All posts tagged “balance”

Link About It: Beautifully Simple Balance Bikes

Beautifully Simple Balance Bikes

Balance bicycles are known to be effective at helping children develop coordination, balance and counter-steering techniques at a young age. While they’ve been around for a while, they’ve remained pretty much the same for the majority of their existence……

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Cool Hunting

Is There a Sense of Visual Balance in Your Web Design?

Balance is all about harmony. So, when you see something that looks nice with a sense of consistency and similarity, most likely you observe a perfectly balanced composition. It can be an object in…

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Vandelay Design

Tokyobike + New Balance C-Series Collection: An exclusive first look at the design collaboration resulting in three new shoe designs and two new bicycle colorways

Tokyobike + New Balance C-Series Collection

Established in 2012 to develop new concepts and designs inspired by various lifestyles, New Balance’s Tokyo Design Studio is often responsible for the Boston-based brand’s more limited, buzz worthy introductions. With cycling recently put in their……

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Cool Hunting

ZumZum, the coolest balance bike to arrive on the market

first image of the post
On first look, the ZumZum bike looks awesome. On second look, it is much more than that. It has a great design, yes, but it also has many features that make it more usable, more healthy, and good for your child’s development. Juste take a look at the graphic under to see some of these […]

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Designer Daily: graphic and web design blog

7 steps for maintaining your work-life balance

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January is a prime time to set new creative goals and deadlines for achieving them over the coming months – and if you’re planning on winning your dream client, working more effectively or learning a new skill this year, you’ll find Computer Arts issue 235: Make 2015 Your Best Year Ever particularly handy.

Creative Bloq

J.Crew + New Balance 998 Independence Day: An American made collaboration with patriotic colors to match

J.Crew + New Balance 998 Independence Day

When it comes to sneakers, it’s near impossible to beat a classic, especially for kicking around on summer days. As an ode to American craftsmanship and design, Boston-based running shoe pioneers New Balance and purveyors of contemporary American style J. Crew teamed up…

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Cool Hunting

How to balance the needs of clients and users

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‘The client is not the user’ is one of those incendiary phrases that’s often said in discussions and articles about user-centered design. Sometimes phrased as, ‘you are not the user’ or the ‘the company is not the user’, the phrase is a simple declaration that encompasses a larger idea that acknowledges that business goals are not the same as user goals, and ‘good’ designs aim to improve the experience of the public user.

Creative Bloq

Finell: Modern homewares that balance form and function with a dose of color


It takes something pretty special to stand out at the NY NOW home, lifestyle and design show that features over 2,800 exhibitors from around the world, and the debut collection from Austin-based …

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Cool Hunting

How To Balance Marketing Yourself With Getting Work Done

We all know that marketing is vital to any freelancer’s career. Freelancing is a business, and if you’re not spending time growing your business, you’re going to eventually be out of business altogether. However, if you’re a good designer, your work takes up a lot of your time. At the end of the day, you can’t possibly think about spending even more time trying to get your name out there.

(Image source: Brittney Bush Bollay)

We’re going to look at why you need to maintain a tight hold on the balance between marketing and your design work, as well as some practical ways to do it.

Who has time for marketing?

You should, if you want to grow your design business and get more and better clients. I hear designers say all the time that they’re "too busy" for marketing and self-promotion, which is complete baloney. As the saying goes, if you don’t have time to market yourself, soon you won’t need to – because you won’t have any clients.

Marketing is not a one-time activity. It’s a constant effort that you must adopt in your everyday routine in order to see any results. What you do to market yourself builds on itself day after day, so it’s important to be smart about where and how you do it.

Too Much Marketing?

You can build a business that is based solely on how well you can market yourself. That business will likely be superficial and bland, since you’re spending a disproportionate amount of time marketing and not nearly enough time designing. In other words, there is such a thing as marketing yourself too much.

If you haven’t updated your portfolio in 6 months with any new work, and are still going around showing off the same work you did years ago, it may be time to cut back on the marketing a bit and do some side projects. After all, if all that marketing was working, you’d be swimming in clients, wouldn’t you?

The Perfect Balance

What’s the perfect balance between marketing and design? I think a 70-30 split is ideal, with the greater part of your day spent designing and the lesser part spent marketing. You can also apply the Pareto principle here, if you wish. Usually, the 20% of things you’re doing to market your work are bringing in 80% of the results. It’s important to figure out exactly what’s working and what isn’t.

Analyze, Analyze, Analyze

You absolutely must analyze your marketing efforts. Each and every one of them, as thoroughly as possible. This will help you make sure you’re on the right track and putting up a front that is as effective as possible. Marketing without analytics is like driving without looking at the road. It’s possible in theory, but you likely won’t achieve anything but disaster.

Remember, you only have so much time to devote to marketing, so it’s vital to make sure you’re spending your time wisely.

Outsource It

What’s that? Outsource your marketing? Why yes, of course. In fact, outsourcing your marketing efforts is the most sophisticated and effective way to do it. I’m not talking about hiring a PR agent or marketing company, although those are certainly options for prominent freelancers with a ton of clients.

