Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Inspired By...Paper

> I think print designers are paper-lovers by nature. I can't tell you how many sheets of handmade papers, scrapbook paper, stationery, and other paper items I've bought...but I can't bring myself to use them, because then I won't HAVE them anymore (What's that saying about having your cake and eating it too...)
> One of the blogs I follow—All Things Paper—is a really great resource that shares all kinds of projects that are made with paper. And while there are great examples of things you'd expect like stationery, art, and invitations, there's also a lot you wouldn't expect too—like huge retail store displays, jewelry, clothing, ornaments and decor—I'm constantly amazed.
> Seeing the things that artists are creating with paper makes me love it even more. It inspires me to try something new, like quilling (sample above—no, I didn't do it. Artist Yulia Brodskaya did. Isn't it gorgeous??) I'll have to go out and buy some paper! (you didn't think I'd use what I already have, did you?)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

> I was approached a couple weeks ago about presenting to the local Rotary Club (eek!) The business-person in me said "This is a great opportunity! I get to show my work, and meet some other local business owners." The shy-person in me secretly hoped there would be something on my calendar to give me a good reason to bow out. Checked my calendar and...completely empty that the business person in me agreed and got the details.
> It was a fairly small group—less then 20 people—but that was fine with me. I shared the experiences that brought me to where I am and what I do, as well as several examples of different types of projects. I got lots of positive feedback, and answered several questions including these three:

>> How do you advertise, or get more work? Typically, most of my clients come through word of mouth/referrals, so the most effective advertising I do comes from sharing what I do with everyone I know. I send out a monthly email newsletter that highlights projects. I've been contacted more than once from someone saying "I knew you designed (insert project here) but I didn't know you could (insert another type of project here)." Any chance I get, I ask new acquaintances if they would like to receive it. It's a free, non-intrusive way to put my work in front of prospects on a regular basis.
I also send out a holiday promotion every year. My personal goal each time, is to make sure the item is more useful to the recipient than it is an advertising piece for me. If it's done well, it can accomplish both things. The Rotary members were very excited as I handed out my latest promotion—wooden calendar cards—to each of them (seize the opportunity to advertise for free!)
>> Is it difficult to stay motivated when no one is there to make sure you work? I rarely have a hard time being motivated. First of all, I love what I do. I love the people I work for, and the people I work with to complete projects. I still get excited about every part of the process—from coming up with concepts, to getting final samples of a completed project, to getting it ready to share in my email newsletter. It's not hard to get up each morning when my day is filled with work that I enjoy doing.
Also, I realized in college that I am not a procrastinator (obviously it wasn't a newly developed trait, but I didn't know how unusual it was for me to be self-motivated to stay on or ahead of schedule compared with others I had classes with).
>> Do you work in sweats? I suppose I could, but no, I don't. I dress pretty much the same way as I did when I went to an office (Except I put on slippers instead of shoes unless I'm going outside). I believe my appearance is a reflection of how I want others to see me. If I get sloppy and don't care how I look, how much of that attitude would eventually slide into the way I work? I'm not willing to take the risk to find out.

> I took the allotted 30 minutes, and feel good about how the presentation went. Only part of me was excited to say yes in the beginning, but when it was finished, all of me was glad I had done it.