April 22nd, 2011
February 22nd, 2011
Another fun night at the Build Guild Hartford meet up. Through twitter contact @kerusdotorg I found out about the Build Guild meet ups. He and I had shared a mutual interest to have a local CT meet up for those in the web design field without feeling pressured to have an agenda. The Build Guild seemed to be a perfect fit. It’s an evening for those in the field to chat, vent and share stories. So far I’ve been very impressed by the people attending, there’s some very talented people doing great work in the state.
Hopefully this will continue and attract others to come share in the fun.
March 21st, 2010
Today my friend Kelly sent over an article from the Unclutterer website called, “Three universal truths for why projects are not completed on time”. Within two minutes of reading the first paragraph and the three universal truths, Craig and I were into a discussion about how we’ve experienced them over the years.
1. “Clients are never as prepared as they say they will be.”
Is almost an understatement. As I am reminded by stories on the website Clients From Hell, it’s all too common. I think this also leads to many in the creative field, myself included, feeling like we’re not being respected. But I am also reminded of an article in the February 2010 issue of HOW magazine, “The Q Factor” by Andy Epstein. In the article Andy described how helpful it can be to our projects and how they progress, by being involved and educating the people around us. Our jobs are not only relevant but they add value.
The issue, at least for myself, is educating takes time. I’m usually rush, rush from one project to the next. Better. Faster. Next. In many companies this step is usually under valued and seen as a time and money waster. Not to sound cliché but being proactive can help immensely as the project advances. I often forget this and jump right in. The times I haven’t, and put the effort in, it’s made all the difference.
Will this solve all clients not being as prepared? No. There is only so much as the provider you can do. Some people have no desire to change from rush/react mode. I’m trying to get better at reading these signs and stepping away from clients who refuse to at least meet in the middle.
2. “Clients always change their mind.”
Again, so very true. Similarly being proactive and anticipating clients’ expectations/fears will reduce this, and there will always be changes.
Recently I was in a relatively heated discussion around this topic. I still feel my point is valid and possible to implement. My issue was regarding a change to a header that I made six times, back and forth between two options. I did not have direct contact with the client, so I could not test my method. What I would have liked to see happen was explaining to the client that each change back and forth was going to cost more money. That maybe, they needed to pause for a moment, get everyone on the same page and then make a final change. This is not an unreasonable request. It saves everyone involved time and money as the project progresses.
3. “People always underestimate the amount of time it will take to do something.”
Absolutely. I’m a horrible offender of this. I know I do work quickly and I always think I can do it even quicker, because I think the client will be happier if it’s faster. Of course this is the farthest thing from the truth. The client will inevitably hold me to it and be unhappy when I don’t make the deadline.
In the article, Erin recommends taking your time and doubling it. If you think it’s going to take two hours, make it four. It never fails, that my quick off the cuff estimate didn’t realize that the client supplied a flattened PSD, or didn’t actually have a copy of the original source document, only a PDF.
Designers, Developers, Project Managers, Sales people can all benefit from remembering these three truths when starting a project with a client. In a field that seems to try to move at the speed of light, we could all benefit from taking a breather, doing some more thinking, laying some ground work to make all of us saner at the end of the day. Really, what is the rush?
January 31st, 2010
There are some great tips to avoid creative blocks over at Inspired Mag‘s website. The one I have the hardest problem with is #5 self-doubt. Which lead me to remember Leah’s post about Self-Employment: The First Six Months. She mentioned previously feeling guilty when a potential client would say they couldn’t afford her services. I’ve had that feeling many times, and foolishly buckled to bringing down my rate to something where it was no longer respecting my time and services. She summed it up best, “…let go of the guilt that I can’t help everyone.”
The other tip in the article that I need to follow more is #3 Take a Walk and #6 Get Away for a Day or Two. Staying home and just not going out is not the same. My home is my office, and it’s filled with personal projects that also peek at me from behind their boxes and I feel like I should at least be doing those. I remind myself to just go look at my OmniFocus “Due” perspective and only worry about what is there.
Walks are so underrated, I had forgotten how cathartic they can be. We took a peaceful, albeit very cold walk yesterday along the river. It reminded me how much I like what I do, along with memories of our days driving up Route 7 and planning out our future. It gave me hope. I know it sounds kind of cheesy, but somedays it’s what I need to be reminded life is about. The dreams and reaching for them.
Thank you to my dreamer, who constantly reminds me to never give up.
December 20th, 2009
I haven’t shared much of my web design work. The Housatonic Friends Meeting website is based off of the Hemmingway theme for WordPress. Quakers are by a rule simple and plain and my objective was to keep the site that way as well. I integrated a Flickr feed of photos of the meeting house, along with a Google Calendar feed for the events. I’m still building secure sections of the site for the minutes and other documents.
Visit the site: http://housatonicmeeting.org
December 13th, 2009
While doing errands this morning in the bitter cold, the ideas going through my head were the different items I want to service on my car. It frustrates me to no end that I slacked on keeping the wheels clean over the past 4 years and because of that, brake dust has become caked on.
I look under the hood and there’s definitely surface rust on strut bolts and my air horns need to be polished and other items need a coat of armor all. These little things irk me. To add to it, my hood has some chips (8 years of highway commuting, it’s a miracle it’s not worse) and this past fall an acorn tree did some dent damage.
I want to bring my wonderful 8 year old vehicle back to new. Ok, well maybe not brand new, but looking good and feeling tight again. Of course this will take some money and definitely time on my part.
This got me thinking about how much my father’s meticulous attention to detail and care for all items in our home has carried on to me. When I was younger this was a bit insanely stressful. I was always in fear of things not looking exactlyas how I borrowed them.
All of this led me to realize, I am willing to take ridiculous measures to keep things looking new, in pristine shape and thus the ability to last a long time, except my own body. Most celebrities musicians or actors have to treat their bodies as a product, because it is for their professions. I have never really looked at mine like this, instead it was the one item hindering me from just getting things I wanted to get done. Ironically enough, my thought process has been more of a, “When is someone coming to take care of this thing”.
That thing is my own body, so no one else, other than me is going to be taking care of it. For most people this is pretty obvious, but I’ve spent the last 10+ years doing most of my living in my head; reading, studying, creating, analyzing, philosophising. Much like my car, with time and money it is possible to restore my body to a better state, looking “new” again.
October 13th, 2009
I forget sometimes how lucky I’ve been in life. This happens often since I’m typically consumed by the current moment and how it may or may not be living up to my standards. Perspective and time often help rectify this situation.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some very talented people over the years, and still do currently. Some people I’ve connected with in the field I’ve never even met in person and I’m regularly humbled by their talents. They inspire me. They also remind me I’m not alone and it’s a process that keeps me growing.
I’m taking a risk, something I don’t seem to like to do when it comes to my career and have said “yes” to several side projects. My time is limited but I need to feel inspired and alive again. The opportunities that have been presented to me recently are exciting, challenging, inspiring and making me very happy.
I hope to look back at this time with a large smile on my face for having grabbed the reins and taken my life in a direction I wanted to go in.
And to think I haven’t even received my copy of Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It book.