The 2016 Artful Business Conference

artful business conference 2

 

The Artful Business Conference is only THREE weeks away. Why is this important, you say? Well, you know how I said after my review of last year’s conference that I thought it might be life-changing but I’d let you know?

 

I’m pretty sure it was.

 

Thanks to Karen Gunton, I’ve found my ‘thing’. (It’s Beauty. My purpose is to put it out into the world, in whatever form that takes. And yes, it’s a massive shift for me.)

Thanks to Sylvia Chierchia, I’ve got a MUCH better handle on my money, and my money situation has improved drastically.

And thanks to the founder of this beautiful conference, Elle Roberts, I’m facing my fears and doing it anyway. (F’rinstance: before, I struggled to find photos of me that I even liked. Now, I’m the selfie queen, and I’ve got a good dozen videos under my belt (yeah yeah, I know they’re short, but it’s a start!)). And I’m pushing myself out there in lots of other ways – new products, and a (ahem) webinar in the planning stages.

Soooo, I totally admit I’m not where I want to be just yet, but I feel like I’ve changed so much for the better, and I’ve pushed forward to that place bigtime.

BIG TIME.

 

What’s in store for the 2016 conference?

ArtfulBizCon 2015

ArtfulBizCon 2015 – and yes you can bring your baby!

 

This is going to be the fourth year in a row that I’ve attended, I would LOVE it if you joined me there. If you’ve been hiding under a rock, this is THE two-day creative conference for small business owners – whether you’re a maker, or business coach, or anything in between. It’s about practical knowledge, mindset work, plus gorgeous, gorgeous women all believing in each other and helping each other step up – what’s not to love!?

This year’s speakers including host and founder, Elle Roberts, talking about Personal Branding & Tribe Building; the amazing and dynamic Tash Corbin speaking about building your biz with passive income; artist and psychologist Felicity  O’Connor telling us about building a business as a creative artist and addressing the particular set of parameters and problems that artists have; Katie Wyatt talking about building your biz with podcasting – and a WHOLE BUNCH more wonderful speakers. There are also workshops, VIP breakfasts, and a whole host of other fun things planned. It’s on the 28th and 29th May at Rydges in Melbourne (so it’ll be swish, and I’m totally frocking up for it!).

 

Artful Business Conference 2015

(here’s me with Jacara and Lyn last year)

 

Once again, I’m a super duper proud affiliate (why wouldn’t I be!?) and I’ve got a super duper bonus if you buy through my link.  Not only do you get all the wonderfulness of this beautiful business conference, you also get a free 1hr 1:1 brand coaching session with me PLUS 2 x branded graphics that you can use for social media or anything else you need (my package alone is worth $240 – way more value than the cost of a Virtual Access ticket).

 

Book your ticket here and I’ll see you there!

 

Don’t miss it.

Julie xxx

 

So, you want to brand your crafty biz?

Brand Your Craft 14 day e-course

 

OH MY GOODNESS. So freaking proud of this little baby – it’s the new e-course I wrote for Jess Van Den over at Create & Thrive, specifically aimed at makers in business who want to get all their ducks in a row (and their branding right).

Seriously, how good are these testimonials about it already!? –

 

I am so glad I decided to do this course – I wish I could have done it years ago!

Even though I’ve had my business for a couple of years and have been continually working on creating a cohesive brand, this course really helped me to identify some areas where I was lacking and some that I hadn’t even thought of.

It’s delivered in manageable chunks, is easy to follow and is full of thought provoking ideas. The daily action steps are easy to complete and very worthwhile. –  ~ Vicki O’dell-Fontana

 

The Brand Your Craft course is a definite must-do for anyone running a handmade business, or even looking at starting one.

With simple step-by-step daily actions, it will help you to develop the design skills you need to create your own unique brand.

You don’t need to be a designer to start.

This course will give you everything you need to learn the basics so you can build your own beautiful brand for your business. ~ Donna Duncombe

 

Or this –

[This] latest class on branding is amazing whether you’re just getting started in business, or have been doing this for a while.

It’s delivered in a way that’s easy to consume yet packs a huge punch – you end up accomplishing so much over the 14 days!

