Behind the Scenes: Having a Singular Focus for Your Web Design Business

There’s a lot of talk about specialization in the web design industry. The idea is to focus on a specific type of clientele, tool, or project.

That means different things to different people. For some, it may entail building websites only with a content management system (CMS) like WordPress. Others may tailor their services to attract clients within a specific industry, such as medical or non-profit organizations.

One of the benefits of this singular focus is that a designer can gain an understanding of industry-specific needs and challenges. From there, it’s theoretically possible to offer a more customized (and profitable) experience than someone who works as a jack-of-all-trades. That expertise becomes attractive to clients and, before you know it, you become a go-to source for solutions.

Running this type of web design business is not without pitfalls, however. Success isn’t guaranteed. And, if you’re focusing on a specific industry, establishing credibility can be difficult.

Let’s take a look at the risks, benefits, and challenges of having a singular focus. Along the way, we’ll hear from a web designer who’s taken the plunge.

An Opportunity to Follow Your Passion

While money is always a consideration in business, it’s not necessarily the best reason to pursue a niche. A passion for the type of work you do and the people you work with is a better place to start. It’s more likely to lead you in the right direction and fuel growth.

For web designer Tara Claeys, her passion led to a realization. As she puts it, “I realized my favorite projects and clients were all education/school and non-profit organizations. I decided to go all-in and announce that I would only be working with this type of client from that point forward…”

And the goals for her new venture were simple: “I hoped this would make it easier to say ‘no’ to projects that I didn’t want to do… and over time would establish that I was a ‘go to’ for my niche”.

When you follow your passion, you’re more likely to put in the necessary groundwork – and do so happily. That could result in more in-depth knowledge and experience. It’s something you’ll want to share with every client.

That approach can put you on the fast track to both personal fulfillment and financial success.

An Uphill Climb to Visibility

Deciding to jump into a niche with both feet is a calculated risk. It can take time to build your brand. Meanwhile, lucrative projects outside of your new specialty may feel like missed opportunities.

If you don’t hit the ground running, the possibility of financial strain is real. Thus, it’s tempting to take on those other projects. It’s an understandable decision, but one with a slippery slope. The danger is in becoming too busy to go for the projects you want.

One of the big challenges is in establishing a footprint. This is especially difficult in sectors where there is a lot of competition. It may take several projects and some word-of-mouth to make a name for yourself.

This was something Claeys experienced. She notes that her greatest difficulty was “getting my name out in the industry as an expert/becoming known and trusted.”

Even if you have vast experience in building a specific type of website, there’s a lot of time and effort required to be seen as an authority. Building a portfolio of successful projects is important, but only part of the process.

The other half of the equation is in sharing what you know. Things like writing blog posts, speaking at industry events, and networking can help. It can be a lot of extra work but will introduce you to people within the areas you want to target.

That’s opposed to another popular tactic – cold-calling potential clients. For Claeys, “That was a waste of time and energy.” Indeed, it may be more effective to establish an identity and encourage people to come to you.

A person standing in a foggy field.

When Your Business Reflects Who You Are

You’ve put in the hard work and things have taken off. Now what? Claeys tells us that the rewards have been numerous.

“…I have loved every project I have taken on and have developed and enhanced a process to serve school and non-profit clients. It is easier to close sales because I am passionate and an ‘expert’”. In addition, this niche focus allows her to more easily identify potential clients.

And perhaps those are the best reasons to become a specialist. The chance to utilize your talents on projects you love sounds very compelling.

Still, it may not be for everyone – and that’s OK. Taking a broader approach to your career and business can be profitable and satisfying. A variety of projects can also be a great way to learn, after all.

But for those with a passion, specialization has some fantastic benefits. Tara Claeys is an example of how to make it a reality.

Thanks to Tara Claeys for sharing her experiences with us!

The post Behind the Scenes: Having a Singular Focus for Your Web Design Business appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.1clanek.info/?p=1084

Testing Your Marketing Efforts as a Freelancer Designer

In today’s freelancing climate, one of the best things you can do in terms of marketing yourself is to think in what I like to call “Test Terms.”

What does this mean? When a food company is developing a new product to release into the market, they don’t simply travel in a straight line from recipe to manufacturing to stocking the shelves at the grocery store. What happens is they perform a series of tests, which allow them to tweak their product until it gets just the right kind of response they’re looking for.

As a designer, it’s eminently possible to plan out a system that allows you to do the same thing, with similar results. However, many people remain stuck on one method of promotion, believing they’re too busy working to devote too much time to marketing themselves.

