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Is the business card dead?

Interesting thought about business cards, are they really dead? I think this one is a matter of opinion, but in this graphic designers mind, they are most certainly not.

Social media dominates our world. All you have to do is look at the phone book that was recently delivered. That book is an old dinosaur to most folks. I used to sit on the directory as a child when I needed to be higher up to the table, and it weighed quite a few pounds. The recently delivered telephone book was about the size of a journal. The bigger questions is how many times do you refer to that book in your daily life today? Never would be my answer because I go online and search for what I need.

This leads me to the topic of conversation, the business card. Will it soon join its friend in the land of the dinosaurs? I don’t believe so and here is why.

Let’s do a little scenario. You are at a networking event and have to introduce yourself quickly to multiple people. What is the quickest way to do that? Business card.

Second scenario. You have been invited to speak at a monthly meeting, and these people could be your potential clients. You have 3 minutes to leave a lasting impression, and you can hand out materials. Leave the brochure, leave the rack card but make sure you leave the business card too because that is what will get kept. It may go in a bowl or a Rolodex, maybe even thrown into a drawer but it will be there and when they think of you and what will they search for? Business card.

Third and final scenario. An existing client has a meeting and meets someone who could use your services, but you are not there. They chat about you, talk about what a fantastic business you are, it’s a perfect fit. Luckily what does the supporter have to pass on to this possible new customer? Business card.

Ok, I think that is all the role playing we need for now. Hopefully, you are beginning to see my point. In our world today I still firmly believe you need a card to identify and remind people what you do. A friend recently told me she heard a podcast where they were discussing why you no longer need business cards because social media was your story. I believe that is partly true. Social media is a great tool for showing people what we do on a daily basis. However, the beginning of the story, the cover of your book starts with you and your business card.

Is Blogging Painful?

People often ask me if I like blogging. You may be surprised to hear this but in the beginning, I despised it. Why? Because it use to scare me. I am talking knees knocking; I may be too sick to write this type of afraid when I began. Today everyone claims to be a guru on literally every topic of conversation out there so why would people listen to me? Am I redundant, do I sound educated, will I look like a fool, what can I add that hasn’t already been discussed? These thoughts would snowball in my head and then something that could have taken less than an hour to write takes me a week. It’s self-defeating and a waste of time. So, how does one overcome all of the emotions and move on? I think this is the point of the conversation where you want a quick remedy, right? I am supposed to provide that. News flash, there isn’t one. However, I have some suggestions to make your blogging life a little bit easier and keep those knees steady.

Blog on topics you feel comfortable discussing.

No one wants a lesson they can get from a handbook, but they want to be informed. Try picking topics that you are knowledgeable in but home also some life experience with as well. It’s great that you are a photographer who knows all the rules but can you help me apply them to my daily photo shoots. Give some real life examples and feelings about the subject to want to explain. People are interested in the facts but want to feel a part of the conversation, and it’s important to do that with words.

You may be an expert on a subject.

Experts are great but opinions are too, and that is the freedom of the blog. Speak your truth, tell us what you know but don’t leave out the “real world” stuff because that is what usually drives a reader. How can you help us? What do you like better? Use links, photographs and videos to tell your story. Make it comfortable for the reader and I promise they will be back to read more!

 Time yourself. Painful but true.

Give yourself a time limit and then walk away. Now, if you are on a role and can’t stop, don’t. But if you are writing while Snapchatting, checking Facebook and coloring in your new adult coloring book then walk away. Focus is key and you are not getting through this with a colored pencil in your hand.

 Listen to great music and have coffee at the ready.

Get your groove on! What helps you write? For me, it’s Miles Davis, Kind of Blue. I love Miles and the music just keeps me going, it truly helps. Coffee is self-explanatory. Who doesn’t enjoy a good cup of joe and maybe a scone to nibble while typing away!

Be prepared to have at least 800 words to write. Seriously, don’t kill me, this is 501 right here!

Some blogs will be longer than others. I usually shoot for around a thousand words myself; it’s a personal goal. Just make sure your blog has meat to it, not the kind you eat. You need words to justify those pretty photographs. Plus it is great for your SEO! Try hard to think about what you want to say and before you know it you will have written a hundred words without even realizing it! See, we are already at 583, my time flies by fast.

Give yourself talking points, just like these.

Talking points are helpful because not only do they keep the writer on track, but they let the reader skip to the points they are curious about without having to read the entire blog.  If you break down the blog into mini-stories, it accomplishes more with your reader and lets you connect. Does this defeat the purpose? No, because even if they absorb certain talking points if the writing is of quality to them they will return.

Pay attention to your font sizes and make it pretty.