I’ve done a lot of work on my brand, but there’s always room to grow, and this course helped me step back and look at my branding with fresh eyes, tightening and adjusting to make it even stronger.

Most of all: I love that it’s aimed specifically at product-based businesses, so I could really relate it to what I do! ~ Arielle Rassel

 

 

So yeah, I know I wrote it and all and of course I reckon it’s pretty darn good, but you really can’t beat testimonials like that. If you run a handmade biz, you’ll love it. Promise.

 

It’s a $65 investment, runs for 14 days, with one lesson per day delivered in written format.
Check all the details here.

 

Julie X

 

Best 5 tips for branding: Part 4 – Give yourself time

 

5 best branding tips1- time

 

OK! You’re excited! You’re busting to go! You’ve got those fonts sorted! You’ve got your colours too! You’ve found the most awesome-est collection of public domain/creative commons images EVA, and you’ve been to the photographer and got some super hot shots for your profile pics. Let’s do it! YAY!

 

But here’s the thing: your brand will not, in all likelihood, come together at once. How on earth do you put those graphic design elements together in a meaningful and consistent way? How big should each element be? Where should everything go?Layout/composition is yet another piece of the branding puzzle. You need to consider it for every graphic you put out into the world. What goes on your business card and where? Your website design? Flyers? SM graphics? Packaging? And what about those fancy watercolour overlays you want to include? Or those colour blocks? Where do you use them? And how much do you use? How much is too much?

 

It seems there are endless decisions to make (and perhaps there are). But the important thing is to start. Keep your brand style guide close by, and keep one eye on it every time you make yourself a new graphic. At the same time, keep the other eye on your ideal customer and ask them, do they like it? Is it balanced/edgy/real/beautiful/wild/romantic/whatever enough for them? And does it feel right for you and your brand?

Once you’ve settled on your style guide, stick to it (for a good while at least). Tweak it, don’t change it. You’ll grow into it, and it’ll become more and more comfortable, like your favourite pair of jeans. And like your favourite pair of jeans, you’ll get to know what accessories look good – use your style guide frequently and you’ll know how to mix and match your elements so that they look right every time. Keep practising, keep going, and get inventive with what you have.

 

And yes of course, in all likelihood there’ll come a time when those jeans don’t feel right any more – they’re old and daggy and it’s time for a complete change.  You’ll know when that is.

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(ps. Update: This is Tip 4 of my 5 best tips. You can find all 5  tips for branding here.)


(pps. I know this particular tip was short and to the point – but I stand by it; it’s absolutely my top tip.

Of course, there’s a whole lot more to branding than 5 simple pointers. If you seriously want to knuckle down and sort out your branding AND be thrilled with your results, go grab a copy of my 92-page e-book, “VIZ BIZ: Branding for Small Business ” hereIt’s my 20+years of experience in design and teaching all bundled into a neat package. Because you don’t have 20 years to figure it all out – do you?)

Julie x

How to get your business started on a shoestring budget

How to Get Started on a Shoestring Budget

ieva lacaine - shoestring budget

Guest post by Ieva Laicane

Building your own business is one of the most exciting and challenging things anyone can do. Pulling off your own business on a shoestring budget is the next level of challenging. How to do it without spending nerve-wracking hours staring at your bank account and even more important – where to invest to succeed?

The good thing is: there are many services that are offering free plans for the very basic or even all the necessary features. You can not only start using apps like Evernote, Buffer, Canva, Google Apps without worrying about monetary investment but also try out the ones that are offering a free trial period. Find what suits the best for you and your business!

If you’re just beginning and your budget is tight there are only very few things that you really should invest in:

 

Your website

Proper website is one of the main things that make your business look legit. Domain and host won’t cost you much, just make sure to choose the service you feel comfortable using. You don’t have to invest in a custom design or development. Start out small, start from where you are and go from there, step by step!

 

Custom e-mail

There are loads of arguing going on about whether you should create custom e-mail like name@yourdomain.com instead of name@gmail.com. I’m standing along with those who say that custom e-mail IS important. As the general rule stands: personalized business e-mail will make you look more legit along the other business owners. It might not always be true but it will give the right impression!

