Monthly Archives: September 2010

Insert Subject Line Here

I have written and re-written about 3 blogs this morning and I don’t like any of the topics. I began by talking about TBD – too busy disorder because I have been hearing that a lot from one of my friends and it is very annoying. Truly, we are all busy. I either hear too busy or how their world is ending due to some type of unforeseen circumstance. Here’s the thing, people are losing their homes, cars and jobs. If it’s not one of those I can assure that your world is not coming to an end. It sounds alittle harsh but we run through life so focused on ourselves or what isn’t going right for us that we forget about the big bad world out there. The people that really need our help, the animals that really need our help. There’s cancer and sickness, home foreclosures, car repossession and job loss. Seriously, it’s crazy out there. I’ve even had to slap myself a few times when I feel like complaining and stop it. Things are tough sure, I worry about paying the bills all the time, have to come up with X amount of dollars in the next 4 days to pay rent but shoot, life is good and I’m not going hungry. Although, I really like ramen and it’s quite fulfilling – just add a slice of cheese and some garlic pepper and you go “gourmet”.

So then off to topic 2 that was deleted too. Mindy, amazing German shepherd rescue dog found a new home. I actually couldn’t be more thrilled. I think that friends and family alike were worried that I would do something dramatic at the thought of that but I was really really happy to find out that that crazy puppy who was abandoned in Cali and brought Az just found a loving home. There are 4 more shepherds coming to this rescue this week and now I get to play with another one and show them love until they get a good home too. Makes it all seem worth it….although I would prefer to have my German Shepherd back it seems like a piece of her lives in all of these dogs – Mindy was the same little princess as Modena and it warmed my soul.

Off to topic 3. My cup is not running over right now. So, oh universe that I love so much I am putting it out there that I need some big projects. I am going to manifest big projects, win the ones that I bid on last week and win the proposal that I just wrote for a government project. Oh yes, I am submitting on this amazing project that would be awesome to have, it would mean – dare I say the scary word that artist’s shy away from so much? Stability. Oh yes, I said the word. that gets submitted this Friday and I’ll know by Oct if I am the winner – which of course NThreeQ Media ultimate graphic design firm in Arizona will win it.

Topic 4. I have an old childhood friend find me through this blog and on facebook and we recently reconnected. That is always crazy to me. I hated school, really hated highschool – so much that I graduated early and ran off to Arizona to go to college where I then fell in love with school and now have a master’s degree. Funny how the universe knows better than you. I stopped trying to force things ages ago and just go with the flow now, find the road or new road or new track or lets just cut through and go over the mountain for fun? At some point in our messaging he told me I was an inspiration to him. Isn’t that funny? I would have never thought that I would be inspiration to anyone and here we are – Angelina. Inspiration. I think that’s kind of awesome.

So I sit here with no topic that I can decide on to talk about and am in a very strange but good mood for a Tuesday. I have another new hair color – bright red, and my landscapers still have planted my grass outside. My A/C went out on my rental house but my renters were totally amazing and understanding – it’s fixed again. We are about to move in to October and for the first time in years I am contemplating a Halloween costume and am excited about it – I blame my new BFF Jen for that one.

To sum everything up: we are given a life but it is up to us to live it. We live through the negative because we become better because of it. Stop whining. If we dwell we will never be happy, if we settle we will never find our destiny. If this were your last day on earth would you have done everything that you wanted to do? If not, do it. Smile at a stranger, say good morning to everyone you see, hug your kids/family/friends/clients. Look to the sky and say what a great day.

To success!

Angelina
NthreeQ Media, LLC
Phoenix Graphic Design

I cannot lie – I play FB Farmville…

I have a confession – I make time to play Farmville on Facebook – laugh if you must but it’s true. However, there’s a story behind that might be a shocker.

I moved in to a new place in June and my mom came out to help me clean and put it all together – thank goodness I thought I was going to lose my head! I was checking my FB page one day and I saw that my brother’s girlfriend had posted new pics of their kid – so I asked my mom if she saw the new pics. She said no and where could she see them – I told her Facebook. She had no idea what I was talking about – let’s recap my mom. She’s a preschool teacher – has been for the last 20 years and she just now got away from a “Pre-paid” cell phone – although I’m told it’s still a “flip phone.”

So, low and behold a few days after my mom leaves Phoenix to go home she friends me on Facebook. I was surprised, she had a profile picture and everything! She began reconnecting with my cousins and Uncles and Aunts and her friends and then me and my cousins re-connected and us crazy Italians all re-connected on Facebook – very cool I might add.

