Networking Shifts To Uplevel BusinessRead What Happens When You Outgrow Your Networking
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What Happens When You Outgrow Your Networking

When I first founded Bourn Creative in 2005, networking was a critical part of my initial growth. I attended several events each month for years and it generated a ton of business. But over time, my investment in these groups created fewer and fewer new opportunities. Those that were my ideal client had already became my clients, and those I wasn’t working with didn’t have the budget to invest with us.

Eventually I had to face reality. As I grew as a business owner, my business grew, and as a result, the level of client I was serving grew as well. Soon those same networking groups that had helped me reach that point in my business were no longer a fit.

In my article What Happens When You Outgrow Your Networking? for WP Elevation, I share my own networking experience and story, provide some tips and suggestions for reflection, and discuss where you go from there and how to uplevel your networking.

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Create Content That Attracts Clients And Grows BusinessRead How to Consistently Create Content That Builds Your Business And Attracts Clients
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How to Consistently Create Content That Builds Your Business And Attracts Clients

I recently partnered with iThemes Training to deliver a FREE webinar training for graphic designers, web designers, and developers — and you don’t even have to opt-in to watch it!

There is a plethora of information available about how to build a successful web design business, how to write code, and everything from how to choose typefaces and color palettes, to how to design a logo or website. There is also an abundance of information about the effectiveness and power of content marketing, but there is a shocking lack of information about how designers and developers can create content that will help grow their business AND attract clients.

Are you a designer or developer who:

  • Struggles to consistently create content that resonates with your audience
  • Experiences frustration with rocky client projects or client confusion
  • Is drowning in administrative or project management tasks
  • Doesn’t have time to add yet another task to your to-do list for the week

If you answered yes, this webinar is for you. In it, I walk you through a simple content creation process you can use to grow your business, automate your processes, and attract more clients — and we’ll talk about repurposing content to save you time and effort.

Watch it for FREE with NO OPT-IN needed right now!

Watch The Webinar

Pricing The Unknown In Web DesignRead Pricing The Unknown: Dealing With Uncertainty When Quoting Web Design Projects (WordCamp San Diego Presentation)
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Pricing The Unknown: Dealing With Uncertainty When Quoting Web Design Projects (WordCamp San Diego Presentation)

On March 28-29, Brian and I attended Word Camp San Diego 2015, held at the Hall of Champions in gorgeous Balboa Park. With about 250 attendees, the two-day event drew people from across the US and beyond, and featured: a speaker/sponsor dinner on Friday night, learning sessions, lunch, and an after-party on Saturday, learning sessions on Sunday, and loads of snacks and drinks all day. Plus, there was a lot of swag, including t-shirts, beach balls, frisbees, and water bottles.

Saturday was broken down into four tracks — Beginner, Admin (site owner), Designer, and Developer — each with seven sessions and one panel. Brian spoke in the Design Track, delivering a talk titled Child Themes and The Genesis Framework.

Sunday featured two hands-on, progressive bootcamps — one on theme development and one on plugin development — as well as two business tracks, with one focused on services and one focused on products. I spoke in the Service Business Track, delivering a talk titled Pricing The Unknown: Dealing With Uncertainty.

Below is a complete recap of my Word Camp San Diego presentation, including all of my slides and some extra thoughts on the topic.

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Get The Color Palettes of Your Favorite BrandsRead Web Design Tool: Brand Colors
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Web Design Tool: Brand Colors

I love Twitter. One of the best things about the platform is that I discover all sorts of new and awesome tools from the network of people I follow. One of those awesome people is David Bisset.

Recently David shared a very cool web-based resource for figuring out and downloading the exact color palettes used by your favorite brands.

Love the Adobe color palette? Maybe the Dribble or Mixpanel palettes? No problem! With the website Brand Colors you can:

  • See the brand color palette
  • Get the HEX code for any color in the palette
  • Download the ASE, SCSS, LESS, or CSS for the color palette

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“Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that's why it is so complicated.”

