DigiD4O Forums under Construction

Our forums will be offline for a while today as we are updating the software.  Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.  We’ll be back up and running very soon.  Come back and visit the new forums soon!  See you on the inside. ~ Cindy (aka PaintChip)

Forum Happenings

There are many reasons I visit scrapbooking forums, but the main one is that it’s a great way to learn from others and avoid making mistakes while sharing your knowledge. One of the areas we all could use some help with is general business practices. And there is a lot of knowledge sharing going on in the Digid4O forums, the place for those operating or making plans to start a digital scrapbooking or crafts business using digital techniques.

Shipping is definitely a concern in the scrapbooking industry. Besides figuring the cost for materials and labor, shipping must be considered. Is it factored into the initial price of the product, or is it collected after the project is complete? What do you use to ship your albums and other products in and how does that affect the price you charge? There’s a very unique idea in the forum for shipping your albums. Check it out and while you are there let us know how YOU manage shipping.

Do you sell candy wrappers, photo cards , spiral or hardbound books? If so, join us as we tackle some tough questions about these products and share our trade secrets!

Ever have a family member of friend ask for free or discounted products? Most of us have and we all deal with these situations a little differently. Do you create products for free? Do you give a “family and friends” discount? Maybe you don’t do either. Come in and share how you handle these delicate situations or get some advice from others who have been in your shoes.

Terms of Use are very important to have in the scrapbooking industry. There is so much information out there about TOU’s. What’s the difference between Commercial Use and S4O/S4H? Can items created with a kit be displayed on your website? With all the ado about Terms of Use, we’ve got a great discussion going on in the forums. Maybe you need experienced professionals to review your terms of use to help you clear up any confusion. Or maybe you are just putting your terms together and have some questions. I know I did. Get your questions answered in the forum.

Many of us don’t market ourselves as often or as well as we should. So, if you are looking to rev up your online marketing, there is an absolutely amazing offer you shouldn’t pass up being offered by our very generous member, PaintChip.

And while you are there, don’t forget to snag one of our great new blinkies to display.

Above Water is Where You Want to Be

Freelance scrapbooking is hard work. Don’t believe anyone who tells you differently. Sure, there are benefits like the convenience of working from home, setting your own schedule, and the personal control you have over your own salary. However there are some drawbacks to consider as well. I encourage folks to always go into a new business adventure with their eyes wide open. For freelance digi-scrap artists, realize your hours may be long and hard – especially in the beginning.

After staring at the computer for hours and working with clients photos while yours go unscrapped – there’s a good chance that at some point, you’ll burn up and burn out. There will be a day when your eyes become glazed over from sitting in front of the screen in a catatonic state and you realize you haven’t really budged from your chair for several hours. Looking at the clock you stop to think, did I feed the dog, did I forget to pick up the kids from school, OMG – I forgot to thaw out dinner!

For many freelance scrappers this kind of situation seems unavoidable. As a solo-preneur you wind up doing the jobs of many different people, and success or failure rests completely on your own shoulders. That’s a lot of pressure. You know that you wear the hats of the company sales manager, marketing consultant, the administrative assistant, the entire finance department, the business manager and oh yeah – you’re also the designer who produces the company products.

What to do About This Burnout Thing?

Keep your sanity in check and lower your stress levels. Take steps right from the beginning to prevent your own drowning. You don’t want to get swallowed up by the immense amount of work you have piling up on your desk. Instead, keep yourself above water and turn your business into a smooth sailing ship.

Plan Appropriately and Recognize Your Limitations

Set time aside to review the workload you have in front of you. Take an introspective look at your work habits. Do some business planning to help you optimize your time and energy. This will help you keep your operations working to your benefit for good health and good wealth.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to accept every job that comes your way, even in the beginning when money is tight. If you’re already swamped with work or if a project doesn’t fit your skill level – adamantly tell yourself NO! STOP! DON’T DO THIS! Gently tell the client, “not this time.” As much as it’s good to stretch yourself and grow – it’s also good to know your limits and stay within them when necessary. Remember, that if you miss a deadline or produce work of poor quality, it will hurt your business far more than missing out on a few extra dollars on one project. If you do have to turn down a project, then try to refer your client to another professional or let them know when/if you can take on the project in the future.

