Whoops! I am definitely falling behind in blogging. I had a bunch of stuff put in my editorial calendar, but haven’t found the time to do much blogging between clients and B-School. I’m also a little lost since I’m shifting my audience, so not sure all of my planned post topics make sense anymore. Maybe I’ll find time to figure that out… soon.
Module 1 – Profit Plan
In Module 1 the goal is to nail down your business, where the money is coming from, and who you’re selling to. These seem like really simple concepts, but I think a lot of people (myself included) go into business without a clear vision in mind. And then we end up with clients we don’t enjoy working with, offering products that don’t thrill us, and not making as much money as we could be.
While there’s nothing groundbreaking in this module (it’s all pretty basic business advice) it’s laid out in an easy-to-follow format and after redoing my customer avatar this year I’ve decided to change my audience, business structure, and offerings (even though we’re not to the offerings module yet). I feel like I’ve got some new clarity on who I want to work with–and it has changed since I launched my business and even since I took B-School last year. I’m excited about it.
Module 2 – Website
In this module Marie talks about how important your website is, and how to help it actually convert browsers into paying customers. I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) that this content has been updated and tweaked since last year. I know there’s a least a new video or two. Anyhow, so Marie (and Derek Halpern) has some great ideas on how to structure a website, and having made websites for the past 15 years, I give her tips an A+.
But then she mentioned using sites like Fiverr and 99Designs. I feel like she waffled quite a bit on this issue. She starts out the video series wonderfully with the benefits and costs of a professional website, but then listed these kinds of sites, which I think just really confuses people who don’t know the difference between a real web pro and someone who is just churning out designs for cash. I don’t mind a listing of “quick start” website solutions–because sometimes you just need to test an idea or get a temporary graphic–but these sites were listed on a PDF called “How to Hire a Web Pro” which is just going to confuse non-designers. I’m sending the B-School team a letter to request that these sites are removed from this PDF and instead put on some sort of “quick-start” guide instead. With the exception of 99Designs, because I hate that site and am hoping they’ll stop recommending it completely.
Lindsay has recently written a great article on this which I recommend reading if you’re not sure of the difference between a professional designer and someone you find on Fiverr. This article is also worth reading–did you know using sites like 99Designs for your branding could result in you getting sued?
Anyhow, overall I think there are some GREAT tips and advice in the website module, but I and many other designers are banding together to help educate non-design B-Schoolers on the importance of professional design, and not crowd-sourcing your logo (seriously, every other post in the main group right now is “which logo do you like better?” STOP. We’re not even your target market!). We’ll see how that goes.
I know a lot of you are taking B-School–how are you doing so far?