Design Strategy for Nerds.

This week was my second one-on-one mentorship meeting with Marie Poulin as I go into my second month of Digital Strategy School. This month is all about Positioning, a subject my business is struggling with. The copy on my site as of today is not cutting it, it is vague and does not truly convey the service that I offer.

So that’s the question — what DO I offer? What sets me apart from all the talented designers out there? What makes CMD+Shift Design special and why would a business or organization choose to work with me? While talking with Marie today, I think I may have hit on something that will help me answer these questions.

I told Marie that I enjoy working with people who are passionately excited about growing their businesses. Sure, all entrepreneurs want to be successful — but I’m looking for something different than that. Beyond the excitement for success what about those of us who are crazy excited about our work beyond what might be considered “normal”? What about those of us… who are …nerds? geeks? The one’s who when asked about the new things going on in your industry can go off on a tangent for hours with enthusiasm. The one’s who are excited to learn more. You’re my people!

With this new discovery, I am tasked with reworking my website copy – which is a daunting task, so if anyone with actual writing skills wants to offer up some help, you know where to find me. How do I speak to my future clients out there who are geeks within their industries? How do I convey that the key service offering when working with CMD+Shift Design is having a Design Geek (that would be me) in your corner? How do I write copy that is going to both sound professional, yet is also basically saying “OMG FOLKS! LETS GEEK OUT TOGETHER ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS!!!”?

My First Business Mentorship Meeting

Computer didn't give a hoot what I was doing today until I opened Skype and began my conference call with Marie.
Computer didn’t give a hoot what I was doing today until I opened Skype and began my conference call with Marie.

Today was my very first one-on-one business mentorship meeting with Marie Poulin at Digital Strategy School.

This was the first of what will be monthly 1 Hour sessions with Marie during the 6-month Digital Strategy School course and I can already tell these next 6 months are going to be a whirlwind!

The course officially began this past Friday, January 16th. We are starting out doing a Business Audit, which includes taking a hardcore look at your business’ strengths and weaknesses in order to help you set goals for the future. At first it felt a little uncomfortable. I was reminded of the first time I went to talk therapy and felt like being that honest with myself was almost more than I could handle. Once I got over that initial hurdle, I began making some connections and having a lot of feels and thoughts about why business wasn’t going well and how I could change that.

In the next 30 days some of my goals to help grow this new business venture is to wireframe a website and do an illustration for an online marketing campaign in February.  That’s all I am sharing for now… but stay tuned here or follow me on Twitter to hear more!


Getting My Butt in Gear with Digital Strategy School!

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I have been running CMD+Shift Design since 2008. In those 7 years I learned a lot, I made a lot of mistakes, found some amazing clients, did some really fun projects and made some good money. I’ve had ups and downs and these past 2 years have been tough… really tough. Part of it has to do with personal issues that I allowed to effect business, but I think part of it has had to do with me not focusing on GROWING my business and just chugging along everyday running it.  I know that no one can fix this but me, that is both the beauty and ugly truth of running your own business.

This year, I am getting my butt in gear! One thing that will help me on this journey is an exciting opportunity to do my very first business course. Next week, I will begin a 6-month intensive program called Digital Strategy School. It is lead by a woman I admire as a designer, business owner and person, Marie Poulin and while I am not 100% sure what to expect from the course, I am going to just jump in feet first and see where it takes me!  Some of the people who were involved in the courses beta session have reported HUGE transformations in themselves and their businesses, so I’m ready! LET’S DO THIS!

I’ll share my progress here!