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My New Graphic Design Website!

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Yaaaaaayyyyyy!!! I am so excited to announce that I have a brand new website for my graphic design business!!!  It took about two months of both myself and my husband working on it in the evenings and every spare second that we had, and I’m so proud to say that it is finished! (Well, not really, as websites are never really ‘finished’ there will always be updates and refinements, but it’s finished for now at least, and I’m ready to show it off to the world.

As part of the website re-design we wrote and designed an ebook titled "10 things you can do in your business today to create a conscious and ethical impact" that you can download for free from the new website.

Do you know what it’s like to have a website that you’re unhappy with? It’s frustrating and embarrassing (especially when you do web design as part of your job like I do!) I put together my website in a hurry when I first started my business because I was keen to get something up and running so I could start marketing and start bringing in clients. It was just a temporary I said. I’d work on a better website in my spare time. But it never happened, and a year later I still had the same website! I had very limited spare time and I was getting enough work so it wasn’t a priority for me to change it.

We hired a professional photographer to do a photoshoot so that we'd have professional photos to put on the new website

But a couple of months ago I started working with a mentor who really pushed me to update my branding and re-do my website. So I finally made the website re-design a priority and now I have a brand new website (and a brand new website identity!) For too long I have looked just like every other graphic designer out there. But I’ve gotten really clear on who my dream clients are and I have created a new website that is specifically targeted to them. Flik Graphic Design is boutique design studio for purpose-driven entrepreneurs. We work with business owners that are really passionate about what they do. We specialise in feminine branding and graphic design for established businesses. Some examples of the kinds of businesses we work with are photographers, health professionals, and other service-based businesses, as well as ethically-sourced jewellery and homewares retailers, cruelty-free and natural cosmetic brands, and plant-based hospitality businesses.

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2015 Year in Review

I had another MASSIVE year in 2015! Some highlights included:

1. Moved into our new house
In January we said goodbye to our inner city apartment and then renovated and moved into our new house in the suburbs. Yes, I was moving house and renovating while heavily pregnant and I would not recommend it! But all the nesting hormones certainly helped!

2. Had a baby
After an epic 4 day labour, I gave birth to my beautiful little baby girl Charlotte on the 17th of April 2015. This was definitely the highlight of my year! Being mum to a newborn has definitely been the most challenging, exhausting, intense experience of my life, but it has also been an amazing, rewarding, life-changing experience.

3. Anniversary holiday on Stradbroke Island
For our one year wedding anniversary, we headed back to Stradbroke Island which is where Chay proposed. This time we had a little baby with us!

miss_flik4. Woodford Folk Festival
We took Charlotte to her very first music festival and she LOVED it! She was still a little young for most of the kids activities, but she loved dancing to the live music. She got so excited at the start of the closing ceremony, that she tired herself out and ended up missing most of it because she fell asleep!

5. Maternity leave
For 2015 I was on maternity leave from my business while I focused on being a great mum. It was really hard for me to take a step back from my business, so I ended up working part time. Find a balance between my two roles as a mum and business owner was something I really struggled with, but it forced me to re-evaulate my business, so I’m now working smarter and getting more done in less time!

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Printed Invitations

Should you print your own invitations or have them printed professionally?

Not sure whether you should print your own invitations or have them printed professionally? Here’s a run down of the advantages and disadvantages of both options!

Price
Firstly lets have a look at cost. Professional printing is more expensive right? Not necessarily. Once you add up the cost of specialty paper, plus the cost of printer ink, it might actually be more expensive. On the other hand, if your invitation isn’t going to use very much ink and you don’t spend too much money on paper, it might be cheaper. It really just depends on your individual setup.

Time & Convenience
Professional printing is easy because all the work is done for you, but it can take a few weeks for your invitations to arrive. On the other hand, if you do your own invitations you have to buy all the supplies and to take care of the printing, trimming, and troubleshooting. You have to figure out which paper is going to work with your printer, and figure out how to set it up so you don’t end up with paper jams and other issues.

printed-invitation-professional-vs-homeQuality
This is where professional printing comes out on top. Professional printing undoubtedly produces better quality results than home printing. Have a look at the comparison photo on the left. Both invitations are black ink printed on kraft paper, the one on the left is printed on a high-end consumer grade bubble jet printer, the invitation on the right is printed on a commercial digital printer. See how much blacker the professional invitation looks? This is because the ink in the home printer is water based and sinks into the paper, while the ink on the professional printer is (usually) made from soy wax so it’s sits on the surface of the paper. But home prints can do a pretty good job too, and may be more than adequate for your particular project.

