January 11, 2017

How to make the most out of working with a graphic designer

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , , , , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

8 ways to get the most out of your graphic designer

Having a graphic designer partner can make a huge difference for an organization. Since your branding is probably the first thing a potential client or partner notices about you, investing in a well-designed logo and other marketing materials is one of the keys to success.

I recently shared my top 8 tips for working with a graphic designer on the Keyword Marketing Blog:

  1. Let us know what your goals are for the project (aka the “who, what and why”): This includes WHO you are trying to reach, WHAT you are trying to accomplish, and WHY you chose this type of marketing piece. The more we know about your project and your goals, the better the end result will be.
  2. Send us copy that is complete and well-organized: This will cut down on the number of potential edits (saving you time and money). Let us know if you need referrals for a copywriter or editor. Or ask us for help editing your content to fit your message.
  3. Provide graphics that are high-resolution and in usable file formats: Please, no graphics pulled from the web! Also let us know of any potential copyright issues—if you are unsure about using an image, we can help you investigate or find appropriate images.
  4. Inform us of deadlines and crucial project milestones: It helps us create a working production schedule—and we are happy to keep you on track if necessary!
  5. Let us know how and where your project will be used: If you need print materials, a website, online advertising, social media profiles or graphics, promotional or staff apparel, etc., we want to know about it.
  6. Provide samples: If you have existing marketing materials or branding, please provide samples at the start of the project so we can keep everything consistent.
  7. Bring up any concerns as they arise: Please let us know as soon as possible of any concerns you have during the design process. Frequent and honest communication is appreciated and will help both of us stay on the same page.

  8. Bonus points – if you have Brand Guidelines, please send them: This helps us keep our designs on-brand (And if you don’t have brand guidelines, we are happy to create them for you)

Above all, know that we are here to help. If you have any questions as we go along, please ask. Remember, our job is to make your business look good so the more we communicate, the better your business branding—and our relationship—will be.

Do you need a graphic design partner? I would love to chat with you!

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November 7, 2014

10-Minute Marketing: List 10 places to submit stories

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 11:06 am

10-Miniute-Marketing: list 10 places to submit storiesA great way to get noticed is by writing articles for online or print publications. I regularly read the HARO (Help a Reporter Out) listings and submit when it’s something relevant to my business (I’ve been mentioned in a few articles and books). I also reach out to bloggers and editors who write about my industry.

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Make a list of 10 places you could submit a business article.

Ideas: online and print magazines, industry or brand websites, industry publications, small business blogs.

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

 

October 30, 2014

My favorite resources for busy moms in business

Filed under: Biz Mama,Small Business — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 3:38 pm

Coworking…with a toddler

For moms running a business, life can be a whirlwind. With all the daily work and family responsibilities, it’s easy to lose touch with friends, not to mention business connections.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to find groups and resources that have helped me learn, get inspired, and make beneficial business connections and friends.

Resources for busy biz mamas

Founding Moms
In-person and online events, including local meetups and the annual Founding Moms Conference.

MomBiz
In-person and online events, including the annual MomBiz Retreat, weekly #Mombizmondays tweet chats and the MomBiz Solutions weekly podcast.

The Mogul Mom
Super informative blog, plus a business resource Market.

Working Mother Magazine
Nice print magazine, plus online resources, the Working Mother Radio podcast and annual conferences.

For Chicago locals*

Neighborhood Parents Network (NPN) has a very active Moms in Business group with in-person events and a Facebook group. Founding Moms has 5 local chapters (find yours here).

There are also several coworking spaces—some even owned by moms—such as Enerspace Coworking (owner Jamie is a past featured Biz Mama), Collide Coworking, and Free Range Office.

*Thanks to my awesome Moms in Business group for helping out with suggestions!

What are your favorite resources for moms in business?

September 25, 2013

A book that helped me “make my ideas happen”

Making Ideas Happen by Scott BelskyLast week, I wrote about how Evernote helped me launch my new business, typebaby. Now, Id like to share a book that helped me turn my ideas into reality: Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision & Reality by Scott Belsky, founder and CEO of Behance.

This book has been a fixture on my desk for almost a year. When I was preparing to launch typebaby, I read the book in my car while my son was napping. I read a few pages before I went to bed. And I flagged lots of pages.

Here are a 8 takeaways that I found especially helpful:

1. Break projects into primary elements

Belsky calls this the “Action Method” and it involves breaking down your project into Action Steps, References and Backburner items. This was important for me, as I was getting overwhelmed by everything I needed to accomplish prior to launching. I also liked his tip of writing your Action Steps in short phrases starting with action verbs, i.e. “Mock up a sample of…”

2. Create an energy line

I recently wrote a post on the HOW Design Creative Freelancer Blog about creating an energy line and how it was helping me prioritize my projects. This book is where I learned about it and I still update mine weekly.

