All posts by Signa Marketing

Stop selling and start giving

Truth be told no one wants to be sold anything. Yeah I said it. Do you like it when you’re home chilling in your Batman pj’s and someone rings your doorbell and it’s someone trying to sell you the latest special for pest control or alarm system? no right? but if you’re one of those that constantly post offers on social media that is exactly the same thing.

In the same way you’re trying to enjoy a peaceful evening at home people on social media are trying to enjoy themselves and the last thing they want to see is a sales pitch or offer.

I know you would like to think your offer is so damn compelling that people will stop their scrolling to check it out and share it with their homeboys or homegirl but sorry bruh not happening.

Without getting too technical–or psychological you need to understand how the brain reacts to offers or sales pitches. You see the brain goes into defense mode anytime it sees something that A. Isn’t tailored made for them — like a generic offer created for everyone and B. They are not seeking on their own terms for example a google search versus a pop-up ad.

This is why I wrote this post because I constantly see the same people posting the same offers with no engagement, no comments, no sharing, no retweets just crickets.

The best thing you can do if you have something to sell is put yourself in the shoes of people who will see your post (or scroll pass your post). Would you react better to a post of someone trying to sell you something or a post by someone who can provide value in a form of helping you or answering your questions?

Just remember people are not dumb they can see an offer a mile away even if disguised as helpful information so don’t fake it, be genuine. I know doing it this way can seem like a long game which maybe it is but the alternative—selling is a long shot. Now go out there and share what you know, help out where you can and build a community.

 

The truth about finding your purpose

Let me guess you are lost and frustrated? Unlike most of your friends who are happy binging on reality television, getting their news from TMZ and buying things to impress others you have aspirations of doing something meaningful with your life.

Believe me I feel your pain I was lost too and still can be if I forget what I have learned in the last couple weeks. After a year of searching for my purpose it all make sense to me now. Before I get to my revelation let me tell you about what got me here.

Anyone who knows me would never guess I was searching for my purpose after all when I am not talking about graphic and identity design I am participating in online design communities so from the outside looking in it appeared that I had it all together.

Inside however I was a hot mess. I know what I love to do that’s not the issue but I felt there was a big gap between what I love to do and my purpose in life. I did not want to accept the fact that creating brand identity and marketing materials was important enough to define me.

I read countless of books, listened to podcasts and watched youtube videos on finding my purpose and although they seemed to get me closer by reiterating that purpose is defined by your passion in my case graphic design I was still not satisfied.

The problem for many (specially creatives) who are lost like I was is we feel the need to be creating something meaningful and we can feel guilty just making creative stuff. Lucky for me someone put it in a way that no one had before and I would like to believe this was because he had been in my shoes — not similar but the exact shoes.

What this person showed me was to see the thing I love to do for what it truly was — helping businesses define their objectives and get closer to their goals. People start businesses because they are passionate about something and I was doing my part to help them succeed. So my purpose is not graphic design but that I help people succeed, it just happens that design is what brings us together. Suddenly it all made sense!

I had forgotten why I got into this business in the first place. As I got older I began to surround myself with people I viewed as successful because like the great late Jim Rohn said “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” and unknowingly I began to compare myself with what they were doing thus I had began to look at my work as just decorative materials (beautiful decorative materials I might add) but not the big picture.

Your purpose is with you all along it’s just hidden and you have to find a way to dust it off polish it and make it attractive again not for anyone but for yourself.

I hoped this helped you with figuring out your purpose is but if it didn’t just remember your purpose comes from your passion, your passion comes from doing what you love to do.

If you’re still uncertain of what is your passion or purpose is I put together 10 questions to help you out. You don’t have to answer all of them this is just to get you thinking— just a warning the last one is ridiculous but just give it a shot.

  • What activities when doing them make you lose track of time? When you’re in that zone and you look up an hours have gone by.

 

  • What makes you feel great about yourself? The thing that makes you feel like you’re really good at and no one can do it quite like you.

 

  • What would you regret not doing? Several times I quit on graphic design because I couldn’t find a job but I knew if I quit for good I would regret it. What’s your thing?

 

  • If you had to teach one subject or skill what would it be? Just pretend like you had to teach others the one thing you know well.

 

  • What were you passionate about as a child? Looking back at the things you did as a child is great because you didn’t have the distractions you do as an adult and you could focus on the things that made you happy.

 

  • What are issues, concerns or causes that are really meaningful to you? We all have heard stories of people who set their life mission to help less fortunate people that is their purpose what is yours?

