Day 24: 23 got Eaten by Puppies

Yesterday, you’ll notice a suspicious lack of post. This was because of my discovery of “Pomskies.” Yesterday I did a few things… but mostly installed a new graphics card and looked at puppy pictures. It was dismally unproductive. Today was better. At least as far as productivity goes.

List:

  1. Sent 5 replies to CL ads. One, I even did a sketch… which I never do. I watermarked the hell out of it of course. I’d put it here but I’m just not feelin’ it.
  2. Did a “Shiny Shield” Tutorial – Saving “graphic styles” so I can use this on many other shields later. Note: be sure to expand appearance and make sure ALL sections are there or later it goes badly. To find the “graphic style” that was saved, I thik you have to open the .ai files to access the style. These are the ones I did. It’s a look.
    cryty hero shieldodd shieldstandard green
  3. “Drawing Inspiration from Typefaces” – copying is OK for practice… just don’t publish copied artwork! This isn’t yours, so don’t be tempted to post and project everything you do. You don’t HAVE to post a picture every time you do something. (tutorials are different) Sean even encouraged copying HIS art for practice (never posting). It is an ok way to practice, but not always the best. You’re only copy something that exists- not learning the WHY of what they do. Understand the building blocks first. He wants you to learn the styles of all basic types first. Practice all those basics over and over again until your hands bleed. (2-3 hours a day for 6 months to see ANY results, YIKES!)
  4. “Deliberate Practice (Part A)” – Doing your normal work, imitating…. Are slow ways, NOT deliberate. He suggests deliberately practicing a SINGLE LETTER from ONE TYPEFACE at a time. Print out that one letter a billion times across a page. Trace that letter over and over and over. Look for details!!! (the upper and lower bowl sticking out example, he traced what all these little details are with different colored pens). To trace, get another piece of paper (printer or tracing paper) and put it over the top (or get a light pad to put underneath). His tracing paper had baseline and x-height pale dotted guidelines (and top of the font line) THESE HE PROVIDED. He used a “2 point lead holder” – I’ll go with a nicely sharpened pencil. FIRST, find the SHAPES (He outlines the full letter first, finding shapes as he does so). He draws guidelines too- good for study and learning detail. After doing this a butt-ton of times, recreate the letter WITHOUT TRACING. Doesn’t really matter how you make it happen (he had to turn the paper many times, drew guidelines), just try and make it look good- ONLY FROM REFERENCE!
  5. “Deliberate Practice (Part B” – Dealing with the monotony: 1. Listen to podcasts (he’s selling himself here…) the more educational, the better. Gives you something to concentrate against- you retain information better. He switched from music to podcasts- you are actually doing something more. He suggests saving a list to listen to. 2. MIX UP THE LETTERS as you practice… A to B to C is going to be very boring. (I’ll do TWOCAN GROUP letters first!) But focus on a single style… don’t switch or you won’t retain as much. It will be repetitive, but you’ll get better faster. Eventually, you’ll settle into styles you like a lot… and after that, you’ll come up with your own style. Follow steps from Part A but include music or a podcast. Do this until you have all letters done, then move onto another style.
  6. Did the tutorial “how to create a text portrait effect in PSD” – was fun enough… Interesting results I suppose. I did it twice (two different images) and it DEFINITELY does not work for all images. It needs to be high rez, a person with fair skin, but lots of “contrast” to said skin (wrinkles, shadows/angles, etc)
  7. Cleaned up 3 documents for TwoCan’s marketing materials.

Fabulous. Day done.

Day 22: Just when the end is nigh..

Today was very slow for me. Much like the calm before the storm, TwoCan is about to be very busy. So while today was slow and really not so great, that’s just today.

Listy list:

  1. Sent 3 replies to CL ads. I will no longer be recording what I deny as how I search has changed. I waste less time now and get more focused results.
  2. To make #1 happen, I set up RSS feeds from CL into my Outlook. Now I can avoid some of the unappealing people lurking in the corners of CL.
  3. Had more changes to make for the United Way site. I thought I was done, but you’re never done. I will, on future projects, learn from this. I will include a very specific clause about content adjustment. If some is definitely needed (or requested), there needs to be a part of the contract that says “Leigh will do blah blah blah and blah blah for a blah amount of hours for an additional $$$.” I’ll have to figure out how to word the “extra stuff” that always just seems to get lumped into “my job” as a designer. I don’t care if an element needs adjusting in a place I don’t touch- you’ll have to do that yourself! Or… pay me extra to do so… or dip into that little “just in case I need it” tack on. I will learn.
    1. Had a “check up call” on the website and had to tell them “no” for the first time… and second and third all at once. I felt like I was slapping her in the face- but I tried my best to explain why I did what I did and how what I did would be good for them and their site. One thing I do need to figure out (unfortunately)… a font change. I feel it is pretty silly, but this point they really stressed, so I’ll figure it out. I think they are, overall, happy with what I’ve done.
  4. Watched my first 3 episodes of Seanwes’ “Learn Lettering” courses. I kept getting distracted and couldn’t manage to just focus on it. I finished the Welcome, the Anatomy of Type, and Choosing Harmonious Styles. The last one gave me some useful tips- to pick one or two styles max, keep it simple, use things like color or weigh to emphasize. Start simply! It has to be readable and legible, or it looks like you’re a novice, throwing styles at your viewer to distract away from lack of skills. Use style thoughtfully and beautifully and only to emphasize- they must have purpose. Simple is just fine… start with your skeleton (simple line following the letters) and go from there.

Today was sluggish and blah- but I did get some things done. I guess slow just happens sometimes, eh?

Day 21: The Day of Desired Pay and “Locals Only”

It’s so silly… every last bit of graphics work I do happens in a velvety yellow chair, planted in front of two monitors. I don’t have to go anywhere. If you want to see my face to make sure I “look American” or something, why don’t we just Skype?  Oh well. Also- you don’t want to know my hourly rate. Don’t ask me my hourly rate unless you want to be disappointed. I’ll give you my project rate and you’ll have to just accept that. Sure, I can quote you $15/hour like some of the other “graphic designers” on CL, but like them, that means I’m going to tell you it took me 20 hours to build your logo. Either that, or they bought/stole those graphics. Oh well. I don’t want to work with clients that want to pay me in cheese crackers (though, ironically enough, I did respond to an ad today that could pay me in MEAT… but I eat a lot of meat so…). I guess I am just feeling like I am out-growing CL. We posted an ad to see what sort of responses it would get (yeah yeah, maybe not exactly the most honest thing to do to my fellow designers)- and it was depressing to see the results. In under 2 hours there were over 20 responses… about half of which look “acceptable,” regardless of prices. I’m not sure how I can compete. It’s maddening. That being said, we do have clients, do have more websites lined up to create, and I am doing well. So maybe we just grow out of it. Who knows… this is all so new to me.

The things I did today:

  1. Replied to 6 CL ads and denied 6. It was an utterly depressing day on CL that filled me with a lot of negativity. It was all people who required locals for some stupid reason (to build… get this… a website. Pretty sure I just built a website for someone in MN and I’m in CA…) and people requiring me to respond with my rates. That’s FINE if you include a very detailed scope of work. Nobody does though. It is generally a sentence or two and I’m supposed to be able to glean enough information from THAT to give them a quote (and sometimes even concepts on spec). Craig’s List is the worst.
  2. Signed a contract with Art for the Heart and Soul to fix up their website and do monthly social media marketing. I really like working with Tina, and it will be a pleasure to help her out! They do some incredible work for women and families in need.
  3. Learned a bit about Magento– I realized that this is probably what someone meant to type instead of “Magneto” in a CL ad and that I embarrassed the crap outta myself by talking about comic books and fonts. Oh well. Now I know better- it is an option for “all-in-one” eCommerce websites. Still like WordPress better. Their website was wildly confusing.
  4. “Finished” the United Way of Mower County’s website. I have a call with their administrative assistant tomorrow to discuss. When I actually send it, I’ll link it here. I’m really proud of what I’ve created though.
  5. We added another TwoCanner today- Nate! He’ll be doing all of our hyper-technical IT stuff and coding for these first few sites. Eventually, we’ll likely add a few more people to this team. He has been great to work with and the TwoCan family is so happy to have him. When it is appropriate, we will announce him and make a big deal out of the whole thing.

Craig’s List Idiots

Going Global… do you mean Mental?
going global... you mean mental

The grammar in this post is horrible, that goes without saying, but what I find amusing is that he is so secure in the idea that his silly reality show will not only gain local/national traction… but they are “going global with this.” I think you are a bit ahead of yourself, Mr. ‘no pay.’ And let’s count… that’s… SIX EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!!! OMFG LOL ROFLCOPTOR WUT!? Yeah people, calm down and just try to be professional.

