Popping in with another amazing font bundle for y’all! The Road to Summer Fonts Bundle is a vibrant, colorful and fun package of fonts to make your designs fun and ready for the summer season. Packed with 20 fonts, this bundle has been completely PUA encoded (meaning all glyphs are accessible in any program) making this workable for any kind of font user, casual, hobbyist or professional. It’s a staggering 93% off, saving you $280. Yep. This one-off bundle is only available for a limited time, so grab it at its reduced price of $20 before it’s gone forever. Below are a few of my favorites including Cittroen, Sweetea, Evolutions, Twister, Lustinmal and Lemonfish.
I’m so excited about this! Next week we are hosting an Instagram challenge for VenturePOP and I wanted to personally invite you to the virtual party! Our tribe continues to ask for ways to connect with other creatives between annual conferences and we thought this would be a fun way to deliver. An Instagram challenge is a great way to connect with others and increase your own reach.
To officially join the #VenturePOPChallenge, click the button below to sign up and we’ll send you over a guide to get the most out of participating.
The VenturePOP Instagram Challenge will be active for one week: MAY 16 – MAY 22
Each day will have a specific theme for you to post and learn about the other participants over the course of the week. The guide will contain all of the prompts, otherwise you’ll have to wait until we announce them each day!
This post about how to stay productive when working from home has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. The content and opinions expressed here are mine alone. #LALAOnTheGo #CollectiveBias
Working for yourself can be a difficult job – you must have a lot of self-control and focus. I’ve been working from home for six years now and these are a few tips that I find crucial. I hope these will help you to stay on track while being your own boss.
How To Stay Productive When Working From Home:
1. Find Your Ideal Work Time
There are tons of articles out there that say to be successful you have to wake up at the crack of dawn. I highly disagree with that. One of the perks of working from home is that you can set your own schedule. Mornings are NOT my most productive time so I accept that and ease into the day. I make coffee and breakfast, check some emails and then usually take our dog to the park – I need to wear her out so I can get right to work in the afternoon. It’s okay to allow yourself a flexible schedule.
Figure out what time of the day you are most productive and reserve those hours to get your work done. Maybe you’re trying to work around your kids’ schedules or you might like to take afternoons off. Decide what time you do your best thinking and work during those hours.
When you work from home, you need to find a happy medium – one of the best things about working for yourself is the freedom you have to come and go as you please, but you need to have the self-control to get your work done. And on the other end, making sure to take time for yourself and not working around the clock!
2. Create an Inspiring Workspace
Having a creative space set aside for you to work is another important aspect in order to stay productive when working from home. Being able to go to your ‘office’ each morning and being inspired by your surroundings will help keep you focused on your work and away from distractions. Having your own workspace helps keep your work organized, and it will make it easier for you to distinguish work life from home life. You can see my workspace here. Even if you spend part of your day working from other areas of your house (like your bed!), it’s nice to have a space dedicated just to work.
My favorite way to update a space is by adding a few inspiring quotes to the walls. It’s so simple and it’s easy to update. To help you get your inspiring space started, I created this simple “Dream and Hustle” typographic poster for you to download and print!
3. Have Healthy and Easy Snacks On-hand
This is a big one for me. Sometimes I find myself at home in the middle of a project with nothing in the fridge or just a bunch of unhealthy snacks that I’ll gorge on. So I’ve been making it a new priority to have healthy snacks around! Some of my favorites are avocado toast, fresh blended smoothies and rice cakes topped with peanut butter, chia seeds and banana! These are all great for around the house, but when I need to run to a meeting or take the dog to the park, I love having something ready to grab and that’s where LALA® Yogurt Smoothies come in. They have the convenience of portability, are a great source of calcium and protein, they taste amaziiiing and are made from real fruit!
Since I pretty much despise grocery shopping I like to hit up WalMart and get a huge stock of snacks to keep in the fridge and pantry. You can find the LALA® Yogurt Smoothies right in the yogurt aisle near the dairy and they actually have a coupon running right – save $1 on any 4-pack or 10-pack when you also purchase any fresh produce item. How cool right?
As hard as it can be at times, owning your own business is one of the most rewarding things you can do in your life, and all the struggle is worth it in the end! What tips do you have on how to stay productive when working from home? Share them in the comments!
- How to Work from Home & Keep Your Sanity
- How to Stay Productive and Get Your Tasks Done + A Free Worksheet
Thank you for supporting this blog by allowing me to post occasional sponsored content. All sponsored posts feature products or services that I truly feel would be of interest to you.
In 2014, I spent seven weeks traveling. A few weeks with friends in Spain and France and then a few weeks visiting Zander when he was working in London and Iceland. I wrote and published travel guides for Madrid, Barcelona, Segovia and Marseille but then got distracted and never posted the rest! Well, today I’m back and sharing my photos of Nice! I couldn’t just let them sit in a folder on my computer, they needed to see the light of day! Plus, I’m getting a bit of a travel bug and find myself scrolling through them a lot recently. We headed to Nice after Marseille and it was a much-needed change of pace. We took the opportunity to slow down and really enjoy some down time just strolling the streets and drinking rosé on the beach. I was actually scheduled to head home half way through our time in Nice, but decided to stay with my friends and continue onto Paris with them!