Specialty Printing
When you print at home you’re limited to using RGB or CMYK inks, which means that you can’t achieve some of the cool colours that require special printers. For example, most printers can’t print white ink, you need a special white ink printer in order to be able to do this. Likewise, home printers can’t do cool effects like metallic ink/foil, embossing or letterpress – all of these require specialist printers too.

Free printable posters to brighten up your office

Here’s some free printable posters to brighten up your home or office!

Whether you stick them on the wall, or pop them in a frame, these posters will inject a little bit of positivity into your life. They are A4 (210x297mm) size, which is the standard paper size in most printers. To print them out, simply click on an image and it will open up the printable version of the image. Right click on the image and choose ‘Save as…’ this will save the image on your computer. You can then open it up and print it out!

If you use them, please send me a picture, I’d love to see what you’ve done with them!

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

Print

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Selling on Etsy – Tips & Tricks

1. Know your market

Who is your target market? Are they on Etsy? Look at your competitors. What are they doing? Are their prices similar to yours? If your products are more expensive, are you demonstrating that you offer better value for money? What makes your business stand out?

2. Have great looking product photos

Great product photography should be your number one priority. You don’t need to hire a professional photographer, but make sure your photos are clear and bright. This well really help your products stand out and make your shop look professional.

3. Focus on excellent customer service

Reply to messages promptly and politely. If a customer is unhappy, address their concerns and fix the problem – even if it’s not your fault or it leaves you unfairly out of pocket. If you make a mistake, say sorry. Good customer relations can go a long way. Your best advertising will always be the word of mouth from happy customers.

4. Reward your customers

Show appreciation to your customers by adding little extras to their order. This could be in the form of a small gift or sample, a hand written note, a discount voucher and lovely packaging.

My favourite Skillshare tutorials for creatives

I’m a HUGE fan of Skillshare (and self-education in general). Here’s a round-up of my favourite Skillshare tutorials for creatives:

An Online Skillshare Class by Tanner Christensen

An Online Skillshare Class by Courtney Eliseo

An Online Skillshare Class by Mary Kate McDevitt

An Online Skillshare Class by Geri Coady

Not a member of SkillShare? You can sign up here.

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Gratitude Jar

What’s a Gratitude Jar?

I started a Gratitude Jar at the start of the year as one of my new years resolutions, and it’s one of the best things I have ever done.

All you have to do is take a moment each day to write down something that you are grateful for and put it in a jar. It’s a great exercise, because it forces you to be mindful of the positive things that happen throughout your day.  And when you’re having a particularly bad day, you can have a look at all the positive things that have happened to you.

To make your own Gratitude Jar all you need is:

  • An old jar
  • Scrapes paper to write on
  • Ribbon and a label to decorate (optional)
  • Gratitude

But I don’t have anything to be grateful for!

Really? The simple fact that you’re reading this, means that you either have (or have access to) a computer with internet, which means you have electricity, and you’re probably sitting on a pretty comfy chair too. You can find an almost infinite number of things to be grateful for by focusing on the little things that you usually take for granted. A few examples of some of my own gratitude’s include:

  • Didn’t have to wait in line at the coffee shop! And my soy latte tasted AMAZING!
  • Enjoyed a delicious Eggplant Rollatini for dinner tonight!
  • Relaxing Friday night eating home made popcorn and watching a movie with my husband.

Do you have a gratitude jar? If so, has it had a positive effect on your attitude or outlook on life? Please tell me about it in the comments!

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20 Things I Wish I’d Know In My 20s

1. Don’t be in such a rush to settle down

In my early 20s I was determined to settle down as soon as possible. I was engaged at 21, bought a house at 22, and by the age of 23 I was working full time, paying a mortgage and raising 3 foster babies. Maybe I would feel differently if I hadn’t found myself right back where I started at the age of 26, but I now wonder why I was in such a rush to have all those things so early in life. If I could do it all over again, I would spent my early 20s single and traveling.