But the sad paradox of that belief is that, by not adjusting the way they market themselves, these freelance designers will always be too busy scraping by. They’re not getting the exposure they need to be choosier about the types of jobs they can take on, because the only jobs available are the ones that limited exposure gets them.

Everyone Tests Everything

One of the best ways to test consumers’ reactions to new food products is to get their direct feedback. Starting with just one local area, a company will test out a variety of different approaches to everything about the product. And I mean everything.

Do people in this small town like the taste of this new product, or do they hate it? If they hate it, it’s back to the test kitchens to improve the recipe. Are they repelled by the packaging?

Get that designer back in here – time to revise! Are the ads falling flat? Well, you get the idea.

Every tiny detail of this new product gets tested and re-tested, adjusted and refined wherever needed. After they’ve made enough improvements that people are now responding well to the product, it’s time to take it to a new area. This process gets repeated again and again until there’s a hugely positive response and people are stockpiling the new food item like they’re preparing for Armageddon.

A similar process happens, by the way, in the movie business, the government (think road signs or jury duty summonses aren’t tested? Think again), and other consumer industries like toys and games.

Testing is a proven strategy to improving a product’s chances of success, and as a designer, you can very easily start taking advantage of some of these sophisticated testing methods to place yourself practically in the lap of your most desired clients. Of course, you can and do test your approaches to design, but trying out new ways of marketing is easier to implement in your regular schedule than you might think.

Sharpen Your Pencils

Start with your main marketing approach, which might be your website, your business card, your cover letter, or your resume. How well does this approach work for you? Are the clients beating down your door, or is something not quite working the way it’s supposed to?

If you regularly hand out business cards at networking events, are they completely up to date? Do they display the important information clearly? Are you giving them to the right people? That last one is an important detail that many creative freelancers miss.

Business cards are practically useless if you don’t use them properly. At a networking event, the people you typically end up chatting with aren’t people who can provide you with tons of high-quality work.

They’re people just like you – struggling entrepreneurs who need services on the cheap. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work with these people, but it’s important to keep in mind the overall value of a client when you’re passing out those expensive business cards.

How good of a return on your investment will you be getting? Test out handing your business card to a different sort of person than you ordinarily would, and see what type of response you get.

In a similar way, your website may or may not be bringing you the steady stream of work that it could be. You may be the most brilliant, multifaceted designer the world has ever seen, and yet if no one knows about your work, you might as well be invisible.

The real key to getting better quality clients is not to put as much of your work “out there” as you possibly can. It’s making sure that the work you’ve done is being seen by the maximum number of eyeballs.

In the design world, the best way to do this, in my opinion, is by doing a personal side project that you really love and are passionate about.

chef The Gold Standard Of Eating

The Gold Standard Of Eating

It turns out that as a designer operating a business as a freelancer, you should be adjusting everything you do to market yourself – all the time.

What do I mean by adjusting? In many restaurants, well before the rush of customers comes in, chefs create something called a Gold Standard, a single plate that sets the, well, standard for all the plates the kitchen will produce for that day.

It’s such an important part of the culinary process that the plates used in most restaurants – the ones you eat your main course on – are known as Gold Standard Plates.

The original Gold Standard is a test plate – any changes to the dish are tried out there first. If something is off about the flavor, the ingredients, or the arrangement of the items, the Gold Standard will be the laboratory where those things can be tweaked.

As a designer, incorporating a similar philosophy will be helpful in streamlining your marketing process. Creating your own “Gold Standard” of promotion will allow you to make quick adjustments locally, to one portion of your marketing campaign, before you roll out those changes to everything else.

Whether it’s your website’s analytics, your business card, or your resume, zoom in on one single marketing material and find out what works and what doesn’t.

Usually the information you learn is transferable to other parts of your marketing package, and you may even discover that one or more of your marketing materials are unnecessary.

You definitely need to have a website if you design them for a living, but what about business cards? A CV? Social media? How well are these things really working to directly deliver you the clients you want?

Different types of clients care about different things. Maybe your clients don’t care so much about your resume, but they would really love to read your personal blog or Twitter updates. Other clients might be the exact opposite – it’s essential to know your market and be able to provide them the proof they’re looking for that tells them you’re the designer for the job.

The post Testing Your Marketing Efforts as a Freelancer Designer appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.1clanek.info/?p=1082

50 Free Christmas Templates & Resources for Designers

With Christmas just a few weeks away, all you designers will undoubtedly start to plan the designs of your personalized Christmas cards, invitations, posters, wallpapers, and everything else in between that is Christmas or holiday season-related.