 

Accounting and invoicing app

To ease up your daily life you should seriously consider spending some money for any of many accounting apps. That way you can save loads of time as well as your own sanity. After all: it is important to get some money rolling and accounting is a big part of your business but you might be not all that comfortable with these questions yourself. Apps like Wave or Freshbooks will be the right choice for you!

 

Branding design

There’s no need to go full-out on a whole graphic design package, but it’s important that you at least start with a really strong idea of who you are, who your audience is, and how you can help them. To start with, keep your visual branding elements simple, but be consistent with them – use the same colours and fonts across everything you produce – your blog header, your newsletter, your graphics, your business card, etc. Being consistent with your visual elements helps to convey the idea of consistency and trustworthiness in business too.

 

Once you’ve set up the very basics and you’re looking forward to do the next investments, I’d suggest you to consider:

Accountant or VA

Hiring help is a scary thing to do. You’re not only trusting someone who you might not know but you will also get back a bit of your own freedom! Don’t be afraid to add accountant or Virtual Assistant (VA) to your daily life. That way you will be able to spend more time doing what you actually love instead of doing the tasks that can be done by someone else.

 

Custom design and development for your website

If you’re not a designer or developer and you’ve created your website all on your own, it might be super important to take the next step and reach out to a designer and/or developer. There are many offers out there who are tailored to specific businesses and one of them will be the best one for you. It’s a big investment that will go a long way!

 

Program and app upgrades

When your business is stable, it’s the right time to check all the programs and apps you’re using and consider upgrading some of them. Please, keep in mind: the fact that you have some money for that doesn’t mean you actually have to do it if you don’t feel like it. Many people are fine with the basic plans for their apps and programs but maybe for you it could be the way to be able to take your business to the next level!

If you feel like all this is already said and done for your business, great for you! There are several other ways how you can build your business bigger and stronger from there:

– Hire a business coach;

– Upgrade your laptop/camera and other technique you’re using for your business;

– Buy e-books from the best in the field or take some online classes (e-courses);

– Hire social media manager or graphic designer;

– Upgrade your office space or buy a membership to a coworking place.

 

After all, always remember: business does take investment and you shouldn’t be afraid to make one! In the same time, be mindful about where your money goes and how well it’s spent and your business will succeed.

 

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Author Bio:

Ieva is a website designer & strategist traveling and working as a digital nomad. Ever since she found freelancing it become her biggest passion, therefore, she came up with an online course for new freelancers and became a new freelancer coach at www.readysetstartfreelancing.com You can follow her at www.twitter.com/therandomp.

Rebranding tractorgirl – video #4 – it’s all in the details

We’re up to video #4 for rebranding tractorgirl – go me! I’ve been having lots of fun working stuff out – including working out how to edit video, which has been so very useful. And I still get butterflies about actually doing the video in the first place, but the ONLY way to get better is to practice, right!?

Let’s look at today’s content.

So once you’ve got your colours and fonts sorted (peeps on my special Rebrand list will already have had the reveal on where tractorgirl’s going with this ;D ) – now it’s time to add in the finishing touches (which my peeps will also already have seen!). I start this video with two of my very favouritest quotes from the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe –

“Less is more”

and

“God is in the details”

They’re NOT contradictory statements – it’s all about getting to the essentials of what you want to express.

 

As I say, your graphic design fundamentals (they are ESSENTIAL) are Alignment, Hierarchy, and Negative Space. PLEASE consider them each and every time you lay out any of your visual stuff – website, business card, brochures, social media posts, memes, … EVERYTHING. To ignore these things is doing you damage. OOOOH! It totally gets me ranty.

 

Get your audience concentrating on your message, not the mess.

 

Right! Now I’ve got that off my chest, I wanted to let you know that I’ve got one more video to go – it’ll be the wrap up of the rebrand, and I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the whole process, as well as winners of my meme comp (if you’re on my Rebrand list, all the details are in my last newsletters and you’ve only got until MIDNIGHT TONIGHT to enter), and I’ll announcing some special offers on conjunction with the rebrand!

Stay tuned.

Julie x

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(p.s. As always, if you’ve got any questions, comments, suggestions, anything {and TOTALLY include a link to your site and ask for feedback}, pop a comment below. I’d love to hear!)