Food + Drink in Nice
- Fenocchio Ice Cream in Place Rossetti – we went here just about every night to try as many of the amazing flavors as we could
- Le Méridien – hotel/restaurant with a gorgeous view
- Di Piu – nice restaurant on the beach road
- Bistro Du Fromager – the besssttt – we ate downstairs in the wine cellar, and of course tried some amazing cheeses with jams and wine
- Chez Juliette – cute little spot on a cobble stone road, we ordered onion soup and Coq au Vin
- The Snug and Cellar
- Waynes Bar
- Pompeii Bar
Things to do in Nice
- Beaches – there are TONS of options but we spent time at Plage Beau Rivage, Blue Beach, Opéra Plage and Castel Plage
- La promenade du Paillon – we grabbed a pizza (from a place across from Bistro Du Fromager) and ate in the park
- The Castle Park (Parc du Chateau) – make sure to see what time the park closes! We almost got trapped inside overnight… it’s one of those stories that takes a few months to become funny, it was terrifying at the time!
- Port Lympia
- Place Charles Félix – a square full of markets and restaraunts
- Promenade des Anglais – this is a walking path that runs the full length of the beach area
- Galerie des Ponchettes
P.S. Have you seen my travel memorabilia?
It’s been a while since I’ve shared some favorite fonts around here, but when I saw this bundle I had to share immediately! This gorgeous bundle of 20 fonts comes packed with beautiful typefaces worthy of any design work. 20 fonts for $20, can’t get much better than that! All the fonts in this bundle are fully PUA encoded meaning all the extra glyphs are available via Character Map and Fontbook (free programs on your PC/Mac). Below are a few of my favorites from the bundle. What an incredible bargain for only $20. This bundle will be available for a limited time only until April30th. Grab the Spring Fonts Bundle today and save a huge $280.
As you may already know, one of the most flexible, powerful, and smart ways to publish content online is by using WordPress software. And you may also already know that an even smarter way to use WordPress is with a framework… Frameworks are basically feature-packed parent themes. They are used as foundation blocks for custom made child themes that are powered by all the functionalities and features of the core theme/framework.
What good is a theme framework?
When you are on a time crunch but refuse to compromise with your theme’s code quality, that’s when you need a framework. So when you’re developing WordPress themes with a framework, almost half of your work is already done, and you have neatly arranged tools to help with the rest of front-end design.
Here’s what Studiopress has to say about frameworks: A theme framework (ours is called Genesis) is a robust WordPress theme that acts as a platform on which your WordPress website can be created. The Genesis Framework integrates all of the SEO, security, and performance features needed to help you have the best site possible. You can build your site on the Genesis Framework using the included sample child theme (it’s easy, flexible, and powerful enough for that), or you can purchase one of our many beautiful turnkey child theme designs to help you accomplish exactly what you want. It also “future-proofs” your site customizations, so there’s no hassle when it comes time to upgrade your software with one click. A child theme is the pure design element that rests on top of the framework — the cherry red paint job on that car. Or blue. Or black. Pink. Green. You get the idea. StudioPress has a great analogy based on automobiles to explain how frameworks work:
Why you’ll like the Genesis Framework:
Genesis by StudioPress is by far one of the most popular theme frameworks for WordPress. It’s perfect for WordPress developers of all levels of expertise. The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Whether you’re a novice or advanced developer, Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.
Genesis isn’t like other commercial themes; filled to the brim with features and options you aren’t likely to choose. It has clean code and necessary features which make it lightweight and quick-loading. This gives you an automatic advantage in SEO through better performance.
There is a $59.95 one-time purchase fee that includes the framework, unlimited updates, support and access to detailed tutorials. They also have a Pro Plus All-Theme Package which includes instant and unlimited access to every theme currently available in the StudioPress theme shop (plus support and updates). Get every theme they make, now and in the future, for ONLY $499.95 That’s a savings of almost $1200!
HTML5 is the latest markup standard across the web: Website’s built on HTML5 are responsive, cross-browser compatible, easily extendable (3rd party tools and services integrate better with a markup that’s universally accepted), and effectively future proof.
- You don’t have to buy themes from StudioPress when it’s super easy to create a WordPress child theme yourself. But you have the option available; there are hundreds of gorgeous ready-made child themes available for Genesis framework. You are limited only by your scope of knowledge in CSS, but the customization possibilities with child themes are still immense. And if you are a site-owner who cannot find the right child theme, you can hire developers from StudioPress to create one for your specifications.
- The framework lets you widgetize almost every part of your theme. It also comes with some very interesting widgets built in like User Profiles, Featured Posts, Featured Page, social media icons, etc, all easily available within frameworks or through plugins.