So, to help you out, we have a fantastic collection of free Christmas and holiday season resources and templates we know you will love.

We haven’t chosen traditional resources. Instead, we have focussed on those resources that have been designed using modern design trends. You’ll find seasonal illustration templates and icon sets, line-styled Photoshop Brushes, retro-styled characters, hand-drawn invitation templates, and finally, free seasonal fonts and wintery Photoshop Actions that scream, “Merry Christmas!”

Christmas Illustration Templates

56 Free Christmas 3d Illustrations (PNG)

24 Illustrated Christmas Elements (EPS & JPG)

24 Illustrated Christmas Elements

3 Christmas Illustrations (PSD)

Christmas Illustrations

12 Hand-Drawn Christmas Cards & Patterns (PSD & AI)

12 Hand-Drawn Christmas Cards & Patterns

14 Free Christmas Illustration Templates (SVG, EPS & PNG)

14 Free Christmas Illustration Templates

10 Illustrated Christmas Cards (EPS & JPG)

10 Illustrated Christmas Cards

Free Christmas & New Year Illustrations (AI)

Free Christmas & New Year Illustrations

Christmas Illustrated Icon Pack (SVG & PNG)

Christmas Illustrated Icon Pack

Christmas Vector Illustration Kit (EPS, PNG & JPG, on Envato Elements)

Christmas Vector Illustration Kit

Santa Claus with Swagg Illustrations (AI, Designed by Jordan Succar)

santa Claus with Swagg Illustrations free holidays

Santa on a Motorcycle Vector Template (AI, EPS, JPG & PNG, on Envato Elements)

Santa on a Motorcycle Vector Template

Isometric Merry Christmas Vector (AI, EPS & JPG, on Envato Elements)

Isometric Merry Christmas Vector

Christmas Vector Letters Background (EPS)

Christmas Vector Letters Background free holidays

Merry Christmas Vector Illustration Concept (AI, EPS & JPG, on Envato Elements)

Merry Christmas Vector Illustration Concept

Christmas Illustrations (AI, JPG, PDF & SVG, on Envato Elements)

Christmas Illustrations

Merry Christmas Typographic Christmas Greeting Illustration (EPS)

Merry Christmas Typographic Christmas Greeting Illustration free holidays

95 Winter & Christmas Illustrations (AI, EPS, PSD & PNG, on Envato Elements)

95 Winter Christmas Illustrations

Happy Holidays Free Vector Illustration (AI, Designed by Marko Jotic)

Happy Holidays Free Vector Illustration free holidays

Santa, Reindeer and Christmas Pudding Vectors (AI & EPS, Designed by Jenny Hadfield)

Santa Reindeer Christmas Pudding Vectors free holidays

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Background Illustration (EPS)

Merry Christmas Happy New Year Background Illustration free holidays

Christmas Icon Sets

25 Free Christmas Icons (SVG)

25 Free Christmas Icons

47 Christmas Icons (SVG, on Envato Elements)

47 Christmas Icons

33 Christmas & Winter Icon Set (AI, EPS, SVG & PNG)

33 Christmas Winter Icon Set free holidays

Merry Minimal Christmas Icon Set (AI, JPG, EPS & PNG, on Envato Elements)

Merry Minimal Christmas Icon Set

12 Hand-Drawn Style Merry Icons (AI, EPS, PSD & PNG)

12 Hand-Drawn Style Merry Icons free holidays

Christmas Icons (PSD & JPG, on Envato Elements)

Christmas Icons

Christmas Icons Vector Set (AI & EPS)

Christmas Icons Vector Set free holidays

Line & Solid Christmas Icons (AI, EPS & JPG, on Envato Elements)

Line & Solid Christmas Icons

8 Christmas Icons (Sketch App)

8 Christmas Icons  free holidays

78 Christmas Icons (AI)

78 Christmas Icons free holidays

Christmas Icon Set (EPS)

Christmas Icon Set free holidays

Christmas Vector Icon Set (EPS)

Christmas Vector Icon Set free holidays

15 Flat Vector Icons for Christmas (AI)

15 Flat Vector Icons for Christmas free holidays

15 Flat Christmas Icons (AI)

15 Flat Christmas Icons free holidays

32 Christmas Vector Icon Set (EPS & AI)

32 Christmas Vector Icon Set free holidays

12 Vector Holiday Icons (AI)

12 Vector Holiday Icons free holidays

16 Vector Christmas Icons (AI & EPS)

 free holidays

15 Flat Holiday Icons (AI)

16 Vector Christmas Icons free holidays

Christmas Badge & Logo Templates

Christmas Vector Elements (AI & EPS)