3. Let go of dead-end projects

“You must be willing to kill ideas liberally—for the sake of fully pursuing other.” As a creative person, I really struggle with this. I have so many ideas and want to pursue all of them. This book made me realize that I couldn’t (and shouldn’t) pursue all of my ideas. But if was really attached, I could just put an idea on the backburner and return to it later.

4. Reduce time spent on “insecurity work”

Belsky says, “Along the journey to making ideas happen, you must reduce the amount of energy you spend on stuff related to your insecurities.” This is a powerful statement. Whether it’s launching a product or writing a blog post, I’ve had insecurities pop up that kept me from moving forward.

He goes on to say, “We seek information to make our anxiety go away.” I know I’m guilty of over-researching. I postponed launching my product line until I felt everything was perfect (according to my unattainable standards). In fact, it was my husband who finally said to me: “just do it, already!”

5. Don’t go it alone

The book emphasizes partnerships. Not necessarily a business partnership, but collaborations with people who have complementary skills to help you move your project along, or like-minded people who can keep you accountable. I found this very helpful and I still reach out to my mentors and accountability buddies.

6. Seek out your competition

I thought this was an interesting concept. Belsky writes, “Ideas often have the tendency to lie stagnant until we are jolted into action by either excitement or fear.” It’s true. Watching your competition is crucial for all small business owners—and it can be a great way to push your idea into action. As Belsky says, “Seek out competition and be grateful for it. By embracing [it], you will stay at the top of your game.”

7. Go public and create accountability

When you feel accountable to your idea, you are more likely to push through and make it happen. I like to discuss my ideas with a few trusted friends who I can count on to regularly ask, “So, how is [your new idea] going?” If I know someone will be asking about it, I am more likely to focus on it.

Publicly announcing your idea also shows your commitment to it. As Belsky writes, “Only after publicly committing themselves did [leaders of new companies] experience full support from their communities.”

 8. Keep perspective and an open mind

Belsky notes how creatives can get caught up in “visionary narcissism.” We get so caught up in our idea, we are unaware of what’s been done before and consider our idea totally unique. Keep an open mind when relating with or following people in your industry—you can learn from them. As Belsky writes, “Not much is entirely new, and yes, we can adequately  learn from the past.”

Have you read Making Ideas Happen? What were your key takeaways?

 

September 18, 2013

How I launched a new business…with a little help from Evernote

Filed under: Small Business,Time Management — Tags: , , , , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

typebaby loves evernote

Earlier this year, I launched typebaby, a line of typographic baby & kids apparel. Starting a new business (with an existing business and a 1-year old, no less) is no easy task, but using the productivity app Evernote made it much easier.

I was already using Evernote in my graphic design business to keep track of projects, design inspiration, small business and marketing resources, and small business events (the new Evernote reminders feature is perfect for this). I also found Evernote helpful when I was searching for office space. I used it to track leasing agents and spaces I’d visited (adding photos to notes made it easy to remember places I visited).

But when I started typebaby, my usage of Evernote grew tenfold. Being a mom in addition to a small business owner, I do a lot of work during off-hours, so being able to add to and update my Evernote Notebooks and Notes from multiple devices (Mac, iPad, phone) turned out to be a lifesaver.

How did I do it?

I started out by creating Notebooks for categories relating to my new business, such as sales, marketing & PR, manufacturing, new product development, packaging, and social media. Then I started filing notes, documents and spreadsheets, articles clipped from the web, and photos.

Here are some specific ways I use Evernote.

Research and reference

Because this was my first foray into product development, I did a lot of research before I launched and saved useful articles and posts in Evernote.

Spreadsheets

Having a product business, I maintain a lot of spreadsheets with information regarding inventory, sales, retail customers, blogger outreach and public relations, so being able to save and view Excel files in Evernote is a great perk.

Inventory tracking

Inevitably, I get requests from retail stores in the evening when I’m away from my office, so having copies of my inventory spreadsheets in Evernote is very useful.

Manufacturing details

I keep track of manufacturing details, such as vendors, online catalogs, invoices, and cost analysis.

Social media marketing

typebaby is very active on social media, so I keep a copy of my social media marketing plan in Evernote for easy reference. I add notes for potential blog posts or other social media engagement ideas.

Trade shows & events

I create Notebooks for trunk shows or special events that I’m participating in to keep track of correspondence and details. I also create a list of monthly tasks (with reminders) to make sure I’m on track.

New product development

Being a creative person, I’m always coming up with new ideas. Now, instead of scribbling them onto sticky notes, I file my new product ideas in Evernote and refine or develop them in a more focused way.

In short, Evernote can make launching and running a new business much easier—especially if you’re a busy Biz Mama like me.

New to Evernote?

Check out these useful webinars from Evernote. I also find the best way to learn about Evernote is to learn from other users, so feel free to reach out to me with your questions.

Editor’s note: I was not paid by Evernote to write this. I truly love and appreciate this app. 

