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…And How to Sound Smart Doing It

You’ve made the decision that you need a website. That was the easy part. The next part of the process is finding the right website developer for the job. This can be a daunting experience for anyone who is not familiar with coding and website development. We put together this handy guide to help you speak to your website developer and get the most from your relationship.

Finding and Hiring a Web Developer

1. What languages do you code in?
2. Can you provide me with examples of previous work? What parts of these projects were you responsible for?
3. Does your pricing include both design and coding of the website? Are you able to do both of these things? If I have my own design, do you need it sliced or are you able to do this?

(‘Slicing’ is the process of taking a large design and making smaller pieces from it that the developer can place into the coded website.)

What Your Developer Should Ask You During The Hiring Process

By gathering the answers to these questions ahead of time, you will streamline this introductory conversation.

1. Do you have hosting?
2. What language is your site coded in?
3. Is your site built on (or would you like it to be built on) a content management system? (A content management system is is a computer application that allows publishing, editing and modifying content, organizing, deleting as well as maintenance from a central interface.)
4. Do you already have a design in mind?
5. What’s your timeline to complete the project?
6. Have you purchased your domain? (Your domain is your website address.)

Things to keep in mind that your developer may need to know: how many pages you intend on having on your site and, if the site has an eCommerce functionality, how many products you will have on your page. Keeping track of these things in a spreadsheet is a great way to stay organized.

During Your Project

During the project, it will be necessary for you to keep an active conversation with your website developer. Be alert for questions regarding approval process from your web developer to make the process run faster.

Here are some things that your website developer will ask you to do or to help with to keep the process running smoothly:

1. If you have not already, your hosting plan should be purchased and provided to the developer during this part of the process.
2. When the time comes, you will need to assist the developer (or provide the correct information) in pointing your purchased domain to the server. This is so that when you type in your website address, your website will appear where it is supposed to be.
3. Any assets like photography and logos should be provided during this time as well. Your website developer should be able to provide you with the correct file sizes and extensions. (For example, you may need to provide a 100x100pixel size version of your logo in a transparent .PNG format.)
4. Any other content, unless provided by your development team, should be provided by you at this time. This includes copy written for the website, product information, blog posts, navigation headings, footer copy, and legal notices.

When Problems Arise

Sometimes things happen in life. Deadlines are missed, web developers have poor attitudes, or the quality of work produced is poor. Here are some scenarios and how you, the client, can handle each while ensuring your website is completed.

A Deadline is Missed
What to Do: Be aware of approaching deadlines on your calendar. At the beginning of the project, you should create a calendar of upcoming deadlines by phase of the project. For example, phase one may be design and wire-framing (wire-framing is a process in which a bare frame of the website is presented for planning where features and functions will reside on the final site). An example of phase two may be completion of the home page. An example of phase three may be completing eCommerce product pages.

As each deadline approaches, reach out to your website developer for a status update. If a website developer does not have a project manager or account manager to update you, you may have to play an active part of this process. By communicating with your web developer, you will always have a good idea of when you can expect delivery.

What NOT to Do: Wait until the deadline passes to approach your developer. Your developer should have communicated the delay ahead of time. If they do not, do not freak out. There are many problems that can arise when coding that developers will need to problem solve. Bugs are unexpected but a very commonplace situation while developing a website. Be patient, over-communicate.

The Design is Not Looking Like What You Were Shown in a Comp
What to Do: The web developer will provide a preview link for you to see the progress. You may notice that the current version of the site does not look exactly like your design, or what you were shown during the design process. Make a list of items that you notice that are different between the design and the website and provide this list to the developer or account manager. Again, your patience will be required as sometimes things need to be changed during the coding process to make sure the website can support both the design and functionality of the website. Many developers will look at a site from a functional standpoint over a design standpoint, because they see the elements in a different way than you might see things. Ask your developer why things may look different. The answers they provide may allow you to see your site in a different way.

What NOT to Do: Again, don’t get upset if what you initially see doesn’t match what you were shown in comps. Refraining from an accusatory or finger-pointing tone will allow conversations to occur. Never resort to threats in an effort to create change.

