Mother and Freelance Graphic designer, what can go wrong?

I am a working mom, and as such I wish I could give you a detailed list of how to succeed on being one. I can only offer you my experiences. Being a working mother has never been an easy task. I remember my mother, back in Chile, working all day and walking home for about 2 miles after a 45 minutes bus ride. Tired, hands full of bags filled with food and work.

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Now I am a mother as well. I have two little girls and a husband that fill my dreams. I worked as a graphic designer in AD agencies for about 12 years. Now I do freelance graphic design. I run my graphic design business from home. I wear all the hats one wears while running a business: accountant, PR, office manager, HR, office guru, cup of tea, dream maker, risk taker, etc… sigh.

Mother and freelance graphic designer, what can go wrong?

well, it turns out that plenty! My house is a mess, my kids are barely surviving and my husband takes what he can, poor guy. How do you keep a balance between work and home and family?

I can’t begin to tell you how messy my house is! I walk around it and squint my eyes so I don’t see all the piles of dishes, clothes unfolded, beds unmade, bathrooms mess, and all-around crazy living spaces. I have hired, ladies who would come and clean my house. IT IS ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT TO ME to pay someone to do my housekeeping job. If you know of someone in Las Vegas, I would love the referral ;).
I do what I can to clean my house a bit, but it is difficult to keep it clean when I am supposed to be serious about working. I pretend I am paying for an office space somewhere out there and come home at the end of the day, like every working person does. Cleaning my house has become second in my priorities. Sigh… my poor family.

I feel as if my kids are barely surviving. I made working hours for myself in order to establish structure in my day. I get up in the morning at about 6:15am. Shower, get dressed and wake up the girlies at 7am. We then fight about brushing their teeth (because apparently its always a surprise they have to do so) and getting dressed. We look around the house for clean socks. We have a box full of “lost socks” where we can look into when a pair is needed. I go downstairs and prepare their breakfast and lunch for school. Do their hair and off we go to school. I then come home, make my own breakfast and begin my work day. I usually stop working by the time they get home from school. I have been blessed with an awesome husband that has the ability to pick them up after work. It’s so nice. The ladies get home but there is no food on the table. I literally forget to make my own lunch sometimes, less alone make food for someone else. Then we fight about homework while my husband makes dinner, and then we get the girls ready for gymnastics and soccer. I do have to say one thing though, I have happy kids and that MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE. My husband is a huge help too. I feel forgiven most of the time but it all goes away the next day, when we are looking for socks again.

My poor husband takes what he can. He picks up the girls from school and comes home, to a place where only the dog runs to see him. We say a quick hello with a quick kiss and off we go to homework and food time. My husband and I have learned to appreciate the time we get together. We lead such busy lives. Since we both work and have many church and family duties, our lives together are made of moments.  I would think this is true for any working couple. We were counseled to go out on dates at least once a month. We love those few hours we have together. We eat. We laugh. We talk about the girls. We have worked on getting friends. It might sound a bit silly but for us its huge! Its so nice to be able to talk to other adults, about their problems and joys.  We love our friends.

I have to say that I love being a mom, a wife and an entrepreneur. I wouldn’t change my life for anything. I feel stressed out because my house is a mess, my kids are barely surviving and my husband takes what he can while supporting me. Being a working mom is not a walk in the park. I have been working at my time management skills and learning about the business of graphic design.  However, I always keep one thing in mind, MY FAMILY IS FIRST.

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How do you manage being a mom and a business owner? I really want to know! Please leave a comment below.

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4 things to have in mind when creating a great marketing piece.

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It is often the case that a client would come up to me with a marketing “want“, but without a clear vision of what “they need” for their marketing piece to happen. This is absolutely common, and in my opinion, there is no need to panic and freak out, I am here to guide you.

Here are 4 things to keep in mind when creating a marketing piece:

1) Your audience: It is important to know who your audience is because that will determine the look, feel and text of your marketing piece.
To say, “my audience is everyone between the ages of 15 – 65” is not very helpful. You need to narrow it down; think about what your business has to offer to certain individuals. When thinking of an audience, I like to think of my family and how they would respond top what I created. My 18 years old nephew could care less about what his 48 years old mom likes.  Lets say a community center offers gym classes to everyone. Wonderful! however, if they want both my nephew and sister to attend, they will need to approach them separately. My sister would go for a flyer that uses a friendly image of a woman, modern colors and inviting text describing HOW it would help to attend their classes. For my nephew, all he would want is the social aspect of it with an engaging image of teens having fun together, use of modern color and application, and interesting text. Nothing too “Tubular”  because they’ll know the center is trying too hard.

2) Color Palette: Did you know that there are such things as modern and classic colors? feminine or masculine? Playful and serious? Now, when it comes down to a business, one has to learn to separate the personal from the business. You have to think in terms of your business, not you. Look around you, what do you see? I recommend going to the mall or local shops and see if you can determine who their audience is JUST by looking at their color palette. Take notes, take pictures, you are doing research. You found a color you love for your business, use it. (However, you cannot use Tiffany’s blue. They trademarked it). Here is a cool website that can give you a little insight on color palettes.

3) Text: or in design terms, “copy“. If you have been blessed with the talent of writing, use it. I’ll envy you. if you are just like me, then there are two ways you can go about it: Get feedback from someone you trust OR use a copy writer.
I am from Chile, a beautiful country in South America, so English is my second language. Expressing myself eloquently comes with challenges. I know a couple of copy writers that are just so … beautifully clever. Words flow like honey when they write. its impressive and worth every penny for a marketing piece. I wish I knew how to write well. I have many talents but writing is not one of them. I’m not that clever. I always say “I’m not a writer but I can make your stuff look amazing!”

4) Deadline: yep, you need to know when you need your stuff IN HAND, printed and ready to distribute to the masses. The best way to do this is working a backwards timeline on your calendar. Look at the date you want your stuff in your hands. Now, looking back on the days of the calendar, take into consideration that a printer will need at least one week to print. Two, if you want to be nice and have a “cushion” for mistakes and such. Then, talk to a designer, like me, and work out when your piece needs to be at the printers, see options from your designer on your marketing piece and when the designer needs things from you, such as copy, images, etc… Deadlines are beautiful. I especially love them when the go “woosh” right pass you. 😀

Woohoo, now you’re on your way to marketing greatness. By having these 4 things in mind: audience, color palette, text and deadlines, you will be on your way to creating a great marketing piece. Best of luck and contact me if you need me.

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