April 30, 2012 § 4 Comments
Have you ever wondered if you were just loved exactly where you were at how much more awesome you would be? Not gonna lie, I think about it all the time. This little voice inside of me constantly tells me that I don’t do things quite right. That I could fix this or that. And that those around me are continuously judging me with a harsh and differing point of view.
Yes, I hate that voice. It’s all too familiar. It’s been there since I was just a little girl. Particularly louder since I became a mom and added more responsibility to my plate. It’s a wonder I ever accomplish a thing. How do I get through my day? I get the voice to settle down a bit and pump myself up with a bit of self-talk. I drink a lot of water. I eat healthy at the appropriate times. And I try to do what feels natural, what flows.
It isn’t always easy. I get a poor nights sleep. I forget to drink anything besides coffee to keep me awake. The dishes are dirty and I need to go grocery shopping and, besides, I’m not even having a “cute” day. My hair is a curly mess, my favorite shirt is dirty, and I didn’t have time to apply any make-up. Nothing. Can. Go. Right.
The day gets the better of me. All of the sudden my thoughts are swimming with existentialism. I can’t figure out what I’m doing. It all seems too difficult. I’m at odds with what I really want to do! Am I a writer? A blogger? An entrepreneur? Do I pursue an MA in creative writing, songwriting, commercial music? Do I wait until the kids are in school to do other things and pursue my interests? Or do I homeschool and forgo “me” altogether until much later in life?
Ahhh! Who am I? Why am I here? What on earth am I doing? Is there a god with a capital “G” and if there is, would he/she just tell me what I’m doing?!!!?!?!?!
And then it hits me. I knew this about myself the moment I woke up to my beautiful 3-month-old son lying next to me smiling with bright blue eyes at 7:18am this morning.
November 7, 2011 § 4 Comments
There’s no better time than at this very instant to have a website online to display your creativity. A website is like having real-estate in your name. It says that you’re serious about what you do and you have something to share with others. No matter what your creative background, outlet, service, or product is…an online presence is key.
I decided that I wanted to–postpone my student loans–take web development courses, specifically so that I could add some CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to my already present WordPress pre-fabricated site. That way, I could create something that was more personal and my style. After finishing my first Web Dev class, I’m confident that I’ll be able to do so in the near future.
The added benefit of taking the courses, of course, is learning so that I can help others to learn and/or build sites for them. That’s you! Until I’m to that point though, here’s a few tips on using pre-fabricated site companies that are helpful and legit to hold you off till then.
WordPress.com is a free blogger-based service that allows you to create a website using their .wordpress.com server. That is, your address will go something like http://jennylvoe.wordpress.com. While it’s free forever, you can use a myriad of their add-ons for a nominal monthly or yearly fee. I’ve taken advantage of their domain mapping so that it redirects my blog to simply jennylvoe.com, which I purchased from Go Daddy and own the complete rights to. More on that later. It’s $12/year for this service. I could also add video, more users/logins, modify my own CSS or take advantage of their web designers to create a site that’s completely unique.
Other options besides WordPress include Blogger and Tumblr. There are also highly legit companies that have a monthly cost factor, but that you control, such as Drupal. The most important things you’re looking for when you first start out is your own ability to maintain your site.
Perhaps you just want to provide clients with a way to view your services. Then something free and easily accessible is the way to go. Or perhaps you want to start an ecommerce site for your product. How about using Etsy to begin with and establishing it as a marketing platform (among other things) for your future website? If you already have started with a service such as Etsy or the like, Network Solutions can allow you to build a simple site for selling your goods at about $100/month. More on that in the future.
Besides choosing from a plethora of web template choices, web developers and designers, and/or one of the above, you have to pick a name. Be sure the name is unique, so that you come up first when you search for it specifically on Google. Short and sweet is also good. It should make sense and represent you. A recent example I discovered is for the Muckenthaler Historical Mansion in Fullerton, CA. Obviously the full name is too long. So what did they go with? TheMuck.com and I’m so glad they did. If you need help navigating your website branding, just email me.