 

  • What would you write a book about? If you woke up with the gift of writing like a superstar author what would the book be about?

 

  • For those who use Pinterest what things do find yourself Pining over and over? And I don’t mean dinner ideas but things that you find pinning just because they’re awesome.

 

  • When you are old and in the final years of your life what would like your wikipedia say about you? Include your career title and life accomplishments.

 

  • If you were in the Hunger Games or Twilight Zone and you were forced to pick a job, any job or become a slave which one one you chose? (keep in mind they all pay the same). I know this one is crazy but what the heck you have nothing to lose.

If you answered all of these questions and feel that you now know what your passion and purpose is great!  If you know what your purpose is but still don’t understand how you can do what you love for a living that’s ok. The important thing is that you recognize what makes you happy. Once you have that down it’s time to move on to figuring out how you can make those things come to life — hmmm another blog post idea? yes!

Finding clients may not be your biggest problem

The number one question most creatives ask is how can I find more clients? I know because I used to ask this question over and over myself. The truth is you can have God’s Guide to Finding Clients and guess what? You’ll still not get clients, why?

The truth is many creatives are introverts by nature. Which does not necessarily means that they are shy but are more comfortable being alone or in small groups. If you are one of the lucky ones that has no problem going out there and killing it well more power to you for the rest of us, the struggle is real.

Even deeper than that introverts are more likely to have insecurities and anxiety that keeps them from doing the things needed to have a sustainable business. They are more comfortable doing what they love like making art, developing websites, designing graphics, taking photos, than exhibiting their talents and skills publicly.

I often wondered what was wrong with me I had read almost every article on finding clients and even hired mentors who provided the best hacks that made them successful but nothing was clicking.

It wasn’t until I took a long look in the mirror that I discovered the problem was me. All the advice in the world did not mean a thing if I didn’t believe in myself, well believe in myself to the point that I can indulge the world with my talents anyway.

So before you ask again how do you find clients? Take a look in the mirror and be honest with yourself. If you were to receive the magic list of finding clients would you actually go out there and do the work?

Can you approach or call a stranger and let them know who you are and what you have to offer without anxiety? Can you make videos on a regular bases to build a brand online without the thought alone making your stomach turn? Do you have the confidence to talk about your business so you are viewed as an expert in your craft? Do you have what it takes to work the room at the next network meeting? If not than your problem is not finding clients it’s more like finding you!

Another thing that happens is if you are not confident about your abilities you start coming up with excuses on why you can’t find clients. You start telling yourself things like maybe you are not that good or it’s too competitive out there which are all not true if you know your purpose.

The good news is you can overcome all these weaknesses once you actually take the time to acknowledge them. Once I was able to recognize my weaknesses I was off like a bat out of hell on a mission to take them on one by one. I spent weeks watching Youtube videos and reading books on building confidence, overcoming anxiety, and positive thinking.

I started doing things I would never imagine I would do like starting community workout group, going to network meetings and joining Toastmasters.

I started surrounding myself with people who had want I wanted and what I wanted was confidence and inner strength to do all the things that scared me.

This is what worked for me and I am positive that doing things outside of your comfort zone will change your life for the best and only then will you be able to absorb and implement strategies for finding clients.

Here are my top 10 ways to start building confident to go after what you want:

  • Write down all the things that are holding you back and tackle them one by one. Below are a few ideas to implement.

 

  • Get out of your comfort zone. There is a quote I read that said “Life begins when you get out of your comfort zone” boy that is so true. I felt like I became a new person and finally stop sleepwalking through life once I started doing and conquering the things that scared me.

 

  • Get a mentor that specializes in personal development. An actual person you can talk to is best but if you can’t find one (wink, wink, I’m available) even a famous mentor in a book will be enough to make you feel like they are a part of your life.

 

  • Read, Read and Read! I can’t tell you how important reading is there is not a day that goes by that I am not reading or listen to an audiobook. But make sure it’s books that you can actually learn from, I prefer self development books.  What is funny is that 2 years ago you would have never catch me with a book unless I was trying to smash a scorpion on the wall (Arizona problems).

 

  • Surround yourself with the type of people that you want to be like. I used to be very particular on who I added on Facebook but not anymore if I find positive people online I will add them as friends in a heartbeat and I have become very close to many of them.