Learning to say no is a skill that will help you prevent getting overloaded with too much work!

Network with Peers While Staying on Target

Freelance designing can get lonely and cause tunnel vision as well. So it’s important to participate in a network of peer professionals that you can communicate and interact with. The web offers a great place for finding and developing relationships with other digital art professionals. Online forums such as the Digital Scrapbook Designer Professionals networking community is the perfect place to network with peers. Staying in touch with others will help you avoid feeling like you’re all alone in this world of digi-scraps. Our very own DigiD4O community forum holds a wealth of information and terrific networking possibilities too! Check out our membership levels, register, and visit often to keep in touch with what’s happening in the industry.

But if you are like me, this networking can also become a distraction. When you’re working alone sometimes it’s difficult to avoid distractions. With your flexible schedule, you may find that it’s easy to wander off track and busy yourself with doing things other than “real” work. To stay focused, keep a list of your priorities and set aside specific time for play, for web browsing, and for tasks that aren’t directly related to your bottom line. Avoid procrastination at all costs so your projects won’t pile up and leave you feeling overwhelmed!

Working from home is one sure way to enjoy the flexibility and freedoms, of entrepreneurship. Just remember to be fair and reasonable with yourself and manage your time well. Keep a healthy schedule, good perspective, and positive attitude – and your freelance designing career will be more enjoyable. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you won’t get burned out.

Remember that one of the reasons you got into the business of scrapbook artistry is because you love what you do!

Article by:
Cindy  Angiel (aka PaintChip)
Business Consultant
DSD-Professionals.com

Resource Directory Update

Another designer has been added to the Designer resource directory.

Robyn Gough products can be found at Scrapbook Elements and and she would like to say: “I allow S4O/S4H use of all my designs, where there is a professional use version available, it must be used as the personal use version is for personal only use. Please see my tou at Designer TOU for my full TOU and up to date information.”

Five Self-Help Tips for Digi-Art Business Owners

In your digi-scrap businesses who’s the primary worker? You? Are you taking care of you the way you should? If you aren’t up for the job – then the job doesn’t get done. So taking care of the business owner and main worker is of the utmost importance! This article focuses on one basic, but very important aspect of any professional digital scrapbook business. That is – taking care of the employee who makes the business work.

Making a Habit of Taking Care of You

For many people this is an area they are slacking off. Not just by a little either. Taking care of this most important employee usually means personally adopting new habits associated with your digital scrapbooking activities. Habits that will increase your personal worth and your business bottom line!

1. Respect You and Your Time

One of these habits would be to establish and then keep as close as possible to a set schedule of when you plan to work at your desk, when you’ll do research, when you’ll work on marketing or special projects, etc. If you have a limited number of minutes while baby naps or only an hour before you need to run the kids off to school and rush off to your fulltime job, then it’s important that you use that time wisely. Recognize what time limitations you have and then find a way to make that time as productive as possible. Developing and keeping a set schedule will help you accomplish this. It will also help your family recognize work and home life boundaries and restrictions you may have for your time.

2. Massage Your Brain

Grab extra training. In any career field continual training is not just helpful, but it’s usually required if you intend to stay up to date with the most current trends, industry changes, and to keep your skill level set for greatest growth potential. You can never learn too much. Anything you can add to your credentials is an excellent way to add to your credibility as a professional. Remember that the artistic side of our business isn’t the only piece to consider. Also look into business training, website construction or maintenance, tax and legal knowledge, marketing, and other aspects of your business. Training related to your business is tax deductible and if you pick up some of your training through books (and I hope that you do), these too are tax deductible.

