The Buddy-Girl blog is our place to talk graphic design, express our opinions, thoughts, new creations, Buddy-Girl Greetings upcoming events, design tips and any personal or random thoughts that we might have. We would love any and all feedback and comments anybody might have for us and I hope you enjoy reading our blog.
We are located in - Kitsap County, 98312

I will try to update my blog as often as I can. Fair warning, I love to write, but I'm a horrible typer and my grammar skills are even worst (worse). So my apologies way in advance, Sorry! Which is actually a very common trait in most graphic designers and artists.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Current Events: It’s my Anniversary! 1 year of Blogging…

I started this blog 1 year ago, and I have to say that I really enjoy writing and posting. I know that my spelling and grammar skills still suck, but my typing speed has improved, I don’t even have to look at the keys anymore (although, if I did, maybe there wouldn’t be so many errors).

Anyways, I just wanted to say, “Thank You” to everyone who has ever read my blog, I know I don’t have a lot of traffic, yet; but I do know I have some and some of you keep coming back (you got to love Google Analytics) So, for that, I’m grateful. I will try to continue to add new and interesting content (oh, and funny too) if you guys keep reading it. By-the-way, if you guys could please leave me some comments and feedback, that would great, I would love to know who you are, what you like about my blog, and any ideas you might have. I would love to add you to the BGG mailing list if you, as well. Even if your comment is just pointing out an error, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks again, for a great first year. Always, Helena of Buddy-Girl Greetings 2008, Thanks again…

How to Make Money as an Artist/Designer: Part 2 (Cold Calls and More Networking)

Finding work is hard work, and just because you have the training, the experience, and a will to work; doesn’t mean you will get work. Learning how to network and make cold calls is a must.

(The following tips are mainly for freelance artist/designers, people with product to sell or people that are looking for side income, these tips may or may not be helpful to someone looking for a full-time design job.)

Networking skills and cold calling skills are important tools to gain new clients. I’ve already mention how important it is to network, word of month is the cheapest and most effective form of advertising. But, consistently expanding your network can be troublesome. Joining a local networking groups like BNI or your local Chamber of Commerce can be very helpful. These are organizations that are always getting new members and who really want to scratch your back in hopes that someday you can scratch theirs. Some of these organizations also cost money to join, so be aware.

You can, also find non-profit groups that specialize in helping small business, or people that are self-employed. I’m a proud member of WA Cash (it says so on my blog), it’s a great organization that specialize in micro lending; they also hold bi/monthly meetings so people can learn, network, and stay on track. (I love it, I go to almost every meeting and I have gotten at lot of jobs and sold lots of BGG products).

There are, also online networking, share and peer groups like MySpace, Yahoo Groups, FaceBook, and Bebo although mostly known for their popular with teenagers these sites have been a proven marketing tool for people, products, and business looking for exposure. You can, also look at joining online business groups with Google or MSNLive, and there are also small groups that are gear towards your area, your services, income, race, sex, and age you can join, you just have to look for them. So, check out your local message boards or Google networking groups in your area and see what you can find.

Cold calling, in which you pick up the phone or walk into someone’s place of business and try to sell them on your services; is another way to drum-up business. But to do so, you have to have your “game down tight”, in other words you have to be good at talking to people and ready to answer questions about all the services and/or products you provide. (I’m not good at talking to strangers about my accomplishments, hard to believe, I know but blogging is 10 times easier than walking up to a stranger and trying to convince them to buy my cards. But, in my defense blogging is just another form networking.)

Some, basic tips to remember before making a cold call are (1) only do it between 9am-5pm on weekdays (2) Always be prepared, have your 30 sec “about you” speech down (3) always be friendly (4) set small goals for yourself, (you want a sale, yes) but make that should be your last goal; and your first goal to just get a hold of the person in charge. (5) always leave them with a reliable way to contact you back. (6) Although, cold calling can be successfully, it can also annoy people, so be careful. I’m not a big fan of cold calls, but I know it can be a effective tool and some people actually have a natural talent for it.

