Simple Ways to Impress Your Freelance Clients

written by Georgia Schumacher 5 May 2015

Simple Ways to Impress Your Freelance Clients

If you’re looking for a way to be your own boss and spend your days doing work you’re passionate about, freelancing might be the answer. If you’re working to get ahead in the freelance market, use the 10 ideas below to make a great impression on your clients.

1. Promptly Respond to Client Inquiries

When a potential client contacts you for more information, there’s a very good chance you’re not the only freelancer they reached out to. Respond to the inquiry as quickly as possible to show that you’re excited about the possibility of taking on their project. Not only does waiting too long make it seem like you don’t want the job, it also means the work is likely go to someone else in the interim.

2. Don’t Overpromise

As a freelancer, you always want to make the client happy so they don’t take their business elsewhere, but don’t make promises you can’t deliver. It’s much better to be upfront with the person if their expectations aren’t realistic or you simply don’t have the time to completing a project. Overpromise too many times and you can find yourself in danger of burning bridges.

3. Keep Up with the Latest Trends

Trends change at the speed of light. Whether you’re a freelance photographer, web designer, fashion stylist, or holding down any other type of creative job, it’s imperative that you stay on top of the industry’s latest big thing or you’ll risk becoming obsolete.

4. Exude Confidence

Why should a client trust you with their project if you’re not even sure you can handle it? It’s only natural to be a bit intimidated by big projects or new opportunities at first, but this is how you learn and grow your skills! Learn to emanate confidence, even when you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. Impress your clients with your level of assurance to make them feel comfortable trusting you with this job and ones that come up in the future.

5. Never Miss a Deadline

Don’t agree to a project deadline unless you’re sure you can meet it. When you fail to submit work by its due date, you brand yourself as unreliable. This is not a way to retain clients. Earn bonus points by making a habit of submitting your work early.

6. Create a Robust Online Presence

There are lots of talented freelancers in your field, so stand out from the crowd by presenting yourself as an industry leader. Write regular blog posts about the latest happenings in your industry, frequently update your online portfolio with your latest work, and use your social media profiles to promote yourself and share updates relative to your field.

7. Go the Extra Mile

Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most. Impress your clients and earn word-of-mouth referrals by making a point to go above and beyond what’s expected of you. You’ll outshine your competition and create loyal clients.

8. Conduct Background Research

Take the initiative to learn a little bit about prospective clients before meeting with them. This is a great way to show your enthusiasm for the project. It also allows you to be prepared with relevant ideas to present.

9. Be Open-Minded

The client has the final say. You may not agree with their ideas or love everything about the finished product, but, even after you’ve shared your recommendations, you may still need to compromise. While you may be the expert in your field, your client is the expert on their individual or business needs and goals.

10. Double Check Your Work

No one likes to receive sloppy work. Make a point to review your finished product a few times to make sure there aren’t any errors. Remember, a project filled with mistakes can make you look like an amateur and distracts from your hard work and talent.

For more information on freelancing in the creative arts, check out our past blogs on the topic: 4 Keys to Starting a Freelance Business and How to Grow Your Freelance Business.

5 Keys to Impactful Advertising Campaigns

written by Georgia Schumacher 28 April 2015

5 Keys to Impactful Advertising Campaigns

Ready to grow your audience? Creating an advertising campaign is a great way to get your brand name out there and generate a buzz. Of course, consumers are already inundated with advertisements for just about everything, so you’ll need to work extra hard to ensure yours makes an impact. Follow the five tips below to create an effective advertising campaign that really works for your company.

1. Clearly Define Your Target Audience

Even if your product or service is amazing, it’s not for everyone. Determine exactly who you’re marketing to, so you can focus on meeting their needs and reaching them with your message. When you know precisely who your target audience is, you can concentrate your efforts on forming a connection with them, so they feel drawn to your brand.