3. Tend to Your Physical Needs

Sitting at a computer for too many hours can create several health issues. Prolonged hours at a monitor can be a strain to your eyes. Keyboard and mouse movements can tax your wrist and hand muscles. Even with a good chair and great posture you can still experience back, shoulder, and neck soreness. So it’s important to get regular exercise. I encourage you to spend at least 30-minutes exercising each day. Whether that’s taking a walk around the block, an aerobic workout at the gym or with a video taped coach, or practicing Yoga techniques – just be sure to get some exercise time in. Digi-scrappers are notorious for working far too many hours at the keyboard without a break. Be wise and give yourself a break from the desk at least once every hour. Every 30-minutes or so would be even better.

4. Socialize and Network

Let’s face it, digi-scrapping can sometimes be a lonely activity. If you run a solo-business and the other people in your family and friendship circles don’t really get it, then you’re more likely to find yourself hibernating at your desk and not associating with others. A business association can be the perfect place to bounce ideas around, interact with other professionals, gain extra knowledge and make new contact with prospective customers too! Consider online as well as offline outlets for this – like your local chamber of commerce or other business groups.

5. Look Inside and Relax

Whether a person is of a particular faith or not, everyone has a spiritual side to them. Be sure to take time out for personal reflection, meditation, and sitting in silence. This is good for the soul. Good for the mind. Good for the body.

Remember to cut out of work a bit early on Fridays occassionally too. :) Taking some much needed down time is a must for any entrepreneur! Weekends help us renew our strength.

Habitually Care

Are there other habits you have developed for taking care of you? Habits that other Digi-Scrap Professionals may find helpful? Please share them with us so we can all make a habit of taking care of ourselves as we continue to take care of our business.

Article by:
Cindy Angiel (aka PaintChip)
Business Consultant
DSD-Professionals.com

Resource Directory Update

We have yet another addition to the directory which is fantastic.  Great to see the word getting out there amongst the community.

Please welcome the newest addition, Athena, who has her designs at Digi By Design. Athena would like you to know: “I offer a wide range of products that are S4O/S4H/Pro Craft friendly.”

Thanks Athena, we will be sure to check you out.

Resource Directory Update

Kellie Puddy’s products can be found at Color Line Design and and she would like to say: “All of my designs are S4O/S4H friendly. I offer two TOU’s one for my general use products and another for my Commercial use/Designer Tools. Feel free to email for any questions, kit/element requests and I will see what I can do for you.”

Liz Pike who has her designs at Strawberry Wine Designs and has been added to the directory. Liz Pike would like you to know: “Strawberry Wine Designs.com is your best digi-scrapping value on the web for the highest quality graphics to showcase your clients’ memories and photos!”

Heather Manning’s product line can be found at Designs by Heather Manning and Plain Digital Wrapper and she would like to say: “All of my personal use products are S4H friendly with no additional fee. You can use them to make layouts, invites, candy wrappers, anything that is a flattened image made in a small at home type business. No credit required for S4H. I also sell commercial use products that can be used to make your own designs for resale. All products that are commercial use products are marked clearly in the stores.”

Thank you ladies for adding your details to our growing list.

Resource Directory Update

Princess Lala Designs who has her products at Divine Digital and has been added to the directory. Princess Lala would like you to know: “All my products are Professional Scrapper Friendly, including the freebies.. no credit required. Some of the older products (blank border previews) haven’t been updated yet, but a quick e-mail will get you the correct TOU or i’ll update it so you can purchase after. I do have a few Digital Scrapbook Designer tools as well if you like to designs your own products to scrap with.”

Welcome to the directory and thank you for your support.

Resource Directory Update

Claudi Designs who can be found at ColorLineDesign and Do it Digi has been added to the directory. Claudi would like you to know: “I have two tou-versions… one for my commercial use items and one for my “normal” stuff. everything is professional scrapper friendly. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to email me”

Thanks Claudi.

Resource Directory Update

Colleen Shibley products can be found at Gotta Pixel and and she would like to inform you that: “Colleen’s Creations products are S4O & S4H friendly allowing for printable crafts as well. I require NO credits & NO additional fees. I welcome request, including additions to current items.”

Thank you for your support of our industry Colleen.

Also Holley VanDenBerg has changed stores from Artisan Guild to Scrapbook-Elements.

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