Creative Industry Related Information for Graphic Designers & Web Designers!

Tips to Deal with Burnout

Posted: February 9th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Articles, Health and Fitness | No Comments »

Some days, you’ll wonder why you don’t give it all up and get a cubicle job. Starting a business is trying. It can be an emotional rollercoaster, and a poor personal and national economy only exacerbates it. Chasing down clients to pay you for your work, staying up all hours to meet project deadlines and making little or no money per hour in the beginning can get tiresome. Here are some tips for dealing with burnout:

Tip #1 – Hire Help

One of the top reasons for burnout is doing too many tasks that can zap your energy. The best thing that you can do for yourself and your family is get help. There are several ways to accomplish this:

  • Get an intern
  • Hire a virtual assistant
  • Train an apprentice
  • Solicit family and friends as volunteers

You could end up getting free help, bartering services or paying someone to take some to-do items off your plate. Once you do that, it’s important to focus on what you do best and what you enjoy doing the most.

Tip #2 – Exercise

Maintaining your physical health is crucial if you want to avoid burnout. When you don’t get enough exercise, you lose focus as well as the energy you need to keep going from day to day. You’re more likely to get heart disease and other health problems that will make it hard to run your business. Finding the time to work out is a difficult feat for busy entrepreneurs, but think of it as insurance. If you stay active, it can help you deliver services to clients for a long time.

Tip #3 – Offer Something New

Launch a completely new venture on the side or offer a new product or service in your existing business. Creative people tend to burn out when work seems stale or if they get stuck doing the same mundane tasks, over and over again. Keep it fresh with new things to work on. For example, you might launch an online business that’s not related to web design or similar creative work. Maybe you want to express your creativity offline, like selling woodworking projects to your local farmer’s market. It’s important to evaluate your budget and overall goals for your primary business before throwing money at something new just to escape burnout. And don’t invest your hard earned money on impulse.

Tip #4 – Get Organized

Clutter, lost papers, missed deadlines and appointments can eat away at your emotions and lead to mental burnout. If too much of your time consists of battling your own disorganization, rather than doing great work for clients, then it’s time for a change. Invest in technology, tools, containers or whatever you need to get your time and physical space under control. Some free ones include:

Disorganization can also destroy any joy you have running your business. Bring that joy back and increase your profits at the same time by getting organized.

Incorporate these tips now so that your chances for facing burnout are slim. You’ll improve your overall performance and it will translate into a healthier business and a healthier you.


5 Ways to Find Insurance for Your Employees

Posted: November 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Health and Fitness | No Comments »

You may be obligated to find insurance for your employees under federal and state laws. Good job candidates also factor in employee benefits when deciding which job to accept, and you may need to find insurance to hire and retain them. It’s important to compare plans so that you can meet your legal requirements at the lowest price possible. Here are 5 ways to find insurance plans online and offline:

1 – Your Insurance Agent

You should begin your search with a call to your insurance agent, and for good reason. Insurance companies reward customers with multiple policies by awarding them with discounts. If you have business insurance with your insurance company, that’s even better. You should still call your agent if you only have personal insurance products, such as homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.

2 – Local Insurance Agents

If you don’t have an insurance agent that you’ve worked with in the past or are not happy with the discount offered, try other local insurance agents. Give them a call to discuss your need to find insurance for your employees. Those agents often have a network of agents who they work with in case they are unable to provide a specific product. You also may feel more comfortable meeting in person with an agent to discuss your needs in more detail, rather than with an online insurance broker.

3 – Online Insurance Brokers

One of the quickest ways to find insurance for your employees is to submit a request for a quote with an online insurance broker. You can get quotes for group and individual rates and easily compare benefits. The problem is that some online insurance brokers are not trustworthy and it can be difficult to determine who to submit your information to. You should always check the Better Business Bureau’s website at www.bbb.org before sharing personal information. It’s also important to use your discretion when it comes to the type of information you’ll submit to get a quote.  For example, you may want to withhold your social security number, and submit your employer identification number instead.

4 – Chamber of Commerce

You should check with your local Chamber of Commerce to see what options are available to your for small business group health insurance. The Chamber may offer excellent group rates for employers who want to provide health, disability or life insurance to employees. You have to be a member to access those benefits, but the cheaper insurance rates may be worth it.

5 – National Association of Health Underwriters

You can find health insurance agents that are reputable and held accountable through the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU). You can also get help from NAHU with the enrollment process as well, with purchasing decisions. You can learn more at www.nahu.org.