2. Travel as much as you can

Traveling is something that I didn’t do in my early 20s because I was too busy playing house. But I took my first trip overseas when I was 25 and I loved it. I’ve now been on 6 overseas trips and the only regret I have is that I didn’t start traveling sooner. Travel while you still have the time and the energy, and your standards are low enough that you find $3-a-night-backpackers’ appealing.

2. People that are supposed to be older and wiser than you don’t necessarily have all the answers

When you’re young, looking to older people for advice is a good idea, but don’t take everything they say too seriously. I made far too many bad decisions because I took stupid advice from stupid people. Just because someone is older or more successful than you doesn’t mean they have all answers, or they know what is right for you. Listen to people, but trust your own instincts also.

3. Follow your passion and stop worrying about what people think

Bill Gates’ first business was a failure, Steve Jobs was fired from his own company, Albert Einstein was told he would never amount to anything, Steven Kings’ first book was rejected 30 times. The point is, even the most successful people had doubters in their lives. Just keep following your passion. At best you’ll be a huge success, at worst you’ll get to spend your life doing what you love.

4. Avoid debt as much as possible

Yes I know that this is hard, but debt can be your worst enemy. Being debt-free gives you so much more financial freedom and opens up so many more options for you. You can save for something in far less time than it takes to pay off a loan. I know that catching the bus while you save for a car sucks, but paying off a car loan for twice as long sucks too. Learn about compounding interest, and never, ever, ever use credit cards for things aren’t absolutely essential. You’ll thank yourself when you’re older.

5. You are NOT too old for a career change!

When I was 24, I decided I wanted to completely change my career and started studying to become a graphic designer. Many, many people told me I was “too old” to change careers. That’s just nuts. Follow your heart, do what you love. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already spent thousands of dollars studying for something else. That money is gone regardless of what you do with your life, and sticking with a career you don’t love isn’t going to get it back.

6. Ignore the haters

People will bring you down. That’s just an unavoidable fact of life. But the reality is that most of the time they are just reacting to their own insecurities or they’re jealous of you. In my 20s I wasted far too much time worrying about what other girls had to say about me. These days, I looked back at those same girls and I can see them for what they really were – miserable, insecure girls who tried to bring themselves up by bringing others down.

7. Stay out of other people’s drama

Whether it’s a friend, lover or anyone else in your life. You’ve got your own life to live, getting caught up in other people’s drama is not going to help you, and it’s not going to help them either. Offer your support, but don’t let yourself become emotionally invested.

8. If a relationship is meant to be, it won’t be a battle

No relationship is perfect, but if you’re really meant to be with someone, things will just come naturally. In previous relationships, everyday there seemed to be some new issue or problem to deal with, but I just thought that was part of being in a relationship. But now that I’m older and married to a great person, life is just so easy, and I wonder why I used to fight so hard for relationships that clearly weren’t meant to be.

9. You opinions are going to change A LOT as you get older

How you feel about things and what you believe in your early 20s is probably going to change dramatically as you age. You don’t know all the answers, so don’t be so headstrong. Keep an open mind, and don’t dismiss other people’s beliefs or give them a hard time – you might feel the same way in a few years.

10. Learn to cook

I seriously wasted far too much money on crappy food in my late teens and early 20s because I didn’t know how to cook. Teaching myself to cook at the age of 21 was one of the best decisions I ever made. Teaching yourself to cook is easy. The internet is teaming with a virtually limitless amount of recipes, and you can watch cooking demonstrations on Youtube. You first attempts will suck. But you will get better. And you will save a ton of money, know exactly what you’re putting in your body, and potentially impress a love interest.

11. Not getting what you want isn’t the end of the world

From the age of 15, I was adamant that having children was going to be my number one priority. I was going to get married, buy a house, and have at least one child by the age of 20. When I turned 20 and was still childless (not to mention partner-less and house-less), I decided I would have at least one child by the age of 25. When I turned 25 I decided I absolutely had to have a baby before I turned 30. And now, here I am about to turn 30 and still don’t have any children, but I’ve come to accept that things don’t always turn out the way that you want them to, but that’s OK.