 

  • Be the Student and the Teacher. This goes for any issue you want to overcome or skill you want to learn. Become a student of that subject and teach others what you have learned. You don’t have to be an expert just share what you have learned and in return you will learn more about that subject.

 

  • Fake it til you make it! better yet fake it til you become it. The good thing is the mind doesn’t know the difference between wanting and having so pretending like you already have it will only push you towards the things you want.

 

  • Answer your own questions. We are always looking for answers from others but if you take the time to ask yourself the questions you will be surprise to find out that you have most of the answers. For example if your question is “How can I find more clients?” I bet you will come up with some good answers that’s if you’re willing to listen.

 

  • Learn something outside your field. Nothing brings more joy than learning something new. For me it was bodyweight exercises. I watched countless of youtube videos and started a workout group in community doing these exercises. Not only did this clear my head but showed me what I can do if I put my mind to it.

 

  • Be your own cheerleader. That’s right if you don’t have a cheerleader outfit you can find one at your local Goodwill, ha just kidding! seriously though it is very important that you are always engaged in positive self talk and reward yourself with any accomplishments no matter how little they are.

Things you should know before you get a logo design

Being surrounded by so many entrepreneurs and startups I see many wanting a logo design for a few bucks and although you can get it done for cheap almost anywhere you look online you should know exactly what you are getting.

Some people can’t tell a good logo from a bad one, a stolen logo from an original logo, a template or stock logo from a custom logo, a logo that was designed in the right format from one that will not work in certain media, these are the people that cheap logo design websites, contest sites and crowdsource sites are targeting; the vulnerable.

Put yourself in a logo designers shoes not only are they being asked to create the face of a company or product but they put their reputations on the line because referrals are important in the creative field.

A logo designer has to put in extensive hours of research along with implementing psychology of color, typography and hours are spent sketching waaaaay before jumping on a computer. Making sure the client has the appropriate files and formats so that the logo can be used in any media.

Companies that spend thousands of dollars for a logo are not just doing it because they have the dough but because they know the importance image plays when trying to get customers to acknowledge, react, purchase, remember or share a product.

So why is it that some people think logo is cheap? Like I mentioned earlier those sites that are providing cheap logos seem to be advertising everywhere just like fast food chains and they have one goal and that is to provide quick turnaround logos in bulk so they can afford to make cheap logos just like fast food restaurants can provide cheap meals the only thing is they are cutting out all the important things that make a logo effective.

So what are you suppose to do if you don’t have the budget for a quality and custom logo design? I would say like anything you spend money on for your business to succeed, create the budget. Another thing you can do is talk to graphic designers and see if they can work with your budget, work out a payment plan or even barter your services, the majority of graphic designers are always open for a good trade.

 

Graphic Designer vs Pixel Pusher: The difference between hiring a graphic designer and someone who designs graphics

Seems like more and more small businesses are opting to hire cheap designers rather than hire a professionals to create branding, presentation and collateral that represents their business.

I understand that budget can come into play when making their decision but even if that is the case it’s important to know the difference between a graphic designer and the cheap alternative the “Pixel Pushers” as they’re commonly referred to in the industry.

The problem is these pixel pushers are very accessible nowadays through sites like craigslist, fiverr, 99designs and other crowdsource sites as well as social media and businesses are leaning on them for marketing solutions.

They are passing themselves as graphic designers when they’re just people with copies of photoshop looking to earn some extra spending money.

Don’t get me wrong you can get lucky and find decent designers on some of those sites but they are far and few between and the odds of working with someone who is not capable producing quality work is greater than hiring a professional directly.

The aesthetics of a logo, ebook cover, business card, flyer or any sort of presentation materials is not always the problem because I have seen many customers that are happy with the end results from these pixel pushers but when the shiny toy has worn off that’s when they realize that as good as the design might be it does not reflect their business or the goal of the presentation.

I can sympathise with those that think they are working with real graphic designers because after all it says it right on their title “Professional Graphic Design for $5” or something ridiculous like that but remember professional graphic design will never be cheap or fast and if someone is offering to do something that seems too good to be true it probably is.

Unlike other professions where there are laws in place to stop fraud anyone can call themselves professional graphic designers and believe me I’ve seen people who have no business offering graphic design service label themselves pros.

Graphic design is a very complex trade and not many understand this. They think graphic designers just push buttons on a computer and produce instant results. It’s very easy to only look at the end results and say “I can do that” or “that shouldn’t take very long”.

Designing something that speaks, motivates and represents your business is nothing to be taken lightly and if done the right way can takes days, weeks and even sometimes months to produce.

