For a small web shop, creating estimates and quotes can be a joy killer. I just want to make stuff, man - not write out endless spec documents! It's true. Being old school print designers let me tell you how this process went for years:
Open up our quote InDesign document
Save it as a new file
Pour over every legal aspect to make sure it was right
Do the whole spec part of the job in the middle
Make sure all the styles were right so it would look awesome
Do all the math (arghhh)
Save as a PDF
And. We. Hated. It.
When we rebuilt and re-designed the site last year we knew some things had to change. First of all, we didn't want to go through that huge document and re-do all the styles. Bleh. Second of all, it had become a huge bottleneck and we wanted to fix that.
I've started illustrating my thoughts. This is one from today.
Inside your head, everything is a good idea. It's a magical place where you are always doing awesome things, having awesome ideas, and generally high fiving yourself all the time at how awesome you are.
Outside your head is the awesome crushing or confirming world of reality.
The only way an idea is going to do anything, is when it gets out of your head and into the heads of other people. Those other people will then confirm your awesomeness, or crush it with the multi-smashular sledgehammer known as honest criticism. Which is a very kind thing even though it is super painful.
Jon does this for me all the time. My brain is a fountain of crazy vision. He stands by with said sledgehammer, helping me weed them down through survival of the fittest. It is then that I can tell others about this or begin making whatever it was.
Got an idea? Let it enter the ring below in the comments.
I've only been to San Francisco once, but it left a huge impression on me. The landscape and fog were pretty magical. But this. This video take it to another level. I've never seen fog swell and crash like the ocean. Pull this up full screen, turn up the sound and get ready to be amazed.
Somewhere, a long time ago, they wrote the rules. You know, those rules where we lose and they win. They, Them, and The Man. They got together and figured out how to keep us down.
The funny thing is that the only thing holding this system together is that we all seem to agree that these rules should be followed. As the people of this planet, we've mostly been duped into thinking that things are the way they are and “That's just how it is.”
We look at the options given to us by the world and feel like we have to choose from what we've been offered and what we think we can do. It's as if we've been waiting in line to receive our lot in life, watching everyone else get amazing opportunities and we're excited to see what we get. Then, it's our turn. We walk up to the counter, wide-eyed and ready for the significant, meaningful adventure of a life we'd been rehearsing to pass the time in line.
You've probably heard us talk about Stripe before. It's a great alternative to Paypal or a merchant account with your bank. But it's built for developers. Trying to just sell one off products or classes with it - or maybe even accept payment for a service is kind of difficult.
For many years, the only way FortySeven Media took money was by paper check. That check then had to be taken to the bank and deposited before the money would be in our account. This worked ok when we were sending invoices spaced out between project phases, but we recently moved to tracking our time and invoicing every two weeks. Obviously more checks were going to be going out, and the time tracking software we were using (Harvest) had built in support for accepting credit cards.
It was time to start taking digital payments.
Harvest (or just about any invoicing software) supports a lot of different gateways and merchant accounts so we did some research before settling on one. I'll just be covering the “big three,” as these should be available for most apps, but let me know in the comments if we should be talking about some other ones.
Finally, we're based in the US so some of these may not be available if you're out of the country. Let's get started!
Let me tell you that creating our first product has been a grand adventure. Our little web design business training membership program has gone through a ton of changes. Some big (like bringing a partner on) and some small (like the endless tweaking we've done).
And that's not including the content. In fact, since we launched last year we've created over 65 videos and nearly 30 blog articles. Dang. Nap, anyone?
But back to the changes. We've got some exciting news for you guys:
Nate and I became internet friends with Allan Branch & Steve Bristol of LessEverything about 6 years ago when they wrote a short post about our “Don't Hire Us” page. Many tweets and recriprocal blog posts later, we finally got to meet them at their second LessConf. And we found an even closer friendship with those guys. They totally got us.
Back to LessConf, though - we really enjoyed that conference and came back every year after that, but I think it wasn't until the 5th and final one last week that I fully understood what LessConf was.
You see, Allan & Steve like to make a spectacle. They know how to create things that people talk about. Seven hour hugs on stage. Gourmet popsicles. Milk and cookie breaks. Complimentary massages. The list could go on. Trust me.
