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If you’ve been meaning to build up your professional skillset or start that side hustle, listen up!

Over the next few weeks, I will be featuring 3 best-selling classes from Skillshare in a variety of subjects as outlined below.

  • Week 1: Illustration, Graphic Design / Branding, Photography, UI/UX Design
  • Week 2: Creative Writing, Animation, Fine Art, Music, Lifestyle
  • Week 3: Film & Video, Marketing, Productivity, Freelance & Entrepreneurship, Web Development

Each week, I encourage you to take the time to do a few classes (at least one!) and learn something new each week. The classes are generally no longer than an hour.

There are over 22,000 courses to choose from, and you get FREE access to ALL of them for 2 months!

» Get 2 FREE Months of Unlimited Classes

There are no commitments and you can cancel at anytime. After the 2 months, premium plans start at $10/m.

Once you’re signed up, simply visit the course links below to start learning.

Week One

Week one is focused on illustration, graphic design, photography and UI/UX design. Take your pick of what to learn!

Illustration

  1. Illustrated Lettering: Drawing Intricate Floral Forms with Gemma O’Brien
  2. Digital Illustration: Learn to Use Procreate with Jarom Vogel
  3. Graphic Illustration: Boldly Design with Color and Shape with Olimpia Zagnoli

» View top Illustration Courses

Graphic Design, Logos & Branding

  1. Logotype Masterclass with Jessica Hische
  2. Design Like Draplin: 21 Tips for Speeding Up Your Design Workflow with Aaron Draplin
  3. Logo Design with Grids: Timeless Style from Simple Shapes with George Bakhua

» View top Graphic Design Courses

Photography

  1. Fundamentals of DSLR Photography
  2. Fundamentals of Photo Editing
  3. Documentary Photography: Capturing Places and People

» View top Photography Courses

UI/UX Design

  1. Intro to UX: Fundamentals of Usability
  2. Digital Product Design: Create a Compelling UX Portfolio | Learn with Figma
  3. Digital Design: Creating Design Systems for Easier, Better & Faster Design

» View top UI/UX Design Courses

Week Two

This week we focus on Creative Writing, Animation, Fine Art, Music and Lifestyle.

Creative Writing

  1. Creative Nonfiction: Write Truth with Style
  2. Storytelling 101: Character, Conflict, Context & Craft
  3. Writing Character-Driven Short Stories

» View top Creative Writing Courses

Animation

  1. Simple Character Animation: Create a Walk Cycle with Duik
  2. Animating With Ease in After Effects
  3. How to Make an Animated YouTube Video

» View top Animation Courses

Fine Art

  1. Botanical Illustration: Paint a Colorful Garden with Watercolor and Gouache
  2. Watercolor Illustration: Developing a Wedding Brand Suite
  3. Ink Drawing Techniques: Brush, Nib, and Pen Style

» View top Fine Art Courses

Music

  1. Learn How to Mix Music with Young Guru
  2. Inside the Studio: How Music Producers Collaborate with Artists
  3. Remixing Dance Music: Digital Production Basics

» View top Music Courses

Lifestyle

  1. Choose Must: 10 Hands-On Exercises to Find and Pursue Your Passion
  2. Drawing as Self Discovery: 5 Ways to Start
  3. Sketchbook Illustration for All: Draw Your Day with Watercolor & Pen

» View top Lifestyle Courses

Week Three

This week the focus is on Film & Video, Marketing, Productivity, Freelance & Entrepreneurship and Web Development.

Film & Video

  1. Create a Short Documentary Video Portrait
  2. DIY Cinematography: Make Your Video Look Like a Movie
  3. Low Budget Filmmaking — Tips and Tricks for an Indie Look

» View top Film & Video Courses

Marketing

  1. Personal Branding: Crafting Your Social Media Presence
  2. Storytelling for Leaders: How to Craft Stories That Matter
  3. Introduction to SEO: Tactics and Strategy for Entrepreneurs

» View top Marketing Courses

Productivity

  1. Productivity Masterclass: Create a Custom System that Works
  2. The Perfect 100 Day Project: Your Guide to Explosive Creative Growth
  3. Productivity Habits That Stick: Using Time Theming

» View top Productivity Courses

Freelance & Entrepreneurship

  1. Presentation Essentials: How to Share Ideas That Inspire Action
  2. Pricing Your Work: How to Value Your Work as a Freelancer
  3. Be Your Own Boss: Strategies for Launching Your Creative Career

» View top Freelance & Entrepreneurship Courses

Web Development

  1. Personal Branding Essentials: Making the Most of Squarespace
  2. Hand-Coding Your First Website: HTML and CSS Basics
  3. Creative Coding: Animating SVG with Simple CSS Code

» View top Web Development Courses

Take the challenge, take at least one course a week and level up your skills!

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For many of us, when we start our creative journey, we might have all the passion and imagination in the world, but one thing we may lack is the money to have the best technology to make our dreams a reality.

We started to reminisce about those early days and wanted to give you, our loyal reader some assistance in getting the best tech available for your budget and still keep your drive & business growing.

When we started building our list of the Best Budget Laptops for Designers and Creatives in 2019, we tried to consider the things that we would look for when buying a new laptop.