What I mean is that there is a very simple technique that can explode your freelancing reputation, much faster and more efficiently than you alone could do. And that is: getting other people to advertise on your behalf. Having raving fans boosts your credibility, since you now have someone else singing your praises besides just yourself. For you see…

The Very Best Marketing…

Is no marketing at all. Or rather, it’s the most invisible kind: word of mouth. In designer terms this means your happy clients telling everyone about how awesome a designer you are. If you’re not out there making yourself memorable to the people you work with, they won’t be mentioning your name when chatting with their colleagues and well-connected associates about design services.

Marketing Your Value

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s all about the relationships you build with your clients that determines how far you get in your career. Remember, clients talk to each other, and a poor impression on your part can remove opportunities from your table that you never even knew could have been offered to you.

Being scrupulous about customer service and providing the utmost value to your clients is, luckily, a huge chunk of your marketing that will take care of itself.

Social Media: Finding the Balance Between a Waste of Time and Necessary Networking

Ah yes, the all too constant struggle of networking with social media. It’s one of those necessary evils that everyone, from job seekers to freelancers to name brand companies, have to rethink constantly. This is why it is one of the most commonly discussed topics across multiple industries. We all know just how important social media is, and most of us continue to struggle between making it a successful marketing avenue and a waste of time.

As a freelancer who has struggled with wasting hours on social media and completely ignoring it for a month (or more) at a time, I have learned a few ways to help me narrow this gap between the two extremes. Now, have learned how to better focus my efforts with social media. It’s still not perfect, but I am on the road to tightening down my efforts and am already seeing results. And for those of you social media skeptics, even when I was only flailing along with social media, I gained enough clients through my exposure via Twitter and Google+ that I haven’t had to search for clients since I became active in several social platforms.

If you are a business owner, freelancer, or even an individual simply looking to build up a strong network in your search for a career, you may find the following tips to help you better take advantage of the benefits that social media has to offer. Hopefully, some of the resources below will help you greatly reduce the time-suck trap many fall into with social media. Use your own experience in combination with these tips, and like me you may find clients knocking down your proverbial door.

So, take a look at the following 10 tips and resources and get ready to re-adjust your social networking plan into one that will waste less time and build more positive results for you and your business ventures.

Schedule Social Media Time

This is one tip that I still struggle to maintain. Yet, it’s advice that social media experts give over and over again. One of my, and I’m sure others’, biggest problems with social media is letting it interrupt other daily work tasks. This is why setting aside a half hour, an hour, or any other necessary block of time for social media can be so beneficial. You can even schedule social media time every hour or twice a day. Just find what amount of time works best for you and stick with it. Keep out of all of your accounts except for during that scheduled time. Having a certain time set aside for social media keeps you focused and, consequently, more productive.

Don’t forget that some social media tasks may require a bit more time. For instance, scheduling posts ahead of time (see the next section below) may require a longer time slot than, say, responding to comments. And weekly you may need to set aside an extra block of time for catching up just in case you have extra activity that week. In the following tips, you will find quite a few resources for helping you cut back on the extra time you need for those tedious social media tasks.

Sign Up with an Auto Post Service

There are lots of different resources both free and paid that will save you mega-time on daily or weekly posts. The extra benefit of these services is that you can schedule your posts for the month at a single time, and then essentially forget about posting until the beginning of next month. You can either go with a service that only posts for one platform, or one like Hootsuite that will take care of your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and other social media pages. I have found Hootsuite very easy to learn, and it comes with free and paid account options. SocialOomph is an excellent one that is free for Twitter. With a Premium account, you can also incorporate Facebook and LinkedIn, auto-post your blog posts, conduct emails, and more. You may want to try Post Planner if your focus is on Facebook and Twitter, since it allows you to scan what is popular in your niche and even allow you to share other’s posts in your scheduled updates.

Use Paid Promotional Options

There is a huge misnomer floating around that social media is a completely free method of marketing yourself online. However, between time-saving resources and now the promotion options provided by the top social media platforms, you really need to set aside at least a small budget for social media marketing. Facebook’s Promoted Posts are really the only way to ensure that your followers are ever going to see your updates in their news feeds. LinkedIn has Sponsored Updates, and Google+ even now allows for posts to stretch across both columns in the news feed – for free!

Now, of course, you shouldn’t pay to promote every single one of your posts. However, the really important ones you should definitely promote, and this should be on a semi-regular basis, like once a month. Promoted updates are also a good idea if you feel like you simply need that extra burst of exposure every now and then, even if you don’t have a truly groundbreaking announcement to make.

Download Mobile Apps

Make sure to have mobile apps of each social media platform you use. The purpose of apps is not so that you can waste even more time on social media, although the social media platforms certainly love this. I have found that having the apps on my phone makes it easy for me to catch up on some networking while waiting – in line at the bank, in line to pick up my kids from school, at the doctor’s office.