12. Be nice to everyone

At best, you’ll make someone’s day, at worst, you can go to sleep that night knowing that you injected some happiness into the world. I don’t care of someone is being a dickhead. Just be nice – you never know what people are secretly going through.

13. Fake it ’til you make it

I know that this advice gets tossed around a lot, but I never listened to it in my 20s, because I really didn’t like the idea of being fake. I wanted to be authentic about who I was. It took the better part of my 20s to realise that it’s not about being in-authentic, it’s not about faking who you are, it’s about faking how confident you are about who are you.

It also took me the better part of my 20s to realise that the people I most admired, who seemed to be the most successful and well-adjusted, were in fact faking it too, and were just as insecure and clueless as I was. Which leads me to my next point…

14. Don’t compare yourself to other people – you never know their whole story

In my 20s I wasted far too much time on jealousy. I though the people around me were doing so much better than I was. But things aren’t always the way that they seem.

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steven Furtick

I got a huge wake up call when I went through a messy break-up at the age of 26. Some of the same people that I’d been so jealous of started to confide in me that their own relationships, and other elements of their lives, weren’t as wonderful as I thought they were. I’d worked so hard to create the illusion that my own relationship and my life was perfect, but it never occurred to me that the other people around me might be doing the same thing.

15. Take a moment each day to focus on the positive

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day struggles of life, but taking a moment each day to focus on the positive things in your life can help to remind you how lucky you are. Personally I have a gratitude jar that I like to add to every day.

16. Forgive yourself for stupid mistakes

You’re going to make a lot of mistakes. It’s an inevitable part of life. Dwelling on them or giving yourself a hard time isn’t going to change anything. So acknowledge what you’ve learnt, forgive yourself, and move on.

17. Regularly do things that scare you a little bit

Take a hula hooping class, sign up for a fun-run, go to a party by yourself. Do anything that will push you out of your comfort zone. It will make a you a more resilient person and you’ll probably end up having lots of fun!

18. Don’t waste time on friendships that don’t have a positive impact on your life

Life is far too short to waste time on toxic friendships. People that constantly inject negativity into your life or try to bring you down are not worth it. There’s plenty of ways to make new friends – join a book club, join a sports team, join an online forum, or hell, just be your own best friend.

19. Start taking care of your body now

Aging has a cumulative affect. You may not notice any ill effects from your crappy lifestyle now, but you will. Stop smoking, cut down on your drinking, eat your veges, exercise regularly and avoid getting sunburnt. You’ll spend the next 80 years of your life thanking yourself.

20. Life is not fair and no one owes you any favours

In my 20s I wasted far too much time believing that if I was a good person the universe would shine down on me and I would be blessed with all that I desired. But guess what? Life is not fair. Crappy things happen all the time and that sucks, but that’s life.

No one owes you any favours. If you want something its up to you to work your butt off to get it, and even then things might not work out the way that you want them to, but hopefully you’ll learn some valuable lessons along the way.

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How to make temporary tattoos look real

1. Use Quality Products

Better quality temporary tattoos tend to look better and last longer. Purchase quality temporary tattoos or make your own tattoos with good quality temporary tattoo paper.

2. Prepare Your Skin

Your skin needs to be clean, dry and free from sweat, oil and hair, otherwise the he temporary tattoo adhesive may not adhere properly which will cause your tattoo to flake off.

3. Choose Your Positioning Wisely

Be careful with placement of your tattoos. Joints and other areas where the skin moves a lot will wear out your tattoo faster. If you choose an area that is hairy, you’ll need to remove to hair. Don’t put tattoos on your face if you want people to think they are real, as tattoo artists generally don’t do facial tattoos.

4. Remove the Shine

One of the tell-tale signs of a temporary tattoo is the shiny adhesive. To reduce this problem, cut out your design with as little border as possible. After you’ve applied your temporary tattoo and it is dry, gently apply a little loose face powder over the top of the tattoo to help set the tattoo and cut out the shine.

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