- Genesis lets you break the default layout confines and gives you half a dozen built in post/page layouts to implement on different pages as you see fit. This inventory of layouts can be extended through David Decker’ Genesis Layout Extras plugin.
The free plugins built especially with Genesis in mind really make it even easier to work with. They are all listed here. There is Genesis Simple Hooks for the meticulous developer, Genesis Sidebars, Sliders, Tabs, Menus and more for super-easy addition of interactive elements. Genesis Connect for WooCommerce makes all your Genesis themes WooCommerce compatible in few clicks. Few frameworks can boast of such a huge show of support in the form of dedicated plugins created by awesome developers.
Genesis itself follows WordPress standards all the way through. This makes it impeccably secure. The framework is also audited by core WordPress developer Mark Jaquith, who calls it “top of the class” in following all security practices recommended for WordPress themes, right down to consistent updates (we’ll get to that in a moment).
The Big 3 Search Engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo) are in cohorts with Schema.org. And Genesis’ code works in tune with Schema.org markup. This helps search engines recognize and categorize your content easily: giving you relevance and visibility where it’s due (organic search results).
Community and Resources
There are over, 200,000 live websites powered by Genesis. Those are not the numbers you gain from being useless. Genesis has a huge community of developers, designers, and users who rely upon the framework to create and provide the best in class WordPress websites. They are also generally helpful and can be found helping out others in need on various social media platforms and community forums.
While StudioPress covers a great deal of the framework’s possibilities in their documentation and guides, other users haven’t been far off in creating some amazingly helpful tutorials too.
Configuring Genesis Framework Theme Settings:
These control the general configuration of your theme. Here’s how to set them up for maximum advantage:
This is straightforward. Information screen gives you the details about your current Genesis version and lets you enable automatic updates. Since you’ll be working with Child Themes anyway (your appearance changes won’t be lost) , it’s good practice to check the auto-update box.
When you check the boxes and enter your custom feed URLs, your traffic will be directed to the URLs you specify here instead of WordPress-default feeds. These options are only available if you’re using a custom feed via Feedburner or Feedblitz.
This is where you set the default layout for all pages on your site. This option is also available in WordPress Customizer. Keep in mind that child themes can contain as many of these options as you like, and more with custom coding. You can also add more layouts with Genesis Layout Extras plugin (as mentioned previously). Child themes with a widgetized home-page layout will work autonomously, regardless of this setting.
Breadcrumbs let your users keep track of where they are in your site’s navigation and how they got there in the first place. Example: Home >> Products >> Women >> Jackets >> Navy Blue Military Jacket
You can tinker with this setting through Genesis Theme Options or WordPress Customizer. The answer to “Where to enable breadcrumbs” depends entirely on how many pages your site has, content organization and hierarchy, and navigation.
Comments and Trackbacks
This is where you define the global settings for comments and trackbacks. Note that if you disable comments/trackbacks here, you can’t enable them on specific posts/pages.
Here’s a quick overview:
- Display: This has two options, Entry Content and Excerpt. The next setting is only applicable if you choose Entry Content. The Excerpt will be shown at WordPress default 55-words length.
- Limit Content to: Note that this specifies characters (including spaces) and not words. Again, this setting only applies if you choose to display entry content.
- Featured Image: Allows you to display a set featured image or the first image of every post. You can set the dimensions and alignment. Tip: Featured Images shouldn’t be shown if you are displaying entire content.
- Entry Pagination: This has two options, Numeric and Previous/Next. You can set archives and listing navigation to one of the two settings. Example, Google search results show up with Numeric pagination.
Blog Page Template
These are configuration settings for any page using “Blog” template. You can display a specific category or all of them. You can exclude categories (by ID only). And you can define the number of posts to show on each page.
Header and Footer Scripts
It’s just as easy to work with as it was to set up. More than a few of these settings are also added to WordPress Customizer, but Genesis has an ace up its sleeve: SEO settings, unique only to Genesis Framework and all subsequent child themes, but that’s a different topic altogether.
Remember to have fun with the framework, and if you get stuck, laugh it off. Everyone is ready to help you on Genesis and WordPress.
Author Bio: Tracey Jones is well known as a professional WordPress developer and writer by hobby who works for HireWPGeeks Ltd., a leading custom WordPress theme development company across the globe. When she is not busy with coding she loves to write useful blogs and articles about WordPress and new web design technologies.
*affiliate links used
A few weeks ago I was looking through my blog archives and noticed that I hadn’t shared photos of my office in over a year! I realized it was because my workspace was no longer inspiring and decided to do something about it! A home office upgrade, starting with a unique home office gallery wall, woo!
