Top 10 Lessons From Building a House

Top 10 Lessons From Building a House

Originally shared on LinkedIn  My husband and I are building a house. I use present tense since we’re not done yet…and I’m not sure we’ll ever truly be “done” until we’re ready to move. This big adventure started when we purchased 3 acres back in October of 2013. It had overgrown cedar trees blocking the view of an abandoned trailer home and garage/shop from the road. I use July of 2014 as the marker for breaking ground on the new house since that’s when we started our construction loan. Since then we’ve had lots of ups and downs and lessons I think anyone and everyone can benefit from learning: 10: Dreams vs. Plans Dreams are not the same as plans. You can have big dreams that never come true. You can also have plans you never dreamed of. Turn dreams into plans to make them come true. 9: Details, Details, Details Big plans mean a lot of details. For every 1 milestone, plan on at least 3 steps that consist of 5 or more baby steps. The big things only get accomplished if you take the baby steps. 8: Plans Change/Flexibility I also call this one “sh!t happens”. Our construction site got broken into and we had to go through the process of filing a police report and insurance claim. Needless to say, it wasn’t in our plans and we had to adjust the timeline (again). This in addition to many other set backs required flexibility and a change of plans. 7: Motivation Even when you don’t want to – get your butt out of bed and go do...
Shoot for the Moon

Shoot for the Moon

We all hate feeling disappointed or let down. It could be a ridiculous doctor’s office wait time or a sub-contractor who doesn’t complete their job when they initially estimated. No matter how big or small the blunder, it damages the relationship with feelings of betrayal. So as business owners, how can you prevent it from happening? Do you really need to “under-promise and over-deliver” to stay on top? The Believer Annie Pace Scranton, Founder & President of Pace Public Relations (a full-service boutique PR firm located in NYC), names “under-promise and over deliver” her #2 tip for managing expectations to maintain a positive relationship with her clients. She states, “consistently having positive relationships with clients leads to a calmer work day and a higher level of productivity”. The Naysayer Jessica Stillman, contributing author for Inc.com, says under-promising and over-delivering is terrible advice. She referenced a study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science journal, conducted by UC San Diego behavioral scientist Ayelet Gneezy and University of Chicago business professor Nicholas Epley, in which, results show participants “valued promise keeping and exceeding equally”. This suggests that putting in the extra effort is a waste of resources. Maintaining Positive Experiences Whether you side with exceeding expectations or merely meeting them, everyone benefits from staying away from broken promises. So how do you prevent the third option and keep your name in good graces? The answer: manage expectations. Managing your customers’ expectations through communication is crucial. Here’s 4 tips to set you up for success: Be honest. Seems intuitive enough, but being honest and up-front about what your schedule looks like or...
Hey Look Ma – I’m in Print!

Hey Look Ma – I’m in Print!

Woot woot! Monica Pitts (my boss when I worked at MayeCreate Design) recently wrote an article for the Columbia Business Times called “Tips to Heat Up Your Website”. She gave me an opportunity to weigh-in on what makes a good website. The article narrows it down to a checklist: Intuitive Free of Excess Clear Communication Mobile Ready Meaningful Content Easy on the Eyes Marriage of Form and Function My favorite part (maybe because it’s a quote from yours truly): No matter if you’re building a website using a free theme or building from scratch with a professional development team, it’s vital to customize the content and look so viewers instantly recognize who you are, what you do and how to get in touch. Bonus points are awarded for links to your social media, professional resources and examples of past work or...

Finding a Groove

There are days when creativity oozes from every pore in my body. Then other days it seems like I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel to find inspiration. That’s when process comes in. I’m a creative person that can find inspiration in crazy places. It’s when I follow my creative process though that I am most efficient and effective though. My process continues to evolve, but the bones are good and will stick around. My process in 12 Steps: Gather Information This is when I capture the details of the project. I ask lots of questions to better understand my client, their wants/needs, their product/service and the objectives for the design. If budgets, dimensions or materials/processes have restrictions we discuss those here. Find inspiration I used to keep a notebook and sketch or tape/glue items in that I found interesting. It was a library of fun ideas to draw from when I needed a little help being inspired. I still collect inspiration…now I mostly use Pinterest and online bookmarks for ideas. What inspires me in my everyday movements just bounces around in my head until I find an outlet for it. Sketch/Plan Kudos to the creatives out there who can go straight from an idea to a finished product. The rest of us like to take a little time and plan our designs. It sometimes takes 20+ rough sketches to work through spacing and layout challenges. Once I have something rough that I think will work well though it’s time. Design & Create I use the Adobe Creative Suite to bring my designs to life. Whether the finished project...

Juicy Creativeness

Lately I’ve been changing a lot of diapers [seriously, a LOT] and have been looking for some new projects to sink my teeth into. If you’ve been putting off a project and having been toying with the idea of starting up again…or just starting for the first time, let’s talk. Let’s get some creative juices flowing! I’m in the business of creating communication that works. That means no fluff without heavy lifting. I am a graphic designer with a passion for passionate people. I don’t want to work with you if you’re wishy-washy about what you’re doing. I’m in the business of bettering people and their efforts. If you think you’re qualified, let’s talk. I’m up for any...

Harder than I thought

So putting together my online portfolio is turning out to be more difficult than I originally thought. This week is my last week of maternity leave, so I’m only working on this while my little girl is sleeping or entertaining herself quietly on her play mat beside me. I still have to finish formatting several template pages for my custom WordPress theme, pick out which projects are worthy of my portfolio, and input all of them with some brief notes/explanations. This will [and should] always be an ongoing project of mine, but I’m really going to push to get the initial thing up and running in the next 2 days. Oi – back to...