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  1. #26
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tyssen's Avatar
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    Not all artists that are respected today weilded power or influence while they were alive. Van Gogh springs to mind.

  2. #27
    Non-Member buzzfretz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john2k

    When I was in college (B.S. in computer science with a track in management information systems [mix of comp sci & business studies]) one book that was recommended consistently during my 4 years there by many professors was Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends & Influence People." It was surprisingly never on the curriculum for any class that I had, probably because of the *self help* nature of the book. I suppose that type of book (self help) officially being on a curriculum is considered taboo by the academic world. Regardless, that book was recommended over & over by many professors and is definitely worth the read.
    I have a BS in Business with a major in accounting. I was fortunate enough to have a friend send me to the Dale Carnegie Course as a graduation gift. He was a High School drop-out and an immensely successful business man. To him, Carnegie's techniques and methods were the most important skills he'd ever learned in a classroom. Everything else about business he had learned by himself. No Harvard Business School or fancy schmancy MBA program.

    Having said that...

    If you look at just about any business college curriculum you'll find these basic categories:

    Accounting
    Finance
    Management
    Economics
    Marketing
    Computer Science
    Statistics

    Having a basic understanding of all these subjects will go a VERY long way towards helping you reach your goals as a business person. Use all of the suggestions people have named on this thread to learn as much about these subjects as you can. None of it is rocket science. And I think you'd be surprised about how much clearer you can see the Big Picture if you have some of the fundamentals ingrained in your head.

    Another suggestion: There is a book called How to Sell Anything to Anybody by Joe Gerard. Read it and then start doing the things he tells you to do. It is full of practical and very specific advice. It's not just a bunch of happy pep talk or lofty principles. Just straightforward strategies to build your business no matter what business you're in.

    One more piece of advice: If you want to be an artist then be one but don't expect to earn much money. Being an artist and being a business person are two entirely different things. You will be much happier and probably even more successful if you understand the distinction up front. I know what I am talking about.

    Sincerely,
    Middle-aged old f*rt

  3. #28
    SitePoint Enthusiast EddM's Avatar
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    My only advice would be don't be afraid to lose work. Countless times before I started to reshape my ideas, I ended up taking on contracts for sometimes less than half of my original quote just because I was worried that if I stayed firm at my original high price they would go somewhere else.

    Now, I'm alot more "assertive", if you will, when it comes to taking on projects. I always quote about 10% over what I originally think to give me some wiggling room when it comes to negociation.

    Also, take heed of the point about keeping everything recorded. It's true, people will try and screw you over and we don't need that. It's hard enough to get work as it is in this industry (for me).
    Edd Morgan
    Cake Media Studios, Wokingham UK

    Ashes to ashes, zeros and ones.

  4. #29
    Non-Member I87's Avatar
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    time is the best teacher

  5. #30
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by EddM
    Now, I'm alot more "assertive", if you will, when it comes to taking on projects. I always quote about 10% over what I originally think to give me some wiggling room when it comes to negociation.
    My counter to that is that in my experience, you should only give a discount for a good reason. Simply giving one to your client just because they ask tends to make them realise that you had inflated your prices in the first place - they may also linger on the thought that they had they not asked for a discount, you'd have happily charged them an extra 10% on the project, a 10% only really put there to allow for your assumption of impending negotiation. In addition it will mean that every time they approach you for new work, they'll expect discounts every time, and no doubt the discount request will get larger and I suppose your initial over-inflation will have to get larger. This kind of stuff I'd expect from a double-glazing or car salesman, not a professional consultant.

    I prefer to give my clients a price and stick to it - if they want to pay less, we'll look at how we can drop features or handle certain functionality more simply. As for discounts and freebies, I tend to reward my good clients with free advice, free extra features for their site etc - not when they ask for them though, these are things I just offer them every now and then - it helps strengthen our business relationship, makes them smile and generally leads to them sending me more quality work and referrals.

  6. #31
    SitePoint Enthusiast EddM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowbox
    This kind of stuff I'd expect from a double-glazing or car salesman, not a professional consultant.
    Good point well made. I only speak from experience from what has helped me and worked for me in the past. This is probably because my clients have been people with no real interest in developing a home on the internet for their company or organisation. If you take a look in my signature, you'll find that two thirds of my projects have been for tiny groups like gaming clans that come to me with a budget as low as their expectations. Due to my current situation I've been unable to branch out to a much broader spectrum of potential clients until recently.