The Bottom Line

Communication is the most important part of the website development process. Remember, the website developer wants the project to be finished just as much as you do. They are on your side, even if you don’t necessarily speak the same language. By treating them as members of your team rather than employees or contractors you will foster a healthy and productive relationship. It’s important to know what to ask your developer to make sure that things get done in a timely fashion. A website need not take a year and half to go live. Consider what we have shared here to help you foster your next client-developer relationship.

2930 Creative has developed 32 websites in 2 1/2 years with a 6.2 week development time average. It’s no coincidence our customers come to us for fast, efficient and beautiful sites. Contact us today to find out how we can help you. 

dallas caramel company

Dallas Caramel Company Brings Kindness and Charity into their corporate culture.

One of the great things about working at 2930 Creative is getting to know some really awesome entrepreneurs. Rain McDermott is the founder of Dallas Caramel Company. From her website: “A native Texan, Rain grew up in Houston and moved to Plano at the age of 7. When she turned 9, her father took her on a date to the Reunion Tower which inspired her creativity and propelled her desire to leave her own mark on the city. Ever since that day, she has been captivated by Dallas, its people, its culture, and its iconic skyline.”

Dallas Caramel Company 2

Photo by Dallas Caramel Company.

Rain’s enthusiasm for her brand was both refreshing and exciting. We quickly realized this was a person that was motivated and ready to take on the world. She is also a very kind and giving person, and has pledged a part of her proceeds go toward Operation Homefront. Operation Homefront helps to support families of soldiers currently serving abroad. She also uses her brand to recognize random acts of kindness in the community by highlighting do-gooders on her social media pages. I recently asked Rain about her brand and brand values.

1. Why is being kind an important part of your company’s culture?

It’s hard to put into words the answers to your questions.  The basic answer is because it’s how I was raised and it’s the right thing to do.  When I get away from my own wants and needs and focus on other people and how I can help them, my problems are less in comparison and I feel like I am following the example Jesus set in the Bible.

2. What is a positive experience that you have had since starting your business because of giving back or kindness? 

We give specifically to Operation Homefront and so when I mention this at events or chocolate tours, people often tell me stories of how that organization specifically helped them.  It’s validation I guess that I am supporting a great cause and that it REALLY IS going to the actual people and not “other stuff”.  With the RAK campaign, it’s been fun to hear people lift others up by recognizing their small acts of kindness. Hopefully it creates more awareness in others to look for the good and call it out.  I just wish this campaign received more response and interaction.

3. What is your favorite part about being small business owner?

I love being small because every day is a “pinch me” moment.  The growth of DCC is measurable every single day and it still blows my mind.  I hope I don’t ever get so big that I no longer notice the small accomplishments of my business and businesses of other friends in the same industry.  Being local and helping or partnering with other local companies to do good or make delicious food is awesome!  It’s a way to support others in their business and help them to grow as well. It feels good to be there for other friends with their businesses even if they are competitors in the dessert market.  I hope I never become calloused to that or too competitive that I don’t celebrate their accomplishments.

Thank you, Rain, for answering our questions so candidly. We are so happy to see Dallas Caramel Company fans embracing this culture of kindness and giving back.

If you would like to create a campaign focused around your corporate values, let us know! We would love to work with you. 2930 Creative is an advertising agency in Dallas, Texas, and we can’t wait to hear from you

At 2930 Creative, one of our most important core values is “Always be kind.” We will be discussing it all through the month of September through our blog and on our social networks. We will be highlighting some of our colleagues and clients who are trying to make a difference in their community.  We are also working on a Google Hangout to talk about how creating a culture of kindness helped us to build our organization, and allowed us to help other organizations as well.

Stuffed animals ready to be delivered by Santa for the kids of Promise House, a halfway house and homeless shelter for women, children and teenagers. 2930 Creative staff volunteered at their 2013 Christmas Dinner event at South Side on Lamar.

Stuffed animals ready to be delivered by Santa for the kids of Promise House, a halfway house and homeless shelter for women, children and teenagers. 2930 Creative staff volunteered at their 2013 Christmas Dinner event at South Side on Lamar.

2930 Creative made a commitment to kindness when we first started; however only in the past year has it become one of our official values. Kindness, to us, is about the way we treat our clients, our vendors, colleagues, competitors, and community. It’s about giving back through charitable acts, volunteering, mentorship, and creating a positive environment that fosters creativity and the willingness to pay it forward.

Each Christmas, 2930 Creative donates art supplies to local homeless shelters and art therapy programs.