2. Set Goals for Success

Before starting your campaign, it’s important to know exactly what you hope to achieve with the finished product. Creating clear goals for the campaign helps you stay on track with your efforts and allows you to clearly determine whether or not the campaign was a success. When the marketing period ends, you don’t want to be unsure if your hard work paid off or not.

3. Effectively Deliver the Message

These days, there are countless marketing mediums to distribute your message, so you’ll need to decide which ones you’re using from the beginning. After making this decision, tailor the content that will be shared on each channel to meet the unique needs of the platform. For example, if you’ve opted to advertise on television, online, and on social media channels, you’ll need to approach each one differently or it won’t work.

4. Keep it Consistent

While you definitely do need to approach each marketing platform differently, it’s still imperative to keep your brand messaging consistent. You don’t want people to see your advertisement on multiple mediums and not realize it’s promoting the same product or service.

5. Evaluate Campaign Analytics & Performance Metrics

Creating a campaign is only half the battle, as you also need to make sure it’s working. Closely monitoring your campaign analytics and performance metrics allows you to identify usage trends, consumer behaviors, the most effective medium, and more. This information can help you learn more about your target audience, what they want, and how to reach them.

Want to learn more about Advertising? Considering a career in the field? Explore our programs related to the field at http://www.aionline.edu/degrees-in-advertising/!

6 Newbie Graphic Designer Mistakes to Avoid

written by Georgia Schumacher 8 April 2015

Like any skilled profession, graphic design has a learning curve that can result in several common beginners’ mistakes. These gaffes may range from how you approach your design to the relationships you form with your clients. Here are 6 of the top major mistakes prevalent among young graphic designers, and how to avoid them.

6 Newbie Graphic Designer Mistakes to Avoid

1. Messy Design Elements

New graphic designers often go above and beyond to please new clients and showcase their talents. However, left unchecked, this eagerness can lead to overdesign and even a bit of chaos. So keep your focus on implementing a simple and clean design, unless your client specifies otherwise.

2. Failing to Sign a Contract

Unfortunately, graphic designers don’t always protect themselves with client contracts. Be aware that, without a contract, unscrupulous clients could short you or take your work without proper compensation. Although you may think that asking a client for a more formal agreement involving a contract might scare them away, it’s important to get one signed anyway.

3. Stock Image Overuse

As a web designer, it’s tempting to use simple stock photos. Unfortunately, the best stock photos are already being used across the web, which can detract from the originality of your web design. If possible, include your own images. Take them yourself, if feasible, or, if your budget allows, partner with a photographer you know and trust. Let your client know that you’re putting extra time and effort to deliver them personalized images, and they'll notice the difference.

4. Stale Designs

As a graphic designer, you may have a great sense of aesthetics, but it's also important to stay on top of the latest trends to make sure you offer something fresh. Creating a design that stands out from the competition can be one of the single best ways to keep clients happy.

5. Not Understanding a Client’s Needs

Always check and double-check that you fully understand your client’s needs before producing a design. Build a roadmap of your graphic or web design plan and make sure your client is on board. This will help you please the client the first time around and help you avoid costly redesigns.

6. Not Knowing Your Limits

You may want to take on a lot of work, but it’s important to set deadlines you can meet and tackle projects that are within your skill set. Over time, your knowledge of graphic design will grow and you’ll be more comfortable tackling more complex projects. Until then, know your limits.

Conclusion

Remember, everyone makes mistakes. It's an unavoidable and essential part of learning something new, but you can always learn from the mistakes of those who come before you! To really up your design game, consider earning a degree in the area of Graphic & Web Design. Explore our programs today!

The Beginner’s Guide to Hospitality and Culinary Management Careers

written by Georgia Schumacher 24 March 2015

If you are a natural leader, enjoy helping others, and want to work in an energetic, upbeat environment, a career in hotel, culinary, or event management might be the perfect fit for your personality and skill set! Hospitality and culinary management careers can give you a chance to meet new people, travel extensively, and improve other people's lives.