    Perhaps a new approach is on the cards for me.
    Edd Morgan
    Cake Media Studios, Wokingham UK

    Ashes to ashes, zeros and ones.

  7. #32
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by EddM
    Good point well made. I only speak from experience from what has helped me and worked for me in the past. This is probably because my clients have been people with no real interest in developing a home on the internet for their company or organisation. If you take a look in my signature, you'll find that two thirds of my projects have been for tiny groups like gaming clans that come to me with a budget as low as their expectations. Due to my current situation I've been unable to branch out to a much broader spectrum of potential clients until recently.

    Perhaps a new approach is on the cards for me.
    You'll soon come to learn that no matter where you sit in the general scheme of things, your clients will nearly aways have too low a budget for their requirements! This is why I feel it's good to stick to your prices, ask the client for their budget and work out the best solution that you are able to provide for the available funds - assuming that is, that the budget is a realistic one in the first place. You'll also find that budgets were generally made to be broken and it's rare that a client doesn't end up spending more than they initially wanted to - perhaps not at the start of a project, but certainly as the project progresses.

  8. #33
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Warren
    Oh, I don't believe that for a second. That's an excuse for being undisciplined.

    The problem is that culturally, we cut "creatives" a lot of slack. We expect them to be flakes, misunderstood geniuses, whatever, and we tend not to be surprised when they act irresponsibly. Just being an artist, is all. But how many of them actually accomplish much of anything?

    Truth is, the great artists of history have all been shrewd tacticians, politicians and businesspeople - they're the ones who learned how to combine creative freedom with the focus and power needed to get things done, which is why we remember Da Vinci and Michaelangelo today. They wielded power. That discipline makes the difference between being an artist and being just a goofball eccentric.
    Yes, Robert, you are so right. Creative people are most of the time looked at as a little off, a little cookie, a little different from the average Joe. And they are: they think. They are many times put down by people who look at life as a set course, no deviation accepted, too lazy to go through that process of using the mind.

    I also see another thing that happens often: the claim that you were born with this talent of creativity. To be a creative person you must lay conventions aside and make the choice to venture into unknown territory in order to poke through that skin of this big artificial balloon of conventions and traditions. You must work hard, it is a tremendous mental effort to create. This very fact will be ignored by the ones that are not doing so in order to cover up their own unwillingness to take this step to think. So it has been with humans for a long time. The ones that push forward and expand the capacity for a better life are so often just ignored or even persecuted as deviants unworthy of respect, only in hindsight will they be honored -- Datura
    Ulrike
    TUTs: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

  9. #34
    SitePoint Wizard mcsolas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowbox
    You'll soon come to learn that no matter where you sit in the general scheme of things, your clients will nearly aways have too low a budget for their requirements!
    .. this is my cue to look for better funded clients

  10. #35
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCsolas
    .. this is my cue to look for better funded clients
    Often better funded clients are the ones that pinch and scrape. How do you think they got better funded? This has been my experience in some 30 years of being my own boss -- Datura
    Ulrike
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  11. #36
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCsolas
    .. this is my cue to look for better funded clients
    LOL, nice idea, but not much of a reality in most cases. I've worked on projects ranging from 4 to 6 figures and each client always wanted more than their budget allowed. It's just the way it is, so invariably compromises have to be made to accommodate a non-ideal budget. It's also rare that these clients are not well-funded, just a case of them not willing to put the kind of investment into their web site that would (IMO) ideally be required.

  12. #37
    Non-Member the baldchemist's Avatar
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    Ah Robert, How refreshing you are! I am new to this forum stuff although I spent all of my life with media, entertainment and communication of some sort. There are times when I feel a little left on the sidelines when the new jargon comes into play, but you know what people always buy from the guy they like when every thing is boiled down.Many thanks to you all generally and you Robert in particular.
    da vinci and angelo wielded power when all the others were uneducated! That aint the case today. Take care

  13. #38
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    Building a customer base requires good communication skills and being prepared to make your customers feel you are always there for them and understand their needs. Its important to be totally clear on the requirements of any project. This will avoid problems further down the line that will prove costly in terms of schedule and budget.