Each Christmas, 2930 Creative donates art supplies to local homeless shelters and art therapy programs.

The results since making the commitment to kindness have been overwhelmingly positive and immediate. Our tiny team has doubled in size because we have found people who not only believe in what we are doing, but want that vision to grow. Our philanthropic efforts have introduced us to new projects and new people; friendly faces that we now call friends. Because of our work with smaller nonprofits, we have gained larger projects than we could ever hope for that will bring more exposure to our mission. To summarize, making the culture shift to clients has allowed us to grow our team and our network, and increased our bottom line.

2930 Creative helped charitable foundation Punta Gorda Women's Club create a beautiful website to attract new members.

2930 Creative helped charitable foundation Punta Gorda Women’s Club create a beautiful website to attract new members.

But kindness, as we know, is not a one-way street. We have enjoyed our experiences, but even greater is how we’ve been able to help. Our team has clocked volunteer hours for several various charities, not only working events but providing our services free to organizations that need creative work. We have also helped to raise several hundred thousand dollars to small businesses and nonprofit organizations through our campaigns and efforts. This is why Be Kind and Give Back are two of our four core values. This is the legacy we want to leave behind.

2930 Creative has partnered up with Extra Life DFW and Children's Miracle Network to bring some really great creative work to this year's Extra Life Marathon.

2930 Creative has partnered up with Extra Life DFW and Children’s Miracle Network to bring some really great creative work to this year’s Extra Life Marathon.

You can do it, too! No matter what your business size, making a positive cultural shift that values kindness and goodness is rewarding. You don’t spend a ton of money to do it either; just your time and energy to create something that will let the whole world know who you are through your actions.  We are excited to be exploring this topic further through the month of September.

How do I bring a culture change into my agency?

For 2930 Creative, it was all about getting back to our roots and determining what motivated us. Everyone who works on our team could be making more money, earning more accolades, and getting more recognition at other agencies. None of this was as important to us, however, as treating people with respect and courtesy. Our clients loved us for our candor and our ability to share in their successes while providing a high level of service. We wanted someone to know, just by walking through our door, that this is what we stand for. It needed to be replicated and practiced on all levels of our business.

Snowball Express is an event that benefits the children of fallen heroes and allows them to go on an adventure of a lifetime. 2930 Creative helped to create social media guides for the 1300 parents and children in attendance.

Snowball Express is an event that benefits the children of fallen heroes and allows them to go on an adventure of a lifetime. 2930 Creative helped to create social media guides for the 1300 parents and children in attendance.

For you, it starts with what that little burning fire in your heart is telling you. What gets you up and to work everyday. It’s not the money. That is a result of your motivation. What inspires you, what makes you want to keep doing the same thing over and over again, and what excites you when you talk to others about why your business is special? That is how you start your culture shift. Once you figure that out, understand how it can be implemented in ever aspect of your business: sales, customer service, production and even accounting.

What should my ultimate goal be when making this culture change, both for my company and me?

That’s up to you ultimately. For us, our ultimate goal was to create a space where people could come with their wildest ideas and trust that they would be treated with respect. Because of that, we have been able to meet some amazing clients that a bigger agency may overlook. Think beyond the money and the awards: where will you feel the most fulfilled? When you leave this great blue planet, what will be your legacy? What one change will start you down this path? From there, it’s just creating the milestones in between. For example, getting our space in downtown Dallas was the first step in getting a bigger space where nonprofit organizations and small business owners from all over the country could bring their huge campaign ideas; a space busy with ideas and art and creativity that we have dreamed about long before we even thought about 2930 Creative. It is another milestone on our path to that goal, and it will provide us with a big tool in implementing these crazy ideas like Being Kind and Giving Back.

What if I’m too busy to implement a new company culture?

I am a strong believer that if something is important enough for you to want it, you will find time for it to happen. It’s not a sudden change; it’s a gradual one. You will have those that push back and flat out reject it. You will have to work at it, and nurture it as it grows. Your company culture is in many ways your company’s spiritual identity.

As with anything, carving out time each month to implement or examine your company culture is essential. If it’s a priority for you, it should be on your schedule the same as any billable hour. Since this is also a gradual project that will take some time, you might want to make small goals and checklists that allow you to measure your progress.