Hotel photo

A degree or certificate program in the area of culinary or hospitality management can prepare you for a variety of jobs managing events, overseeing restaurants, or moving all the way up to managing a top-tier hotel. It all depends on what you want and what you’re willing to work toward! Here are three common career areas in which you may decide to take your future!

1. Hotel management

As one might expect, many hotel management graduates opt for careers in the hotel industry. As a hotel manager, you'll interact frequently with guests and employees and be responsible for ensuring that the hotel service, appearance, and revenue meets expectations. New graduates may start as management trainees, eventually moving into supervisory and management positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for lodging managers was $46,810 in 2012.

2. Culinary management

Culinary management is a fast-paced industry in which you will have a chance to work with employees and the public as you plan and manage a business in the culinary field. Your responsibilities can range from purchasing and cost control, to training and supervising workers, to overseeing quality standards in food preparation. According to the BLS, management occupations in restaurants and other eating places had a median annual salary of $58,640 in 2013.

3. Event management

Event managers are responsible for planning and creating successful events such as weddings, conventions, and trade shows. As an event manager, you should be ready to juggle multiple responsibilities! You'll set up schedules, approve event marketing strategies, supervise decorations, book entertainment acts, and finalize catering menus. The BLS estimates that jobs in this field will grow 33% from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average 11% growth for all occupations.

At The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division, we offer 4 programs in the field of Culinary Management, including the Bachelor of Science in Culinary Management and Bachelor of Science in Hotel & Restaurant Management. Our Certificate programs include Event Management and Food & Beverage Operations. Explore our programs, or request more information today!

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The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division does not guarantee employment or any particular level of compensation following graduation. See aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

7 Tips for Getting Started in the Creative Arts

written by Georgia Schumacher 5 January 2015

ImageryThe New Year has officially arrived! There’s no better time to evaluate your current situation and set goals for the year ahead. If you’ve been dreaming about a career in the creative arts, make 2015 the year you turn your vision into a reality.

Use the following 7 tips to jumpstart your future in the creative arts this year.

1. Volunteer Your Time

Gain valuable experience and help out a great cause by volunteering your services to a charitable organization. Use the work you do for the charity to build your profile and establish a name for yourself. This is also a great way to make valuable connections that could help to advance your career.

2. Join Relevant Professional Associations

Many professional organizations offer discounted memberships to students, so this is your chance to start networking! Join as many relevant organizations as you can and attend their networking mixers, workshops, and other events to build your professional network.

3. Seek Internship Opportunities

An internship is a great way to gain on-the-job experience in your field. Some companies may pay you for your time, while others will not, but the chance to gain real-world experience that you can put on your resume is invaluable. Many companies even extend full-time job offers to interns that make a great impression! Current students can use our Career Resources to get started.

4. Find a Mentor

Is there a seasoned professional in your field that you really admire? If so, ask them to be your mentor. Meet with the person every opportunity you can learn more about becoming successful in the industry and gain useful insights on your work that can help to boost your career. Your mentor can also serve as a valuable connection during your job search.

5. Create a Robust Online Presence

Position yourself as an up-and-coming professional by maintaining a strong online presence. Create a personal website or online portfolio showcasing your work and your unique skillset. Make sure to include your contact information so it’s easy to get in touch with you. Use popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to market yourself and connect with other industry professionals. Students at any of The Art Institutes schools can use Behance to share their work – learn more here.

6. Tailor Applications to Fit Each Specific Job

Go the extra mile when applying for jobs or internships and customize your application to fit each specific position. Try to find the name of the hiring manager to personally address your cover letter, include the exact job title, and explain why your creative skills would be an asset to the organization.

7. Stay True to Yourself

It takes a lot of time and energy to build your personal brand, so don’t be afraid to turn down work that doesn’t align with your values. When you’re just starting out, it can be tempting to take on any project you can get your hands on, but that isn’t necessarily the best approach. It may take a little longer to build the right client base, but patience is a virtue when your professional reputation is at stake.