Christmas Vector Elements free holidays

Christmas Sharp Badges (AI & EPS, on Envato Elements)

Christmas Sharp Badges

Vintage Vector Christmas Badges Pack (AI)

Vintage Vector Christmas Badges Pack free holidays

Black and White Vector Christmas Badges Pack (AI)

Black and White Vector Christmas Badges Pack free holidays

Christmas Flyer & Invitation Templates

Christmas Flyer Set (AI & PSD, on Envato Elements)

Christmas Flyer Set

Christmas Flyer Template (PSD, on Envato Elements)

Christmas Flyer Template

Vector Vintage Party Christmas Flyer Template (AI & PSD)

Vector Vintage Party Christmas Flyer Template free holidays

Free Christmas & Happy New Year Party Flyer Template & Mockup (PSD)

Free Christmas Happy New Year Party Flyer Template Mockup free holidays

Real Photo Invitation or Greeting Card Mockup (PSD)

Real Photo Invitation or Greeting Card Mockup free holidays

Free Christmas Flyer Mockup (PSD)

Free Christmas Flyer Mockup free holidays

Christmas Party Invitation with Hand-drawn Santa Vector (AI & EPS)

Christmas Party Invitation with Hand-drawn Santa Vector free holidays

Christmas Banner & Label Templates

A Huge Christmas & New Year Vector Banner Kit (AI & EPS)

Huge Christmas New Year Vector Banner Kit free holidays

Retro Distressed Christmas Label Set (AI & EPS)

Retro Distressed Christmas Label Set free holidays

Christmas Photoshop Brush Packs

126 Christmas Doodles Brush Pack (Photoshop)

126 Christmas Doodles Brush Pack free holidays

Free Christmas in July Holiday Brushes (Procreate)

Free Christmas in July Holiday Brushes

91 Christmas Brush Collection (Photoshop)

91 Christmas Brush Collection free holidays

13 Christmas Stamp Brushes (Photoshop)

13 Christmas Stamp Brushes free holidays

Christmas Patterns

Snowmen Vector Free Seamless Pattern (AI, EPS & PNG)

Snowmen Vector Free Seamless Pattern

Christmas Gifts Vector Free Seamless Pattern (AI, EPS & PNG)

Christmas Gifts Vector Free Seamless Pattern

Snowman & Santa Seamless Pattern Graphic (EPS & JPG)

Snowman & Santa Seamless Pattern Graphic

20 Christmas Colors Patterns for Photoshop (JPG & Photoshop Patterns)

20 Christmas Colors Patterns for Photoshop free holidays

26 Vintage-Retro Xmas Patterns (Photoshop Patterns)

26 Vintage-Retro Xmas Patterns free holidays

Christmas Fonts

Free Honey Christmas Decorative Font

Free Honey Christmas Decorative Font

Happy Christmas Script Font (on Envato Elements)

Happy Christmas Script Font

Free Christmas Festive Serif Font

Free Christmas Festive Serif Font

Snowy Decorative Christmas Font (on Envato Elements)

Snowy Decorative Christmas Font

Merry Christmas Free Font

Merry Christmas Free Font free holidays

Christmas Time Free Font

Christmas Time Free Font free holidays

Christmas Photoshop Actions

3 Free Christmas Actions (Photoshop)

3 Free Christmas Actions free holidays

50 Christmas Lightroom Presets LUTs (on Envato Elements)

50 Christmas Lightroom Presets LUTs

3 Christmas Photoshop Actions (Photoshop)

3 Christmas Photoshop Actions free holidays

10 ‘Make it Snow’ Actions (Photoshop)

10 Make it Snow Actions free holidays

The post 50 Free Christmas Templates & Resources for Designers appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

50 Beautiful Christmas Wallpapers for Your Desktop

With Christmas just a few weeks away, now is the perfect time to give yourself a little bit of seasonal cheer by decorating your desktop with a beautiful Christmas wallpaper.

All fifty of the wallpapers below have been photographed by professional photographers or created by designers, and are all free to download and use. You will find decorated trees, red candy canes, winter scenery, vintage seasonal scenes, sparkling lights, stockings hanging over the fireplace, people celebrating, perfectly wrapped gifts, cute dogs in Santa hats, and so much more.

Go on, grab yourself a high-resolution Christmas desktop wallpaper, and bring some seasonal cheer to your desktop background!