So let’s start there shall we?

Related Posts:

7 Things toLook For When Buying A Budget Laptop

When you’re serious about your craft and want to make sure that the work you’re putting out there is the best that it can be, you want to make sure that the tech you’re using does what you need it to.

Without the right gear, your work can suffer. Now while we know you might be on a budget, there can be many things you need to know and look for when buying a laptop. If nothing else, we wanted to make sure you don’t go in uninformed.

Let’s dive right in.

1. Set A Budget

We’ve all been there. You head to the store, see the newest and brightest tech available and get excited. Then reality sets back in and you realize that you have a budget, but can you get a good laptop on a tight budget? Let’s break it down a little bit.

  • $150 to $350

While these are the least expensive laptops out there, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t quality options out there for you to choose from. Chromebooks run the Google Operating system, might not have all the bells and whistles of some more expensive options, but can still be a quality choice when you’re first starting out.

  • $350 to $600

You can buy a quality laptop with an Intel Core i5 or even an AMD A8 CPU plus 4 to 8GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive for less than $600 these days. While these specs are impressive, for the price, they can come with some exclusions such as an SSD, FullHD display or long battery life. There are exceptions to this though such as the Acer Aspire E 15 or the Asus Vivobook which can be upgraded to an SSD.

  • $600 to $900

At this point, many manufacturers will start to put features on the laptop that won’t appear on those with lower price points such as a metal finish, SSDs or even high-resolution displays. Finding a quality laptop with the features you need without breaking the bank is very doable in this price range.

  • $1000+

You can get a top tier laptop for over $1000. Consider looking at our top laptops for graphic designers post.

2. Operating System

Other than price, many people will end up choosing a laptop because of the operating system that the laptop runs on. Whether its personal preference because of familiarity or recommendations from a colleague, laptops are generally available with three different OS:

  • MacOS

The laptops that Apple manufacturers are packaged with MacOS. While functionally similar to Windows 10, there are subtle differences such as an Apps dock instead of a Start menu. Mac users also have Siri instead of Cortana for voice assistance. While many people tout the ease of use that comes with Apple’s operating system, the biggest downside is that the laptops that have this OS can be quite expensive. An entry point for a cheap Mac would be considering a renewed older model.

  • Windows 10

With its appearance on many more laptops than both MacOS and ChromeOS, Windows is considered to be the most flexible operating system out there. Appearing on a wide range of laptops from those costing $150 to thousands of dollars, the variety of features that Windows offers can make it an enticing choice. Since its release in July 2015, the improvements that have been added to Windows have made it a very popular choice for designers and creatives.

  • ChromeOS

A simple and secure operating system, the ChromeOS from Google is found on Chromebooks. While the interface is reminiscent of Windows with an app menu, desktop, and ability to drag windows around, the main browser is Google’s own Chrome browser. A downside to using the ChromeOS is that some web applications don’t work all that well offline. That is changing however as newer, high-end versions of the Chromebook are now able to run Android applications.

3. Traditional laptop or 2-in-1

These days, laptops will fall into two main categories: standard notebook style and 2-in-1 hybrids that come in two different variations. A hinged version that allows you to put the device in many different configurations and a detachable that come off the keyboard entirely.

Many of these tend to provide a better experience one way instead of the other with bend-back laptops being a laptop first while detachable offers a superior tablet experience. If you don’t see having a tablet in any form as a necessity, stick with a traditional laptop as you’ll usually get better performance for the money you will spend.

4. Screen Size & Weight

While all the power under the hood is great to have, if all that power causes you to lug around a huge laptop, it might not be worth the money. Laptops are generally categorized by the size of their display:

  • 11 to 12 inches

These will generally be the thinnest and lightest laptop that you can find. The screen is between 11 and 12 inches and only weighs around 2.5 to 3.5 pounds.

  • 13 to 14 inches

Laptops of this size will provide the best combination of portability and usability. This is especially true if you find a laptop that weighs less than 4 pounds.

  • 15 inches

Usually weighing around 4.5 to 6.5 pounds, 15-inch laptops are the most popular choice for those who want a laptop with a larger screen but isn’t so heavy to be a burden when carrying it around

  • 17 to 18 inches

If you have a laptop that stays primarily on your desk and isn’t carried around much, a laptop with a 17 or 18-inch screen can provide you with the processing power you need to do high-quality work without needing a desktop computer.

5. Keyboard & Touchpad

Having the best laptop in the world, no matter how much it costs, can mean absolutely nothing if the keyboard doesn’t fit your hands the right way. A good laptop keyboard should offer tactile feedback, enough space between the keys and when you press a key, it should move vertically enough to make it feel satisfying.

The touchpad shouldn’t give you a jumpy cursor and also responds well to your movements as well as multitouch gestures like pinch and zoom. Some manufacturers still provide a pointing stick between the G and H keys. This can be helpful as it will allow you to navigate your laptop’s screen while keeping your fingers on the home row of the keyboard.

