Tag: tips

07.25.2017

Sometimes, I reflect on how lucky I am to be able to do what I love to do – and do it on my own terms. The road to owning my own business didn’t happen overnight.  There is no perfect formula, but to those starting out and looking for your first clients, here is what I would say:

Meet people.  Lots of people.

When I first picked up freelance projects, I was actually looking for a job. I was meeting anyone and everyone to try to get a foot in the door. This brought me a few of my very first clients, but it also taught me an important lesson – you never know who you will meet and how you may be able to help each other. Maybe someone doesn’t have work for you right away – that’s fine – it is still worth taking the time to connect with them.

Don’t be discouraged. There are GOOD PEOPLE out there.

Sometimes, it will feel like people are trying to dull your sparkle. Realize it isn’t always about you. Keep your head up and seek out the people who are good. Let them inspire you and hold on to them as clients and/or colleagues. The good people far outweigh the bad in the long run.

And in that vein…

Do right by people.

In the same way you want clients and connections to do right by you, you should do the same. People will remember it, and respond in kind.

Do your best work.

It may seem obvious, but always strive to do your best work, regardless of the client or the budget. In a lot of ways, the work will speak for itself, and if clients are happy, they will come back or refer other clients to you. A small budget project may lead to a huge contract later.  You just never know.

Utilize social media.

I have met a few wonderful clients on social media. It is a great and inexpensive way to show people who you are, and to get your name out there. Have conversations, share tips, interact…  It will help keep you top of mind when that project DOES materialize.

What do you wish you had known when you first started your business?

 

Stacy Kleber Design Fuel DC

For those who missed it, I spent one night last week with Fuel DC teaching small business owners tips to create simple images for their websites and social media.  If you aren’t familiar with Fuel DC, they run a few events a year in order to help entrepreneurs learn skills that will assist them in running their business.

While having a designer create custom graphics for you every day would be an ideal scenario, as small business owners, we all know that this would be neither cost effective nor realistic for someone who is either starting out, or is a single person business.  That is why we need to find simple, fast and lucrative ways to promote on a budget.

I covered some of the websites that I shared in my blog post earlier in March as a teaser for the event. This week I’ll recap some of the tips that I gave on designing your images for maximum effectiveness.

Fonts

Keep your fonts simple, and stay away from cliches like Comic Sans. Script fonts are ok, but be wary of using them on images that will be used small, such as photos you are inserting into tweets. Script can get hard to read at small sizes.

Colors

A color wheel is a great cheat sheet for choosing colors.  Do not overlay colors on opposite side of the color wheel, or they will appear to “vibrate” to the eye (for example you wouldn’t overlay yellow text over purple, or bright red text over bright green). Stick with dark on light, and light on dark for maximum contrast.

Overlaying Text on Images

When you want to overlay text on an image, choose something that is either blurred out so that the text won’t compete, or an image with a large blank area such as a sky or a grassy field, where the text will be easily visible.

Message

Keep your message short and simple. People skim their social media, and if they don’t get the message within a few seconds, the opportunity to hook them in is lost.

Brand

Even with all the options out there for creating images, be true to your brand. People build a relationship and come to expect a certain image from you as a business.  If you start giving them conflicting messages, and images that don’t fit your brand, you will begin to build a level of distrust with the customer.

Thanks to Studio DBI for hosting, Fuel DC and Capitol Romance for organizing and of course, thank you to everyone that attended!  Let’s get designing!

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In April, I’m giving a talk about creating simple graphics for your business with Fuel DC.  In the spirit of that, I thought I’d introduce a few things to help you here on the blog.

Canva

There are many resources for the entrepreneur who is trying to create simple images for their blog, social media or website.  One of my favorites is Canva.  Canva makes it incredibly easy for you to create graphics for all your business needs by offering you a variety of pre-sized dimensions, including Facebook cover photo, instagram post, etc. From there, you add text and images to create an appealing design.  Canva has a handful of free choices, as well as a variety of designs that cost a very small fee to implement, and is great for someplace with a small budget. Though nothing beats a design eye, Canva is the next best thing to hiring someone to design posts for you.

Infogr.am

Infogr.am is a great resource for creating charts, infographics, etc to dress up your website or newsletter. You can choose your type of graph, input your numbers and colors, and viola!  A chart that looks so much better than the ones that come out of an excel spreadsheet. For a small fee, you can sign up for a subscription that will allow you to download the graphics as pdfs. For a designer, this means you can bring them into Illustrator as vector art, and manipulate them til your heart’s content.

Font Squirrel

Font Squirrel is a great resource for downloading fonts that are free for commercial use. What I love about Font Squirrel compared to some other font sites is that they take the guess work out of it for you. All of their fonts are licensed for commercial use, which means while it is still advisable to read the licensing agreement, most of them can be used on any of your professional marketing products.

Unsplash

Unsplash is one of my favorite sites for free stock photos. They upload 10 high quality photos every 10 days, and those photos are free for to use for commercial purposes without permission or attribution.  Now, there are a lot of stock photo sites out there, but these are downright beautiful. They may not be a fit for every business, but they are certainly worth a look around.

I hope that we have given you some ideas on how to create simple graphics for your business in a cost effective way.  Happy designing!  For more information and to continue the discussion, join me at Fuel DC in April!

*Note: All sites above are to be used at your own discretion. Stacy Kleber Design is not affiliated with them in any way, and makes no guarantees about the quality of the information or the licensing.