The pixel pushers are just spitting out graphics like some kind of machine and have no problem taking your money and why should they after all many will settle and sometimes even love what is given to them for such a low price.

Many business owners, startups and entrepreneurs do not know what good design is or don’t care because they are only focused on making money so they are content with anything given to them.

For those that think good design versus cheap design is a matter of interpretation this may be true for the one requesting the designs but when it comes to depending on customer’s impression and awareness it doesn’t matter what they think it matters what their customers think and their perception.

A good indication that you are dealing with a professional and not just someone who designs graphics is if they are the ones asking all the questions.

A graphic designer needs to get to know their client and their business in order to produce something that not only looks good but will produce the return of investment a client hopes for.

My suggestions to finding a good graphic designer is to avoid these website claiming to provide graphic design at bargain prices and ask family and friends to recommend someone they know. If you are part of an online community don’t hesitate to spread the word on your search for a adequate designer.

From Shy to Badass

There has been debate on whether being an introvert is a characteristic developed over time or something that people are born with, I don’t know but what I do know is anyone can change and you must change if you are trying to do big things or just not be ordinary.

The realization that I wasn’t going anywhere or doing anything of value staying in my comfort zone was the turning point for me. I have big goals, goals that can only be accomplished by being great and to be great I have be a leader.

I had tried many times to launch my graphic design business but always failed because I was too shy and scared to talk to people and in a client based business that will not work. My mistake was believing that  skill and passion alone would be enough for me to be successful but how can anyone believe in your product or services if you’re not confident when speaking about it?

The things I’m doing now like blogging, making youtube videos, going to network meetings, leading a workout group (more on that in a minute) is something I would have never imagined. The bottom line is if you want to live then you need to start living.

So if you are asking: how do you get out of your comfort zone in order to be great? The answer is simple yet hard, by putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. I started a local workout group in my community which may not sound like a big deal but keep in mind I was antisocial and feared speaking in public and when I say speaking in public I’m not talking about hundreds of people but as little as 3 strangers was alone to make me curl up in the fetal position.

Did I forget to mention I did not know anything about working out and learned everything on youtube?  What is funny is my intentions for creating this group was for the sole purpose of working out and staying motivated but after weeks and months of doing this I started to break out of my shell and wondered what else can I accomplish by just getting out of my comfort zone.

I kept pushing my limits participating in network meetings, singing karaoke with friends, blogging and making videos. So there you have it put yourself in uncomfortable situations and you will be hungry for more but more importantly you will be driven to do bigger and better things.

Why Everyone Needs a Side Hustle

Let me share why I believe everyone needs a side hustle. It’s not about having a second income — although nowadays it seems like it couldn’t hurt. I am referring to having something to fall on in case things that are out of your control get taken away from you like losing your job.

Putting all your eggs in one basket is not the smartest thing to do because you just never know what the future holds. No job is secure no matter what you think ask Enron employees, countless of jobs that have been shipped overseas or have been given to college grads that can do the job for less.

Working on your side hustle or building your community is not just for the purpose of having a Plan B but as a way to keep your options open or at best do what you love if you aren’t already.

Building your empire around your full time job is not easy but it’s more doable than ever if you’re willing to put in the work. I have a full time job that many would think is as secure as a Maroon 5 song on the radio but I’ve seen stranger things happen and I’m not taking any chances.

My goal is to share everything I know, help others and be an authority figure on my subject of graphic design. I by no means an expert and the best part of all is you don’t have to be. It’s about passion, expression and being real.

With all the resources arounds us like Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, the list goes on and on we have opportunities at our fingertips to promote, educate and engage with hundreds, thousands even millions around the world. It’s up to you to customize and build around any audience you choose.

So to give you an example let’s say 10 years ago if you were to get laid off your only option would be to hit the job market through newspaper ads or job board websites but now those that are actively building their community around the subject matter have more options.

They can either use the following they built to start their own business or  by simply sharing their experience they have a better chance of getting someone’s attention and landing another job through referrals.

The new hustle is sharing because that is the way we identify who is who, better yet who can do what. Keep in mind that hard work beats talent. Being a hard worker means being active period. There are many more talented than I am but if they’re in a cave and I’m out and in about guess who wins?

I know putting yourself out there is not very attractive to some and I have struggled with this myself but the pros outweigh the cons and that is why I have chosen to share, share, share.

