Krishna Solanki Designs

My Business

6 Reasons Why You Should Consider Guest Blogging

Startup, Side Hustle, My BusinessKrishna Solanki3 Comments

When I first started blogging I fell in love, I was writing articles whenever I got the chance. I had so much to share I wanted others to learn what I had learnt too.  I slowly noticed I gained a following. All of this was unintentional at the time.
I continued as I started and was offered a guest author position to write articles for a leading online magazine and resources site for designers and developers. At this point, I was over the moon as something I enjoyed doing was helping others.
Since then I have revamped my brand and website, and have even taken on a guest post on my own website as well.
Related:

There are a few things I learnt along the way and today I wanted to share 6 benefits of having guest bloggers.

 

1 | Frees up your time

As a small business owner, I wear a lot of different hats, in my case, that's the reality of being a one-woman band.  Although I love it, there are times I wish I could concentrate on doing the thing I love most - designing.  I'd rather not dedicate hours of time sorting out my tax, or admin, and as much as I love blogging, sometimes it can become a chore or an after thought as I have so many other things to do.  That's where having a guest blogger can help out.  A guest blogger can free up your time for you to concentrate on other areas of your business.

2 | Widen the knowledge for your readers

If you take a guest blogger on board you are automatically opening your audience to a different spectrum of knowledge. This is something they may not have read about, thought about, or even considered. However, one note, if you do invite someone to guest blog for your blog, the content should definitely interest your following and have some connection to your blog/business or service.

3 | Gain influence and boost credibility

By building a name for yourself you are building trust which ultimately enhances your credibility and sets you apart as an expert.  If you are able to establish yourself as an expert you will naturally gain the ability to influence your audience. All these can lead to more traffic and even more clients.  And all of this can be achieved via guest blogging - Although it does take time, it's not an overnight process, but rather a long-term relationship building technique.

4 | Builds your audience

Guest blogging is a great way to quickly build your audience.   This is true for newbie bloggers, who may not have an audience yet, and for experienced bloggers too.  The reason being because you are sharing your audience.

5 | Great for networking

By contributing to other websites, or allowing guest bloggers on your website you are making a connection and it could be the beginning of a budding blogger relationship.  By building up your relationships over time you are increasing the likelihood of people being active in your network. Networking is a really great way of getting "out there" and spreading the word about your business and blog.

6 | Great for SEO

Guest blogging is awesome for SEO.  If you are able to retrieve backlinks to your website/blog then you are opening the door to drive traffic to your website.  A lot of bloggers aim to guest blog on different websites, bringing in a wider variety of traffic.  The key thing is to ensure is that the website you are guest blogging on allows you to submit your blog/website URL when the post is published.

Ultimately, guest blogging is a great opportunity to learn, share and shout about.  Have you ever tried guest blogging? What are your thoughts?

Finalist For Cambridgeshire Digital Awards 2016 - Marketing And Creative Category

My Business, Personal, Side HustleKrishna SolankiComment

YAY!! My freelance side hustle business - Krishna Solanki Designs - is a finalist for Marketing and Creative category in the Cambridgeshire Digital Awards 2016.

Krishna Solanki Designs - Finalist For Cambridgeshire Digital Awards 2016 - Marketing And Creative Category

 

When I finally caught up on my emails and social media tags I couldn’t have been happier to find out that I had been chosen as a finalist for the Marketing and Creative Website category in the Cambridgeshire Digital Awards 2016.

Established last year, in 2015, the Cambridgeshire Digital Awards is part of series of similar schemes looking to reward innovation and progressive thinking by businesses, individuals, events, charities or educational establishments.

The website Marketing & Creative category is open to agencies, studios and individuals looking to enter a full website or mini-site. Innovation, content and aesthetics are considered particularly important to the judges.

Businesses and individuals shortlisted in the categories have been invited to the presentation evening, hosted by the former BBC presenter Robin Bailey.  The presentation and winners’ ceremony will take place on Thursday, November 24 at the Cambridge Belfry, in Cambourne.

Find out more about the awards: www.thedigitalawards.co/cambridgeshire/

Wish me luck and keep your fingers and toes crossed!! :)

 

 

 

 

 

Rather Be Busy Than Bored : Business Update

My Business, PersonalKrishna SolankiComment

It's crazy how things can all happen at once.  The last time I wrote anything on my blog and business was before my family holiday and that was already 3 weeks ago (or was it 4 weeks ago?).  It's gone so quickly that I haven't even had time to breath and settle back into work/life.  I guess that's the reality of a side hustling business owner with a family.  I'm not complaining at all but just sharing why I have been MIA for a while.

I have lots of lovely updates to share and also lots of new things to reveal in the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled for lots of interesting emails coming your way!

In the meantime, here's the super-duper down low on the latest on things going at the KSD headquarters! :)

Holiday:

Although more of a personal update, we had our first family holiday with my little one and husband this year. It was much needed and rather delayed but awesome.  I was rushed in preparing my business and my working life for the break and I have learnt the hard way again. I say "again" as it wasn't long ago that I suffered from bronchitis and promised I would do better to prepare myself for such things like illness. The problem was I literally ran out of time the run up to holiday and so had a million things to do on my return! - In fact, I'm still catching up!! - Lesson learnt for the future!

WellbeingZone Mobile App Design

Mobile App Design:

For the last few months, I have been working on designing a mobile app.  The mobile app is for the WellbeingZone, which is a white label wellness platform.  It may ring a few bells as I have previously worked on the WellbeingZone project. I created the brand identity, website design, iPhone and Andriod app icon and Facebook graphics.  This is a project close to my heart so I am truly grateful that I have been given the opportunity to work on the UX and UI for the mobile app.  More details coming soon!!

