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Top Tips On How To Name Your Business

Startup, Side Hustle, BrandingKrishna Solanki2 Comments

With the rise of freelancers and side hustlers taking their dream job into their own hands, there has been an unnoticeable rise in new businesses, and startups. YAY if that’s you!! Definitely excited times ahead!

From creating a logo and brand, through to setting up a website, and creating a marketing plan for your new venture. You will have lots to think about and lots to do.  That being said, I want to help you name your business.  So today, I will be sharing my top tips on how to name your business.

Starting your own business? Check out these unmissable tips

Side Hustle, Startup, My Business, DesignKrishna Solanki3 Comments

Last week I attended my first ever Twitter chat - #startyourbusiness. It was fab!  Totally exhilarating and captivating. I didn't know what I was doing or getting into (more on that on another blog post coming soon!!) but I was glad I took part.  The twitter chat was all about starting your own business and not only did I contribute my design and branding thoughts about starting my own business, but I also gained a better understanding of other small businesses who have advice based on their experiences.
I thought all the tips that were shared were very valid and so today I wanted to share these awesome tips for fellow small businesses owners or potential owners.

1 | Research, research, research

I couldn't agree more with this tip!! It's so vitally important to research when starting a new business.  There is sometimes an endless list of "things" to research, but the top ones that spring to my mind are:

  • Research your audience, your market, your niche, and find out what your ideal clients want.
  • Research if there are any other businesses with a similar name and find out if the domain and social media handles are available.
  • Research how to market yourself and find out where your potential clients "hang out".

Although these are easier said than done, and can sometimes take longer than you think, they are super important to do and re-evaluate over time.

2 | Know your potential customer/client base

This tip follows on from the above.   If you know who you are targeting it should be easier to market to them (in theory).  As long as you know who they are and what they want, you can start to build a marketing campaign to target to them.

3 | Don't let branding and design be an after thought

A lot of small businesses or startups tend to leave branding and design to later on in the process.  I'm not entirely sure why, maybe it's for financial reasons or lack of creative knowledge, but in this day and age where image is very important, and can help you stand out in the crowd, I would say make sure your image is in line with your business vision.  I ask my clients to carry out some homework which helps me and them to understand their business in more depth, this is really helpful when creating a brand.

4 | Training

When starting a small business you are never going to know everything.   There will be a time in your journey, whether at the start or once you are established, to attend training sessions.   A word of advice that came out of the Twitter chat I was on was to "attend any free training you can find and network with other local businesses" - This made total sense to me after I read it! It literally says it how its reads.  There is always something to learn so if it works out and time permits, take the opportunity to learn and educate yourself if you get the chance.  Esp if it is free!

5 | Network with other local businesses

Starting your own business can be difficult, lonely, and not to mention confusing sometimes.  One way to make it easier for yourself is to network.  Network with local businesses, other businesses in your industry, and even with family and friends. By building relationships with people around you, you build trust.  By building trust you can become the go-to person for your expertise, or you can find the people to support you when you need advice, and you build a circle of friends, and business friends.

6 | Set up a professional email address

Coming back to the branding aspect of starting your small business, I can't believe how many startups forget to or do not actively prioritise setting up a professional email address.  It's such a crucial step that can leverage your business professionalism that it is honestly too important to ignore, or delay.  In case you are not familiar with what I mean - which ones appears to be more professional - hello@krishnasolankidesigns.com or krish@hotmail.com.  By using your own domain address you are naturally making your small business more professional.

7 | Set up email a signature

As above, setting up an appropriate email signature is something that can easily slip the minds of a small business owner.  Your email signature is often a final point of communication to your client/customer and so it should be branded.  A good email signature is usually simple, clean, professional and informative. It needs to include all the relevant information like your logo, name, title, website, phone number (if you conduct business over the phone) and even social media links.

8 | The right people

Starting a small business can be challenging, just like in point 5, where I have mentioned networking and how important it is, it is also vital to surround yourself with the right people.  Having supportive peers, friends, business buddies and family can make a world of difference.