I didn’t want to do anything major, but I knew I needed to reorganize and maybe add a few new things. And that’s where Fab.com came to the rescue! I picked 5 new items (focusing on bright and modern styles) and everything else I already had. Fab.com is the ultimate source for vibrant, fresh and functional items from tech, art, home goods, accessories, and beyond. It was seriously hard to keep myself from buying everything on the site, but it’s crazy how just a few new items can really transform a space. Check out the rest of my office make-over and be sure to scroll all the way down for a $1,000 Fab.com giveaway!
c/o Fab.com: Palm Leaf and Sun Poster “Whoa” by Wacka | Bright Coral Storage Box Set of 2 by Present Time | Elephant Bookend Set by Design Ideas | HiRise iPhone/iPad Power Dock by Twelve South | No.5 Backpack Microstripe Denim by Proper Assembly
Books: 100 Habits of Successful Graphic Designers | Worn Stories | The Graphic Design Exercise Book | Graphic Design The New Basics | Big Magic | Blog, Inc. | The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up | The Meetup Guide
Looking to upgrade your every day? Fab.com is giving you a chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree! To qualify for entry, fill out the entry form over on Fab.com. The contest runs through March 15th, 2016. Winners will be chosen at random and announced on March 16, 2016. Fab will reach out directly to the winner via email to send $1,000 site credit.
I’m sure you’ve heard about how important having an email list is. Maybe you have one, maybe you’re waiting to come up with a plan before starting one, or maybe you have one set up, but are not sure how to get people to subscribe. There are tons of resources out there about growing your list, but today, in addition to giving you some tips, I also want to share my personal story. Specifically, how I increased my email subscribers by 600% in 1 month by changing just one thing. I implemented content upgrades.
So, you may be asking: what the heck is a content upgrade? It’s a pretty simple concept; content upgrades are free, bonus downloads relating specifically to your blog post. A content upgrade is different from a generic lead magnet, in that it’s directly related to a blog post (the content your readers are engaged in at that exact moment), which is why they are so effective. Here is an example:
You can use content upgrades to grow your email list by requiring visitors to enter their email in order to access the bonus content. It feels a little silly that it took me so long to figure out, but good news for you, I’m sharing the step by step so you don’t have to go through all the trial and error. I’m going to break down my four year journey in adding content upgrades to my blog, then explain how to approach yours in some simple steps.
My Personal Story of Content Upgrade Discovery
Let’s start from the beginning shall we?
- 2012: I started an email list with no rhyme or reason other than the fact that I was supposed to have one. It sat there slowly gaining anywhere from 0-20 subscribers a month.
- March 2014: I implemented a general lead magnet, but I’ll admit, I did not do it strategically. It was a collaborative ebook that I wrote an article in. I promoted the freebie to my blog and added a little blurb in my sidebar. I was happy to have a spike in subscribers that month and then I just forgot about it.
- March 2015: It wasn’t until over a year later, that I realized this very passive way of gaining subscribers was not enough. I actually started offering content upgrades to blog posts in 2012, but did not require people to sign up for my email list prior to downloading them. What was I thinking?! Looking back at it now, these worksheets have over 12,000 downloads. It almost makes me want to cry thinking of all those subscribers that I missed out on. Not all 12,000 downloads would have converted to email subscribers, but a lot of them would have!
- July 2015: I came up with a plan. I decided to create a private resource library to house all of these content upgrades. I went back and made all of these resources available only to those with access to the library (aka my email subscribers). I also continued to publish new posts with content upgrades.
Now that you know my story spanning over an extensive period of time, I’m going to show you how to implement this yourself. What took me years to slowly figure out, can be implemented in a few days by following the simple suggestions below.
How to Get More Subscribers By Using Content Upgrades
Create valuable content on your blog
This should be a blog post that is helpful to your audience. Figure out the types of problems that your readers are having in your field. What do you know that can benefit other people? Turn your readers problems into solutions. Amazing content is what will attract people to your site and keep them coming back.
Write evergreen content
Evergreen content is quality, useful content that will retain its value for a long period of time. Much like the timeless trees, your posts should be relevant for an extensive period of time. You are putting a lot of effort into this content, you don’t want it to become obsolete too quickly.
Create the upgrade
Create a resource that would make the content better. When you offer your visitors something that’s a perfect fit for what they came to your site for, they’re MUCH more likely to opt-in. Not sure how to design your content upgrade? Grab THIS super easy to update template and half of the work is done for you.
Add the resource to your site
Personally, I create a VIP library, where subscribers can access upgrades past and present, all in the same place. All they need is the password, which I send out in all of my emails. You can also deliver these upgrades individually through platforms like ConvertKit or Leadpages.
Revisit your archives
Go back to high-traffic pages from your archives and add content upgrades to those evergreen posts that are still getting traffic.
Create shareable images
Pinterest is a top traffic source for many blogs so make sure to create a bold, vertical image that will stand out and give a clear picture of what the post is about. You can also highlight the content upgrade in the image to give people even more of a reason to click through!
Promote your posts
It’s not enough to just publish the post, you have to get some eyes on it. You really need to sell your content upgrade.