Paul Rand
Detect Content Theft and Plagiarism with CopyscapeRead Free Tool to Discover Plagarism And Content Theft
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Free Tool to Discover Plagarism And Content Theft

Recently a friend reached out with some disconcerting information — Another web design company was using our content and images. At first she didn’t notice, but when she saw my photo on their website, she looked a little closer and sent me a link to check it out.

Unfortunately today owning a website and doing business online also means that if you’re any good or if your site ranks well with search engines, others will steal, rip off, and copy what you do, that you write, what you say, and even how you look. If you’ve never done the research, the blatant thievery and lack of integrity among content thieves online can be shocking and disheartening.

But how do you know if someone is stealing you hard work?

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Mobile Search Rewards Responsive, Mobile Friendly SitesRead Google Drew A Line In The Sand: Your Site Better Be Responsive (Mobile-Friendly)
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Google Drew A Line In The Sand: Your Site Better Be Responsive (Mobile-Friendly)

The gauntlet has been thrown. On February 26, 2015, Google affirmed their position on the importance of mobile-friendliness and it’s affect on your mobile search rankings.

Google originally warned us of this change back in November in the post Helping users find mobile-friendly pages, on their Webmaster Central Blog.

In the post, they point out how terrible the experience is when visiting a non-mobile site on a mobile device and you have to pinch and zoom and scroll sideways to see the all of the content, or you can’t click any of the tiny links or menu items with your gigantic fingers.

We began to see hints of this coming back in November 2014, when mobile search results began displaying a “mobile-friendly” label in their search results — and we saw it displayed on our own listed in mobile search results.

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Successful Strategic Partnerships-with-design-studiosRead Why Your Approach To Working With Designers and Developers As Subcontractors Is All Wrong (And How To Fix It)
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Why Your Approach To Working With Designers and Developers As Subcontractors Is All Wrong (And How To Fix It)

I’m a FIRM believer in working with specialists.

It’s why we focus on design and development, on killing it in building powerful, profitable, complete online platforms, custom WordPress sites, and the design of branding and marketing materials that support our clients’ broader business growth efforts.

No one wants to invest in a generalist who knows the basics about a lot, but not the important, critical details on the one thing they need. No one wants to be sold something by a person who doesn’t fully understand what they are selling. No one wants to invest thousands of dollars in a website that was built by a non-expert — someone who doesn’t eat, sleep, and breathe this stuff day in and day out — especially with the rapid pace that technology shifts and changes.

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Follow Up To Build Better Stronger Relationships And Create New Business OpportunitiesRead Follow Up To Build Relationships and Create Opportunities
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Follow Up To Build Relationships and Create Opportunities

How did you do it? It’s a question I get asked at least once week from other designers, developers, freelancers, and business owners. They want to know how I got to where I am today, how I get the opportunities I do, and how we’ve been able to build such a strong brand.

In my article Follow Up To Build Relationships and Create Opportunities for WP Elevation, I share the answer to those questions — and it isn’t a sexy answer.

You won’t get easy magic tricks, but you will learn how to prepare for new opportunities and how to use specific follow up tactics to build better, stronger relationships that create new opportunities.

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“Design is a means toward accomplishing the end goals of serving markets and generating profits. Furthermore, design is an element in social responsibility. Good design allows ‘form to complement performance.’ The way things look is not irrelevant to the way things work: how they work is how they should look.”

Thomas F. Schutte
Join.me simple screen sharingRead Join.me: Share Your Screen For Free
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Join.me: Share Your Screen For Free

Recently I was searching for a simple screen sharing option for a non-tech-savvy client — one that didn’t require them to have a gmail account, to download any software, or learn how to use a new piece of software.

So I jumped on Twitter, asked for recommendations, and my friend Diane Kinney responded with a recommendation for Join.me.

Join.me provides instant screen sharing, meeting tools, and unlimited audio

It is easy to get started and easy to manage. I was up and running testing my first screenshare session in less than five minutes.

According to their website: millions of people, from universities, startups and Fortune 500 companies, use Join.me every month to simply and more effectively share their ideas and work, making join.me the fastest growing collaboration product in the world — and I can see why. I love this tool and I can host or join a meeting from a desktop, an iPad, or any mobile device.

