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I can’t draw and am worried that a client will request an illustration that I cannot do. What do I do when a client ask for this?

Posted: April 16th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Design | Tags: , , | No Comments »

As for a client requesting a cat smoking a cigar or even a sailboat, you can always use clip-art or contract an illustrator. I know how to draw, but my skill is not in illustration, so I hire that extra work out. Of course, I mark the cost up. Put it this way, if a client requests something give them 2 options. One would be clip-art, which is not custom and you may not be able to find exactly what they want, or you tell them you can have your illustrator come up with custom artwork. Let them know the price difference. To figure pricing on clip-art, I just roll that into the cost of my design quote; it is so inexpensive, it does not justify too much additional costs. For custom work, this could range from $100 to several thousand. Get with an illustrator and mark up the work 20%.

Here are some links for clip-art and stock photography. I suggest signing up for them when you can, or on a per need basis. Some of the sites are a pay per image program.

http://www.clipart.com
http://www.bigstockphoto.com


How To Get Links From Directory Submission Sites

Posted: April 8th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: SEO Marketing | Tags: , , | No Comments »
computer tablet laptop

Link building is one of the most vital aspects of online marketing. Link building techniques can be quite diverse. They may be effective in generating more traffic from another domain, or to help you rank higher in search engines. Furthermore, by using online tools like a serp keyword checker, you can target which kinds of keywords to target for your anchor texts.

The first step is to identify the person, website or site that you want to get linked from. This can be done by doing a search using your preferred search engine. There are also several bookmarking websites which offer a listing of sites that have links that could be good for your business.

Another option is to use Internet social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook and perform your own research into the well-known people and sites that are being linked. You can also ask people you know who they have used or have already used to get a feel of how reliable the links are that you choose to use. Once you have identified a site that fits your requirements then all you need to do is search on the respective social media sites and make contact with the owner of the site.

As mentioned earlier, there are various bookmarking websites that offer a list of sites that are used by other websites. As a result, it is possible to get links from quite a few different sites using the methods outlined above. These bookmarking sites are very useful because they ensure that the links that you use are relevant (as they are categorised) and they have been verified by users via user rankings.

Link building can be very time consuming, and it can require some effort and discipline to generate the desired results. You should always focus on using high quality links to increase your website’s exposure. This means that you must not solicit for cheap links because they may not be recognised by the search engines. Instead, you should focus on using the most prominent and respected links available.

While directory submission sites are the best known, there are other link building techniques that do not involve the use of any single site. These include blogging, forum posting, forum submission, forum submission with comments and blog commenting. However, the real success of any link building campaign is to have quality links – quality over quantity!


Photoshop Actions – Cartoon Effects!

Posted: April 6th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Design, Resources | Tags: , , | No Comments »
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5 Creative Ways to Fund Your Online Business or Startup This 2020

Posted: April 3rd, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
Photo by maitree rimthong from Pexels

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you must have come across at least one article preaching the gospel of starting an online business. Now, unless you were born into 3rd generation family wealth, chances are, you must have bought into that particular gospel. The reason for this is simple. 

Online businesses or startups have evolved from being mere hobbies to becoming one of the surest paths to financial independence. And so armed with your billion-dollar idea(s), you set out to create the next big online business. But like many others before you, you hit one small snag. One which has plagued business enterprises for as long as we can remember. The problem of funding. 

As you must have guessed, lack of funding for online businesses or startups is perhaps more detrimental than outright failure in the business itself. This is because while entrepreneurs may learn from their mistakes and bounce back, those who lack funds never get the chance even to start. And so, they’re deprived of the extra income and business experience, and the world, of the next big thing since Facebook. 

So, we come to the big question, how do you raise funds for your online business or startup?

Fundraising 101

While the traditional methods of raising funds for your business are still valid, there are more creative ways to do so for your business. Below are some of the more creative options for you out there.

