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Manual Focus

Note: The images below link to a book on amazon.com. This is not a paid promotion or review. Any opinions expressed are entirely my own and do not reflect upon the author of the book.

So freelancing fell by the wayside in the last year and a half. OOPS! It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the work. I got caught up in landing a day-job that I turned out to absolutely love. That turn of events actually reinvigorated my desire to sell what I make. If it means I need multiple platforms then that’s what I’ll do. Jumping further in, unsatisfied with free resources online, I found a book – while working said day-job – and it’s going to be another tool in my arsenal to keep trying and making this thing work.

No lie: I’ve been a failure a great deal on this journey. Go back to the beginning and count them. I’ve had two day-jobs in that time and discovered that I am actually really good at customer service! That’s a very good thing since it’s been a weakness of mine since I was born. Treating my depression was the beginning of my new life. I wouldn’t give it up even if I go broke trying.

I don’t want to actually go broke. Please, Powers-That-Be, save me from THAT. 😛

The book I bought, was gifted by my mom, is called Mind Your Business: A Workbook to Grow Your Creative Passion into a Full-time Gig by Ilana Griffo. What I like about it most is the focus on creatives. It’s not a “business book” (it totally is though). It’s a guide that says, “Here’s something to think about, and then do it!” I’ve only read the first few pages. It’s written in plain English with very little jargon to get in the way.

Not only that, but it’s written by a typography lover, so there’s always something interesting to look at. That’s really how I found it in the first place: the beautiful cover!

Just paying through it, I can tell there’s a lot of exercises and thoughtful nudges in the form of list-making, brainstorming, and graphics that illustrate business ideas visually. YES! A CREATIVE AUTHOR THAT GETS IT! I mean, check out this glimpse of a cake diagram to fill in about branding:

Anyway, I’m going to read some more and hopefully learn something new!


Take it easy and remember to smile!

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An Informal Poll

…of my family members shows me that most of them would prefer buying ready-made products. This is one of the reasons I made a move to have a second, independent shop on my website. While Etsy has the advantage of a large audience, it isn’t in the spirit of Etsy to sell commercially produced products as the mainstay of an Etsy Shop.

I did, however, post one of my Pitbull Life shirts to see what would happen. I’m just leaving it there for anyone to find, but not advertising it like I would my other listings. It’s an experiment.

I’m not sure yet what will do well in my shop. I do have some data on website traffic, but until I get some actual buyers, it’s pretty hard to know where to focus. So I keep doing what I like and hopefully that means someone else will like it too.

I ordered myself a shirt so I can see the quality for myself. Printful offers a few options in terms of technique. If I don’t like the quality, I can restrict what I offer to the products they make with only certain techniques. To shorten the story, I’ve heard of, and seen, some pretty shoddy examples of Direct-to-Garment printing, and I don’t want to offer it if the price isn’t right for the quality. I do know that many of the apparel choices are from Bella Canvas which is much higher quality than the Gildan brand and thus worth the extra money to buy.

As always, still learning, still journeying.

Take it easy and remember to smile!

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Aggressive Prices

I had to make a big decision about my shop. How much should I charge for a service?

It’s a question as old as time for artists. How to price your service or products within reason but also aggressively enough to earn meaningful amounts of money for your work. Since I’m still an e-commerce amateur, I’m sticking to the less-expensive side.

Logos cost $200. If I’m doing all the legwork, then this is a threshold I can’t go below. There is a process. I think it’s a value for the money. You start with 3 options to mix and match, and you are an important part of the design decisions. Communication is key to good design. Remember that a good logo can make your business rememberable at a glance.

Need a logo? Get Yours Now before the prices increase. 😉

Take it easy and remember to smile.

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Officially Open: The Silver Stitchery Stand-alone Shop

You may have seen notifications from me if you follow my blog the last few days. That’s because I upgraded my plan and opened a store!

The Silver Stitchery

I wanted to see if opening a separate store that I run myself would add to my profitability. Etsy has the advantage of being a well-established, large business who can play as middle man when things go wrong. However, competition there is so steep that it’s difficult to get started. Etsy charges fees for their service as well. I want to grow. So it makes sense to branch out and try all the different options open to me.

Take it easy and remember to smile. And visit my shop. PLEASE!?

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Journeys Have Many Paths

It’s ok to be on a path different from the one you start out taking. My experience in the last 2 years has underscored just how unpredictable life is. While I still love design work, The exact type of work I do has shifted.

I recently started a 50 Day Logo Challenge. By subscribing to an email list, I received 50 prompts to design logos. The challenge has made he think differently about what’s good or not because I had to work with so many ideas but only for a single day at a time. I’ve been enjoying it and considering taking the idea a step further. I want to take those prompts and make a series of logos for each. I want each concept to have about 5 different choices, just like I’d show to a client.

I have largely stopped using Upwork, but not because it isn’t a useful resource. I just had to decide how to spend my time. I want to freelance more with logo design. I still think I have talent to offer the field. With this challenge I’ve noticed my execution improving!

My Etsy Shop is helping me out too. I’ve made sales of SVG files, and I’m going to continue to put out listings there. I think it could take off and if it does then I’ll focus on that and leave other freelancing aside. I just have to get there first, so until then, just keep trying all paths until one becomes disentangled from the others.

Take it easy and remember to smile!

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Back to the Proposal Grind

I know I should be treating freelancing as a second job, working 10-20hrs per week to make ends meet. But I admit I forget about that a lot. It’s time once again to make that better.