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2015 Prestige Conference Las VegasRead Prestige Conference Las Vegas: Exceeding Expectations
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Prestige Conference Las Vegas: Exceeding Expectations

This past weekend, Brian and I attended Prestige Conference Las Vegas, the second event of it’s kind, with the first being Prestige Conference Minneapolis in October 2014.

I feel like I said this about the first Prestige Conference, but seriously, this event was by far one of my favorites — and not just because so many of our friends were also there

Among the meetups, WordCamps, business conferences, and networking events, Prestige Conference has quite effectively carved out a solid position in the market. It serves business owners, agency owners, and freelancers alike, do business better — or at least think about their business with a fresh perspective.

With a mix of personal stories, lessons learned, business nitty-gritty, and actionable get it done steps, Prestige is quickly becoming the go to conference for those who are interested in upleveling themselves AND their businesses or careers.

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Word Swag Photo Quote ExampleRead Word Swag: Make Beautiful Photo Quotes In Minutes
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Word Swag: Make Beautiful Photo Quotes In Minutes

Have you ever wanted to share a beautiful quote on your blog or via social media? You know the ones I am talking about — the quote images with the eye-catching background images and cool typography…

If so, I’d like to introduce you to Word Swag, an app that automatically turns your words into beautiful photo text designs with awesome typography.

With Word Swag, you can create custom quote images to use on your blog, in print, via text, and on social media in seconds. And the app isn’t just for quotes, you can use any text you want, so it could be used to create birthday greetings, thank you notes, and more.

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Freelance Designer Pricing StrugglesRead The Freelance Conundrum: Do You Want To Be A Good Friend Or A Great Service Provider?
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The Freelance Conundrum: Do You Want To Be A Good Friend Or A Great Service Provider?

Have you lowered your rates to ensure you landed a new client or kept your rates low over time to keep them? Have you ever done the work but billed for fewer hours than you spent on the project because you felt guilty, you didn’t want to (potentially) make your client mad, or you thought it “shouldn’t” have cost that much?

What about standing up for your design solutions? Have you ever held back and not shared your opinions or thoughts to avoid arguing with your client? Have you made revisions to a project that you knew would hurt it more than help it just to be “easy to work with” and make your client happy?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to read my new article for the GoDaddy Garage: The freelance conundrum: Do you want to be a good friend or a great service provider? In this article, I share my own experiences, insecurities, and challenges with pricing my services and standing up for my design, as well as lessons learned — and hopefully some tips you can use too!

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Iconic Responsive SVG Icon SetRead Iconic Responsive Icon Font Set
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Iconic Responsive Icon Font Set

As part of the Bourn Creative site redesign, I created our own custom icon font set to use in the site. It was the first time I had gone through this process and it was much easier that I thought it would be. The most difficult part was selecting the final icons to include in the set.

During the research for our own custom icon font, Brian stumbled across Iconic. He sent me the link and I was enthralled. I even shared the resource as my Bar Trick on DradCast.

Iconic is billed as an icon set designed for the modern web. It’s a multi-weight, responsive, SVG icon font designed within a grid, so it produces sharp, optimized, consistent icons.

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UX KitsRead Three Examples of Customer Service Done Right
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Three Examples of Customer Service Done Right

I’m a salesperson’s nightmare. I hate overly-forward, overly-friendly salespeople. I despise being interrupted when shopping, I can’t stand a sales woman in a clothing store shadowing me or suggesting outfits for me based on an assumption she made when I walked in the door.

Needless to say, that when it comes to customer service, I’m a little (okay a lot) jaded as more often than not I am disappointed by companies with a lack of service, poor service, or poorly trained staff delivering a service.

But every once in a while there are companies who stand out from the sea of checkbox-ticking and clock-punching — companies who go the extra mile to show you they care and invest in their relationships with clients and customers.

These companies get it. They understand what it means to deliver great customer service. They understand that they can cultivate loyalty and create raving fans with small gestures that make big differences.