Seriously Confused CL Idiot
seriously confused asshole

I thought at first that this was a troll by some dissatisfied designer or video editor. No… they’re actually serious. They are actually offering (and ONLY for an accepted video) a LinkedIn connection. Is that payment these days? Does that matter? Unless he’s some HUGELY connected CEO of some Florida Fortune 500 company… that’s not compensation. That’s the business equivalent of “I’ll add you on Facebook.” Dude is seriously stupid. He is looking for a “seriously confused production”… is that some brand or technique I’m unaware of? (of course, if it is, cool, fine, he’s slightly less an idiot) This guy literally ONLY seems to have an “idea for a logo design” but wants a whole video. For this video (that likely needs a logo… he only has an “idea”), he’s offering a connection that means nothing. Idiot. I hope he gets terrible quality and has to start all over many times, spending lots and lots of money and getting nothing. People like this… either go nowhere because they REFUSE to “get a little skin in the game,” or they go nowhere because they have terrible quality materials they paid little to nothing for.

People on CL, in general, suck. I just want to get to a point where all of my work is given to me by my existing contacts. NOT because I don’t want to do the work… I just don’t like anyone else I keep finding. It is making me a little bitter. At least today. Today I’m bitter. Let’s hope tomorrow I’m not.

Day 20 and 20.5: Better Late than Never

This is going to be a short and sweet post- mostly because I completely and utterly forgot to do it on Friday OR the portion of Saturday that I worked! It was a crazy busy, crazy good week last week and this work log just sort of got away from me. But I won’t be skipping it!

List list list list list listtttttttttttttttttt:

  1. Replied to 10 CL ads, denied 8. It was a very busy CL day!!
  2. Did a LOT of work on the UW mower site (almost done!!)
    1. Did further work on the site over the weekend.
  3. Created a YouTube cover image for the Online Gaming Hall of Fame. Check out their newly launched Indiegogo campaign!

I’m sure this is just about the most disappointed log post ever, but things are going well at TwoCan! Stay tuned🙂

Day 19: A Damn Good Day

Normally I wouldn’t use profanities (even if they are PG-13 words) in a title, but today was really, really good. I am at about 90% (or more!) with the United Way WordPress I’m building (some of the code is being difficult and annoying…). I’m not ready to talk about it all just yet (especially because I’m guessing NDAs will be in the mail soon…) but things are happening- really really cool things. 19 days of doing the thing… who would have guessed? It seemed like I didn’t do a lot today, my list will be very short, but it kept me busy ALL DAY. I’m just finishing up now, at 9 pm. I KNOW I could have done a lot of this work tomorrow, but I wanted to do it NOW. Haha I think because they have a live test server, I’m more anxious about leaving it in a “pretty” state. We will be finishing this project almost two weeks ahead of schedule.

Today’s short, but important list:

  1. Sent 13 replies to CL ads. Some I feel like we could TOTALLY get business with, others it just looked like a good deal, so I responded. I denied 7 ads… one of which was a chocolate company that were I in a different location and financial situation- I’d TOTALLY do. There were many idiots on CL today, but the amount of good ads really offset it nicely.
  2. Did work on the United Way of Mower County WordPress website. I spent hours and hours and hours going through each page, nitpicking as I went to fix every little detail. I have done way too much work for what we agreed to- but I don’t know… if I didn’t, the website would be looking like crap. I need to find a way to include that in the contract maybe- that they agree to pay a certain additional amount if I need to do extra work. Although I’m not really sure how you would word that and not sound like you’re trying to scam them out of all their money. Hmmm. I will have to do a little research on this matter.

Today’s Craig’s List Idiot:

WHY ARE WE YELLING?!
WHY ARE WE YELLING

You know, had they worded this without the psycho, I may have responded. Instead, they come off as super crazy pants. I always wonder what kind of designers these sorts end up working with. I know I wouldn’t be able to handle it!

So today looks like it was short and sweet, but it was actually super involved. I was working in WordPress pretty much non-stop, learning all matter off stuff about how WP works and even a little bit about coding (and navigating code!) I’m really excited to present this product, I’ve been working really hard and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. I’m sure that in a year, I’ll look back at this and scoff (as I do with some of the first wix sites I did…) but right now, I feel super good about it. It stands up next to pretty much any other version of the ‘Radiant’ theme, and it DEFINITELY outshines a vast number of local United Way chapter sites. I know they will be able to proudly show off their new site! I’m really happy to be doing this for an old friend too, somehow it has a nice bonus feel to my confidence. Like maybe, for my age, I’m doing ok. I’m doing real business with real colleagues who are my age and have known me for years. It makes the everyday struggle of all this “business stuff” less apparent, like I’m actually… doing something right for once.

On top of my own business victories today, Karl had some really incredible ones as well. Hopefully soon we’ll be able to share a little more about that!

