December 16, 2016

10-Minute Marketing: Choose a word for the year

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

Choose a word for the year

Starting back in 2014, I’ve chosen a word for the upcoming year. I learned this from Gretchen Rubin and I’ve found it to be a great way to set the tone for the year and stay focused on my goals.

This year’s word was REGROUP. After taking some time off to focus on my new baby last year, I wanted to regroup and get back to business this year—which I successfully did. (Stay tuned to hear my word for next year…)

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Choose a word for the upcoming year. Print it out and post in your workspace.

BONUS: Share your word on my Facebook page!

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




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.

June 22, 2012

Shopping for creative inspiration (literally)

Filed under: Creativity,Workspace — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 3:29 pm

Latte cups, Hello Kitty candy...and magazines!

Yesterday, I went to Anthropologie on Southport Ave. in Lakeview in search of a magazine (Anthology). I ended up leaving with issues of Anthology and Uppercase Magazine (my two new favorite magazines, thank you)—plus a whole bunch of creative inspiration.

After inevitably trying on clothes, I found myself browsing—and becoming inspired by—the books, magazines and other lovely finds scattered throughout the store.

A few inspirational finds:

Because we had kids in tow, a stop at Candyality was a must. That’s where I saw a fabulous mini takeout box tin of Hello Kitty Fortune Candy. (again, would love to use in my office)

So, what’s my point (besides the fact that I like to shop)? Sometimes you have to go shopping for inspiration. Get out of your usual routine and keep an open mind. You may not find the perfect dress, but what you do find might be even better…

Anyone else find creative inspiration in retail spaces?

July 14, 2011

Are you an inspiration gatherer?

Filed under: Creativity — Tags: , — lidia @ 9:00 am

One of my current inspirations: photographing letterforms and numerals (photos: Lidia Varesco Racoma)

As a graphic designer, I’m lucky to have many opportunities to do creative research (one of my favorite parts of a project!) But even if you’re not in a creative field, spending some time during your week gathering inspiration can boost your mood—and productivity.

How do you gather inspiration?

Gathering inspiration can be as simple as taking a walk and stopping to observe the world around you. Or spending time with a child and seeing the world through their youthful eyes. Or reading an inspiring blog post or magazine article. You can even do it during your workday if you manage time wisely. There are plenty of apps that can help.

Tips for gathering inspiration

  • Keep track of blogs in an RSS Reader: I use Google Reader on my desktop and the Reeder app on my iPhone so I can quickly scan for posts of interest
  • Save interesting posts or websites to read later: I use the app Instapaper and catch up on reading when I have a free moment
  • Carry a sketchbook or small notebook at all times: I sometimes use my cell phone Notes app on-the-fly (i.e. while walking the dog!)
  • Pick up a magazine you don’t normally read: the library (or even the gym) is a great resource for free reading materials
  • Browse a bookstore and see what catches your eye: this always works for me!
  • Carry around a camera and randomly snap photos: one of my current “inspiration projects” is photographing letterforms and numerals that I come across in my neighborhood (see images above)

Managing your inspiration

  • Create file folders for each of your “inspirations”: I have folders for topics ranging from “home decor” to “book ideas”
  • Use an app to wrangle your ideas: I like Evernote because you can save multiple types of media (web pages, digital images, audio notes, etc.) Pinterest also allows you to save snippets of web pages.
  • Make lists: I keep running lists of things like, “books to read” and “client gift ideas” and update them regularly (again, I use Evernote for this).
  • Catalog your photography: create photo sets in a photo site like flickr so you can easily reference (or be inspired by) your photos

Gathering inspiration is a great way to break out of a creative rut, approach a challenge from a new angle, or take a break during your workday. Too busy? Do it on your lunch hour. The key is to approach the process without judgement or preconceived notions and just have fun. You may be pleasantly surprised with what you find!

Do you spend time during your week gathering inspiration?

Share what works for you in the comments!

June 22, 2011

Kicking off the summer in (creative) style

Filed under: Creativity,Small Business — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 6:56 pm

Yesterday (June 21st) was the Summer Solstice, which marks the longest day of the year.

Besides more “al fresco work days” (via laptop and wireless), I’ve been planning a few ways for my small business to kick off summer in creative style.

How I kicked off my summer…

Sending a “Happy Summer Solstice” card

I like to stay in touch with clients and friends by sending cards with a handwritten note throughout the year. And since my logo is the sun, sending a “summer solstice” card seemed only natural.

TIP: sending a card on a less-expected holiday always makes an impact.

Attending the HOW Design Conference

Leaving the office for a few days to get creatively inspired and network with other professionals is important for small business owners—especially solopreneurs. So this year, I decided to attend the HOW Design Conference, which just happens to take place in my hometown!

TIP: let your clients know you will be out of the office at a professional conference. They will appreciate knowing that you are working on improving your business (which benefits them!)

How did your small business kick off summer?

July 6, 2010

Let your clients inspire you

Filed under: Creativity — Tags: , — lidia @ 9:04 am

After recently creating a blog for one of my clients, I realized that I really wanted a new blog of my very own. This time, however, the goal was not to promote business or generate income, but simply to have some fun.

I recently started gardening on my city balcony. Being a novice gardener, I was doing lots of reading and research so I thought: why not create a place to share my gardening discoveries, as well as keep a diary of my urban garden that I can look back upon. With some encouragement from my writer husband, the urban gardeness blog was born.

I’ve been enjoying it immensely. Partially, because I have a place to save my gardening goodies, tips and photos, but also because it’s something I’ve designed purely for fun. It’s been awhile since I’ve done this, so I now realize how important it is to have some “just for fun” projects among your client and in-house projects.

So next time you’re working on a client project that piques your interest, see how it can inspire you to create a “just for fun” personal project.

Have a “just for fun” project started already? Share them in the comments section!