2930 Creative use social media to help fundraise for SkyBall X, honoring our nation's heroes. The star-studded black tie gala was attended by several hundred veterans from all branches of the armed forces.

2930 Creative use social media to help fundraise for SkyBall X, honoring our nation’s heroes. The star-studded black tie gala was attended by several hundred veterans from all branches of the armed forces.

We are excited to share more including how some of our other clients are already succeeding in building their company cultures. We’re ready to kickoff this month, but first we want to know about you! If you are a small business or nonprofit organization building a culture of kindness, we want to hear about it.  Tell us in the comments or send us an email.

Client Rain McDermott of Dallas Caramel Company rewards do-gooders and those constantly helping with others with free bags of caramel. Random Acts of Kindness has become a monthly event for Dallas Caramel Company.

Client Rain McDermott of Dallas Caramel Company rewards do-gooders and those helping  others with free bags of caramel. Random Acts of Kindness has become a monthly event for Dallas Caramel Company.

Remember: Work Hard, Be Kind, Give Back, and Create Things. 

2930 Creative is an advertising agency in Dallas, Texas that specializes in online strategy and design. If you would like to learn more about us, check us out on our social networks on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook

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The other day, I attended a great webinar sponsored by Social Media Today on the subject of allocating resources in marketing strategies. While a ton of great points were made throughout the presentation, one point in particular really caught my attention: too many companies are focusing on vanity metrics.

Vanity metrics is a term used in marketing that refer to a key performance indicator (KPI) that is tracking something superficial. Some marketers would refer to things as likes, comments, and shares as vanity metrics, as they do not always convert into sales. However, later on in the webinar, both Don Bulmer and Monica Peterson brought up how their goal for Shell and Toyota respectively were to lead conversations and engage with communities. And while I’m sure they would like social media to contribute to sales at both companies, these aren’t brands that have to rely heavily on social media for advertising as most everyone is aware these companies exist.

If you’re seeing the disconnect between the beginning of that paragraph and the end, you’re not alone. In fact, I even tweeted as such during the webinar:

Obviously, Toyota and Shell are larger sized companies than what most of us are used to dealing with. Both are juggernauts in their industries, yet both also face stiff competition from rival companies of similar sizes. So are conversations a vanity metric? Or are they a goal that companies should strive for?

In my opinion, conversations are vital to growing a business of any size, but only when your brand has received enough recognition in your target audience should you shift the message away from conversion to conversation creation.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to wait until your company goes international and nets a few hundred million in profit. Your target audience should always be expanding, but your community doesn’t necessarily have to. Every community, regardless if it’s a small town or large city, has local favorites that dominate their respective industries. If you have hit critical mass of exposure in your community, you don’t need to keep pushing sales. Instead, you should switch tactics and start devoting time to talking about:

  • Company philosophy
  • Hot-button issues in your industry
  • Community issues
  • Everyday company culture
  • Community outreach events

Once you’re not posting to generate more sales or conversions, the idea is you want your business to be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a particular subject. You want word association. For instance, Coke doesn’t need to generate more sales, but they also spend a ton on advertising. That has paid off for them: when I think of soda, I think of Coke. When I think of diet soda, I think of Diet Coke or Coke Zero. Many of us experience the same thing.

Obviously, most of us don’t work for a company like Coca-Cola, Shell, or Toyota, but that doesn’t mean that we all need to focus our social strategy on generating new business. Some of us have made it to the point where we want to focus away from sales and generate more of those “vanity metrics” because conversations carry currency—conversations can be an appropriate goal and not just a means to achieve sales. By dominating and creating conversations, you can establish your business as a synonym of your industry in your local community—and then grow from there.

Oscar Retweeted Picture

Samsung won the Oscars this year according to many marketing experts (although I do think that Chevy wins the award for Best Traditional Commercial for its endearing short about kids making movies). For those who missed the event, Ellen DeGeneres had her Samsung Note 3 out and on display during one bit as she cruised down the aisle filled with A-list celebrities looking for the perfect selfie. She then announced her intention to make the picture the most retweeted photo of all time—which she accomplished a few minutes later.

At the time of this writing, the tweet (found here) has been retweeted 2,697,857 times and favorited 1,383,948 times setting the record previously set by President Obama. In the fervor to retweet the picture, users managed to temporarily crash Twitter’s server.

