If you're a small to medium sized web studio chances are you don't have a dedicated sales person. That's right, you get to do sales right along with taxes, accounting, client management, product managing - you get the idea. Oh, yeah and you have to actually do all the work and manage to get the site launched, too! No biggie.
One thing that we've often struggled with is that while your busy, you're not focused on getting new clients. But when you finish that massive job and there's nothing to work on - then you're like “Oh crap!” So here's two simple things to keep this from happening:
1. Don't stop looking for new clients, even if you're balls to the walls busy.
I know, your brain just doesn't want to deal with them. But jobs take a while to close. If you're not constantly talking to people you're going to have a lull in business. Maybe they won't even be ready until you're done with your current workload. You never know who's actually going to sign so don't count on anybody's word till they've signed a contract and given you a deposit.
Often times we don't even put a full quote together, just a rough idea to see if they're really interested. And if you end up taking on too much, you can always get some contractors to help out.
Many of us have side projects. You know, that thing you work on when your “work” is done for the day. We have them too. They are a great way to play with something new or build that cool idea thats been bouncing around your head. They can even be your masterplan to escape the clutches of that boring life you seem to be stuck in.
We are currently working on one now, it's called Kicktastic. We thought it would be a good opportunity to turn our experience running a successful business into a product to help other businesses grow into bigger markets and pick up better clients. And it will be. It's coming along nicely and will be out sooner than we are ready for it to be, to be perfectly transparent.
Holy Smokes, you should watch this right now. Mixing up Tron, Dubstep, illuminated dancing and some genius coreography…it's just awesome. Checkout the thought and planning that must have gone into the jump cuts and part in the middle where they look like they're floating. So very cool.
While working on the new 47m site we decided that we wanted our portfolio images to look like they were in a browser. Easy enough, right? But I didn't want to save out every image with some fake browser thing at the top. That would be a huge pain if we ever wanted to change the style in the future. CSS to the rescue!
I've opted for a pretty simple browser design, but you could totally get crazy with url fields, back/forward buttons. That would probably require an image, though and I was trying to avoid that. To get the browser are at the top we need the containing div to use the :before CSS selector.
Note - I was going to have this all be one article, but it was too big and I don't want to bore you. So! Part Uno will focus on the design and stragegy while Part Dos will focus on the dirty technical details - from HTML5 & CSS3 to Responsive layouts and ExpressionEngine programming. Part Uno begins now:
Have you ever climbed to the top of a mountain, cooked a whole pound of bacon, ate it, hiked back down and built a mansion with your bare hands? That's what it felt like redesigning the FortySeven Media site.
Version 1 of fortysevenmedia.com was super gray and boring (seriously, it was gray). We were afraid to be ourselves and thought that in order to make it as a design studio we needed to be stuffy, businessy and impersonal.
Next year we sat down and decided that if we were going to have our own company we should darn well act like it. With version 2 we overhauled the identity, made snarky pages like “Don't Hire Us,” created a blog and before we knew it, we were getting business from all over the place.
We had stumbled onto something, and quite frankly re-designing that kind of success is scary, especially when it provides for your family. The Lizard Brain was in full effect. We got talked about quite a bit when we launched the old site and we didn't want miss that magic this time around. Every time I sat down to work on it I just got overwhelmed. Could we make something nearly as iconic as the first go around? Turns out it didn't matter, because after waiting 4 years we were becoming obsolete. Don't get me wrong, the business was doing better than ever, but the jobs coming through the contact form were less interesting than they were a few years ago.
We're very excited to announce today that we're becoming part of the Fusion Ads Network! So many of our heroes are part of this network that it would be foolish to start trying to name one or two. Seriously, just go check out the list. To say we're humbled and honored is an understatement.
We love the ethos behind Fusion - that only ad per page is allowed and that they encourage you to make it fit the style of your site. Plus the products and services they're showing are razor focused towards you guys. Ads that are actually useful! Imagine that.
So, hey! If you see something over there that catches your eye it's ok to click. It helps us keep writing more posts, tutorials and deep (sometimes) thoughts. Thanks for reading!
I didn't think Ok Go's videos could get any crazier, but good grief. Watch this thing. How long did this take to setup? They basically drive by hundreds of chimes, guitars, pianos and makeshift drums banging on them to make music. It's rad.
You silly, nutty ok going guys. Just keep on blowing our minds with your video awesomeness.
Pears is a great idea from the Simplebits and Dribbble mastermind Dan Cedarholm - Create common UI patterns with the HTML and corresponding CSS for basic styling for a quick reference too. I think we all do this to an extent with snippets in our code editors, but this goes a bit further “pearing” them together (see what I did there?).
Even more interesting, it's also an open source Wordpress theme so you can use the framework to make your own pears.
When you build a new website, it's best to have a look at your old content and see what you could do better. One of those areas for us was pictures. We built the old site longe before I had a clue about photography so we thought we'd take some shiny new photos that really reflected our personalities. Here's what we have to show for it. Our families will surely be proud.
Those ConvergeSE guys have great timing! Right on the heels of our brand new site they've launched the conference site. Besides the awesome scrolling design and robotic battle dinosaurs (scroll down and see what happens to him!) the conference itself looks amazing.
Nate and I will be doing a workshop based on the Kicktastic project we're working on, so if you want to find out our secrets in person, register on February 16th. We'll try not to ruin the otherwise great list of speakers.
The ShopTalk show is a live podcast by CSS Tricks/Wufoo master Chris Coyier and Paravel pointman Dave Rupert. Chances are we'll talk about the Kick Awesome Show and maybe even this new website! Send in your questions now or join us live to pick our brains.