All of the main social media platforms now have free apps. And there are also some great apps for managing several sites from your phone, such as Hootsuite. Eliott Marrow provides an incredible list of social media apps on the Jeff Bullas blog that definitely are worth checking out.

Filter Spam from Relevant Contacts

Many Twitters users have an auto-direct message feature that goes out every time someone follows them. This is just one example of a spam-like message that warrants no need for a response. On Google+, users have the option of emailing contacts when they share a post. And Facebook of course emails you every time you get mentioned in an update. Some of these direct contacts you will certainly want to follow up on to keep your contacts happy. Plus they are a more productive way to remain active on your accounts, as opposed to just browsing through a news feed and responding to random posts.

However, they will require filtering, especially if you have multiple accounts and lots of contacts on each. On Google+, for instance, don’t worry about commenting on every single shared post. Sometimes you may just want to +1 it. The same goes with Facebook, simply Like an update unless it really calls for a comment. Just practice making that judgement call in the amount of time it takes you to glance at your email preview or notifications and keep moving.

Use Software and Apps for Finding Shareable Content

Personally, I don’t do a whole lot of sharing of others’ content, which isn’t exactly the best practice. However, I am a writer so have an overabundance of my own content to Tweet and share daily and weekly. If you don’t have your own blog or a ton of your own work to share, then a great way to find content to use in your auto-post service is with an app made specifically for this purpose.

An excellent tool for finding content across multiple channels of social media based on hashtags is Tagboard. It makes finding content fast and easy, and it’s also a great tool to use for getting involved in conversations in your niche (i.e. building connections in real time). Another great one is Swayy. This tool drops the most interesting or relevant content into a single platform, which you can then immediately share via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

One note to make: even if you do schedule content once a month or so, it doesn’t hurt to save a bit of time on the front end. If you finish scheduled tasks during your social media slot with time to spare, then you can always browse for content and save it a document for your next month’s content. Of course, if the content is timely, you are better off just sharing it the moment you find it, but many niche content can be reshared months after the first publication and still garner lots of feedback.

Spend Less Time Finding Images

We all know how vital images are for making posts stand out in a news feed. My biggest drawback to including images is how long it can take to find them. Of course, when you are in a huge hurry, you can just use the auto-thumbnail selection when posting links to Facebook or Google+. But a large image does draw a lot more attention.

You can save time finding creative commons images (those pictures that the author has marked free to share) with tools such as PhotoPin or Compfight that allow you to search creative commons Flickr images by keyword. If you have trouble finding images in the right size and don’t have a clue as to how to use an image editing tool, is a very quick and easy way to quickly reduce your image size and resolution to improve load time.

Quickly Manage Twitter Followers and Un-Follows

Twitter is one social media platform that is highly effective for gaining exposure and building a network but also can be one of the greatest time-wasting sites. What I found to be the hardest part to manage on Twitter was my followers. There simply is no quick way to look at your followers and follow them back. This is where a Twitter tool becomes very necessary.

One of my greatest time-savers has been Tweepi. This cool, free little tool allows Twitter users to very quickly follow back other users and to even un-follow the ones that are not following you back – among other very helpful time-saving Twitter tasks. Another great social media tool that provides follow and unfollow help along with analytics and more is ManageFlitter.

Track Results

To really know if you are spending the right amount of time on the right activities in social media, you will need a way to track your results. Thankfully, there are plenty of free resources available for quite the robust tracking. Google Analytics is probably one of the most popular free tracking tools. It does take some time to really learn, but the good folks at Google have provided plenty of help for you to quickly get your analytics up and running.

Klout is another excellent way to not only see how influential you are across various networks but also to see what niches you influence. Plus, you get lots of cool discounts and freebies, called Klout Perks, when you reach certain milestones.

Socialbakers’ Analytics Pro helps you see what actions have given you greatest growth in your social media networking. But this isn’t the best feature. It also shows you what content is the most interesting for your connections – and what gets them involved the most. It works for tracking Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and while it isn’t free, Analytics Pro does offer a free trial.

Eliminate Time on Irrelevant Social Media

Not all industries benefit from the same social media sites. For instance, I have found that Google+, LinkedIn, and especially Twitter are my greatest sources of relevant connections. Facebook and Pinterest are simply voidless time-sucks, and YouTube and Flickr take too much time with little results. You may find that MySpace, Pinterest, and Flickr are your greatest sources of helpful connections. Or maybe Facebook is the only one that is worth your time.

However, this does not mean that you can simply ignore the rest. You simply need to put almost all of your time into those sites that provide you with the best results. The other ones you can simply fill out your profile and check on your notifications to make sure you haven’t had a prospect contact you. At the very least, make sure you have a full profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, even if none of these are relevant to your industry. The reason is that signing up on these big four make you more visible, both to prospects who just happen to only have an account on one of these sites and to Google and other search engines.

Have you learned some ways to help you spend your time wisely on social media tasks? Please share below!

Social media cloud photo credit: daniel_iversen via photopin cc

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