How to Make Money as an Artist/Designer: Part 3 (Searching and Posting on the Internet)

Networking is great but it can’t be your only way and unless you are good at stalking (I mean talking) to people, cold calls can be a pain. Selling your work and/or services on the internet is easy and can make you a lot of money, well, hopefully a lot of money. You just need to know where and how to do it. There is always someone, somewhere that needs something designed or some stock imagery, some people do and they just don’t know it. Using the internet is great, because you can reach people from all over the world. And there are millions of places to go online to find these people. (I can only speak for the few places that have work for me.)

Before I do, you need to come up with some quick (and good) “GoTo Text", text that is about you, your experience, your training, pricing, design procedure (basically a resume and cover letter/business proposal that you can easily cut and paste from a word or notepad doc is fine) web friendly images of your work, is a must. Setting this up can be a job all-in-itself, but once you have them, store them somewhere on your hard drive that you can easily access to cut and paste, upload to websites and/or email. I also, recommend having an online portfolio and/or a website that list your services, products, and rates. If you don’t have one then get one, and if you don’t know how to get one, then learn. Unless you are a fashion designer, sculptor, painter or anyone else who works mostly with materials and not computers, basic html and how to use a website editors is a must. It’s a great skill to have (and get paid for) and in this day in age if you’re an artist/designers that doesn’t know web design or have a websie, it’s a big let down to employers and potential customers.

Once you have your “GoTo Text", samples, and links to your websites ready. You need only, start applying and responding to any and all jobs you find online, but keep it within reason, if you can’t do the job then don’t apply for it and don’t take on more than you can handle. A great place to look for work is they have tons of listings under “Jobs”: art/media/design, marketing/advertising/PR, web/HTML/info design, writing/editing, tv/film/video/radio. There is also a “Gigs’ section and a section to post your services. Be sure to check out your local newspapers’ websites, too. Keep in mind that if you live in a small town you might have to look in the section for the largest city next to yours. Keywords to search for are: design, logo, graphic designer, graphic artist, Photoshop, Flash, web design, etc. (just use keywords that best or frequently describe design jobs you want to do). There are a ton of artist directory sites and online agency that let you post samples and resumes for free, it take time to do it but if you get one job from it, wouldn’t it be wroth it?

List of free sites to find work or post your services and products:
Local Online Newspapers

Now, let’s talk pay sites. I’ll be the first to tell you, that half the time (most of the time) I don’t have the funds to pay someone for the “hope” of getting a design job. But, for some of these sites (especially the popular sites) if you don’t pay, you won’t stand a chance of getting a project. I have personal, used only 1 pay site to find design work, (formerly I started off with a basic account and get nothing, because people with basic accounts who submit a proposal for a project are always submitted to the clients 48-72 hrs after you click the submit button. As you might guess, most people choose someone to work within the first 24 hrs. So, once I got a few dollars saved I decided to upgrade my account and if it didn’t work out I wouldn’t do it again. Well, with in a month, I was able to make my $75 back and then some. So, of course I totally recommend using It was easy to setup an account, just cut and paste your “GoTo Text", upload some samples, and come up with a great cover letter (proposal/bid) that explains who I was and what I could do for them. I recommend something generic that you can easily switch out words and phrases so that you can tailor it to each project you apply for without having to always rewrite one.

There are of a ton of sites and online classifies to post or look for work on, you just have to take the time and energy to market yourself to or for them (however you want to look at it).

P.S. Statistically speaking, for every 15 jobs you apply for most people will only get 1-2 responds, so don’t be easily discouraged.

List of pay sites to find work or post your services and products: (I used and had great success with it) - Shopping (Used to post Products) - Shopping (Used to post Products) (never used) (never used) (never used) (never used) (never used)

*Side note: Getting Business, Doing Business, and getting paid for business online

If you decide to venture into the fabulous world of “Doing Business” online getting paid is something that is both easy and difficult (especial if you are doing business with someone you never met or lives far away). To ensure payment there are some safeguards, although they aren’t fool proof they are helpful.