    Experience helps a lot in being able to inject your own ideas into projects that will enhance the customers view of you and hopefully trigger recommendations.

  14. #39
    SitePoint Evangelist kooshin.com's Avatar
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    well having an MBA could work at some point but I guess web design business is not like any other business. I found that the web design business kit is really a nice book even though I read a few chapters of it and I guess it can help any business.

    Apart from that I dont know what else can really help much when it comes to web design business

  15. #40
    Non-Member the baldchemist's Avatar
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    You know, Often the reason the prospective client brings in an outsider is because the outsider has expertise that he/she doesn't have or maybe for financial reasons doesn't want to have in the company.
    Ask yourself if you were employed by this client, how much with social costs and equipment would it cost him to employ you to do what you are good a.t Now, I'm no expert at this but I know that any siteworth it's salt, say ten pages with 250 words of search engine readable content. plus graphics,design, validity,plus ongoing blogspot updates, maintenance, page renewal et al takes with reasonable research and scope of work over a year about 500 hours. Now i know that there are lots of you out there that are going to be up in arms protesting and i'm looking forward to reading it all, but that is about the sum of it. Now working on an old adage of 3+ 3+ 3 being costs, materials taxes and a reasonable profit. Your expertise you should have no problem justifying to your client, who will understand the equation. Lawyers. Dentists, accountants etc will want between 70 -250 USD per hour right? Now how much is your time worth for you to produce something that will make your client, if done correctly a hundred times more than your fee? 80 Dollars? Pounds?Per hour? How much was your old boss getting for your work? If he paid you 26 bucks then he was charging you out at 75 right? YOUR FEES should never be less than 30,000 dollars! Justify it! You will be suprised at how much easier to get 30,000 is than 3000.As long as you produce the goods! now i'm writing this without my reading glasses so any mistakes dont jump on them just understand the gist of what I'm writing. Robert forgive me for i Know not what I do. BC. Trampt keep out of this you have no understanding.As a post script ask yourself does the client want my buskness acumen or my other skills. Know what you are great at. Good luck to you. The main thing in life is when you dont know ask the pertinent questions. That's better got my specs on now.
    Last edited by the baldchemist; Nov 11, 2006 at 07:19.

  16. #41
    SitePoint Addict ghostme's Avatar
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    i had alot of issues with this part, but as a freelancer i can't run away from it. So i have learnt to draw up simple business proposal, contracts,conditions of payments and such...

  17. #42
    Non-Member the baldchemist's Avatar
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    The art in art

    Quote Originally Posted by Datura
    Yes, Robert, you are so right. Creative people are most of the time looked at as a little off, a little cookie, a little different from the average Joe. And they are: they think. They are many times put down by people who look at life as a set course, no deviation accepted, too lazy to go through that process of using the mind.

    I also see another thing that happens often: the claim that you were born with this talent of creativity. To be a creative person you must lay conventions aside and make the choice to venture into unknown territory in order to poke through that skin of this big artificial balloon of conventions and traditions. You must work hard, it is a tremendous mental effort to create. This very fact will be ignored by the ones that are not doing so in order to cover up their own unwillingness to take this step to think. So it has been with humans for a long time. The ones that push forward and expand the capacity for a better life are so often just ignored or even persecuted as deviants unworthy of respect, only in hindsight will they be honored -- Datura
    The art in art is to be so convincing that your deviations to the rules are the right ones.That the viewer wants a part of how you see things. Now that is art. The artist blazes new paths. The great artist sets new perspectives and sees everything in a new light and articultes it to the viewer/reader in clear compelling light. Let's get on with it eh?BC

  18. #43
    Webwellwisher Robert Warren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the baldchemist
    The art in art is to be so convincing that your deviations to the rules are the right ones.That the viewer wants a part of how you see things. Now that is art. The artist blazes new paths. The great artist sets new perspectives and sees everything in a new light and articultes it to the viewer/reader in clear compelling light.
    I also suspect that the great ones were those artists who realized that their work didn't just shape thought or perception, or even the history of their art, but in fact directly crafted the nature and fabric of reality itself. As a result, they were no longer players with canvas and paint and brush - they dipped their hands into the clay of life and literally created worlds from the void. That's the factor that elevates the scribbler into the realm of immortals.