My husband recently fell near his work and has been unable to work regular hours for the past month. Luckily, his workplace is covering him for much of the work time lost and subsequent surgery. However, January has been slow enough that my position is a drain on the store where I work. I have to drop to part time at best. I’m not complaining. It’s not my employer’s fault that January is slow. It simply renews the need to find bigger and better things for myself.

So I’ve been applying to jobs and spitting out proposals to the freelance winds. Mostly it comes back and splatters in my face. C’est la vie! I am proud of myself for taking it in stride and learning from past mistakes that it’s not personal. It takes a while to get established. I came late to the game somewhat and that’s my own cross to bear.

I love designing and I keep being a creative person no matter where I go from here.

Take it easy and remember to smile.

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Network with Me!

Find me on Upwork.com/fl/meganpawlak and Freelancer.com/U/meganpawlak twitter.com/MeganPawlak84 Facebook.com/meganpawlak84 instagram.com/meganpawlak meganpawlak84@gmail.com

Now that the shameless self-promotion is out of the way…

This post is all about what I’ve learned about promoting myself online. Well, ok, I can’t really say everything because much of it I learned from my current job. However, I’ve finally swallowed my pride and make an account on all the major networks. As you can see above, I have accounts on not only freelancer websites, but also Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Not included in this particular ad is Google+ and LinkedIn and of course WordPress. Frankly, the text portion was getting too long so I chose the three most popular over the other three.

This is my invitation, officially, to like, +, follow, subscribe, and email me about design, small business, work and questions you might have about my services.

Please visit behance.net/MeganPawlak for a formal portfolio.

I’ve begun working with Adobe Muse to hopefully make more pages for this blog or else where. I do have a premium subscription with WordPress, but I’m not sure if it allows me to upload webpages designed outside of WordPress.

Always learning.

Take it easy and remember to smile!

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Medical AI in Communication

Here it is. This is my most recent creation in iterations. I was ranked only 2/5 stars for each design. I tried, and that’s good practice anyway. Why do you think none of them did well in the contest? How could I improve my design thinking? (shown in order of submission, and based on some feedback from the contest holder) The contest holder ultimately asked for a refund.

Background information

Name to incorporate in the logo

Scrybe

Slogan to incorporate in the logo

Unspecified

Description of the organization and its target audience

We need a logo design for a new New York based company called Scrybe. Scrybe develops a HIPAA compliant chat application for clinics, doctors offices, and hospitals to use. There are also plans to develop Artificial Intelligence based applications for doctors to use in the near future.

The messaging app allows an entire office, clinic, or hospital communicate with each other in a HIPAA compliant way. There is an iPhone App, Android App, Mac App, Windows App, and can be accessed on the browser. So the overall hope is that this takes over email and become the central communication platform for the office (almost like a Notification Center for the office).

The usefulness of the app comes from the fact that it’s all accessible (mobile, desktop, web) as well as super extensible. So after a couple of months we integrate it with the rest of the software that the office uses so that all the information they need can be accessed via the app (they should never have to leave).

Industry

Medical & Pharmaceutical

Visual style

Colors to explore

Other color requirements

Unspecified

Style Attributes

 Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.43.51 PM

Design inspiration

Unspecified

References

Attachments

Other notes

The final design should have some elements of medical, communication, and technology.

I’ve also attached a couple of logos that I like for reference.

SCRYBE

vrk7bp commented on #3

8 days ago

Thanks Megan for the design! As I’ve been reviewing the designs, I’ve come to appreciate the ones that are slightly varied from the Slack symbol (bold S surround or in another design). I’m definitely leaning more towards logos that don’t have that same bold S “foundation”.

SCRYBE2

vrk7bp commented on #52

7 days ago

Thanks Megan, definitely like the current iteration better than the original.

Out of curiosity, if I were to eliminate the need for a chat bubble, or the chat aspect of the logo as a whole, would that inspire any other designs. More along the lines of Artificial Intelligence in chat, or technology in chat.

SCRYBE3SCRYBE4

 

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Accomplished

What a great day! Work went great! And now I’m prepping for my 1 yr wedding anniversary with a trip to Savannah, GA. I’m feeling more comfortable as a someone in charge of production. I get to use all of my skills.

I have a new chance at being me. I can work digitally and physically. It’s not 3D printing or anything, but stores need window decals right? Company cars need logos on them. Truck drivers need to comply with DOT regulations and have their business license information on their trucks. Little girls need copies of their favorite shirt that accidentally got stained and ruined. Schools need branded uniforms. There’s a lot I get to see and do. Most graphic designers never work physically with printers and produce what they are designing. It’s an asset to my skills that I know how logos are used in the real world.

Trust me. If you need a logo get it in vector format as well as .jpg or .png. It will save you money down the road to have a vectors file that can be made as big or as small as you want! You could hire me – shameless plug- to make your logo because my pricing comes with any and all formats you could ever need. If you’ve read my blog you know what my qualifications are. 😉

Take it easy and remember to smile!

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Unnatural Disaster 

This past week has been bad. Everything that could go wrong did. Too many projects due at once, printer screw-ups, and difficult to weed designs made my work schedule horrible. Due dates had to be flexible whether or not they actually were. 

I survived it. My employer even gave my coworker and I a $50 bonus for getting through it mostly. We did save a couple of due dates! Ok, so it wasn’t a disaster, but it was stressful and changed my schedule to accommodate it. It felt worse than it was I think. And this was a pay week. Silver linings…

Take it easy and remember to smile.