But what does this mean for Samsung? Did they really win the Oscars?

Continue Reading →

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Kickstarter is a powerful tool to quickly gain funding, turning your dream projects into reality. However, unlike dreams, you can’t just rely on the ephemeral wonder that fuels your creativity when you launch a Kickstarter; you need a plan, and you need to make sure everything is ready to go.

We tell our clients that the hardest part about Kickstarter takes place before the campaign even starts (although there’s still plenty of work to be done during the campaign as well). That’s because we believe in setting our clients up for success before hitting the launch button. Here are a few things that are essential on our Kickstarter checklist:

1) Video

A video isn’t a good idea on a Kickstarter; it is mandatory. People are busy, and while your copy on the Kickstarter page may outline every single thing your Kickstarter is asking for, it is much easier for people to start your video and tune in than to scan through a block of text. Your video should outline your project, give a proper teaser of what you hope to accomplish, explain why you need the money, and provide some background information on you, the creator.

2) Resume

If someone walked up to you on the street and said they could design the most comfortable shoes in the world if you gave them $25, would you do it? For most people, they would ask the important question: what experience do you have? Everyone has great ideas, but people are more likely to help fund you if you prove you have the experience to make your dream real. Don’t be afraid to show past accomplishments or at the very least explain why you feel like you’re capable to make your project a reality after you get funded.

3) A Plan

Do you have your pledge levels set? Your stretch goals? Have you made a list of all the media outlets you are going to contact about your idea? Have you reached the appropriate number of fans on social media to help spread the word about your project? These are just a few things that need to be included in your plan. If you don’t know the answer to any of these questions (and many more), you should not launch your Kickstarter. Plan out what you’re going to be saying every day. Schedule interviews in advance. Send promotional products to reviewers to get some attention to your Kickstarter. Have a list of other Kickstarters that might be interested in cross-promotion. Whatever you do, know what you’re going to be doing on each day of your Kickstarter; changing or flip-flopping during a Kickstarter is one of the worst things you can do. Your backers will sense something is amiss and doubt the integrity of your project.

 

These are just a few items to put on your Kickstarter Checklist. If you’re ready to put your big idea on Kickstarter, contact us today and let’s get started, or maybe you should check out our Jumpstarter Marketing plan.

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Chris, Carly and I are workaholics. It comes with the territory of being business owners. Yet, whenever we get the chance, we make sure we have lives outside of work. We love movies. We love music. We love games. We love hanging out with friends and going to new restaurants, bars, and seeing the sights.

And interestingly enough, frequently these times spent away from the computer help us tremendously in our professional lives.

We always talk about loving what you do, but it’s almost as important to take a break and remind yourself there is a world out there. Balance yourself and discover new things, because you never know where your passions may take you when you get back to work.

Penelope Tiam-Fook, one of the best networkers I have ever met, gave a presentation to a business networking group in Tallahassee and explained that she always tries to establish some kind of personal connection with whoever she talks to, business or personal. Not only does this have the added benefit of helping you put names to faces, but you can also develop one more connection that may help in future business dealings—and not even necessarily for you. Penelope’s example: a gentleman was talking about his love for fishing, and while Penelope herself wasn’t interested in fishing, she knew someone who was. She introduced them, they met and talked, did some business together, and both were appreciative of her actions. In the future, her two contacts are more likely to think of her when dealing business or might introduce her to people she should know. These conversation topics don’t have to be big things, either: maybe you’re the fan of the same sports team, or maybe you saw the same movie.

Knowing people and being able to refer individuals to each other is a useful skill to have. If all you know is your office and your employees, you are limiting yourself as well as the potential connections and referrals you can make.

Having pastimes and passions outside of work can also influence the direction you want to take during your 9-5. For example, after moving to Tallahassee, my wife and I found a group of friends that love board games (we’re married people now; we’re more than happy with our not-going-to-the-club-or-bar fun). Since then, I have personally been more interested in working with game companies, and 2930 has started work for two board game designers, Jasco Games and Ghoulash: The Last Game on Earth. Having experienced board games and having fun with these products firsthand, it’s easier for me personally to market the products to strangers.

While today’s society admires the hard worker–and hard work absolutely is a vital cornerstone to any successful business–be sure to take some time and do something outside of your office walls. After all, you might be setting yourself up for professional success and not even know it!