9 | Be helpful

When I started my own business I knew one thing. I knew what I was doing when it came down to designing brands and websites.  That's my thing. I didn't know about the best way to market myself, or what tools to use to help organise my business, but I asked questions. I networked and I mingled with other small businesses and I found that people are really helpful.  I also learnt that being helpful to others who do not necessarily have as much creative design knowledge as me is a great way to helping others start their business and to gain clients.  By being helpful, not only am I helping others, but I am helping myself.

10 | Brand consistency

Working as a designer that builds strong brands and beautiful websites, I can't highlight the importance of brand consistency enough.  Your branding needs to be consistent in all area that will be seen or experienced by your client or customer. That means using the right logo, fonts, colours, on your website, social media images, business cards, and other print material too.
Related:

I hope these tips are useful to you if you are starting a small business or have already taken that step.
Thanks to Emma of Emma Reed, Freelance Virtual Assistance for bringing the Twitter chat to my attention.

What tip do you think anyone starting their own business would find useful?

10 Essential Web Design Tips You Need To Know For Your Website

DesignKrishna Solanki1 Comment

A website is an essential part of every business's online presence - especially in this day and age.  Because it is such an important asset to your company's brand and overall image it is important to make sure your website works for you.  That is why I am sharing 10 essential web design tips with you today.


1| Define the purpose of your website

Because every website is different it is important to define the purpose of your website.  This will then help you plan what features, benefits, and content to display on your site.  Your homepage may not necessarily be the entry point into your website, especially if you have a blog, so bear in mind "one size does not fit all" and list all the essential elements you need to include when you are defining your website's purpose.

2 | Prioritise your content

For each page of your website, make sure you prioritise your content and give each section/block the relevant placement and prominence.  For example, if you have a Services page, highlight your service in a manner that stands to your reader first and foremost. That would be the goal of that page. in the same sense, a Contact page should make it easy for the reader to contact you - include and display the different ways you can be contacted - telephone, email, skype, store address - again make sure it is relevant to your business.

3 | CTA's on each page

Each page should include some form of a button or call to action (CTA) which lets the user continue on their journey around your website or make an enquiry.  If you have more than one Service/Product offering, include a button near each offering to make it easy for your reader to take an action.

4 | Choose fonts and Use heading styles wisely

Choosing a maximum of 2 fonts will help differentiate normal body copy and a heading style.  The heading style can be used to highlight a particular section and the body copy can be used as the normal text.  This will make it easier on the eye to read any large section of text and even make small chunks of text more appealing.


5 | Make it easy for your readers to contact you

Every website should include a link to a Contact page or include the contact information on the footer element of the website.  This will make it easy for any customers/clients or prospects get in touch with any enquiries or to book you.

6 | Add your social media links

Leading on from including your Contact page to your website, it's also a good idea to include your social media links as well.  It's common practice to include these in the footer area of your website, at the bottom of each page, and don't feel obliged to add all social media links, just add the ones you are most prominent on.

7 | Include testimonials/reviews from previous clients on your website

If you have any kind words from previous clients/customers then definitely include these!  It can be reassuring to a new potential client about work with you.

8 | Keep it clean and simple

Simplicity is key. You want to provide your potential client/customer with enough information to understand what you are offering and also make it look appealing.  If you have lots of text, either review it to shorten it or display it in a manner that is eye-catching and simple.

9 |  Make sure the page/product URL is keyword specific

Make sure your page URL are easy to remember, read and are relevant.  For example, "www.yourwebsite.com/about" is much better than "www.yourwebsite.com/1923747".  It surprising how this is so easily missed but can make sure a difference.  You can also ensure your blog posts are kept relevant as well, this is good for SEO as well.

10 | Make sure your website is responsive

Lastly, I can't stress this enough. Make sure your website is responsive and is suitable for mobiles and tablets.  You really can't afford to lose business because your website is not tailored for these mediums, esp as they are more widely used nowadays.


I hope these tips are useful to you and help you tailor your website for your business.
Did you find these tips useful? Or maybe you have a tip you would like to share?


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Working From Home - Time Management, Productivity and Motivation Tips

Side HustleKrishna SolankiComment

For a lot of solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, or side hustlers running your business is usually done working from home - whether that's a nice little office set up in a corner of your home, or on the sofa every evening with your laptop on a cushion in front of you.  Staying productive, motivated and managing your time is something that all business owners need to stay on top of so as tempting as it sounds to be able to stay in your PJ's, have a lazy start to the day and spend hours on social media websites - networking of course! - you still need to integrate some structure and routine into your daily working from home routine.