Then, my mom begins writing on my wall, and she even posted on my birthday how she remembers giving birth to me which is about as bad as being 10 and your mom uses her spit to clean your face. I’m a grown woman here – but as I have learned life is precious and I am grateful to have such a great family.

But now back to Farmville! My mom has gotten used to sending me emails just asking to email her back and let her know I’m alive – it’s been too long since she’s heard from me. Now with this FB reconnection she see’s my posts and knows I’m alive, what my mood is and how my days going. She then decided to get in to Farmville and so did my Uncle – they are like level 59 which is probably farmer ninja for all I know. I think I just made it to level 15!

My mom asked me to get a farm and be her neighbor. My Uncle is my neighbor too. And we all play Farmville. I told my mom she was crazy to make me do this – how will I find the time! But every morning my mom and Uncle’s little character is there to offer help and every night she fertilizes and takes care of my farm. It seems to be our little family game time as I’ve grown to an adult and moved away.

I’m even neighbors with one of my clients and we help each other’s farms out too.

Every morning I take 15 minutes to plant new items and plow my field, accept my families help and send them gifts while accepting their gifts. Every night they each post a surprise gift on my FB page.

I know what you are thinking, your laughing, I am too. My friends laugh too but says it’s sweet. Times have changed since I used to sit on the floor and play memory or Candyland with my mom. How funny how life can be so cyclical!

So, if ever I have told you that Social Media is a must for business it is! Blogging and key words and SEO and tweeting and posting is a must. But, my little secret is out – I also use social media to let my parents know that I’m alive and what I’m up to. Just the other day my dad told me how much he enjoyed reading my blogs – who would’ve thought?

So keep up the social media – while keeping connected with your family too! You never know who’s reading it!

To success,
Angelina

NThreeQ Media, LLC
Arizona Graphic Design

A friend is a friend until there’s a problem

I subscribe to a newsletter that is specifically for graphic designers and I had to laugh at the last one’s topic. I felt that it was so appropriate from everything that has gone on in my business world the last few weeks that I just had to share it with you!

The title was great: How to get better clients

It opens up with a story about someone in a legal battle over $50,000 worth of work with a client. And as this person is telling their story they drop the F bomb – and I’m not talking about the bad word. He said that he thought that this client was his FRIEND and he could not believe that this was happening. He said that disagreements started about the project and then his client tells him that they need to stop the project. His client low-balled him with a number to pay him for all of his work which seemed like more of an insult than anything else. He had nothing in writing however his attorney told him that he had a good case. He said something that really stuck with me: Good contracts make great clients.

I have had this happen to me too – a friend hired me to do a project that turned out to be a giant mess. In a business relationship there is a level of trust that needs to occur. If you are hiring a graphic artist or web developer you are hiring them because they are an expert in their field and you aren’t. Which is okay. I’m not a legal expert, or an accounting expert – hence why I have attorney’s and accountants. In business you have to all work together for the common good. Every subconsultant that I work with has to sign an NDA – no matter how long we have worked together or our level of tust. That’s the same thing that my dad said. I told him, frustrated one day that I just needed to stop working for friends. He said “No, you need to make sure there is a clear understanding from the beginning.” He is so right.

So here are the tips for designers to avoid something like this happening – but in my opinion if you are reading this you are shkaing your head because you have probably had a certain circumstance occur. These tips can work for both the hired person and the person that hired them. Clear lines and boundaries!

1. Always have a contract – CYA and put it in writing!

2. Outline expectations for both parties. Remember outlines? Revive them from the dead and start using them!

3. Agree to structure and timing of project – one of the most difficult things I had to learn was needing more time due to unforseen issues. It was a giant site that had nothing that wasn’t custom programmed – put it in the contract that things can happen when it’s all custom. Focus on milestones, and keep strong communication when issues arise.

4. Outline structure of confidentiality

5. Client approval – what your roles and responsibilities are

6. Terms of payment – money will get you every time. It’s the easiest thing to argue about. Make sure that it is clearly outlined how and when you are going to get paid.

7. Communicate! Even on the phone. Emails can be misunderstod more often than not. You may think someone is upset but talking on the phone it’s not the case. We are a society that assumes the worst and we have to work on re-training ourselves to not jump to conclusions and pick up the phone!

