Creative Cadence
Design for lone marketers

Views from the studio

Views from the studio

Six things I said I’d do in 2017 … did I accomplish them?

Photo by  Facundo Aranda  via Unsplash

Photo by Facundo Aranda via Unsplash

In my final thoughts blog post at the end of 2016, I foolishly set six things that I hoped to achieve in 2017 … so how did I do?

1. Designing and building a new website for Creative Cadence

Yes! A big thumbs up and a green tick on this one. The new website was launched at the end of September – a whole three months before the end of the year! I’ve had some great feedback from it so far and really hope that it speaks more directly to my target audience than the old site did. I’ve also tried to be clearer in terms of the ways I can help people and by giving better example case studies of how this has happened in the past. I’d still love to know what you think, especially if there's any improvements you can suggest. A website is never truly finished after all!

Digital design is like painting, except the paint never dries.
— Neville Brody

2. Asking for more help

I think this gets a tick from the point of view of the new website. I’ve begun to value other people’s expertise much more, in the same way that my clients do mine. When I designed and built my first website over four years ago, I did everything myself, including writing the content. 

For the new website I sought the help of the wonderful Valuable Content, and, through them, the help of some of my existing clients. Through client interviews Sonja and Sharon at Valuable Content really got through to the nuts and bolts of why clients use me for their design work and the value which they think I add to their business. This, in turn, helped direct the content and structure of the new site. It’s also helped me to know who I’m talking to and what I’m talking to them about.

Thanks also go out to Amanda Thomas for helping me with lovely bespoke photography for the site and Jenny Lewis of Adminosaurus for helping transcribe the client telephone interviews.

Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.
— Barack Obama

3. More collaboration, less isolation

I’ve continued to design more websites for clients this year, involving further collaboration with web developers, as well as the clients themselves. I also employed the talents of lovely photographer Amanda Thomas for some great bespoke images for my own website. I could have trawled the free stock library image sites, but why use something hundreds of other people may already have used?

A challenge for next year is that I’d love to work more with photographers and copywriters on client work. Budget is always an issue, but it really helps give a much more bespoke and relevant feel to the content within a piece of design. Anybody want to work with me on this?

As people think and work together, a fabric of shared meaning comes into being.
— Harrison Owen | The Power of Spirit: How Organizations Transform

4. Project management wizardry

Aaagh! Still a frustration this year. The problem I’m finding is that everyone needs to turn up to the party for it to work, which unfortunately, rarely happens. There are lots of snazzy tools out there, such as Trello and Gather Content, but when it’s something slightly out of the ordinary from the usual workflow, it’s hard to change people’s habits. The tool of choice still ends up being phone and email, but it’s so much harder to keep track of projects this way. 

What do you find works for you? Any suggestions or experiences would be greatly received.

Managing to have a sense of humour makes it a lot easier to manage people.
— Steve Wilson

5. A clearer pathway to purchase

This still needs work. The new website intended to give potential clients a clearer idea of what I do and for whom. However, in a recent end-of-year summary meeting with my Watertight Marketing accountability partner Ros Conkie it became clear that it would be beneficial to have some upfront examples of set costs for, say, different levels of brand identity work. Giving people a clearer idea straight away of the potential costs involved, would help them towards a path to purchase and help people decide if they had the necessary budget before we meet.

We have no such thing as a budget anymore. Our manager freaks when we show him the bill. We’re lavish to the bone, but all our money goes back into the product.
— Freddie Mercury

6. Try something new that doesn’t involve work

Finally, at the end of last year I mentioned I’d booked a block of ten guitar lessons at the Bristol Folk House. Well, I did that course, really enjoyed it and stuck with it through another 22 lessons on top of that! I can now bash out a few tunes (slowly mind) and have booked again for the new year. On a mindfulness note, doing something that’s so completely different from work, with complete strangers (who are now friends) has really helped. Even picking up the guitar at home for just five minutes is relaxing (for me, anyway, not necessarily the family!)

But can I play that intro to The Waterboys Fisherman’s Blues I promised myself this time last year? As you’ll see below, it needs work – mainly speeding up that change from G to F … but at least I’m accountable for the fact I'm trying!

So … what new thing are you going to try in 2018? … I’m pondering yoga next. ;–)

After I saw Jimmy Hendrix play, I just went home and wondered what the f*** I was going to do with my life.
— Jeff Beck

Too many people to mention and thank again this year – but for all the recommendations, shout-outs, social media follows, comments and likes – you know who you are. Thank you.