What are you doing next Thursday? Maybe you'd like to learn how to make your business freakishly profitable?
Turns out the Kicktastic crew is doing a 3 hour workshop at ConvergeSE on Thursday, April 25th about that very thing!
We've been there - getting worn out on small processes and tasks, not making enough money, getting lost in tedious client work and having cashflow problems. We want to help. We'll give you practical tips for turning pain into profit - and we'll have lots of fun doing it.
Yes, we know it's been a year since the last Kick Awesome Show. But today we're back! We've got tons of high fives, our favorite spam comment, a cool new shirt and we'll explain where we've been for a whole year!
This has been out for a while, but it's still super cool. IdeaPaint CLEAR lets you create a whiteboard on top of any wall without turning it white! So if you have a rad neon orange wall that you'd like to be able to write on with dry erase markers this will make it happen. It's not cheap, but if your high end hipster office needs some functionality on top of the meticulously chosen colored walls go get some IdeaPaint!
I don't think I've ever seen a more patient, talented and humble craftsman. This video of how John Mayer found David Smith and commissioned him to do the artwork for the cover of his album is just astounding. Not only does David come up with the album artwork, but also creates two beautiful reverse glass panels and the whole thing is documented for you to see.
The sketches alone at the end of this video make me want to never pick up a pencil again, but the level of detail and artistry that goes into each of David's pieces is just mind blowing. It's a must watch!
For Christmas last year, Nate and I wanted to do something special for our clients. We pondered and thought and decided, “what better way to show our clients we love them than to send them a custom designed t-shirt that says we love them!?!?!?!” Clearly because we are geniuses.
After much sketching, hand crafting and designing we came up with “Two Hairy Guys in Tennessee Love Me.”
Like our strange little dentist friend in the picture above, we all want to be that happy doing the work we have dreamed about doing. Most of us come preinstalled with a desire to do work that we enjoy. It is as if we know that it is possible to provide for ourselves and not hate doing so.
Unfortunately, most of us are also completely terrible at pulling this off. Even if we have pretty good jobs that we mostly like, it seems like that magical dream job is always dangling just out of reach. Why is that?
It's that time of year again, folks! Our favorite conference, ConvergeSE is back and the tickets are on sale now. They sold out in about 2 hours last year so speed it up and get on over there. Converge will be held in Columbia, SC on April 25-27.
We're super excited because this year we are doing a Kicktastic workshop on the first day of the conference. It will be a blast, we promise!
So go get your tickets now before they're gone. Trust us, you need to come to ConvergeSE 2013.
Chad Mazzola at Hello Happy has put together a page showing off and pairing the best typefaces from Google's Web Fonts Directory. Which is great, because it can be a little hard to find good typefaces there. Because most of them suck.
Fortunately, Chad has great taste and has given me hope that I, too may one day use Google Web Fonts. Thanks, Chris!
In case you hadn't heard, we're shooting for this year to be our Best Year Everat FortySeven Media. While we were doing our planning for 47m, Kicktastic and Bright Newt with Austin, he pulled out a curious looking, sprial bound notebook with a bullseye on the front. “What is this madness?” I asked and he replied, “Why, it's Seth Godin's planning workbook, of course!”
Being a Seth Godin fan I ordered the 4 pack immediately, but only recently got to sit down and look through them with my wife as we planned for this next year. It's a really simple concept, based on a program from Zig Ziglar - you take some time to identify goals that are the most important to you, make sure you are balancing between work, home, fitness, money, etc…, and then pick the 4 most important ones to work on for the next 12 weeks.
The book is setup for daily notes on each goal, and that's why I think it's such a great idea. Often wanting to do something like “start a new business,” or “loose weight,” take time. Lots of time. And it's easy to get discouraged or forget about it or get halfway done. But if you're spending at least a few minutes each day on your goal, then you can't help but make progress, right?
Here's the cool thing, though - this will be the first time Nate Croft, Jon Longnecker and our new Kicktastic partner Austin Church will be discussing businessy things live on the internet. You will laugh. You will cry. You'll probably never talk to us again. Or you might just fall in love with our weirdness.
But you won't know for sure unless you tune in Friday at 1pm EST.