1. Get a account; PayPal is great because it allows you to expect credit cards and electronic checks and it ensures payment, they also take 2-5% of each payment transaction, but that’s a small price to pay for all the great services they provide. (I know there are other companies like PayPal out there but PayPal is more commonly used and expected.)

2. Only do business on trusted sites with a good reputation who have a policy on making sure there account holders get paid for there work.

3. Setup and state up front your procedures and rules for doing business. Ex 1. If you aren’t sure how long a job might take, but the client wants a ball park figure. Tell them up front that this price isn’t set in stone. Ex 2. If you prefer to get paid up front or that you only send low res samples and proofs until you get paid in full, say so up front.

4. Try to only do business with people and companies you trust or has a reputation for be trustworthy

5. Avoid taking personal checks (sometimes you can’t, so be sure to only take them from trusted clients, always ask when is a good time to cash it, and tell them you policy on cashing checks and on returned checks).

6. Cross your fingers, say a prayer, and hope that you get your money like you are suppose to because you just never know.

How to Make Money as an Artist/Designer: Part 4 (Little things that can payoff in the long run)

One of the coolest things about being an artist/designer is that hope of someday making it big, the moment when everyone is after your work. Unfortunately, for most of us that’s a long ways off and we have to take side jobs and projects when ever we can. But, wouldn’t it be great, if while we are waiting, we could be making, something. You can, but it will take time and a lot of work in the being. But once you have everything setup, you can be making money while you sleep and once your days of amenity are over, you can make even more money. I know, it sounds like a get rich quick scam, but trust me it’s not it’s nowhere near quick (it’s just sounds that way).

First off if you are photographer, videographer, writer, or good at making clipart type graphics and illustrations; then you might want to consider selling your own stock imagery, video footage, or generic copy text, people and businesses are always in need of such things.

Photographers and videographers, you have to live somewhere and there are always local businesses and companies that need and want fresh original shots and video footage of the local neighborhoods to use in marketing campaigns. Real estate firms and local government agencies always need local imagery to promote how much they love the area. Real estate agents, especial as they not only need promotional shots for themselves but for their sellers as well.

Original clipart and illustrations are always welcome; a new twist on an old idea is great. After all, how many times must we see the same Microsoft style graphics. Also, if you can manage to figure out how to make a clipart style map of your area with all the local attractions highlighted and it being easily updated; again, something real estate firms and local government agencies would love and gladly paid you for you work.

You can, sell your imagery online by building your own website or uploading your work to stock imagery sites. If you choose to use an imagery site, you won’t make the full profit on your work, but you won’t have to manage anything either, you can just collect your 2-5% royalty fee and wait for them to send you a check and your tax information.

Royalties can be great, you can earn them by doing very little to no work, they are easy to setup, and you earn them on just about anything you do as an artist. You can earn royalties on you artwork, designs, and anything else you are willing to let people copy and resale. There are only 2 draw backs to royalties are (1) you have very little control on how many copies of your work are made (on the upside the more copies that are made and sold the more money you make, downside it might cheapen the value of the original work) and (2) royalties can take forever to kick in, only making a few dollars in the begin; but as you and your work gets more popular the likelihood of selling more royalties goes up and money comes faster.

List of Sites to earn royalties on images and artwork (membership fee) (membership fee)

Lastly, you can earn dollars by selling ad space on your websites and blog to Google, Yahoo, EBay, or lesser know companies that are willing to pay to be on your site. This is especially good if you’re sites gets a lot of traffic. You can also join affiliation programs where you can sell ad space or merely mention some product or book on your site and provide a link on where you got it or where they can get it. Again, you’re not going to earn big bucks right away, but in time and with an increase in your popularity you can make a pretty penny.

Sites to sell ad space with:

Bottom line, making money as an artist is very possible even if you never make it big, you just have to buckle down and come up with ways and places to make money, you also have to put in some killer hours, but what’s a little hard work when you love what you do.
A Special Request...

Please let me know, when you find spelling or other grammar errors on my blog, so I may fix them right away. Thanks. Helena
Buddy-Girl Greetings is a proud member of Kitsap's Best and WA CASH

We are located in Bremerton, WA - Kitsap County, 98312