Now, like I said. I’m not an attorney nor well versed in the law. But every time something goes awry or a client gets difficult I take time to decompress the situation and figure out what I could have done differently or said differently. Regardless, it’s going to happen. And as I have learned over the last few weeks – I can’t please everyone no matter how hard I try and making sure everyone involved understands the expectations.

I actually had to keep telling myself over and over again last night that I am only human. I really am. Not sure if I forget that or other people forget that. But I am human, I do make mistakes and things aren’t always perfect nor will they ever be. I think what sets me apart is my passion, compassion, dedication and honesty. Sometimes it bites me in the you know what – but I would rather be compassionate for my work and clients than a robot who never absorbs anything I create.

It’s a give and a take – it’s all about relationships and as most of you know – I’m no good at those. But I am good at business and strategy and giving people what they want – and if I could be a giant purple super hero I would consider it. But alas, I am not. I am just me trying to build my graphic design empire one project at a time.

have a wonderful weekend! My will be set creating some new goals, throwing out some old ones and re-organzing my ancient white board that keeps me on my task list.

To success,
Angelina

NThreeQ Media, LLC
Arizona Graphic Design

Personal and Business – not so seperate

It is time to look at my goals – and no, I didn’t come up with that idea by myself. No, as I’m talking to my dad for the 80th time about business and things going wrong he asks me if I have looked at my goals recently, and the answer is no. I mean technically no.

They exist, they hang behind me – poking at me and nagging at me to make sure that I am on track. But alas, I am not on track. I’m very off track. I’ve actually decided that I’m just going to build new track right here. Bright and shiny and new.

So as I listen to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata I blog my very personal blog about my life because personal and business is not so seperate and I enjoy sharing me, because this is me. Designer, Entrepreneur, Heart on my Sleeve – me.

Since May, there has been drama every single month since then. It’s September and I think I have found the last shattered piece of my heart and have used the last drop of super glue to put it all back together.

You see, I’m a planner. A perfectionist. Everything has to be just so. I don’t do spontaneous. The last spontaneous thing I did was taking off to LA for a little down time. I drove with friends half the night to LA, spent the day at the beach, the night at a club and the next day packing and heading to LAX while on the phone with my dad booking me a flight – get me the heck out of LA and back to Phoenix. Thank goodness too – I was so busy with work that it was not the right time for me to leave. Work is my life, and although I try to step out of my comfort zone, this is where I am comfortable. Home with my only dog, computer and Hulu.

And lets not forget the death of my faithful friend, then the moving in to my dream place away from my sister and 3 year old nephew. The toxic relationship that only lasted as long as it did because he tried to save my dog only to make me feel awful about myself and trapped. Yes, I was the girl who sat at home waiting because we had made plans and he never showed up. I was the girl waiting by the phone when he said he’d call and never did. And lets not forget the moment I found his online dating profile but there were “no other girls”. Yes, I was THAT girl.

All the while trying to keep it together, keep myself together and more and more stuff piling on. The loss of friends who stabbed me in the back over business. Time for another round of friend changes because that is the way life goes, as you grow some grow with you and some grow apart. More and more loss I have experienced.

Then my rental property was all of a sudden vacated early and I had to spend the last 2 weeks putting it back together and getting it rented again so I don’t have to figure out to pay a mortgage payment on top of my bills.

All the while I have a company, that is growing like wildflowers in the sun and I think that it is beautiful and wonderful and I want to make everyone happy and give them everything that they want but I’ve had to steal away moments to myself. I have forced myself to make time for the rescue dog Mindy because she’s had a harder life than most and it’s not fair to complain about my petty problems. She actually brought my soul back to life, she’s so silly and fun it’s hard not to laugh.

So anyone that says “it’s just business” is wrong or I’m wrong? Or I’ve just built a business on compassion where I feel my clients pain or frustration and take it on as my own and try and fix it. I don’t let my clients know what’s going on in my life, I don’t apologize I just fix it, find a solution and move on. But maybe I should? It’s been a hard few months, and I haven’t cried, or been angry I’ve just pushed it aside and kept going. But the last 2 weeks have been tough. Having to re-prove myself to people, step up my game even more and get on top of it.

My new plan. This weekend I look at my goals and get on my new bright and shiny track and start going again. Taking a breath and getting it all done. I’m a fighter and always will be, but it’s back to basics and re-analyzing my strategy. After all, that’s what I’m good at – strategy, like really good at it.

Much Love and To success,
Angelina

NThreeQ Media, LLC
Arizona Graphic Design