Santa’s Treasure & Merry Christmas by Cris DiNoto

Christmas Decoration Art by Brooke Lark

Decoration Art christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Puppy in Santa Hat by Jakob Owens

Puppy in Santa Hat christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Two Red Candy Canes by Joanna Kosinska

Two Red Candy Canes christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Rustic Christmas Gifts by Nietjuh

Rustic Christmas Gifts hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Merry Xmas LED Sign by Tom Rickhuss

Merry Xmas LED Sign christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Santa Claus Holding Clothes Iron by Cottonbro

Santa Claus Holding Clothes Iron christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Christmas Vibe Illustration by Sam Ji

Vibe Illustration christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

White & Gray Christmas Wall Decorations by Joanna Kosinska

White Gray Christmas Wall Decorations hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Holiday Season Christmas Tree by Lilla Bardenova

Holiday Season Christmas Tree hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Feliz Nevidad Rustic Christmas Scene by Beatriz Pérez Moya

Feliz Nevidad Rustic Christmas Scene hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Santa Clause Eating Cookie by Gratisography

Santa Clause Eating Cookie christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Pine Tree in Snowfield by Lionello DelPiccolo

Pine Tree in Snowfield christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Woman Holding Christmas Gift by Kira auf der Heide

Woman Holding Christmas Gift hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Santa Claus is Superman Ilustration by Beibei MUG

Santa Claus is Superman Ilustration christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Wooden Christmas Doll Scene by Couleur

Wooden Christmas Doll Scene christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Winter Love Illustration by Erikas

Winter Love Illustration christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Vintage Santa Cat Photo by Rawpixel

Vintage Santa Cat Photo christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Christmas Stockings Hanging on Fireplace by Dan LeFebvre

Stockings Hanging on Fireplace christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Festive Cookies & Milk by Nietjuh

Festive Cookies & Milk christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Christmas Culture Trip by Jean-Michel Perchet

Culture Trip christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Woman Holding Christmas Lights by Valeria Boltneva

Woman Holding Christmas Lights hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Greeting Card Calligraphy on Tree by Jessica Lewis

Greeting Card Calligraphy on Tree christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Puppy Playing with Christmas Ribbon by Jakob Owens

Puppy Playing with Christmas Ribbon hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Christmas Scene by Nick Fewings

scene christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Holding a Small Christmas Parcel by Ben White

Holding Small Christmas Parcel christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Vintage Happy Holidays by Cris DiNoto

Vintage Happy Holidays christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Merry Christmas Handwriting Card by Rawpixel

Merry Christmas Handwriting Card hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Bokeh Merry Christmas by Nietjuh

Bokeh Merry Christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Lichterkette Christmas Lights & Decorations by Couleur

Lights Decorations christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Stacked Christmas Gift Wrapping by Yvette Fang

Stacked Christmas Gift Wrapping hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Wrapping a Gift Present by Kira auf der Heide

Wrapping a Gift Present christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Woman Wearing Christmas Socks by Tookapic

Woman Wearing Christmas Socks hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Christmas Delivery by Wallpaper Cave

Delivery christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Pulling Christmas Tree Illustration by Wallpaper Cave

Pulling Christmas Tree Illustration hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Little Elf People by Paige Cody

Little Elf People christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Cat & Christmas Stockings

Cat Christmas Stockings hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Candy Canes & Assorted Christmas Items by Jeshoots

Candy Canes christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Gift Boxes with Red Baubles by Mel Poole

Gift Boxes with Red Baubles christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Bringing Home the Christmas Tree by Denise Johnson

Bringing Home the Christmas Tree hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Small Dog Writing a Christmas Card by Rawpixel

Small Dog Writing a Christmas Card hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Merry Text & Christmas Wreath by Debby Hudson

Merry Text & Christmas Wreath hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Christmas Gift Boxes by Freestocks

Christmas Gift Boxes hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Minimal Christmas Trees by Maria

Minimal Christmas Trees hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Rustic Christmas Tree Decoration by Andréas Brun

Rustic Christmas Tree Decoration hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Christmas Present Illustration by Lilla Bardenova

Christmas Present Illustration hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Cute Puppy Wearing Santa Hat by Rhaúl V. Alva

Cute Puppy Wearing Santa Hat christmas hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Red Christmas Tree Baubles by Sean Wells

Red Christmas Tree Baubles hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

Red Coffee Christmas Scene by Toa Heftiba

Red Coffee Christmas Scene hd wallpaper desktop high-resolution background

The post 50 Beautiful Christmas Wallpapers for Your Desktop appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.1clanek.info/?p=961