This strategy of content upgrades works much better than having a generic opt-in. You can see my stats below for proof of that. Aa generic lead management alone generated an increase, but my exponential growth cycle was prompted by the addition of strategic well-promoted posts that all had strategic content upgrades for readers to download.
An exponential increase in subscribers as noted above is something to consider when evaluating blogging strategies. To revisit our content upgrade strategy we create valuable content, ensure we have evergreen content, create upgrades, add the resource to your site, revisit archives, create shareable images, and finally promote our new content enriched posts! I’m hoping that you too can find value in producing content upgrades for your blog. I know I have.
And what would a post about content upgrades be, without a content upgrade? Stuck on what your content upgrade items should be? I created a helpful list of 10 content upgrade ideas to help add value to your blog posts!
If you’re anywhere that isn’t Louisiana, you’re probably sitting on your couch surrounded by a million blankets in the most comfy sweater reading this (or at least, that is what I wish for you!). Looks like we’ll be spending the winter with just a few cold days here and there. But that doesn’t mean we can’t crank the AC and try to create a little fun at home! I wanted to gather as many scarves as possible for this shoot and just layer, layer, layer! The only rules were a cohesive color scheme and some breathing room for the models. The movement photos are my favorite. What’s your favorite kind of scarf?
This is a fun post that I like to do at the beginning of each year before I start sharing some new favorite fonts. I have already featured a few of them here over the past year as some of my personal favorites. Did you have a favorite font in 2015? Without further ado, here are the most popular font releases in 2015 according to MyFonts.
As usual they waited until the very last moment to put the finishing touches to this list, giving the faces released during the last months of the year a fair chance to make the cut. Unlike most other Best-of-the-Year lists, this one is based on sales. Not simply the total sales volume across the year, as that would give the oldest font families an unfair advantage. They’ve looked at average sales over the year and during the successful introduction period; we made sure popular genres are fairly represented and they included no more than one font family from each foundry.
Hey y’all. I’m back from my little blog break. I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season and that you did something super fun to ring in the new year!!
I just want to say a big thank you for reading my emails and showing such amazing support. It was a pretty major year for me both personally and professionally, full of incredible opportunities and growth.
LOOKING BACK AT 2015
Here are some highlights in no particular order:
- After a full year of planning Kristy, Justin, and I produced the inaugural VenturePOP, the first ever creative entrepreneur conference in New Orleans.
- Launched a new ebook called Blogging With Intention
- Introduced the VIP Resource Library for email subscribers
- Got a puppy named Scrappy
- Continued to grow my product line.
- Worked with some amazing clients like New Orleans Film Society, Kelsey Berry Event Company, Race and Religious, Ellen Dolgen, Touro Infirmary Foundation, The Green Project and many more!
- Got married
- My design work was published on 100 Layer Cake, Hostess With the Mostess and 100 Layer Cakelet.
- Saw No Doubt play at Jazz Fest
- Regina interviewed me as a part of her Go Independent series and I wrote an article for her Blog In Print Magazine
- Celebrated 6 years of blogging and published over 60 blog posts with the help of my amazing contributors. Here are some of your faves:
LOOKING FORWARD TO 2016
I love helping people to grow their businesses whether it’s by sharing my knowledge through blog posts and e-books or creating brand identities allowing businesses to fulfill their greatest potential.
I want to help YOU and YOUR business! In 2016 I’ll be writing more about freelancing and design because it’s what I love to do and it’s what you’ve said you really want from me. If you have any design or biz struggles that you’d like me to go into on the blog or in a course, just let me know!
This year, I also decided I want to give my email subscribers some extra inspiration, so I’ll be including a new design each month that you can print yourself and display in your home or office (wherever you need a little encouragement). January’s already went out (see image above) but you can still purchase the design. It also comes on a mug so you can get your morning started right with this encouraging message.
Can you believe we are halfway through December! With all the holiday prep and business planning for 2016 this time of year can start to feel a little overwhelming right? Sometimes a simple desktop organization and wallpaper update can help me feel more focused and on track so I decided to design these two inspirational desktop wallpaper freebies for your computer and iPhone wallpapers.
This design uses one of my new favorite fonts, Fratello Nick. It’s a hand-lettered text with 1160 glyphs to play with. There are 15 fonts in the family. Both the Regular and Pro come in a variety of weights: Regular, Bold, Italic and Bold Italic. Also included are fun accessories like Initial Caps, 94 ornaments, 82 frames, two sets of Initial Caps (one allows you to insert special ornaments in the side insets!), a 3-letter Monogram font and three different Split Monogram fonts! (Each one has two different options when you type using upper or lower case… plain, flowers, bunnies, birds and butterflies!)
It can be simple and sweet or bring a touch of flair and whimsy to your project with any of its fun alternate letters. There are nine different uppercase alphabet sets! Check out Fratello Nick and, while you’re at it, browse the 49 other trending typefaces on the Hot New Fonts list. Annnnd the sweet Debi is offering you guys a special 50% off discount with code “cieradesign” when you purchase directly from her site through December 25.
