Month: August 2015

Personal Branding is more important than it has ever been for your career, freelance business and your life. I don’t care if you want work for someone for the rest of eternity… you need a personal brand. The job market is isn’t exactly stable or reliable. A Personal Brand positions you for the next job, and can give you an income in between jobs, or let you quit a job you hate and do something you love.

You Think Personal Branding Won’t Help You?

You can’t sleep on this. You need to take action and build your Personal Brand if you intend to secure your future. You can ignore this advice, you can think that it doesn’t apply to you. But I want to tell you a bit of my own story… while many of my contemporaries are frustrated every morning when they wake up, I look forward to each and everyday. I work for a boss I love (me), I do work for amazing people, and I make a good living. You may think that 2 paychecks a month is stable and consistent income…

How about 10 or 20? I don’t say this to brag or toot my own horn.

I say this to overcome your resistance to the idea that this is too good to be true.

I’m not the most creative or talented person in my industry or in anything that I do. I’m not even a professional writer, nor do I have a degree in it. This year I will have made over $10K just from writing. With no degree in film or video production, I built a YouTube channel back in summer of 2013 that now has over 45,000 subscribers and has help established me as an authority and industry expert across multiple creative disciplines. It also has produced a substantial amount of revenue, between advertising, brand deals, merchandise and referral business for consulting and design clients.

My personal brand has brought me everything from paid sponsorships, to new clients, to speaking opportunities. It has also brought me some tremendous relationships and helped me build a community and make a difference in the lives of others.

I’m not holding back any secrets to success here. What may be natural to me, may be an intensive process or new information to you, and that is perfectly fine. We’re all here to learn together. If you feel that there is something that you need information on I encourage you to ask me about it. If you want to know what tools or resources I’m using to produce my results, I’m not keeping that a secret either, I spell it out in the resources section of this website, and I constantly advocate for those products and brands in social media since they helped me become successful.

I’ve gone so far as to give a Free 1 Hour Webinar with a 30 minute Q&A that covers point by point the importance of a Personal Brands as well actionable advice for how you can begin to develop yours and what resources you need.

Recommended Books on Personal Branding
Professional Presence: http://amzn.to/1Pa5BeT
Crush It (Gary Vaynerchuk) http://amzn.to/1DNyOvG
YOU INC http://amzn.to/1MqlOPr
The Brand Called You http://amzn.to/1ILdzcB
Conference Crushing http://amzn.to/1L9cxee

Creativity can be difficult for any graphic designer, but when you work exclusively in one industry it can be even more challenging. I’ve been working solely within the Pet Industry for over 20 months, and I’ve learned that I need to replenish my creative spirit frequently to stay engaged and creative. I love my niche graphic design business, but that doesn’t mean that your creative batteries can’t be drained by something you enjoy. So here are my top 5 tips for staying creative in your niche.

 

  1. Study Your Niche

 

Look at what’s popular or common for graphic design in your niche through searching online. This may sound counterintuitive since you want to be creative and not mimic others. But I find looking at current industry trends makes me think of how that concept could be better executed or a different concept that might communicate the same thing. Sometimes putting yourself in a box can make you far more creative in trying to work out of it.

 

  1. Experience Your Niche

 

Nothing beats real life experience in understanding your niche and staying inspired in it. Since my niche is the pet industry, I take time to play with my dog or do some other activity with him. Refreshing my mind with the experience and emotions of those activities reminds me what I’m trying to convey to my client’s target markets. If your niche was the food industry, go out to eat somewhere that you really enjoy the food, or try out a new place. If you can’t take that time, watch some videos on YouTube. Whatever industry, take some time to immerse yourself in it and write down your experience and feelings.

 

  1. Consume Things that Evoke Similar Emotions to Your Niche

 

I find this super helpful. For example, when I was working on a playful logo for a pet groomer I found a lot of inspiration from watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I’m not a huge fan of the show, but it’s animated well and conveys the messages that my client’s target market would respond to. No judgement. Inspiration can come from anywhere!

 

  1. Do Projects Outside Your Niche

 

No matter how much you love something, it can feel a bit stale after a while. By doing projects outside of your niche from time to time you can remember why you love the one you’re in. I try to regularly do things for my fellow designers as my outside of niche projects. I feel good helping others and it’s a productive break. After I spend a while thinking with my business person/niche graphic designer brain I love coming back to my “I love pets” brain.

 

  1.  Interact with People in Your Niche

 

Chatting with pet business owners, learning about their challenges and priorities gives me a clearer picture of their perspective. While we design for their target market, understanding the day in & day out of the businesses we work with gives us an additional dimension of understanding. This may not garner inspiration for everyone but the more I understand the types of businesses I work with, the easier it is to solve whatever problem they need fixing. To me design is one way of solving problems in business. One that can be quite effective if the problem is well understood.

 

I hope this tips will help you with staying creative in your niche. Still struggling or just want to chat? Feel free to reach out to me on my website or on my social media channels in the author description below. Talk to you soon, and remember it’s good to go niche!

Creativity is a lifestyle rather than just a matter of talent or skill. This is why no matter how talented or experienced you are you can experience burnout or creative blocks from time to time. Maintaining your Creative Lifestyle properly is important to take into consideration and make a priority. This is something even I struggle with from time to time.

Maintaining Creativity and Inspiration

Staying in a place where you can feel inspired and motivated to create is something that can be difficult if you’re not balancing your Creative Lifestyle properly. You have to consume creative content, whether this is books, music, movies or actual experiences and adventures.

You should also try to surround yourself with other creative people who you can collaborate with or use as a sounding board for your ideas.

Maintaining Physical Health

You have to maintain your health, bottom line. If you don’t you won’t be able to create things effectively and you won’t be happy with the work you’re doing because it is putting a strain on your body. Here are some of the ways creatives tend to neglect their health and abuse their bodies:

  • Working too long in front of a computer screen and straining their eyes
  • Not stretching and getting enough blood circulation
  • Neglecting to eat regular meals with proper nutrition
  • Not getting enough fresh air and sunlight
  • Failing to get enough rest each night, maybe 6-8 hours

You have to take care of yourself if you want to do your best work and not burn out. Stamina is important in the long run and you’ll need to keep your energy up, particularly if you’re going to work long hours.

Maintain Your Mental Health

Stress can have a negative impact on your work and even make you feel like quitting all together. Try to keep unhealthy stress to a minimum and identify people and situations that cause you unnecessary stress and anxiety. Adopt positive habits that allow you to maintain a happy state of mind. This can be upbeat and positive music, having interactions with positive people and doing things that you enjoy on a regular basis.

Challenge Yourself To Do New Things

Don’t limit your creative growth. Take on new things and learn new things as often as possible. Speaking of which, today’s Create Awesome Challenge is to tell me about the awesome thing you created this week, reach out and tell me about it via Twitter @robertoblake

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