It’s important to do your homework when you want to find insurance for your employees. Don’t just compare the premium price, but also the policy terms. Not all policies are made equal, and you don’t want to end up paying the same price for fewer benefits.


5 Good Reasons to Take a Break at Work

Posted: January 10th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Health and Fitness | No Comments »

Every once in a while, you need to be reminded to take a break at work. Freelancers and entrepreneurs have one thing in common: They tend to be workaholics. Working hard to perfect your craft and making sure that you’re earning enough money to pay your bills is a good thing. You’ll do yourself, your family and your clients a favor, though, if you take breaks.  You can experience great benefits as a result. Here are five good reasons to stop working and take a break:

Reason #1 – Produce High Quality Work

Looking at your work with “fresh eyes” can make all the difference in landing a gig, outbidding competitors and delivering quality work to clients. When you take a break at work, your brain functions better and you think clearer.  You may think that you’re maximizing your time by not taking breaks, but what might be happening is that you’re wasting more time. For example, it’s easy to zone out while you’re working on a design for long hours. Your brain is ready to take a break even if you’re unwilling. Rather than waste that time, and bill your clients for it, do what your mind wants you to do. Take a short break.  You will produce higher quality work as a result.

Reason #2 – Relieve Stress

A simple way to relieve stress is to take a break at work. If you don’t remove yourself from the work, at least mentally if not physically, then the stress will pile up like your workload. Find things to do that you enjoy that can be done in a short amount of time.  Checking your email or engaging in more online activities is not really considered a break when you’re working on web design or graphics work. Take a real break. Play with your kids, your pets, go and check the mail, or play your favorite song. It will help to diffuse some of the stress you’re experiencing. The truth is, stress does impact your profitability because it impacts the quality of work you produce. If nothing else, think of it as part of being a successful freelancer or entrepreneur.

Reason #3 – Shorten the Work Day

Your work hours may remain the same when you take a break at work, but it’s going to feel shorter.  Your body and your mind can feel the difference when you work for long hours without a break. Short spurts of 10 or 15 minute breaks refresh the body and you won’t feel the mental or physical pressure as much. However, you don’t want to overdo your breaks and end up with too little time to complete all of your work. One break every three or four hours is often enough to get you through a work day.

Reason # 4 – Take Time to Eat

Don’t forget to take a lunch break, and there may be times when you need a snack as well. Working while hungry is difficult and can be counterproductive. A good reason to take a break at work is to eat a healthy snack. You should avoid high sugars if possible; you don’t want to slow down your work by having to metabolize all the sugar you ate.

Reason # 5 – Have More Energy for Other Things

You should do all that you can to minimize the habit of ending work every day exhausted. It can take a toll on your family and loved ones, your personal activities and other business pursuits. You’ll feel less pain from a heavy workload when you take breaks than if you don’t. You’ll have that much more energy to accomplish all of your other duties and responsibilities.

Don’t expect a life makeover when you take a break at work, but it will have a great impact on your physical, mental and emotional health. Your business will improve, and the results will pay dividends.


Time to Retreat?

Posted: March 27th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Articles, Health and Fitness | No Comments »

We all need time to get away from our design work and “re-charge” our creatives batteries. Problem is – do we do it often enough by actually planning for a “retreat”.

Think about giving yourself some time off by planning a personal, partner or family retreat. I know this sounds like common sense but how often do you actually plan it and then follow through?

I suggest planning a retreat at least once a month whereby you take the complete weekend off (if you don’t already) and engage with others in “non-work” activites – like plan a weekend to visit tag sales or go hiking or just work together around the house.

Or, if a personal retreat, treat yourself to a spa for a massage and complete pampering or rent a cabin in the mountains for a few days and enjoy the marvels of nature or head to your nearest big city and take in play or visit some museums.

Although a retreat may feel like an indulgence it serves the same purpose of refreshing your mind and re-charges your creativity.


An Apple a Day . . .

Posted: March 24th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Free Stuff, Health and Fitness | No Comments »

As designers we can easily become sedentary in our (mostly) computer-based profession and not even really notice it.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly two-thirds of all occupational illnesses reported, were caused by exposure to repeated trauma to workers upper body ( the wrist, elbow or shoulder ). One common example of such an injury is carpal tunnel syndrome.

I, for one, did begin to notice I was working more and more and taking less and less breaks. “I just have to much to do” was my internal conversation.
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