As the holiday season rolls around each year, we often take a moment to be thankful for our families, our friends, and the best parts of our lives. What if you took that attitude and applied it to your business year round?
When people feel valued, they are more likely to work with you again or purchase more products. When you’re busy, sending a thank you note can feel like one more item on the never-ending to-do list, but the benefits from creating a culture of gratitude are endless. People will talk about you to their friends and business contacts, and they will be more pleasant to work with because they know you appreciate them. Gratitude will help your business grow.
If you haven’t taken the time for that extra touch this year, the holiday season is the perfect time of year to pause and take a moment to say thank you to people who have helped you in your business this year, purchased from you, or helped spread the word about what you do. It can be something as simple as a short, nice email, or a gesture like a gift or taking someone to coffee or dinner.
There will no doubt be a few people who come to mind first, like clients or employees, but here are some additional ways you can spread gratitude in unexpected places:
Clients or customers you’ve worked with this year.
If you do project work, make a list of your clients this year, then send them a handwritten card wishing them a great holiday and telling them how much you’ve appreciated working with them this year. If they were a big, ongoing client, a small gift would be a lovely gesture. Snail mail can be such an unexpected treat and truly appreciated. If you sell products and can’t possibly send a personalized card to all your purchasers, consider sending an email to them all saying how much you value their patronage.
Collaborators and advocates.
Did you work with another business owner on a project? Did you do a co-promotion with another blogger? Drop those people a note to say how much you loved working together. This could be a great time to set a date to talk about future collaborations! Or, you may have someone who is always referring clients to you or singing your praises in Facebook groups. Send a thank you for their kind words and let them know how much business it has brought you!
Social media followers.
Is there a person who is always retweeting you, or writing meaningful comments on your Instagram posts? Send that person a quick tweet or message saying how much you appreciate their support! They will love knowing that you see and appreciate them and will feel even more engaged in the community you build.
A product or service that you love.
Is there a podcast that you can’t wait to listen to each time a new episode arrives? A blogger that constantly publishes amazing, free content? Let him or her know! Leave an awesome review on iTunes for that podcast, or send a short, sincere email to that blogger. Knowing how much their products have helped you might be just the inspiration they need to keep it going.
Friends and family.
Undoubtedly, there is someone outside of your business supporting you and making it possible for you to do what you do. Maybe your mom watches the kids a few hours every afternoon so you can get things done, or your spouse takes on a few extra hours of work to make some extra income before your business turns a profit. Maybe you have a friend who is a big cheerleader of what you’re trying to accomplish when it feels like everyone else is doubting you. Let that person know how much their support has positively affected what you do in your work!
Once you see how awesome it is to make that extra effort towards people in your business life, you’ll want to continue it year round. Gratitude invites loyalty, and it makes the daily routine of business just a bit brighter for everyone.
Download this free worksheet as a way to keep track of all those people who help you out this year! When people feel valued, they are more likely to work with you again or purchase more products.
About the author: Laura is a graphic designer who loves working with small, creative businesses to build thoughtful brands at her studio, Dotted Design.
There are so many great blogs out there full of amazing design resources, tutorials for hand-lettering and freelance business advice, but sometimes don’t you just want an old-fashioned book? I still love flipping through and bookmarking pages for inspiration. I’ve included some of my favorite graphic design related books here, all of these graphic design books would also make amazing gifts for the creative types in your life!
The Best Graphic Design Books:
- Type Rules: The Designer’s Guide to Professional Typography
- Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
- The Anatomy of Type: A Graphic Guide to 100 Typefaces
- Work for Money, Design for Love: Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Starting and Running a Successful Design Business
- Creative Lettering and Beyond: Inspiring Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Hand Lettering
- How to be a Graphic Designer, without Losing Your Soul: Straight-talking Advice on How to Establish Your Design Career
- Freelance Design in Practice: Explaining exactly what it takes to create a full-time freelance business
- Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business
- Little Black Font Book: the go-to resource for designers and typographers looking for the perfect font
- In Progress: See Inside Jessica Hische’s Sketchbook and Process
- Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities
- Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors & Students
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Thanksgiving is this week (I really can’t believe it!), so it feels like the perfect time to release the 2015 Ciera Design Studio greeting card collection! For 2015, I’ve continued with many of the best-selling designs from previous years, in addition to 6 new designs (seen below) which I am so excited about! These designs are all live in my Etsy shop and ready for you to send a happy holiday greeting to family and friends, include with that perfect Christmas gift or you can even frame and hang on your wall for some festive decor! I’ll be having some amazing sales each day from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. It will be a different sale each day so make sure to follow me on Instagram where I will be announcing the promo codes each morning!) Don’t want to wait? Head to the shop now!
Dear type lovers, meet Lifehack – a casual script with a huge personality. Warm, amiable and organic, yet elegant, it is perfect if you want to convey individuality and style. The Lifehack family consists of the original Lifehack script, an Italic version, a narrow handdrawn Sans and a Basic version of limited glyph set with letters that do not connect.