    I've had a few glimpses of that over the years, though only a few. A few years ago I wrote a magazine article about a particular schoolhouse in rural Tampa and the odd but real role it played in West Florida's coming of age after World War II. Great story, fun to research (I spent a few days driving around the small town interviewing folks who were there at the time) and a joy to write - it almost wrote itself. It ran in early 2005, I went out and bought up a few copies, and went on with my life.

    Later that year, the schoolhouse - which had been closed and locked since the early 1990's - was declared a state-preserved historical building, bringing to fruition an effort by a group of dedicated folks in this town that dated back over a decade. My main research source called me with the news, telling me that the article was a big part of why it happened - it galvanized the loyalists to push the county hard again, and with the magazine's statewide visibility, they were finally able to make it happen. I remember getting off the phone with the guy and just staring at the phone in disbelief.. something I wrote had just, in a small measure, changed the course of Florida history. I can't even begin to describe the sensation.. to this writer, it was damned close to a religious experience.

    Like I said, those moments don't come along often, but they make all the rest of it worth the hassle. They make you approach the work with a newfound humility and sense of responsibility, because it's not just self-gratification anymore: you're wielding a power that changes the course of lives, for good or ill. I'm by no means comparing myself to the great artists in history - please don't think that - but I do imagine that Da Vinci, for all his talents, spent more than a few moments in his life trembling in awe of a power that he, in his youth, had once regarded as a plaything.

    Good political and business sense just boils down to learning how to wield that power to best effect - and the least unintentional damage, both to others and to the artist.
    Last edited by Robert Warren; Nov 13, 2006 at 23:14.

  19. #44
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    I just joined a local BNI group as a web designer. There's a wealth of business savvy in these groups of all categories and many opportunities to learn from individuals who have been in buisiness a lot longer than I have. Then of course the referrals....

  20. #45
    Non-Member the baldchemist's Avatar
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    Robert. Great isn;t it? One of the most gratifying portions of my life was getting "Waltzing Matilda" back to Australia. The copyright was owned by a New Yorker! The US army had been using it as a march timing. Those that aren't aware Waltzing Matilda is as good as the Aussie National Anthem. I wrote a couple of articles for some of the Aussie press and I believe the great man Kerry Packer bought it back.
    I haven't the faintest idea why I wrote that here, but there ya' go.BC

  21. #46
    Webwellwisher Robert Warren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the baldchemist
    Robert. Great isn;t it?
    The best high there is. Better than drugs, better than booze, better than sex. And once you get a taste of it, you'll do anything to get it again.

  22. #47
    Non-Member buzzfretz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Warren
    The best high there is. Better than drugs, better than booze, better than sex. And once you get a taste of it, you'll do anything to get it again.
    To me, this brings up a very interesting point. This huge boost--this high that you get. Do you suppose the Oprahs and the Katie Courics and Dan Rathers of the world go around constantly drunk on it? Really, I'm not trying to sound like a smartass but doesn't it make sense that people like that would be the media world equivalent of the $1500-a-day heroin addict?

  23. #48
    Webwellwisher Robert Warren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzfretz
    To me, this brings up a very interesting point. This huge boost--this high that you get. Do you suppose the Oprahs and the Katie Courics and Dan Rathers of the world go around constantly drunk on it? Really, I'm not trying to sound like a smartass but doesn't it make sense that people like that would be the media world equivalent of the $1500-a-day heroin addict?
    I know I would be. Seriously, it's an intense feeling of almost godlike power and place - in that moment, you know exactly who you are and why you're there. It all clicks into form. Nothing in the world like it.

    Like I said, I've only had it a few times. It's probably a good idea for everyone concerned that I don't have it every day.

    "I've always wondered if there was a god. And now I know there is - and it's me!" (Homer Simpson)

  24. #49
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Off Topic:

    What, the feeling of actual purpose in an otherwise meaningless (and trivial) life Rob, or the sucking of mortals' blood that you do on a nightly basis? (Yes, I read that post you put up about sucking the blood of mortals, and yes, I do understand it was one of your jokes.)

  25. #50
    Webwellwisher Robert Warren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schulz
    What, the feeling of actual purpose in an otherwise meaningless (and trivial) life Rob, or the sucking of mortals' blood that you do on a nightly basis?
    You draw a distinction?

    Odd people we have here.


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