This is a personal preference, but I believe if you take to time to break down your thoughts and create a fantastic blog you should make it look good. For example, your talking points should be bold or different from the paragraph text. Photographs should be the best quality you can find. Often if I have a photo I love but is not perfect, I try to do a little editing before sharing it. People are visual; they want images along with their text, give them what they want! A photograph just won’t do? Hire a graphic designer, explain what you need and see if they will work with you within your budget. Itl gives you an edge not many have, a unique look.

Find your voice.

Be you, we want your voice. We want your fantastic personality and views to shine. Tell us what you think because that is what we are interested in, that is why we are here.

Check you’re grammar.

Yes, I know that is wrong. I did it on purpose because we make mistakes, all of us make them. However, try to make as little as possible in your work. Check things, question yourself and make sure you check your grammar.

 

Probably the most important, save your work.

We have all been there. Working until the wee hours of the morning, so proud. We step back admiring our work, and the power goes out. Complete panic mode sets in. Why didn’t you spend the extra $5 on that surge protector with battery backup? Why didn’t you save it when you were done 5 minutes ago instead of gazing into your creation like it was the first time anyone in the entire world had ever written something. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? Now this I have a simple solution for, SAVE YOUR WORK! It’s easy, but we all forget from time to time. I try to save at the end of each paragraph to give you a quick idea of how easy it is. Trust me, it only takes one or two times to learn this most valuable lesson. Ok, maybe three times, but whose counting.

 

So here we are, at the end. Now that I started this blog I realize I could go on, but we have made it to over a thousand words in under an hour. You can create fantastic content in a timely manner but don’t be too hard on yourself in the beginning. People will comment, sometimes complimentary things and then you have the trolls. Ignore it, you need the experience. Answer comments politely and move on. You will be a better person for it and a better writer too. Remember practice makes perfect, or at least pretty close!

 

Clients, I have favorites, shhh!

There are many types of businesses and many types of customers. After years of owning my own business, I have discovered my favorite type of client, and I am not afraid to share why. Are they the only client I have? No. But there is one type of client that I enjoy working with from start to finish. Graphic designers do have favorites, but don’t tell anyone, shhh!

My most favorite type of clients are the creative entrepreneurs, non-profits and the clients who get the brand.

I love my Etsy folks and small, local businesses alike! Working with other creatives is so rewarding for me because I understand the hard work it all takes. I appreciate their process, and I make it a point to learn as much as I can about their product and what they care about their clients seeing. Every business man or woman has an idea, a dream in their head, I am always grateful to be a part of that moment. It’s the excitement in their voice after seeing something on paper with their name that makes it come to life for them. And when the logo is finished, the website is launched, and the product it launched it is still important that I promote them every step of the way. Here are a few of the many creative small business owners I have had the pleasure of working with.Creative

Entrepreneurs Unite!

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One of my favorite makers is Caroline Randall Made. I have spoken about this business before with her beautiful Mason Jar Tumblers, but now she is making stunning monogrammed pillows! We created her logo together awhile ago, and I am always excited to see what she comes up with next. Make sure you check out Caroline’s Etsy shop online for handmade gifts. She creates everything from the pillows we spoke about earlier to mason jar tumblers, pencil cases, organic baby teethers, key fobs and more.

Meditation_Buzz_Logo_textDo you meditate? Did you know you can learn how to meditate properly to relieve stress in your everyday life? You can at Meditation Buzz! So many of us could certainly use this technique for ourselves. I think this is a brilliant idea that will help so many people manage the day to day stress. Melissa has various types of classes and will teach you how to take a moment and breath, the correct way. I encourage you to take a look at her website, and if you are in the Jacksonville, Florida area you might want to check it out!

 

Non-Profits Make You Feel Good!

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These kids, WOW these kids! I have been so honored to work with this group of kids out of Immokalee, Florida. Once a project, now a business. We started working together not so long ago designing the logo and brand for Taste of Immokalee, my how it has grown. They went from creating a tasty salsa to an entire line of products! Recently the line was picked up by various Winn-Dixie and Publix stores in the Lee County area of Florida. A friend messaged me on Facebook today saying how they love these products and will continue to buy them because of the taste and quality. Completely made my entire day! If you see these products, please grab them and open them up as soon as you get home. I promise you the story of how all it all came to be will inspire you, and the taste of the products will delight you. If you are out of the area and want to purchase the products online, they ship and make great gifts for any occasion!

 

You Get Me, You Really, Really, Get Me!

I love the client that fully understands the purpose and need for a brand. It is important that no matter what you promote for your business it has a consistent feeling in everything you do from your logo to your social media, it matters. Many people starting a business have a budget, and I am always aware of that but using your money wisely in your marketing budget to create your image is so important from the get go. Working with a designer can guide you in the right direction in telling your story. Don’t miss the opportunity to ask questions before you take a huge step in this process. Be you, be consistent and be unique!