vintage illustration of woman working at computer

How to expect to pay for creative services

“How much do you charge for a logo?”

“What are your rates for a website?”

I sigh when I hear this. It’s like saying to a mechanic, “My car isn’t working. How much would you charge to fix it?” But while that may sound obviously silly, people are less familiar with what goes into design work, so… here goes:

We have a list of about 15 or more considerations we make before we price out a contract. Until our custom calculator is set up, a lot of thought goes into putting together a quote we think is fair, affordable for the client, doesn’t run too much of a risk of scope creep for us, and which is all-around worth it for us to take at this moment in time.

Here are seven of the considerations:

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The best business leaders embrace feminine behaviours

quote from Pablo Isla on emotional intelligence in the work place

This quote jumped out at me from Harvard Business Review’s November 2016 issue. While I’m the feminine-appearing half of Lynne’s and my partnership, I’m more masculine in personality.

In the past couple of years especially, I have learned that masculine people like myself are as emotional as feminine people, we just tend to suppress our emotions, causing them to bubble up as impatience, irritation and anger, all examples of externalized blame and all socially acceptable ways of showing emotion in business. We act like other people are upsetting us and are simply not being tough enough when they are upset with us.  Sometimes we think these “delicate snowflakes”—who demand a certain degree of care and who make their personal lives and feelings about their work experience known—are asking us to put in extra effort to take care of them. But really they are asking us to put in extra effort to take care of ourselves, so that we can be more aware of what is bothering us so that we don’t take it out on others. When we suppress our feelings and pretend that we’re not humans with personal lives, moods, emotional triggers, heartbreaks, and fears, we create oppressive, mechanical environments where everyone is afraid to be wrong, to screw up, or to have feelings.

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After the Women’s March: How businesses should & can get political

It’s time for businesses to get political.

It’s intimidating, we know. When your business supports your family, you don’t want to offend any potential client or customer. Taking care of the planet and our own communities is important, but our first responsibilities are to ourselves and our children, after all. You cannot give what you don’t have.

But, 1. you don’t need to have everything in order before you can give something, and 2. hopefully, you don’t live in a disproportionately liberal or conservative community such that making your politics known could cause you to lose most of your clientele. The idea of getting political where it matters is that any customers you lose, you can gain back by attracting more of your natural tribe to you. It’s like niche marketing. The reality is that if you’re trying to appeal to everyone, you’re already not overly appealing to anyone.

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Competitive meditation: We just made it a thing

Lynne and I are both a little competitive, but we like that about each other. It’s fun to compete at Ticket to Ride, arm wrestling, and parallel parking, so of course we found a way to compete at having the best brain waves. Because, why not.

What— you haven’t heard of competitive meditating? Counter-intuitive, you say? We must be creative geniuses and intolerable pills of people to even invent such a thing? Yes.

I purchased the Muse biofeedback headband for Lynne’s 40th birthday. I’ve been using it myself and forcing encouraging our children to use it. The headband listens to our brain waves as we listen to relaxing beach/rainforest/city/desert sounds. As our minds get distracted and busy, the sounds get louder, reminding us to calm down, and when we get really calm, we faintly hear birds. The app counts up how many birds chirped congrats at our calmness, and it tracks progress. Lynne hates it. (Possibly because I’m winning.)

I find that the headband helps me meditate better than without it and Lynne has seen gains in her ability to control her mind. She’s also been using the app Streaks to keep motivated on her main goals.

If you’re not already  meditating regularly, you’re not as healthy or happy as you could be.

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Our #1 piece of advice to business owners writing words for anything

Nearly every problem we run into with client-written web copy, or Google AdWords set up by another agency, or even just email instructions, can all be fixed by following the instruction BE SPECIFIC.

Inevitably, the home page or brochure says something like,

We help you achieve success. Let’s do business together!

  1. How?  
  2. Why?

Here’s a real-life example from this week’s Risk Creative editing work:

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stonewall kitchen jam

How Stonewall Kitchen’s fast failure made big success

You can’t take risks if failure paralyzes you. You have to learn how to expect and embrace failure.

Entrepreneur magazine has a column all about failure, helping people to reframe it as the pathway to success. Sometimes they feature stories from successful companies. This feature from one of our favourite foodie brands—Stonewall Kitchen—from one of our favourite places—Maine!—charmed us.

Some takeaway lessons:

1. Start before you’re ready and before you know everything. Imagine: these guys were selling product at a farmer’s market without even knowing what “wholesale” meant! You will never know all you need to know ahead of time; if you’re waiting to know “enough,” how will you know when that is? As Marie Forleo says, “Everything is figureoutable.”

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