May 26, 2015

Share your story: looking for Biz Mamas to feature!

Filed under: Biz Mama — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

Call for Biz Mama contributors

I’m kicking my monthly Featured Biz Mama column back into gear and need your help.

Are you a mom rockin’ a small business, creative side project or entrepreneurial venture? I want to feature you right here on Biz Mama!

I post Biz Mama interviews twice a month on Mondays. Fill out this Google doc to reserve your spot. And please share with your mom friends.

I’m constantly inspired and encouraged by the Biz Mamas that I interview… I look forward to reading your stories!

Read past featured Biz Mama stories here.

May 18, 2015

HOW Design Live conference recap: tips from biz mamas

Filed under: Biz Mama — lidia @ 10:00 am

How has motherghod changed your work life?

I was thrilled to meet so many fellow biz mamas (and mamas-to-be) at the recent HOW Design Live conference in Chicago. I’m always inspired when I talk to fellow working moms—especially those in creative business—so I wanted to share tips from the mamas I met (as well as friends from past HOW conferences).

What is one way motherhood has changed your business/work life?

I don’t waste time anymore. I have a new perspective on what really matters and how to best utilize my time and energy.

Crystal Reynolds, Creative Dreamer at Crystal Ink
Calgary, AB CANADA


Motherhood has lead me to bring more focus and efficiency to my work day. The time between 8:30 and 4 slips by too fast so I try to make every minute count. I do my best to minimize (or eliminate) distractions that pull me off course; texting, Facebook and other fun but time robbing activities. I want to be truly present when my family is home and not worried about checking emails.

Nadine Noble, Idea Nest
Walkerton, Ontario, Canada


I launched UPPERCASE magazine the year before I had a child. It was an experiment and a financial risk, but I knew that was the only time I’d have that freedom and unlimited bucket of time required to get it started. In the years since my son was born, I’ve been the sole earner in the family so that my husband can take care of our son while I’m working. This responsibility drives me to ensure that the business has a solid future to support not only our living, but that it keeps me inspired creatively. UPPERCASE is a huge part of our lives, so I strive to make sure that we’re all enthusiastic about it. Happiness in work and at home are all wrapped together.

Janine Vangool, publisher/editor/designer of UPPERCASE magazine
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


Being my own boss, diva picking my clients, allows me to have a flexible schedule to be a great mom and a great business person to my clients because I love what I do!

Jenny Poff, President/Creative Director of Presque Isle Designs
Erie, PA USA


I’m a type-A workaholic sort, and before the kiddo came along I would work all the time: early mornings, late nights, straight through meals, on vacation. Now there are hard stops in my day. He gets uninterrupted time each morning for breakfast and the walk to school. I rearrange my schedule to coach his little league team and be there for him in the evenings, with no work distractions. And while that sometimes means that I have to work the early mornings or late nights, he doesn’t see it. He gets my undivided attention when it’s his time.

Alisa Bonsignore, Writer & Strategist at Clarifying Complex Ideas
Pleasanton, California USA


My time has become more valuable, so it’s easier to turn down projects I’m not interested in.

Megan Coleman, Megan Coleman Design
Chicago, IL USA


I find my creativity was boosted after having a child. Since I now have to find creative solutions for typical toddler problems (sleeping, eating, tantrums, etc.) it also encourages me to be more creative in my work life.

Lidia Varesco, Art Director & Designer at Lidia Varesco Design
Chicago, IL USA


I think we all can agree that it’s not easy to juggle work and family. But our passion for creativity, newfound resourcefulness, and support from friends and family gets us through. I hope these comments inspire and encourage you as you juggle motherhood and creative business.

Several of the moms above are past Featured Biz Mamas, so make sure to check out those interviews too.

Are you a fellow HOW Live biz mama and want to share your biz mama tip?

Email me and I will add you to the post!

May 15, 2015

10-Minute Marketing: create a marketing system

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — lidia @ 10:00 am

10-minute marketing: create a marketing systemA great way to save time in your marketing is to create systems for tasks that you perform regularly. This will assure you get them done as quickly as possible without missing steps (which is easy to do when you are multitasking).

A few examples of my own marketing systems are:

  • After a press mention (see graphic below)
  • When a design job is finished

typebaby after press tasks

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Create a marketing system.

TIP: Create a document on your desktop or store it in Evernote or cloud storage for easy reference.

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.

May 12, 2015

HOW Design Live conference recap: finding honesty, passion & kindred spirits in small business

Filed under: Creativity,Marketing & Promotion,Small Business — lidia @ 2:17 pm

HOW Design celebrates 25 years; Janine Vangool speaks; Moms in Business Breakfast Roundtable; a beautiful sunny Chicago day

Last week was a whirlwind as I attended the HOW Design Live conference in Chicago, while juggling a sudden overload of work and a 3-year old’s schedule. HOW Design Live brings together print and interactive designers, as well as writers and other creatives for a week of speakers, workshops and networking.