Oh! And a very special surprise addition to my resume coming soon! shhhhh…🙂

Day 18: An Incredible day

Today was a rough day for me physically, I’m on day 3 of Atkins and my body wants carbs like an addict wants substances. I felt, all day, weak and falling apart, in pain and cramping, and just overall ill misery. But my business day? Oh… oh my business day was fabulous. So much went so well, so much happened, I learned so much… I feel SO CONFIDENT.

This great day’s list of greatness:

  1. Replied to 8 CL ads and denied 6. A couple of the replies I sent might get a response… it wasn’t a strong game on CL today. I think the number of internships from yesterday only increased as well. BOO!
  2. Replaced an image on the St. Jude Fundraiser poster. I was so happy that I’d kept the image linked, not embedded. The image she sent needed a little love in Photoshop, but in the end, she was so happy. She even wants to send a thank you card! NEAT! I think I’ll ask her if she’s willing to write a testimonial for me and/or TwoCan Group. It has been really neat working with her, and I know it is going to help a great cause.
  3. Listened to the seanwes podcast, “190: The Hustle Never Stops” – This was a nice, short podcast. They said that just because you’re successful, just because you do something big, doesn’t mean it is over. Talking about finding your niche- re-position what you’re doing, specialize, and focus. When you do this, you can charge more (specialist rates ftw).

    “A day is successful when you showed up, not when you break 10 likes or get 100 new subscribers” -seanwes

  4. Studied the design (and then the branding overall) of CGMA magazine. Read their first issue of their magazine. I was very impressed by the way they designed their magazine… and it was pretty awesome because it looks a lot like how I design! I know I could produce a layout similar in InDesign. I sent an email to their magazine editor contact to compliment them- I really hope it gets read!
  5. Signed a deal to redo this website and this sub-website. I am SO EXCITED to get started on my next WordPress websites! I’m really loving it- and I can’t wait to produce beautiful websites for this client. I get to strut a little- on a deal that I didn’t figure would actually go through. Why? Why did I think this? Because I actually quoted the price I felt was fair to TwoCan. I stuck to my guns- and it freaking WORKED. I can do this. Why? How? BECAUSE I JUST DID IT! If you value yourself, people will see it. They’ll understand that what you provide to them will be worth it.
  6. Got to the 75% marker with the United Way of Mower County redesign. I can’t WAIT to replace this! They are going to love it, I just know it. We sent them a link to a “test environment” version of the site with the full understanding that it is unfinished. Normally I wouldn’t suggest doing this, but for this client and this project, it was appropriate and desirable. They are already so happy with how we’ve done business, and now they are excited to just see progress. I can’t wait to show off what I’ve done so far. It’s funny, because the biggest visual parts, the landing page and image bar, aren’t yet implemented! This means that when they see it at delivery, it will be a huge, glorious shock! (well… unless they refresh it all the time to see it live-change…)

Craig’s List Idiots: (because justice, that’s why)

Do you even InDesign, bro?
indesign logos...

First of all, did you just randomly select an Adobe product to list for this project? I mean at least laymen guess Photoshop. And why do I have to meet you somewhere? So you can breath over my shoulder? I mean… this could take a couple hours you know- are you going to force me to work in a public place while you lurk? How do you know it shouldn’t take more than an hour? You don’t even know the appropriate file in which to create a logo! You’re then not even giving your designer an option of when to meet (because hell! you need it tomorrow!) or where. So you’re going to force your poor designer to a specific place and only give up 40 bucks? You’re quite literally disgusting.

Because work on spec is NORMAL!
spec trash

So you’re just giving your name and then farming for logos? You’re paying $200- which for CL, is actually a reasonable compensation (which leads me to believe you may have a brain), but then you go and pull this poor-grammar-ridden stunt. “Remember it’s a junk removal business…” um.. ok.. you already said that. Do you think I wouldn’t go back and read your 3-line ad again as I design? “…please be creative thanks” Wow. Ok um- so have you been trolled or something? Did someone send you WordArt? Or do you think that we designers are just lazy piles that slap stuff up with no thought whatsoever? ugh. You’re not worth my air, sir or madam.

Today was a really exciting day. While I feel like I’m falling apart because my body thinks it needs carbs, I feel on top of the world with all the business stuff. We had a check sent to us today, have another deal signed, and are pitching two more tomorrow we feel confident about. Seriously- this is so awesome! 18 work days. That’s all I’ve done so far. According to James Clear’s article, the initial minimum to form a habit is 21 days. I’m almost there. On average, it takes humans 66 days- but I’m feeling pretty superhuman these days… nothing can bring me down!