Have you ever had a business breakthrough by sharing something in common with your client? Tell us your story, or join in on the conversation on Facebook!

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Every year, people around the country and world make resolutions to better themselves and the world around them. We wanted to share our list of five New Year’s resolutions as a way to jumpstart your own list of resolutions.

 

5. Responsible Sharing

The Internet is a wonderful place, but sometimes people abuse our gullibility and post erroneous material, whether it’s link bait, bad memes, inciting (and often under-researched) articles, and more. You know what I’m talking about: a very benign example is the Back to the Future meme where someone photoshopped the date to be a different day. The most harmful include political postings (why are they always political postings!?), celebrity gossip or other harmful messages. While we’re not advocating going to Snopes.com before you share any piece of content, we do suggest turning your BS detectors up a few more notches and don’t believe everything you read without researching it yourself. As a general rule of thumb, if you don’t have the time to research something, then should you really be reposting it?

 

If you have some time, Esquire wrote a great editorial about the Internet and why sharing wrong information is a bad trend that is getting worse. Read it here.

 

4. Be Real

Another thing that needs to be cut down on the Internet: hate speech. The anonymity that the Internet affords us makes it easy to talk big and oftentimes with vitriol, but that is rarely a good thing. Threatening others, getting into arguments, name calling—it’s all petty and all activities that happen far more often online than they do in real life. If you wouldn’t say something in real life to a person’s face, then you shouldn’t say it online. We’re not naive; no one is going to be singing Kumbaya online, but that we could all be a bit nicer.

 

3. Do something awesome

There are so many ways to be awesome.  You can volunteer your time—we did at Christmas and had a blast. You can donate to a cause that you believe in. You can start something awesome, whether that’s a website or a big idea you have on Kickstarter (by the way, we’re really good at helping people out with their Kickstarter ideas). Regardless of what you choose, do it big and believe in your idea. See it to the conclusion even in those moments you don’t want to. At the end, we guarantee that even if it doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped, your project will still have taught you something.

 

2. Be someone awesome

Piggybacking off of our last resolution, we’re going to try and be awesome people. This is about much more than doing something awesome; it’s about being awesome when no one is watching. It’s about having integrity and a strong moral code. It’s about being a good friend, a good coworker, and a good family member. Awesome people don’t need to advertise the fact they’re awesome. In fact, the coolest people we know have certainly never told us that they’re cool. We all know someone that we respect and admire, so we’re going to make it a resolution to try and be more like these awesome individuals. Who is someone who is awesome in your life?

 

1. Love what you do

Your job makes up a huge portion of your life. Can you say that you love what you do? Obviously, not every day at the office is going to be sunshine and daffodils, but the majority of your time spent on the clock should be enjoyable. Loving what you do improves the quality of your work, boosts your productivity and increases your overall happiness. If you’re not doing what you want to do, figure out what’s stopping you and how you can realistically get to where you want to be. Make a plan, stick to it, maybe even fire yourself. Just find what you love and do it every day.

 

These are just a few of our New Year’s resolutions. We’d love to hear some of yours. What are you going to do to make 2014 your best year? 

Another end to another great year. We faced some growing pains this year, and learned a lot of lessons. We’re coming out of 2013 with a lot more wisdom, a little more humility, and excitement for what 2014 will bring to us. I asked each of the partners to write a retrospective about their year for our blog. There were no rules, just write what how you felt about 2013. This one is mine. – Carly

My retrospective is dedicated to all of the ladies out there. This year was an eye-opener for me, in more ways than one. So here are the top six (surprising) things I learned about being a ladypreneur and running a small business this year.

1. Other women entrepreneurs are there to help you and support you. Female entrepreneurs really became my support system this year. My aunt provided coaching in times of doubt, I received words of wisdom and advice from veteran entrepreneurs, and I had good friends to vent to and ask questions about taxes and expense reporting. That they were quick to talk and explain things was surprising to someone like me, who never really had a lot of female friends growing up. I am introverted which makes it easy for me to go long stretches of time without reaching out. This year I found out that I was really going to have to make an effort and ask for help and guidance from others. It was rewarding and helpful.