I noticed several themes throughout this year’s HOW Design Live:

  1. Talking honestly about money: I attended several sessions which spoke honestly about money, sharing their billings, rates and/or project fees. Armin Vit of Under Consideration LLC even went so far as to detail “How to Spend $400,000 of Your $530,000 Billings” (the actual name of his session). It was refreshing to hear people talk honestly about money with their peers and encourage us to do the same.
  2. Rise above disappointments: It was also refreshing to hear design leaders such as Paula Scher of Pentagram talking about getting her ideas shot down. So, it really does happen to all of us! But it’s how you bounce back that makes all the difference. (Case in point: Pentagram’s redesign of Microsoft Windows 8, which had some bumps early on)
  3. Passion projects can pay off big: Artist Jeff Greenspan and Jessica Walsh of Sagmeister & Walsh both spoke about personal projects which started off just for fun, but ended up garnering much unexpected press and success. See Jeff’s many personal projects here (Hipster Traps is my fave) and Jessica’s project, 40 Days of Dating here.
  4. You can find kindred spirits without even looking: I was looking forward to reconnecting with fellow moms in business that I knew—but I also unexpectedly met lots of new ones. What started out as small talk led to, “oh, you’re a mom too?” and a lively conversation about work or potty training. It was also exciting to meet some of my working mom heroes who were speakers: Bryony Gomez-Palacio of Under Consideration and Janine Vangool of UPPERCASE assured us that we can be moms and still follow our creative passions. Lastly, I had a great opportunity to swap stories with the “Moms in Business Breakfast Roundtable” I hosted (which included moms, a dad, and even a pet dad!)

Stay tuned for my upcoming post featuring insight from the fellow biz mamas I met at HOW Live

Want to be featured? Please email me ASAP!

May 8, 2015

10-Minute Marketing: research a conference to attend

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 4:14 pm

1`0-minute marketing: research a conference to attendI just got back to my studio after spending the week attending the HOW Design Conference in Chicago. I’m feeling a combination of exhaustion and exhilaration. It was an amazing experience that allowed me to learn small business skills, network with like-minded people, get creative inspiration—and even brush up on my public speaking skills (I introduced a speaker’s session and hosted a breakfast roundtable).

I try to attend the HOW Design Conference whenever it’s in Chicago, as I never fail to return to my studio with a notebook filled with ideas, job leads, and lots of new friends.

There are two types of conference to attend: 1) one with like-minded individuals in your industry (as I did), or 2) one that your prospects will be attending. I believe both are valuable and should be included in your marketing budget.

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Research a conference to attend.

Need help preparing for your conference? Read my post How to Design Your Perfect Conference Experience.

And stay tuned for “what I learned” post about the HOW Design experience next week…

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.

May 4, 2015

Have you read a children’s book lately?

Filed under: Mompreneur — lidia @ 1:00 pm

Children's Book WeekChildren’s Book Week starts today! Established in 1919, Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country and is a wonderful way to encourage children to read. See their website and your local library for Children’s Book Week events and activities.

As a mom of a toddler and budding children’s book author/illustrator, I’m planning a little Children’s Book Week activity. Every day from May 4-10, I will share the book we are reading on my @lsvdesign Instagram page. Follow along and join in the fun by sharing the books you are reading too!


National Small Business Week starts today

Filed under: Creativity,Small Business — lidia @ 10:00 am

national small business week

National Small Business Week starts today and I am celebrating appropriately: I will be attending the HOW Design Live conference in Chicago soaking in all the knowledge that will help me grow my design business.

Small Business Week features both online and in-person events for small business owners. If you are in the one of the cities who is not participating live (like Chicago), you can tune in for their daily webinars.

Follow here for my small business insight this week…

Stay tuned to my blog or follow @lsvdesign on twitter where I will be sharing my small business and creativity takeaways from the HOW Design conference. Here’s to working on your business!


April 30, 2015

Z is for zzzzzzz…

Filed under: Mompreneur,Time Management — lidia @ 10:00 am

A to Z of being a mom in business: a daily blog series

Z is for zzzzzzz

The last word for my A to Z Challenge was actually my husband‘s idea. I thought it was perfectly appropriate for moms in business because “zzzzzzzs” are a common topic of conversation. Whether it’s our own lack of sleep (an early-rising child, late-night work) or our child’s sleeping habits (or lack thereof), we always seem to be talking about sleep.

What most working moms can usually agree upon is that we don’t put a high enough priority on sleep. I know I’m guilty of staying up late reading a book—and getting much-needed “me time”—when I should be sleeping. But sleep is what recharges your body and makes it easier to tackle the next day.

So, I’m officially declaring to shut off my iPad library app earlier each night (or better yet, start reading when the battery is low so my end time is imposed!)

How do you make sure you get enough zzzzzzzs each night?

And that’s a wrap on the A to Z Challenge!

Wow, one month of daily blogging wasn’t so hard after all. Thank you to A to Z Challenge community for presenting this opportunity to better my blogging skills. And thanks to my readers for following me on this journey and participating in the discussion.

Click here to catch up on the entire “A to Z of being a mom in business” blog series.

April 29, 2015

Y is for yell

Filed under: Mompreneur — lidia @ 10:00 am

A to Z of being a mom in business: a daily blog series

Y is for yellY is for yell

Toddlers yell, especially when they don’t get their way (case in point: my 3-year old having a meltdown this morning because he insisted on eating crackers before getting dressed). I like to think the concept of yelling is not bad: toddlers are not yet emotionally-mature enough to manage their feelings like adults do. So their frustration comes out as a YELL.

Sometimes, small business owners would like to yell too. But we (hopefully!) find a way to channel those emotions into something less, err, loud. Like taking a few deep breaths or hitting the gym.

How do you channel your “yelling” emotions?

April 28, 2015

X is for x-ray

Filed under: Mompreneur — lidia @ 10:00 am

A to Z of being a mom in business: a daily blog series

X is for x-rayX is for x-ray

Whenever I ask my toddler “what starts with the letter X?” he always says “x-ray.” And wouldn’t it be nice if us moms had an “x-ray” that told us what toddlers were thinking when they say or do something, ahem, questionable?

It would also be nice in small business to have “x-ray vision” into what people are thinking (Why didn’t that prospect call me back? Why didn’t I get chosen for that project?). As hard as it is though, sometimes you have to make peace with the mystery of not knowing—both in business and motherhood.

What do you wish you could “x-ray?”

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