1. Crowdfunding

You’ve probably heard a lot about crowdfunding and are probably wondering why it’s on the list. But the truth is, there are few things as creative as financing your business with the help of total strangers who want nothing but your success. Crowdfunding, as the name implies, is the practice of sourcing for funds from “crowds.” Rather than seeking out a single investor, funds are pooled from different businesses and individuals on platforms created for that purpose. 

How do you get started? Get on one of such platforms like Kickstarter and pitch your business idea. The more impressive your pitch, the more likely you are to gain support. One of the advantages of crowdfunding is that you retain 100% ownership of the business most of the time, unlike some other options.

2. Venture Capitalists (VCs)

Apart from crowdfunding platforms, venture capitalists are another way to raise funds for your cash strapped business. This is a funding option that sees investors invest in upcoming enterprises that have a high potential for growth and monetary returns. Because of this, this may not be the best option if your business isn’t profit-oriented. Also, your pitch must even be more impressive than would be the case in crowdfunding. Your growth projections and accounts must completely be in order. Now, if you don’t have a good grasp of accounting principles, you can use accounting software to solve all your accounting-related problems.

You must note that unlike crowdfunding, venture capitalists always look for equity shares in the businesses they invest in. And in addition to this, they are also vested in having a say in decision making.

One significant advantage of fundraising through VCs is that you can raise more substantial capital than you would in crowdfunding. That being said, a great alternative to venture capitalists are angel investors

3. Vendor financing

For those new to the online business world, you probably may not have heard of vendor financing. And that’s simply sad because it is one of the most creative ways to raise funds. It is a goldmine for those who wish to deal with tangible products but lack the capital for inventory. 

How does it work? When you need products but lack the funds to purchase them, you can convince manufacturers and distributors to defer your payment till you sell your goods. So instead of the usual 30-day period, you get an extension that can last for months. This naturally would depend on your creditworthiness and, of course, extra fees.

We advise you to explore this option only when you’re sure of the demand for your product and the direction of your product offering. To do this, you would need a product roadmap template to help you forecast your product’s development over time and align it with the expectations of stakeholders. This way, you don’t run into debt trying to cover expenses when you’re yet to make a profit.

4. Purchase order financing

This is another creative means of raising funds for those who deal with physical products. It is used by businesses that lack the cash flow to purchase inventory to meet customer demands. Here, a financing institution pays your suppliers for the products which you sell to your customers. To take advantage of this method, you need to sell finished goods to business-to-business or business-to-government customers with at least 15% profit margins. 

Like vendor financing, your creditworthiness goes a long way in your ability to utilize this option. It also helps if both your customers and consumers are well established and trustworthy as well.

One of the many advantages of purchase order financing is that it creates opportunity for revenue growth without the problem of taking on debt or selling equity shares of your business.

5. Microloans

This is a fundraising option usually reserved for non-profit businesses. Here, finance institutions grant loans to startups that do not qualify for bank loans. The loans can be up to $35,000. Examples of where you can get funds via microloans are Patriot Express Loans, groups like Kiva, and the Small Business Administration, which has its upper limit at $50,000.

In conclusion

Funding an online business or startup is by no means easy. In fact, it’s probably the only barrier between you and the financial independence you’ve longed dreamed of. As you can see, however, it doesn’t have to be the herculean task it was ten years ago for the first set of brave entrepreneurs. By using one or more of the methods discussed above, you’re likely to solve most of your fundraising problems. And the best part? You can still combine these creative modern methods with older traditional means like personal savings and donations from family/friends.


What is a good guideline for pricing comps and spec work as well as hourly rates and flat fees? And what are some standard policies I can use to protect my work?

