Category: Business/Freelance

I love the feeling of finding something that makes my job so much easier and more enjoyable in ways that were previously unthought of. That’s why I felt like a winner after a lengthy internet “treasure hunt” for some new methods to simplify how I handle and share my graphic images for various projects. This is the story of how I found a great solution with Smartimage.

 

Intuitive options and a quick organizing process

Step one was creating an account. I honestly thought it would take awhile, but in a matter of seconds I had created an account with a custom URL. The user interface struck me as simple and friendly, but what really made me feel welcome was the sample collection walkthrough that gave me the whole picture of Smartimage’s basic functionality in a matter of five clicks, and then I was able to delete it to start on creating my own. I started by dragging and dropping files for my collection into the upload window. There was a wide range of accepted formats, like AI, EPS, TIFF, PNG, JPEG, GIF, and PDF files, so I had no trouble uploading the files I needed. Smartimage automatically optimized them for download through conversion to popular PNG and JPEG formats, and sorted my content into default sections, like Images, Logos, and Videos. I’m even thinking of customizing a distinct section for Photographs, and another for Brand Guidelines that draws on project-specific requirements in terms of style and colors.

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influence

What does influence mean in the context of freelancing and design? For web designers and other freelancers, the term influence is most often used to refer to social media influence. Influence refers to the ability of a person (such as a web designer) to persuade others to take a particular action or to feel a particular way.

Imagine being able to guide a large number of people to a goal of your own choosing–for example, purchasing your web design services. Would that be beneficial to your web design business?

You bet it would. The benefits of influence for any business or organization are great and that’s why social influence has been the topic of a number of recent studies, articles and even books. There have even been a number of tools developed to measure social media influence.

Is social media influence important for web designers? What should a web designer know about social media? Let’s find out.

The idea of moving your website can be pretty daunting these days. I dread the entire process. Here are some of the thoughts running through my head. What if I miss something? What if I fail to get it running correctly? What if I cancel my old hosting and failed to remember that there were a stash of secret files I never backed up!? What if the new system is slow? What if the data migration takes 10 days instead of 2 hours? These are the kinds of ideas going through my head when I consider changing hosting. This is my business and I’m nervous about disrupting the server environment.

Recently I was at a dinner in Austin Texas hosted by my friends over at BuySellAds. There were 10 total people there and 2 of them were a couple of guys from MediaTemple. I had actually never used their service although I heard good things over the years. Hosting talk is a bit boring to me so we never really got into the ins and outs of what I needed etc but they did give me a good picture of how broad their offering was. They seemed to have a good solution for just about any kind of hosting scenario I would need. While at dinner I explained to Mark (one of the MT guys) that the thought of moving my network of design sites was a bit daunting and that I was not looking forward to it although I felt it was about time to move on. He asked me a few questions and then mentioned that they had a service that does the move for you. I left the conversation and tucked the information away for a later time.

Heading into the summer I started feeling like it was time to make a move. I wanted the sites to run faster. I was having some trouble with server connectivity error logs that my devs could not explain. I was ready to take a serious look at what other hosts had to offer. I spent some time reviewing several of the larger players in the space. There were lots of options to choose from and at times it was difficult to know how to compare hosts to each other. I finally decided that I wanted to host the sites with MediaTemple. All the hosts I reviewed seemed very similar to one another. It seemed I really could not go wrong on the surface. However, the thing that stood out about MT was a service they have called Move. For $150 the MT CloudTech team will move any site anywhere to MT hosting. They have a simple lead form where you enter a few lines of information.

crowdfunding2

Like many designers, you may have a side project. You may even be sure that your idea is a really good one.

The trouble is, it will take money to really pursue your idea. That’s the end of your really good idea and your side project. Or is it?

There are many funding options for business startups including the bank, investors, and begging for money from friends and family. Thanks to the internet, there’s now another source of funding for business startups.

Crowdfunding made big news recently when open source developer, Ubuntu, got into the crowdfunding arena with their planned entry into the already crowded smartphone market. You’ll find the Ubuntu Edge on the popular crowdfunding site, Indiegogo.

Is crowdfunding a great way for designers (and others) with big ideas to get their ideas to market? Or is it just another fad?

In this post, I’ll examine crowdfunding in more detail. I’ll also list a dozen crowdfunding sites. If you liked this post, you may also like How to Evaluate a Business Idea and What to Do Next.

stockfresh

I heard a friend say the other day that web designers measure time in deadlines. Maybe that is an overstatement, but time is of the essence. They need to get a high quality job done as fast as possible. For the most part, a designer’s working process involves the use of acceptable images, and I believe I’ve found a great resource for this purpose: Stockfresh, coming from the original founders of stock.xchng and Stockxpert.

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You can take your pick from a vast array of high-quality graphic images. Last time I checked, there was a handsome amount of 2.5 million images in their vaults, and it’s growing at a fast rate, so by the time this article is finished, their expert team of reviewers may have approved yet another few thousands, based on qualitative, legal, artistic and commercial criteria.

 

Only the best submissions are admitted, so you need not fret over what kind of quality you’ll find. Now, this is the main concern with microstock agencies, and it simply does not stand here. In other words, you can get your supply of photos, graphics or vector illustrations in excellent resolution, and at a most convenient price.

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