Working Fom Home - Time Management, Productivity and Motivation Tips

I've managed to improve my schedule and manage my time in the past year and today I wanted to share my top tips on sticking to the rules, staying productive and being motivated to keep on top of it all.

5 time management tips:

1 | Create a Plan for the Day

For me, this is a must! Knowing what I am working on really helps me stay focused on the project in hand. Plus knowing I can "tick it off the list" is a great sense of accomplishment as well!

2 | Set your Deadlines

Allocating and estimating how long each task will take, and setting deadlines puts it into perspective for me. It gives me a "countdown", and knowing I need to complete "X" by a set time means there's no time for sitting on Facebook right now!

3 | Focus

The above 2 points usually mean I have to focus to stay on track. If all fails I think about the repercussion of not getting what I planned done for the day. That usually kicks me up the bum as I don't like things hanging over my head.

4 | Prioritise

Setting an order of play for the tasks you want to complete allows me to see what I need to do, I can then prioritise these depending on how long I think they will take. I usually try to get the small, niggly, tasks out of the way first so I can concentrate on the bigger task at hand. It also means I get to tick those little jobs off the list faster!

5 | Stop or switch it up

If I find I am struggling with the task, no matter how big or small, I tend to switch it up.  I would rather work on something I know I am progressing on then spend endless hours trying to work on it knowing it's not going anywhere. Saying that, if switching it up doesn't work, it could be that your creative juices are running low and you just need to stop and take a break.


4 Tips to stay productive:

1 | Get dressed and ready

This is really important.  Understandably staying in your PJ's is by far the comfiest outfit, but getting dressed and ready for the day provides a sense of acknowledgement that you mean business. I guess its depends on your frame of mind, but setting up my day starts with sorting myself out and making sure I am dressed and ready to face whatever the day ahead has to throw at me.

2 | Allocate time away from your desk to eat

I used to find myself slouched over the keyboard, food in front of me, staring at the screen, potentially sitting on social media, occasionally working through lunch. But I found this out the hard way and realised it is really unproductive.  It's important to stretch your legs, give your eyes a break from the screen, and more importantly not have food all over your keyboard! yuk!!

3 | Focus

To help me focus and stay productive I limit myself on social media. I tend to check everything, network and schedule my social media at the start of the day. This then means I don't fall into the trap of sitting on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Pinterest is so addictive as well!

4 | Take breaks

Taking a break, going for a walk, reading a book, soaking up the sun... anything that gets me away from my screen for a short period of time really helps me stay productive. A fresh pair of eyes often helps and looking at the same task after a break is almost the same thing. 5 | Set your working hours

5 Tips to keep your motivation level up:

1 | Set a bigger plan

Achieving e a bigger goal helps me to stay motivated. Knowing I want to be free to do what I want at hours that suit me means I need to put in the hard work now and I am all game for that.

2 | Take each day as it comes

Obviously, I know it takes time to achieve the big goal, so it's important to keep in mind that every day will have its challenges and to take each day as it comes. Not every day will be the same and that is one of the best things about working from home.

3 | Reward yourself

This is really important.  Working hard means I get to play hard. Whether that is buying myself a nice new handbag or taking time to enjoy going to dinner with my other half.  Being able to physically see your hard work, and enjoy the benefits of it only makes me want to work harder.

4 | Beleive in yourself

Being a side hustler and working from home can be tough.  There will be days of gloom and days of glory so it's important to always believe in yourself and your end goal.  That leads me to...

5 | Focus on the positive instead of the negative

Every now and again we all need a little motivation. A little positivity injected into our thoughts, and for those moments it's always a good thing to be able to take a step back and look at where you are and what you have achieved, look at the positive things that have come from your hard work.  I recently had a gloomy day and decided to design my own art print so I could stick it up on my office wall.  If you want the "Hard Work Always Pays Off" art print - (it's FREE) you can download it here.

Working from home certainly has its pro's and con's, the main thing is finding your balance and figuring out what works best for you as an individual.  I've found I work best when I have a list or plan that I know I need to complete for the day, it helps me keep focused.