Stay tuned to the blog this week for a book review of another resource that helped me launch typebaby…

September 6, 2013

A day in the life of a mom in business

Filed under: Biz Mama,Time Management — Tags: , , , , , , , — lidia @ 2:10 pm
My assistant, overseeing the office

My assistant, overseeing the office

A day in the life of a small business owner can be unpredictable. Throw a baby into the mix and…anything goes. It’s definitely not your typical 9-to-5 routine.

For me, some days are jam-packed with nothing else but client and in-house project work—while others involve early daycare pickups and pediatrician appointments (or if I’m lucky, playing hooky at a playdate!) Some evenings are spent playing catch-up on work after Little One is in bed or reading business magazines or articles. Fellow biz mamas, can you relate?

Here’s a snippet of one of my recent days:

7:30 am: Breakfast and morning routine

8:30 am: Drop off Little One at daycare

9 am: Check email, check to-do list for daily priorities

10 am: Impromptu meeting with client to discuss branding and packaging design project

12 pm: Lunch and errands (deposit checks, mail invoices)

1:30 pm: Work on client and typebaby projects

5:30 pm: Pick-up Little One at daycare

6–9 pm: Home stuff

9 pm: Work catch-up, scan social media and reading list for content to read and share

Moms in business: what’s a typical day like for you?

September 3, 2013

What can you learn about small business from a toddler?

Filed under: Biz Mama — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 5:14 pm

All I Really Need To Know In Small Business, I Learned From My Toddler

Last year, I wrote a blog post about what my infant son taught me about small business. Now that he’s an active 2-year old, I decided to write a follow-up.

Head over to the Founding Moms blog to read All I Really Need To Know In Small Business, I Learned From My Toddler.

Founding Moms is one of the Top 10 Websites for Woman Entrepreneurs in 2013!

Leave your comments! What has your baby or child taught you about running a small business?

July 18, 2013

Baby AND a business? Yes, it’s possible!

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

baby & business? Yes it's possible!

Now that I’m a mom, I have a whole new appreciation for mothers—not to mention mothers who also run a small business.

My son is about to turn two years old and I’m comfortable with my new work-family routine (or lack, thereof). However, I went into motherhood with the concept of “balance” in my head. After the first few months of sleepless nights and baby-caring days, I realized balance is not humanly possible when you have a child.

Make it work.

I was happy to hear Meg Mateo Ilasco, co-author of Mom, Inc., introduce a new term for us working mamas in this Design*Sponge post: “making it work.” You may not achieve perfect balance every day, but you can make it work for you.

Do the juggle.

Joy Deangdeelert Cho of Oh Joy! wrote a wonderful post last year about how she prepared for and ran her creative business with a new baby. She calls it “the juggle,” which is truly accurate. My days are constantly shifting and changing, as I juggle whatever work/home situation arises.

Make a plan.

As Joy mentions, being prepared is key. I wrote a post on the Creative Freelancer blog about how I prepared my small business for baby. Of course, you can’t anticipate everything (like a baby who decides to arrive 2-1/2 weeks early!) but you will feel more relaxed if you have a plan.

I’m constantly inspired and uplifted by my fellow mama-business owners who truly are getting’ it done!

• • •

Speaking of… please vote for me in the Red Tricycle Awards for Awesome Mom-Run Businesses in Chicago! Click here and vote for typebaby.

Do you know any other moms in business who are getting’ it done?

 

July 16, 2013

Sometimes one card fits all.

Filed under: Featured Design Project — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 12:00 pm

Lidia Varesco Design blogher business card

Since I’ve been doing more blogging and it’s in my hometown, I decided to attend the BlogHer Conference this year. BlogHer attracts bloggers of all levels from across the country and features sessions on starting, growing and advancing your blog.

Knowing there would be opportunities for networking at the conference and I had multiple creative pursuits to share, I realized I needed a new business card. (Do I really want to hand out 3 different business cards?) I took advantage of Moo.com’s special offer for BlogHer attendees and created my “one card fits all” design: a clean, simple layout that shares my design business, blog and baby & kids product line in one neat little package.

Do you have different business cards for different purposes?

July 12, 2013

Vote for typebaby in the Red Tricycle Totally Awesome Awards!

UPDATE! I’m happy to announce that my baby & kids line, typebaby has been nominated in two categories in the Red Tricycle’s Totally Awesome Awards: Most Awesome Mom-Run Businesses (Chicago) and Most Awesome Clothing Lines for Boys!

Red Tricycle is a fantastic online resource for parents, sharing kid-friendly events, dining, and activities in your own neighborhood. They are in multiple US cities, including most recently my hometown, Chicago.

I’m proud to be included on both of these lists, especially because they include many friends and fellow entrepreneur moms.

Click on one of the graphic below to vote for typebaby! Voting runs through August 15, 2013.

Vote for typebaby in the Red Tricycle Awesome Awards: Mom-Run Businesses

 

Vote for typebaby in the Red Tricycle Awesome Awards: Clothing Lines for Boys

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