Website Audit Team:

Just before I went on holiday I had the pleasure to be asked to join a Website Audit Team for a fellow side hustler and friend, Tracey "Shakira" Minutolo.  Tracey reached out to me after I become a member of her Facebook group "Side Hustlers & Financial Freedomfighter".  The group is full of side hustlers who share their stories and their struggles in a community where we can "do more with the support of others who get it".  
The Website Audit Team is comprised of myself, Tracey and Jessica May Constable.  The idea behind the "showdown" is for group members to submit their website, along with some other details, and "The Team" will audit the website and social media providing awesome tips and advice on how to improve, update and better the design.
We are yet to audit our first website, that is planned for this week, so another one to keep your eyes peeled for!

Award Finalist:

Last but not least some exciting news!  Whilst trying to get into the swing of things and catching up I checked my email late one evening - school boy error as I could not sleep after reading the email! - In a nutshell, my side hustling freelance business has been nominated for the Cambridgeshire Digital Awards 2016.  I'm in the category for Marketing and Creative and am up against 6 others websites/agencies/businesses.  Epically excited and thankful for this, but also very nervous as the other nominations in the category are bigger businesses.
For now, its's the waiting game and to keep my fingers crossed.  (Wish me luck folks!!)

Cambridgeshire Digital Awards 2016 - Krishna Solanki Designs is a finalist!!

Etsy Diwali cards:

Finally, something that has been on my mind for ages, well since I started my Etsy Printables Shop is printable cards.  I missed the boat this year to create Raksha Bandhan cards, but figured I would test the waters on the Diwali card front. I'm not sure it will work, but no harm in trying.  I have some awesome plans for more printable cards in the near future as well, especially for Christmas so keep an eye out on my Instagram and Facebook for more details on this!!

So, there you have it. Literally a summary of what has been going on and going down in my world.
Feel free to share your busy moments and how you have dealt with them too, it's always a good thing to share!


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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?

Do I Need A Blog? - 7 Reasons Why You Do

Startup, My Business, Side HustleKrishna SolankiComment

I started blogging just over a year ago when I decided to take my freelance business more seriously and officially set up as a small business.  Before then I had a blog, with my old portfolio, and I loved writing but I found I never kept up with posting as much as I wanted, and so I stopped blogging altogether.
That was a big mistake!

Looking back at that time and also taking on board the learnings of the past year as a small business owner, I wanted to share 7 reasons to why you should blog.

Related: 3 things I have learnt in my first year of business - plus free printables!

 

1 | Shows expertise

As a small business owner, there is only a certain amount of networking, connecting with other like-minded business owners, or ways to inform my clients that I "know what I am on about"- without sounding big headed or salesy!  Ultimately I find that blogging helps to show my expertise in branding, design and being a small business owner as that is what I blog about the most.  For other businesses or bloggers, the aim is to show you are an expert in your field and writing a post or an article can really help reinforce that.

Not so long ago I wrote an article about repeat business, can you read that article here - Repeat business: 5 ways to reap the benefits of your existing client base.
This article was found by another blogger who was composing a blog post for Shutterstock about making the most of new client relationships.  Can you imagine the excitement when I was asked to be an expert voice for that blog post, all because of my article! -  I was thrilled!!

Read the Shutterstock article here : How Creative Freelancers Make the Most of New Client Relationships

2 | Builds credibility

Following on from above, blogging can help build credibility.  Look at it this way, if you are looking to book someone's services, and you are on their website, you will naturally look for verification, testimonials are great for that reason, but so is blogging.  By being confident in your blog posts, researching and reporting data with credible facts and figures and also links from other bloggers will also boost/build your credibility.

3 | Shareable content

Blog posts are one of the easiest ways to create shareable content.  Together with social media, you are able to get your voice, teachings, learnings, expertise to a wider audience than those that are currently already in your network.  Creating pinnable blog post graphics and sharing this on Pinterest is a great way to share your content.

4 | Website SEO

Blogging is a great way to increase your website SEO, especially if you write your blog post and you also optimise it.  This will help ensure your website is more visible to people who have searched google (or other search engines)  looking for keywords that are associated with your product, service or brand.  For example, when I write a blog post about branding I will always aim to use that keyword in the copy of the article itself, but also in the title and URL of the blog post as well.  By increasing your website SEO, your website can attract more customers, clients of followers.

5 | Enhance client relationship

Blogging can enhance your client relationship.  Once a project is complete I wrote a blog post about it.  I share my work and details about the project from start to finish and enjoy letting everyone know - Not only does this help promote my business, but it also helps promote my clients brand/website as I share it on social media.  This definitely enhances my relationship with my clients as I am sharing their business to my network.

Related:

6 | Blog through any pain points

Often blogging about my experiences, or the design decisions I make, or my process for a branding project can be really useful content.  Being able to answer common questions by writing an in-depth blog post can also help solve or steer any future clients or customers.
Providing quality content or answers, and blogging about relevant topics that will directly affect a potential client's decision to work with me is another reason to why I enjoy blogging and why I believe blogging is definitely a good idea as it builds trust.

7 | Writing opportunities

Last but not the least on this list is writing opportunities.  If this is something you as a small business owner are interested in then what better way to start then on your own blog.  Many moons ago, when I set up my old portfolio and blog, I was headhunted to write for a well-known web design and development online magazine - Onextrapixel.  I gained further exposure to my blog, I received recognition and appreciation from the design and development audience and I gained acknowledgement for each article reinforcing my expertise.

Related : Read the articles I wrote for Onextrapixel here: www.onextrapixel.com/author/krishna-solanki


Ultimately, it's really important to remember to keep your blog on brand.  Your tone of voice and your brand values must be in line with your blog.

Now it's your turn! Have you pondered about if you need a blog or not? What decision did you make?