 

 

Why Small Businesses Need Big Design

One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is over looking the importance of design. Design has been influencing consumers since the beginning of merchandising and it’s not going away anytime soon. Many of these small businesses think design is just for the big guys and believe a good product or service is sufficient to entice customers. Any business big or small needs customers and customers buy with their eyes.

Unfortunately we are also living in a world where everyone thinks they or their 15 year old nephew can create effective design unaware the graphic design is less art and more of a science and bad, cheap or weak design for business is just as bad as no design. They skimp on it and don’t take it seriously enough for many reasons mostly because it’s not easy to see the ROI that design brings like maybe you would with machinery, software or purchasing an email list.

So what happens to a business that doesn’t utilize good branding and design? Well if they’re strong enough in other areas like reputation, customer service, demand, etc. they might not be affected but any successful business person knows when it comes to consumer products and service you never take any chances. Ever heard the saying “it’s the little things in life”? Well for business owners design can be a little thing but for potential clients or customers this can make a big difference in choosing to go with them or a competitor that feels more professional because after all perception is everything when it comes to buying.

Another reason design for business is important is unlike other experiences in life when it comes to dealing with businesses we store things more visually and absorb things like branding, colors, logos and icons, website, presentations, etc. Those that don’t have something for the customer or consumer to hold on to our easiest to forget.

When it comes to purchasing anything whether it be a service that we need, items in a store or food to eat our minds subconsciously nit-pick things by their look and feel. This is why small business owners need to consider having strong and effective design on everything from their logo, print collateral, website, in-store decor even company vehicles.

Life After School – Graphic Designers, Stand Out or Be Left Behind

You would think someone who graduated 8 years ago with a Bachelor’s in Visual Communications (Graphic Design) would be well on their way to being an accomplished graphic designer working for a big agency, in-house designer for a Fortune 500 company or even running a successful freelance business. Well that is not the case for me and many others like me that came out of design school ready to make the world a more attractive place.

Reality quickly set in for me when I discovered how darn competitive and saturated the graphic design industry was. I had no clue coming out of school it would be like this and from talking to my fellow school mates neither did they. To add salt to the wound the globalization and the emergence of crowdsourcing, contest sites and other online sweatshops, things are harder than ever.

Like many graduates I felt overwhelmed with such limited opportunities and because the economy was going through a recession these jobs were really hard to come by. With no success I decided to explore other avenues outside of graphic design. I can’t blame everything on the economy or the job market I also lacked confidence needed to compete with the rest of these job seekers. I always told myself I would jump back on the horse as soon as the right opportunity came by but the only thing that came by was the years and the student loan bills.

I continued to take on a few side projects a month to soothe my creative and artistic itch but the older I got the more uneasy I felt about the fact that I am was not doing what I love and that is what my graphic design mentor Roberto Blake coined “Create Awesome”. Although my dream is to some day run my own design practice the important thing right now is to do what I love. It’s either continue to work towards my dream or possibly live a life of regret. I have children and I always tell them to follow their dreams and I no longer want to feel like a hypocrite so it is important that I lead by example. My advice to anyone pursuing a career in graphic design is only do it if you love it because this is no place for someone who just want’s to make a living doing pretty things.

To be a successful graphic designer in this day in age means being a sales oriented creative and business-minded which are many of the things traditional graphic designers dread and why they decided to pursue a creative career in the first place.
It is important to keep working on your craft and don’t expect a degree to move you towards the front of the line because in this field those hiring graphic designers only care about your ability to produce results but there are many that can produce results as well so you have to differentiate yourself even further.

If you want to stand out from other job seekers you better be dynamic and bring more to the table than just good design. With so many applying for these few graphic design openings it is only natural they’re going to hire the most versatile applicants.
Graphic designers need to learn marketing not just to add this to their resume of skills and impress potential employers but to market themselves. Marketing for graphic designers is no longer just for freelancers and those that run their own practice but a way to stand out from the rest of the applicants. It shows employers that you are knowledgeable, enthusiastic and a go getter along with confidence and leadership.

Resumes and even portfolios only give you a small look into what a person can do and who they are so companies, agencies and clients are looking for that edge and filter the mass amount of applicants. If you think you are not being “Googled” think again. Naturally those that are more active in the field by using platforms like social media, youtube videos, blogs, podcasts, etc. will stand out more than the mysterious applicant on a piece of paper. This is the way the world is moving whether we like it or not, or whether we think it’s right or wrong. In a saturated field like graphic design you better stand out or be left behind.