All fonts in the Lifehack family work easily together to create visually appealing logos, packaging, presentations, headlines or editorials. The combination of casual sans and a script has proven useful many times and thus preferred both for print and web.
When it comes to OpenType features, Lifehack comes with swashes, stylistic alternates and initial/terminal forms for you to give a custom flare to your designs. All fonts have several weights and a lovely collection of goodies – various ornaments, borders and ribbons that complement the fonts’ charm and uniqueness. And of course, I have a sale for y’all, Lifehack casual script font is a whopping 65% off until December 5, 2015!
If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know that I went to Tulum, Mexico for my Honeymoon last month! I had been hearing a lot about Tulum lately and had to check it out for myself, and well, it totally lived up to the hype, I definitely want to visit again! I have so many photos it was impossible to narrow it down even this much! While it’a all fresh in my brain I wanted to write a guide of our favorites things from the week we were there!
There are really two separate areas to Tulum, the town and the beach/jungle. The beach area is one long road with small boutique hotels, yoga, spas, swanky restaurants (with $100 dinners), shops and a bohemian feel.
Then there’s the town, which is more authentic with local hole in the wall restaurants (with $10 dinners), dogs roaming around, hostels and gift shops.
Food + Drink Tulum – In Town
Batey – Our first day in Tulum we stumbled into Batey after seeing that they had wifi – we didn’t really know our way around so needed to look a few things up. After we ordered our drink, they brought us some little bruschettas which were amazing, then our cucumber and basil mojitos arrived, complete with a fresh piece of cane sugar, oh, my – so good! They have an awesome courtyard, live music, movie nights and Zander became besties with our waiter. We found ourselves back at Batey a few time on this trip including for Halloween night!
Pollo Bronco – A little casual corner spot with yummy whole chicken with rice, cole slaw and cokes. They are all “Mexican Cokes” in Mexico!
El Tacoqueto – It felt more like I was walking into someone’s home, rather than a kitchen and that made it even more intriguing! No one was speaking English so we stepped up to the counter to see what they were serving. There were huge serving dishes full of juicy, delicious options. We pointed to the one that looked the best, pollo en adobo, and moments later they brought a huge plate to our table. Sooo amazing and authentic.
One Tulum – If you want mezcal, this is the spot. They had unique cocktails and such nice bartenders.
Antojitos La Chiapaneca – You have to go here! It was full of locals and they had the BEST el pastor tacos! Zander and I ordered a bunch of different tacos and they have all kinds of topping out to add whatever you like to your dish!
El Camello Jr. – When we sat down they brought out chips, pico de gallo, habeero salsa and “special beans”. We ordered a small shrimp ceviche for an appetizer but even with two people we didn’t finish it. I’ll admit, I was scared to order the whole fried fish, but that’s what everyone said to get, so we did it, and it was surprisingly easy to eat and was so amazing!! It came with rice, beans and steamed veggies. Zander and I split everything and had a few beers for a total of about $15, that’s my kind of meal!
Food + Drink Tulum – Beach/Jungle
While in the beach area, we mainly just relaxed at spots and grabbed cocktails as we slowly wandering down the road, so I don’t have much to say about the food along the beach road.
La Zebra – we didn’t think it was the best food but it was a nice view on beach and had good cocktails, I heard it’s a good place to go dancing at night!
Taqueria La Eufemia – grabbed a quick beer on the beach, loved the casual, relaxed atmosphere
Zamas – Nice atmosphere and view of the water. Good drinks, awesome guacamole and nice people. Will definitely go back.
Things to do in Tulum
Beaches – I’m totally a beach girl, I can lay there for hours listening to the waves. Along the beach roads each hotel has there own area with lounge chairs and some even have fancy beds! Unfortunately, the water was not very nice when we were there, so we didn’t get into the water as much as I’d like.
Cenotes – Guys, I want to go to ALL of the cenotes. A cenote is a natural fresh water pool and they are gorgeous! We only had time to go to one, but if I ever go back, it’s on the top of my list to go to more. We went snorkeling in Dos Ojos and the Bat Cave through a local dive shop that we found in town. Truthfully, the bat cave was scary! We had to snorkle through this tiny tunnel with only a few inches of air above our heads. I almost didn’t do it, but after the fact, it’s a fun story and a great experience! We borrowed a GoPro and took a ton of photos but unfortunately couldn’t get in touch with the dive shop after we left to retrieve them, total bummer.
Tulum Ruins – The Tulum ruins were nice and had a really cool view down to the water. But it was SO hot on the day we want it was hard to take our time and read all the info.
Wander – One of my favorite things was to wander around with no destination. When walking around the small streets of the town we found markets, soccer games, teenagers fishing, local music, cool building, restaurant prep, kids going to school, Chihuahuas on roofs, men making tortillas and the local Halloween… we would have never seen these cool local things if we were sticking to a strict itinerary.