So what works for you? Do you have a routine? Are you an early bird or a late night owl?


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In other news, have you downloaded your FREE art prints? These are perfect for your home, office, studio, or workshop!
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5 Side Hustler Issues And Tips On How To Overcome Them

Side HustleKrishna Solanki1 Comment

As a side hustler myself I often find myself encountering the same issues periodically.  It's draining going over the same issues, but at the same time, I am glad I have recognised that there seems to be a "pattern" - To me that means I can overcome them.  I just need to understand when the issue is in action and then take the necessary steps to overcome it. 
Over time, it should be the case that I eventually don't face these issues as they have been addressed. 
Here are my 5 side hustler issues, and tips on how to overcome them!

5 Side Hustler Issues And Tips On How To Overcome Them

1 | Self belief

In the past, I used to worry when it came to signing new clients, or starting a new project, especially if there was a "new" aspect of design or implementation that I was not 100% familiar with.  I used to think "I can't do this!" "What if I get it wrong?" "How do I manage my client's expectation when I don't understand XXX myself?"
Soon after I realised I was saying the same doubts to myself over and over again, and that's all it was - DOUBT. 
I lacked self-belief.
Once I realised that the issue was with myself I decided to have serious words with myself.  I sat back looked at my current projects and reviewed where I wanted to be in 1 years time. I also started to network a lot more with like-minded creatives/individuals.  This boosted my confidence.  I also started blogging again and this helped establish me as an expert in my field.

Tip to overcome this issue:  Network, start blogging, do your research, and the most importantly... "just do it!".  You can only fail if you try, and if you do fail, you can learn from it so it is not a mistake it is a valuable experience in self-development.

[Related: Everything you need to know about being a Designer and having confidence]

2 | An empty "little black book"

If you are just starting your side hustle then the real issue is booking real clients because your little black book is empty (or so you think!), but if you have been side hustling for a while then the issue revolves around making sure your little black book is continuously being added too.
You don't necessarily have to go all crazy and look in new places - although that can help - you can always try my favourite trick to overcome this issue:

Tip to overcome this issue:  Get in touch with previous clients. They are sometimes the best avenue for new work, especially if the working relationship was good.

[Related: Repeat business - 5 ways to reap the benefits of your existing client base]

3 | Finding the hours

It's so easy to blur the lines between normal working hours or family time, and side hustle time. It can be really tempting to justquickly finish that "thing" off so that it is ticked off the list.  The issue is before you know it your focus will be all on your side hustle - which isn't a bad thing, but what about taking a break? Spending those few hours doing something different or spending time with your partner/family.
It could be that you prioritise doing family dinner time, 9-5 work time and everything else before side hustle time. That's equally an issue.
So how do you overcome this?

Tip to overcome this issue: Keep an eye on the time. Set alarms. learn to balance your "play" and work time.

4 | Stretched over all the tasks

With so much to do it is not necessary to do it all yourself.  Although I have not reached my capacity of needing to delegate yet, but I know a number os small businesses, side hustlers and even full-time freelancers find that do delegate.  Why? Because you don't need to do everything yourself.   Making yourself do every little task like editing blog posts, keeping your social media up to date, replying to emails, can get overwhelming and turn into an issue.
How do you resolve this?

Tip to over this issue: Delegate. Hire a virtual assistant.  Depending on the size of your business and how many tasks you can delegate to another person you may want to consider taking someone on for a few hours or half a day. It all depends on you, but if it relieves you to concentrate on doing the more demanding tasks then it is definitely worth a thought.

[Related: How to keep your side hustle on track when you have a full-time job]

5 | Write down your ideas

Personally, I know my brain doesn't stop ticking about all the things I want to design.  I have so many ideas, about blog posts, updating my website, new projects, all sorts.  The issue is, 1 | I can't accomplish them all NOW as I don't have the time 2 | Are they viable tasks or just ideas - will they work in reality?

Tip to overcome this issue:  Write down all the ideas and let them percolate.  If you find yourself going back to the same "idea" it is definitely worth giving it more thought.  Keeping a log of all your brainwaves also helps to empty your thoughts - I find this helps me concentrate on other tasks in hand.

Do you face these side hustler issues? For those of you that have, how did you overcome them?  If you haven't overcome them, I really hope my tips help!