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“Users will tell you what they think they want. Users will tell you what they think you want to hear. Users will tell you what they think sounds good. Users will NOT tell you what you need to know. You have to watch them to discover that.”

Adam Judge
Set The Tone For Client Relationships With a Strong Welcome and Expectation SettingRead Clear Expectations and Streamlined Onboarding Set The Tone For Client Relationships
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Clear Expectations and Streamlined Onboarding Set The Tone For Client Relationships

Recently, I published a the blog post How To Implement A New Client Onboarding Process And Set Expectations. It walked people through all the basics of creating a new client onboarding process and why it is critical to the success of a service based business.

This post was so much more popular that I could have imagined and generated a lot of emails and questions about the topic, so I wrote a follow up post Clear Expectations and Streamlined Onboarding Set The Tone For Client Relationships about it for WP Elevation.

In the article, I dig deeper with the two most important parts of the client on boarding process:

  1. Welcoming new clients and confirming hiring you was a great choice
  2. Setting crystal clear expectations

I also provide sample content you can use or model when communicating with your clients! Yes, I give you a sample welcome email and a sample expectation-setting email.

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Content Planning For Small BusinessRead How To Plan A Content Creation Process Your Small Business Can Actually Achieve
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How To Plan A Content Creation Process Your Small Business Can Actually Achieve

I love content — content planning, content organization, content design, content development, content strategy — the geek in me comes out in full force when it comes to content.

It could be because I like writing a lot, or maybe it’s because I find joy in teaching and sharing information. Whatever the reason may be, creating content comes easy to me.

In my article How To Plan A Content Creation Process Your Small Business Can Actually Achieve for CoSchedule, I break down step-by-step the exact process I use to plan and create content for Bourn Creative. I also share our strategy behind creating internal content for automation, client education, and our systems and processes, as well as external content for marketing, and how you can repurpose content for both purposes.

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Make screenshots fast with PaparazziRead Screenshot Tool: Paparazzi!
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Screenshot Tool: Paparazzi!

Per their website, Paparazzi! is a small utility for Mac that makes screenshots of webpages written in Objective-C using the Cocoa API and the WebKit framework.

But really who cares about that?!

This program is by far one of my all time favorite and I use it almost every day. Paparazzi! allows me to quickly take screenshots of complete web pages (yes, the entire page) at any browser size I want, from desktop to iPhone. It’s not fancy, but that’s what I like about it.

Below you’ll see screenshots of how it works and the settings available.

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Brian Bourn WP Tonic PodcastRead Brian Bourn Joins The WP Tonic Podcast For A Discussion About WordPress Theme Frameworks
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Brian Bourn Joins The WP Tonic Podcast For A Discussion About WordPress Theme Frameworks

This past weekend, I was invited to be part of a live panel discussion on WordPress Frameworks “The Good The Bad And The Ugly” on the WP Tonic Podcast hosted by Jonathan Denwood and Bill Conrad.

Watch The Episode

WordPress and Jetpack

The episode got started with a conversation about what’s happening in the WordPress community, and specifically, Matt Mullenweg’s comments about WordPress and Jetpack (a single plugin with more than 30 modules built in, some of which are paid, some are free, and some rely on WordPress.com, developed by Automattic) at PressNomics.

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Making Cookies Is Like Designing A WebsiteRead Web Design: Same Recipe Different Cookie
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Web Design: Same Recipe Different Cookie

Mmmmm homemade cookies. M&M cookies. Thick, chewy cookies with lots of M&Ms. Delicious.

This past weekend, I spent three hours at Panera with my kids playing games. We had two new games to learn, so we had to play them each at least twice — once for practice and once for real — and if they are really fun, we play them a third time.

When my son couldn’t decide whether to get a chocolate chip muffin top or an M&M cookie for his game snack, I made the choice easy and offered to make M&M cookies when we got home. (If you didn’t know, they are just chocolate chip cookies with M&Ms used instead.)

But over the years I have had to tweak ALL of my recipes.

Why? I grew up in a family who liked crunchy cookies, and now I have a family who loves soft, chewy cookies. I had to adapt my recipes because over time, things change.

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