Secondly, you should purchase the rights to your website by using either godaddy.com or networksolutions.com. They’re the best out there and sell you your web address for about $12/year. Period. You can skip all the up-sale add-on’s and just buy the .com for a year. That’s all you need. Using any other resource or hosting your web address through another site could very easily cost you the rights to your address. That is, you won’t own it, they will. Suffice it to say, that’s not a good thing.
After all my jabbering, I hope I’ve made it a little easier for your decision making to realize that it’s not as difficult as you might think, but just as important, to have your very online presence. If you need a little more help in the matter or have further questions, email me at jenny lvoe at gmail dot com.
Photo: 7 months! 28 weeks! Onto the 3rd trimester! Yay!
March 21, 2011 § Leave a Comment
If you’ve read Part I, you know that having an online presence is absolutely imperative as a freelancer. Whether you’re searching for full-time jobs in at a brick-and-mortar company or most of your work is done in the virtual realm, you must have a blog, website, flickr account, or the like to show off your work. Most positions won’t even accept your application, resume, and cover letter without a URL (your online address that starts with http://). The following will help you get started in the right direction.
A blog can be very beneficial to you if you just want a place to store your work for free. Especially if you’re a writer, you can gain more credibility by having a blog and by posting your written work on it. You can post music and graphics to your blog as well, so if your creativity has anything to do with music, graphics, or photography, you’re in luck. You can even create video (vlogs, instead of blogs) and slide show feeds that can be easily viewed.
Blogger.com and wordpress.com are the most popular and accepted blogging sites. Tumblr is a newer blog site on the scene that is breaking in the artistic realm for it’s snazzy design and easy-to-use-ability. There are also blog spots that are geared towards more industry specific areas. Blogs can also improve your search-ability on sites like Google and Yahoo!, which can increase your client traffic. So even if you have a website, it’s a great idea to put your “thoughts” on a blog…putting your most recent discoveries and projects is also a great way to gain expertise points in your field. Connecting that blog to your website then streamlines your online presence.
Whether you’re just a DBA (doing business as) or you’re a full-fledged LLC, having a website is a great way to get more clients. First, you have to purchase your chosen web domain name online. The most inexpensive sites to date are godaddy.com (which is PC & Mac compatible) and 1and1.com (which is only PC compatible). They cost about $6.99 per year for a domain name more or less, depending on the extension you choose (.com, .biz, .org, .info, etc.). They also have website builder’s online, which you can place music, video, photo’s, slide shows, and much more on. There’s usually a yearly or monthly fee for web hosting (placing your actual website online) no matter what website builder you choose to use and whether or not you build it yourself or have someone else build it for you. Here’s the solution I’ve come up with:
I currently use WordPress for both my website and my blog, since I don’t have much use for a full-fledged website yet. Although I purchased my domain through godaddy.com, I changed my blog address path (jennylvoe.wordpress.com) to my domain (jennylvoe.com) for $9.95/year. I think it sounds more professional than using the WordPress address. Plus, when I’m ready for a site, I can hire a web designer to create what I want using CSS (a script that can be read by WordPress) and I’ll be able to edit it when I need to without needing a web designer on a consistent basis to make on-going little changes (ie post new blogs, upload new songs, add newer content). It might cost more upfront for the site design (say $3000 or so), but it’ll be easier to edit myself through WordPress.
Whatever you choose to do, it’s important to have a website available. Even if it doesn’t have a Flash introduction, that’s okay. What you need is the online presence. Keep it simple and up-to-date (no nineties templates, please!) and it will get the job done. You’ll have more clients and a greater flow of traffic if you can give them an address starting with http:// and not just a card with your e-mail and phone number. You can also create a flickr, shutterfly, or tumblr account for website examples or templates, graphics, logos, adverts, photos, videos and much more. Sites like these can enable your customers to view your work easily and even create a host of other items on one website (that you will get paid for).
If you missed it, you must be online. You must be searchable. You must have an online presence. If your clients can type in your name after you’ve given them your business card or they’ve received an e-mail from you and your website is the top hit, your credibility will go up insurmountably. And I can guarantee that your project list will go up insurmountably as well. And increased projects=increase creativity.
(This post is part of Monday Madness: Creative Consulting Tips and Tricks of the Trade. Sign up for the RSS feed to never miss a post!)