Posted: March 27th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: , , | No Comments »

As a guide to pricing comps, I normally charge full design rate. The reason being, is a comp takes as long as the final art in most cases. The idea, creative direction and set up is all in place even when designing a comp. As for spec work, that is always free. I do not recommend ever doing spec work unless you feel that you stand a chance to get the job. Chances are that the prospective client will take your idea and take it someplace else for cheaper. About 98% of the time, I do not touch spec work. If I feel lucky or I know I could get the job, I will do a job on spec. As for an hourly rate to charge, that will all depend on your skill level. I bill between $60 and $100 an hour for design or comp work. My suggestion is to never go below $50 an hour; you have to run a business and anything less will not pay the rent. For some ways to protect your work, you will need a contract, and possibly a copyright ownership agreement.


I have a guy freelancing for me that won’t sign my non-compete. What would you do in a situation like this? Isn’t it pretty normal for freelancers to sign non-competes?

Posted: March 27th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: , , | No Comments »

The form you are getting your freelancer to sign is really more for an employee of your firm or more of a permanent freelancer that you hire on full-time to part-time basis. My suggestion is to use a “work-for-hire” agreement. This form will protect you from all sorts of stuff and will act as a confidential agreement. If this person does not want to sign this form, I would advise to use caution when using them.


I am starting a small design firm in Melbourne Australia. I have noticed you are a US site and were wondering if the print prices can still be used here if I convert US to AUD. I know there is a small difference in how much work there is here compared to the US but I think about $125 AUD per hour sounds fair?

Posted: March 27th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: , | No Comments »

As for the rate of $125 per hour sounds fine. By looking at a currency converter, your $125 an hour rate is about equal to $77 per hour here in the USA. However, I would suggest calling up a few local design firms and do a little price checking. Also, depending on the Australian economy, will depend on how much you can charge. You might even consider having 2 rates, one at your regular rate and the other a little lower for lesser budget clients or bad economy issues. I have my rates between $60 and $100 US dollars per hour which would equal to about $97 to $162 AUD.


Cool Tools for Editing Your Photos

Posted: March 5th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Design, Resources, Software | Tags: , | No Comments »
Photo editing tools

CreativePublic has partnered with Fix The Photo to offer our members discounted photo editing tools and restoration services. Here are a few options below to review:

Use this link for discounted products and services:
https://fixthephoto.com/creativepublic

Lightroom Presets
https://fixthephoto.com/creativepublic/matte-collection-lrp

Photo Editing
https://fixthephoto.com/creativepublic/retouching-services

Photoshop Textures
https://fixthephoto.com/creativepublic/hand-painted-textures

Photo Restoration
https://fixthephoto.com/creativepublic/damaged-restoration-package


I am making a logo proposal to a possible new client. How do I keep them from stealing my logo designs I present to them?

Posted: March 1st, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

You are automatically protected by US copyright laws. You own your artwork and as long as you have not transferred the rights to the designs to the client, you still own them. The only thing you can really do to protect yourself is to place the copyright symbol on each logo and state that these logos are property of your company and may not be reproduced without your permission. If they take your design without paying, then hire an attorney an go after them. One other thing to consider is not doing this type of “spec work”. You are opening yourself up for someone to take advantage of your hard work and not pay you for your ideas. Many clients try to get ideas from designers and go other places to get the work done cheaper. Your portfolio should be enough to let the client know you can do the job. However, I understand that there are times that you need to do this to land a big deal, just be careful.


How do I get clients when the economy is so bad?

Posted: March 1st, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: , | No Comments »

Please read the interview with Jason Vaughn by Sessions.edu — “Getting Clients in Tough Times“:

Getting Clients in Tough Times: Interview with Jason Vaughn, owner of CreativePublc.com

by Sessions.edu

Getting and growing clients can be difficult for designers at the best of times. But in today’s volatile economy, it’s feast or famine. One minute you’ve got swarms of clients, and they’re getting under your feet. Next, you’re running around town trying to find just one of ’em.

Sessions.edu Faculty member Jason Vaughn (developer of the Graphic Design Business course) founded CreativePublic.com in 2001 to give designers tools for the freelance environment. We asked Jason for his tips for client acquisition and the design business in general.

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