I really loved everything about Tulum, but in the end, I preferred eating in town. I liked the more hole-in-a-wall spots and the homemade style of food. And I liked the beach area for a nice breeze and for fancy cocktails on the beach. Hope you enjoyed this Tulum Mexico Travel Guide and let me know if you have any questions or favorites from your trip to Tulum! And don’t forget to pin this post if you are thinking about traveling to Tulum in the future!
Revista typographic system brings together all of the features you could ever need to undertake any fashion magazine-oriented project.
Revista harmoniously blends 26 different styles into a single family consisting of:
- a Didone uppercase and small caps family including variants ranging from monolinear thin to black with italics with an inline black variant that works as a decorative alternative
- a script family that includes 5 weights ranging from thin (monolinear) to black
- 2 sets of dingbats & complimentary ornaments in 3 different weights
You’ve started a business! You may offer a service, a product, or some combination of both. You believe in your offering and are ready to share it with the world. Now the question is: how do you find your customers or clients?
One of the first steps is to define your brand personality so that you connect with your appropriate audience and potential customers. It covers how your audience feels emotionally about your brand and the types of characteristics it conveys. Making these connections will not only draw in customers or clients, it will make them loyal and eager to share it with their circles.
Defining a personality can be tricky when you are a solopreneur, because often you are your brand and it can be hard to separate yourself from your business. You may love the color green, eating pizza, and sharing bad puns, but will posting about these things all day help people connect enough to buy your product or service? You’ll need to go deeper. The unique characteristics of your business are what make you different from competitors x, y, and z, you want to express the things that will attract your people.
Where do you begin? Answer these questions to start narrowing on your unique brand personality!
What is your brand’s mission or core values?
This is something larger than simply setting a measurable goal; it is the heart and soul of why your business exists. Who do you want to help? What industry do you want to shake up? Why are you passionate about what you offer? For example, if your new bakery makes only gluten-free items, this value will connect you with a specific group who want that characteristic in their bakery.
Who are the people who I want as clients or customers?
Understanding your target market is key. It’s impossible to build something that will attract and satisfy absolutely everyone, so there is no use trying. The more specific you can get, the better. For example, defining your target audience as females, ages 25-39, who are single and work in a professional field is much more helpful than trying to reach simply “young adults.” You’ll know that anything juvenile or masculine won’t help attract that audience, which will change the visuals and language you select.
What words do I want people to associate with my brand?
Perhaps you want to be an authority, professional, and trustworthy. Maybe your adjectives are energetic, encouraging, and delightful. Knowing how you want your brand to be perceived will help in all steps of your business, including visuals like your logo, website, and collateral design, as well as copywriting and tone of your correspondence.
What about my business makes me different from my peers?
I hate to say competition since I believe there is enough business for all of us, but it’s important to be able to articulate why someone should choose you over another business they are considering. What about your perspective is unique and exciting? Do you offer something unusual in your process that can really benefit your customers? It’s important to study your competition as well so that you aren’t a carbon copy of another business. For example, if you come out with a new cola that comes in a red can with some cool script lettering, you’ll look just like Coca Cola. Not innovative!
Think about your business in a new way:
Try exercises to help you get a picture. Ask questions like: If your brand was a car, which model would it be? (A Buick would indicate classic and trustworthy, or a Fiat would say hip and bold.) If your brand was an animal, which one would it be? (A golden retriever would be loyal and friendly, or a cheetah would be a go-getter with sass.) If your brand had a celebrity spokesperson, who would fit the bill? (Choosing Katy Perry versus Hilary Clinton would indicate a very different personality type!)
There is no right or wrong answer when defining your brand personality. Having a strong sense of its traits will help you in every decision-making process of your business, and it will truly create something memorable for your customers.
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About the author: Laura is a graphic designer who loves working with small, creative businesses to build thoughtful brands at her studio, Dotted Design.
I’m going to be totally honest with y’all here today… my goals for the Ciera Design Studio have been totally off track for the past few months. I got distracted by VenturePop and my wedding, and while those were two of the best days of my life, the studio is my livelihood and my passion and MUST move back up to the top of the priority list!
For the past few days, I’ve really been thinking about the future of the studio and what makes me happy – the simple answer is: helping people.
I love helping people to grow their businesses whether it’s by sharing my knowledge through blog posts and e-books or creating brand identities allowing businesses to fulfill their greatest potential.
All of this leads to one simple point: I want to help YOU and YOUR business!
In the next few weeks, I’ll be working on design packages, course plans and an editorial calendar for 2016 and want to know – what can I do to help you?
- What are your plans for growing your business?
- What is holding you back?
- How can I help make your goals a reality?
- If you could only choose one thing – how would you grow your business in 2016?
Just click the button below to fill out the survey. You can answer all of the questions or just one, if that’s all you have time for!
I’ll be taking every single response into consideration while I make business plans for 2016 because I want to help as many of you as I can! And if there is a specific product that you’d like to see from me in 2016, just let me know friend!