Posted on

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.

Posted on

Client Clarity

I’m trying to get back into design contests as practice for my skills. Sometimes, several in the last few weeks, I think clients simply don’t know what they want enough to really ask for a design they will like. One contest holder asked for a refund. Two others never picked a winner. It’s not like these contests are cheap at $300+. Or is that an amount most businesses can throw away? I know I can’t!

By the time this publishes, I’ll have been in Savannah, GA for my first anniversary celebration trip. I’m looking forward to it, but the work to get there has been brutal. It’s my own choice. I think it will be worth it in the end. A 4-day weekend after cramming 80 hours into only 9 days. My hard work is paying off. We all know how this goes. Hard work + learning new things = big payoff! My next post will probably be talking about my trip.

Until then, take it easy and remember to smile!

Posted on

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

 

Posted on

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. 

Posted on

Clients are like Onions

Clients come to you and say “I need some shirts made.” You tell them how everything is priced and what the limits are. Then you realize this isn’t just someone who wants to make one or items, but they are planning an entire future starting here. If at first a client is demanding maybe we as designers need to ask them about their lives and motivations. 

Today, I was at my job all alone. I didn’t know that would be the case until today. It was on the calendar but I clearly didn’t read the times well enough. Not only was everything just fine, it was also eye-opening. A customer came in to approve some details on his order. I walked him through what I needed to know, told him what I knew he needed to be told, and thought that would be that. 

It turned out he was an aspiring clothing designer. By clothing designer I don’t mean someone with a degree in fashion, but someone who wanted to make an entire line of graphic tees and products. So I asked him more about what he needed and wanted since he seemed to be willing to learn to do the work for himself and save some money. He was making these designs, or having someone else make them, for a line of clothing inspired by and dedicated to a family member that was important to him. 

I never would have known this information if I hadn’t asked the question “what is it you want to do?”  Does that make me a Chatty Cathy? Is that inappropriate for a “clerk” at a small shop? I think I helped out a customer. Hopefully, that will help bring him back to our services in the future. Maybe he will tell his friends about the shop. 

I’d love to say where I work because the publicity would surely help business. I haven’t because I have published some personal thoughts about coworkers and my employer. To be sure, there are ways of finding this information anyway for someone dedicated to finding it. I also want to protect our customers and have avoided naming names as much as possible. I want this blog to be about my thoughts and lessons in my journey of freelancing and self-employment. How to talk to others is so critical! It’s been a tough 32 years of life being socially inept. I’m ready for more, anyway. 

Take it easy and remember to smile. 

Posted on

Holding Two Jobs

Anyone who has had to work two jobs knows it’s unpleasant unless it’s 2 strictly part time jobs. I, of course, don’t fall into that category. I don’t even get paid time off since I’m an independent contractor and self-employed. There’s a real freedom to that. 

There’s also the problem that I don’t make nearly as much as I used to in a corporate job. I’m not complaining here. It is what it is. Having to be full time is a time-sink that doesn’t, yet, pay enough for the long run. I think that will get better soon. I also think I need to stop crashing at the end of the day and do design work! I feel awful about it. No more! Starting next week I take it seriously. I start treating my own freelancing as a second job that needs part-time dedication, at least 10 hours per week. 

This is it! Do or die! There is no try, only do! Where’s that from? Anyway, I’m still determined to get myself established in the freelancing world. I’ve been submitting proposals, at least one every couple of days. I can show that I’m actively trying. What I need to do is still look up a contest or two in the meantime to work on. That gets me practice even if I never win. 

Red. Yellow. Green. GO!

Take it easy and remember to smile. 

Posted on

Good Clients

It’s no secret that the world of design is full of bad, naughty, impatient, mean…

2 days later

…awful, terrible clients. The nit-pickers want perfection, but refuse to negotiate payment when the project goes over budget due to time wasted on endless revisions. Vague-ists expect mind reading levels of understanding from a brief only 10 words long that says they want a logo.  Worst of all are the clients who give you detailed instructions on what they want, decide to completely change their mind half way through the design process, and finally at the end refuse to pay you anything because you were not able to finish the project in time.

We all know people like those described above as friends and family in addition to total strangers who want to pay for work they can’t do themselves, but don’t want to pay for work they can’t do themselves. Did I just confuse you, dear reader? Sorry. I guess you’ll have to take my word for it that’s its bad. 😉

But I want to talk about the good clients I’ve encountered in the last week. Two of them to be precise.

The first is, of course, the client who hired me for my first design job. Justin went above and beyond by telling me there was a problem with his payment and he had already fixed it. That job should clear with Upwork sometime this week and enter the mandatory 1 week security hold. It’s ok, just par for the course here in designer-land. I can’t withdraw the money until I have $100 in my Upwork account. That’s fine with me too if it avoids fees or ther pitfalls on Upwork’s side and keeps the service free to people like me (not counting the service fees since I set my own rate and the system charges the client the fee, not the designer.)

Good client number two is a repeat contest holder over on Freelancer.com. He held a contest back at the end of May which I won. It was only $25 after fees, but that was enough to set me up with a year’s paid intro membership on the site. I needed it! A week and a half ago the same client requested my entry on another, similar, contest. I read over the brief and decided it was something I could do for him so I submitted an entry. Yesterday, I received a message from him stating he decided not to use any of the submissions, but since he had solicited my entry he was awarding me with the prize. I gave him the files anyway since from my point of view it’s required to get paid and because if he’s paying then the work is his anyway. Maybe he will change his mind or use the illustration for something else. This was beyond my expectations! If you foster a good relationship with a client sometimes they will give you a break. The winnings will be $40 after fees. Again, not that much, but work is work and pay is pay. Repeat clients count for a lot and show that you do quality work at any price.

Two doves perch on the antlers of a deer skull
The winning design that starting it all

Take it easy and remember to smile!