be so nice. You can turn down work you don’t want.” 

One of the first things I hear when I tell people I freelance is – “I wish I had the courage to do that.” The next is “It must be so nice to turn down the projects you don’t want.” While this is nice in theory, it isn’t the reality, at least not for someone building their business. I want to get my name out there – I am hungry for projects. And while I won’t devalue my work or take less money than I deserve, I will rarely turn down a project because I “don’t want it.”

5. You are not alone.

Sometimes, freelancing is isolating. Not everyone understands how it works. People will think you are between jobs. People will think you are taking this monumental risk. Maybe you are. But there are many, many other people out there like you, who are waking up every day and setting their own schedules, and they are hungry to connect. Freelance DC has been a huge resource for me this year. I’ve found clients, and I’ve found friends. Find your group – they are looking for you too.

Here’s to another year of learning, growth and partnerships with great clients and friends.

 

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I went to a networking event recently, and left with one thing on my mind – what is effective networking and are we doing it?

I felt as if a good deal of people at the event were simply there to collect business cards. While exchanging cards is important, unless we have a memorable interaction, I’m not likely to use it.

So what would make me remember you?

Meaningful interation.

Before you hand me your card, have a conversation with me. Not just about business, but about the area, the event, whatever strikes your fancy. Sometimes a witty anecdote can go a long way to break the ice.

Listen.

One of the people that stood out to me was a woman I met early on – who later came back to introduce me to someone she thought might be able to use my services. Not only did she listen, but she made an effort to connect me with someone else. I’ll definitely be keeping her card.

Be a partner.

Rather than a client/contractor relationship, I like to think that I am a business partner – helping my clients make their business great through design. I take this approach to networking as well. I want a long term relationship with the people I meet, so I don’t mind if I don’t get a card from everyone in the room. One or two in depth conversations may be enough.  Who knows?

Business cards.

After all this, why is this on the list?  Have an interesting business card can be a good conversation starter.  It is also a great leave behind so I can contact you later. Just don’t use it as a replacement for a conversation.