2. You will be spoken to (and treated) differently than your male counterparts. Here are things that were said to me this year in a professional setting: “You should probably not tell them that you and Chris are engaged.” “You should let Chris handle this.” “You are an inexperienced business owner.” “Why are you so moody?” “Now don’t get upset.” (I’m not.) The last one is my favorite because it’s usually said before constructive criticism, but there’s a misconception that my tear ducts won’t be able to handle it. I don’t need to get into an essay on gender politics in business, but it’s important to understand that you will be treated differently. Be prepared to handle it with grace.

3. Honesty and integrity always win over money and the bottom line. 2930 Creative was a company built on integrity. We believe in doing our best and providing the best level of service for our clients. Throughout 2013 we were reminded that honesty is the best policy, and it will almost always work in your favor. Align yourself with good business partners and clients who practice the same worth ethic and best practices you believe in. As a small business owner, your integrity is your most valuable asset. Do not sell it to the highest bidder. The right work will find you.

4. You are your biggest critic. I had some hurtful things said to me this year and unfortunately, I started to believe these things were true. What was I doing? What did I know? How could I keep this up? Well guess what? I was doing something I had dreamed about doing my whole life. What did I know? I know a lot about digital marketing, design, writing, and, shockingly, about running a business. How could I keep this up? By not believing the BS. By giving myself a break. Everyday I remind myself of a very simple truth: What small business owners do is not easy, and no, not everyone can do it. What we do is awesome. Pat yourself on the back.

5. Delegate. I started 2930 Creative in a tiny basement apartment. It was not easy. I was by myself a lot and taking on the work alone at the beginning. So when Chris came on full time followed by Josh a year later, it was very hard to give up control and let someone else help. This was my baby. Learning that I couldn’t do everything was a hard wake up call for me. Holding on to things will cause you to burn out (and I know this because I did burn out in October).

6. The laundry can get done today OR dinner can get cooked. Pick and be ok with it. I’m looking around our apartment right now and there are about 3 loads of laundry waiting to get done. I only just managed to remember to get the chicken in the crockpot. I’m very lucky to have a partner who understands that sometimes something just has to give. Usually that means the house work. It can be hard to find that balance, so be ok if you don’t find it. The laundry can always wait. Don’t have clean underwear? Run to Target.

I support women in small business, and I hope that someone can read this and find a little comfort. No one ever said starting a business is easy (and if they did, I would like their name and number to find out what they are doing). It can be lonely. It can be rough when you try to balance work and life. You might even feel like you are losing your friends, because the business becomes a priority over going out and having fun some nights. But I promise you, we all feel this way. You are not alone.

If you are a ladypreneur and need some words of encouragement, let me know! We’ll do a call or if you’re in the Dallas area, we can do coffee. We’ve got to stick together.

Here’s to a very happy, successful, and healthy 2014!

 

Another end to another great year. We faced some growing pains this year, and learned a lot of lessons. We’re coming out of 2013 with a lot more wisdom, a little more humility, and excitement for what 2014 will bring to us. I asked each of the partners to write a retrospective about their year for our blog. There were no rules, just write what how you felt about 2013. Here is Josh’s post. – Carly

 

I only joined 2930 Creative halfway through the year, but already it feels like home. And just like home, it hasn’t always been easy, but there has always been love, always been great people, and always something to do.

 

I’ve learned that I love working with clients and meeting new people; I have completely bought into the 2930 Creative idea that our clients are partners. I’m used to receiving phone calls at 8 PM asking questions about this and that. I’ve stayed on Skype calls longer than I needed to in order to make sure everything is going well with a client and talking to them about this and that.

 

I’ve learned to take pride in my work while staying humble and self-critical. There is always opportunity to improve and innovate for each of our clients. Even when I am not working, I am looking for new ways to connect our clients to new audiences. Sometimes, the best solutions I have found happened when I walked away from the office and really paid attention to the way people respond to advertising.

 

Ending the year with new clients and huge accomplishments like Mega Man The Board Game’s Kickstarter and our charity work seem like the perfect way to bid farewell to 2013 and kick off 2014. I am so fortunate to have wonderful friends and coworkers like Chris and Carly in my life, and I know that we will continue doing great work together for many years to come. We accomplished so much in just 6 months together, and I know with a full year, 2014 is going to be even more amazing for 2930 Creative.

2930 Creative

1700 Commerce Street
Suite 1751
Dallas, Texas 75201
(214) 749 - 5155
info@twentynine-thirty.com

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