Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Review - Creative, Inc - The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business

A Crafty-Graphics Book Review

Creative, Inc - The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business
By Meg Mateo Ilasco & Joy Deangdeelert Cho
Published in 2010 by Chronicle Books LLC
Designed by Oh Joy! Studio.

Creative, Inc. is one handy little book! The focus of this collaborative effort is on starting, growing and surviving a freelance business. Most of us probably think of business-specific creative fields such as graphic design, photography, filmmaking, illustration and the like would be marketable freelance businesses. But, what if you had the same know-how as these folks, the ones you often depend on as a creative person yourself, to market your own business?

I highly recommend this book for any creative person who is starting up their own business and would like to be a successful self-employed person.

They cover a variety of important topics such as :

• WHO SHOULD DO THIS - The qualities a freelance person should have.

• WHERE SHOULD IT BE DONE - How to get your studio to work for you. Or, how to work with the space you have.

• HOW TO MAKE IT LEGIT – The legal ins and outs of establishing your business.

• WHO ARE YOU – How to brand and market your business.

• WHERE’S THE BEEF? – You need to get paid, right? You’ll need to know how to write an estimate, invoice and contract.

• WHO CAN HELP – Some of you might want an agent to represent you. This does not apply to everybody.

• HOW TO STAY SANE – Balancing work and life ain’t easy. But, it’s hugely important for both the success of your business and your mental health.

Each chapter ends on an interview with a successful creative freelancer who offers lots of great advice.

All in all, it was well worth the $16.95 that I paid for this book.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

8 Great Tips on How to Create a New Idea

Are you a really creative person but are getting a bit tired of making the same thing or want to mix things up a bit with what you make to sell on Etsy or at craft shows? I have some great tips on how to get your brain churning and the ideas rolling.

1. Brainstorming: This is typically a group technique aimed at developing the largest quantities of solutions possible. Judgement on the value of the idea should be withheld until all ideas are on the table. I write a lot of lists to do brainstorming.

2. Adaptation: Think of unorthodox ways what you make can be used. Maybe you'll determine that your products can be marketed in a new way. Maybe you'll come up with changes to what you make that accomodate this new use.

3. Synthesis: Combine two ideas to create a new one!

4. Theme: Create a collection of work that maintains a consistent look or use. Come up with a great name for your theme.

5. Journalism: Be your own journalist! Learn everything you can about everything that interests you and keep a book of lists, thoughts, scraps, images and whatever you find inspirational. Carry paper and a camera with you wherever you go.

6. Experience: Try out what you need an idea for. If it's food, eat it. If it's music, listen to it. If it's a new craft for the home, make one for yourself and try it out for a spell. Don't rush this process.

7. Competitive Analysis: Spy on the competition. I know it sounds awful. It doesn't mean COPY. It means study what is working for this competition and derive some inspiration from it.

8. Persistence: You ideas are good. Not all are going to be brilliant all the time. Just be confident in what you do and keep at it. Don't give up.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How Do I Use Blogger?

A lot of us have blogs but don't know how to make them look custom. There's an assumption that one must be a web developer to do so. That's not the case!

Here are three easy ways to customize your blog in Blogger - change your banner, change your background and include an ad graphic.

  • When you are in the design section you will see an outline of your blog - sort of a layout.
  • Click on the word "Edit" by the Header section.
  • Find "Image" and browse for the blog banner that was designed for you.
  • Click on the file name and click "Open".
  • The blog banner graphic will replace what you currently have – either text or an old graphic.

  • Stay in the design section.
  • Find "Add Gadget". This will be on the right side of your blog layout, most likely.
  • A menu will pop up. Find "Picture" and click on it.
  • Find "Image" and browse for the ad graphic that was designed for you.
  • Click on the file name and click "Open".
  • The ad graphic will be on your sidebar.

  • This one is more complicated.
  • Find "Template Designer" in the design section.
  • This will take you to a new page and it will look a lot different than the previous.
  • If you've uploaded the blog banner and ad graphic you should be able to see it on this page.
  • Click on "Background".
  • Click on "Background Image" - there will be a square graphic that has the text "Background Image" above it.
  • Click on "Upload Image".
  • Browse for the pattern graphic that I designed for you.
  • The pattern will appear immediately.