6. Specifications (What’s Inside)

When you look at the specs that a laptop has, it can be a little daunting at first. There are a lot of letters on display and it can be tough to know what each one of them means and what you should pick. While there can be some debate over the screen size you should choose, for designers and creatives, focusing more on three areas will help you choose a quality laptop in your price range.

  • Storage size

Laptops will either come with an HDD (hard disk drive) or an SSD (solid state drive). You want to try and buy a laptop with the highest amount of storage that you can afford and should aim for at least 256GB to start. If you have many files and projects that you can’t keep saved on your laptop, you may want to also look at an external hard drive.

  • RAM

While there are some budget-friendly laptops that come with 2GB of RAM, you should strive for a laptop that starts with at least 8GB. 16GB would obviously be better if you can afford it, and anything higher might break your budget altogether.

  • CPU

The CPU is essentially your laptop’s brain and giving your laptop a strong brain can make doing your job much easier. The CPU can affect the performance of the laptop in both good and bad ways. In our opinion, if you don’t have any extra money to spend on other areas of the laptop, make sure you are getting a good processor for the money.

7. Battery Life

Some people who buy a laptop will only look at the specs that it may come with and overlook a very important factor: battery life. If you’re not going to be leaving your laptop on a desk, plugged in all day, you want to shoot for at least 7 hours of battery life, more is obviously better. Just because the manual says that it lasts for 10 hours isn’t always correct. Do your research and read third-party reviews of the laptops you are interested in to get an accurate idea of the battery life.

Top 10 Best Budget Laptops for Designers and Creatives in 2019

While it is true that there are many laptops available for you to purchase, finding the best budget laptops, especially for those who may be a designer or work in another creative field can be a bit tough. There are so many options out there for you to choose from.

What we decided to do was take our criteria of what to consider when buying a laptop and select those that most closely matched. This means that to us, the list below has the Best Budget Laptops for Designers and Creatives in 2019.

If you want to know more about any on our list, click a link below to get more information. However, if you want to know why we picked the ones we did, keep reading below.

Prices above are approximate. Live rates are below.

Can you afford more? See our post:

The Best Budget Laptops Compared
Preview
Best All-Around
Best Premium Budget
Best Budget Mac
Best Budget Tablet Laptop
Best Chromebook
Title
ASUS VivoBook F510UA Thin and Lightweight 15.6” FHD WideView NanoEdge Laptop, Intel Core i5-7200U...
New 2018 Lenovo Yoga 730 2-in-1 15.6" FHD IPS Touch-Screen Laptop, Intel i5-8250U, 8GB DDR4 RAM,...
Apple MacBook Pro MD101LL/A 13.3-inch Laptop (2.5Ghz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD) (Renewed)
Microsoft Surface Go (Intel Pentium Gold, 4GB RAM, 64GB) and Microsoft Surface Go Type Cover (Black)
Samsung Chromebook 3, 11.6", 4GB Ram, 64GB eMMC (XE500C13-K06US)
Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6" Full HD, 8th Gen Intel Core i3-8130U, 6GB RAM Memory, 1TB HDD, 8X DVD,...
Prime Status
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Computer programmers use lines of “code” to create computer programs, mobile solutions and also analyze the needs of their clients and create technical solutions to solve their problems. Having an amazing laptop is almost a prerequisite of computer programming and that need led us to create this list of the Best Laptops for Programming, Coding & Development in 2019, which is perfect for coders, programmers, developers and sysadmins.

With the right laptop, programming can be a much easier process so you can help satisfy your clients’ needs but how do you know a good laptop from a bad one? Figuring out what you should look for before buying a laptop for programming is a good place to start.

So let’s start there shall we?

Related posts:

What to Look For in a Programming Laptop

Choosing a laptop for programming can be a tedious process. Sure on the screen, you’re typing in lines of colorful code, but having a laptop with the right combination of features and specs can make every coding session a much easier process.

To help, we created a checklist of the things you should consider when you decide to buy a laptop for programming / coding. While they may not apply to everyone, we feel that it gives a good overview so you can be sure you’re getting the best laptop for your money.

Let’s dive right in.

Mobility

While it’s true that laptops were created with mobility in mind, when you choose a laptop, you want to be sure that is as portable as you need it to be.

If you aren’t going to be very mobile with your laptop, using a laptop with a 15-inch screen may be a good choice as the specs will be better and the larger screen is better for multitasking. If you find yourself being on the move a lot, choosing a laptop with a 13 or 14-inch screen will come with better battery life and also weigh less.

Display

The display is easily one of the most important features of any laptop. When you’re programming applications, you’re going to be staring at the screen for quite a while each day. Being able to see the details clearly is super important.

Choosing a laptop with at least a Full HD display is generally recommended, so you will be able to see each line of code clearly from the start to finish of your day.

Processing Power (CPU)

The performance of your laptop can really be influenced by the CPU inside its casing. Choosing a laptop with a cheap processor can make your work harder. There are many different types of processor that have different specifications. The items you want to pay attention to are the size, number of cores, thermal design power, and frequency.

Finding a laptop with a processor from Intel, either an i5 or i7 with at least 3 GHz is ideal and should more than help you with your programming needs.

Memory (RAM)

In general, a laptop with less than 4GB of RAM should be avoided. Many experts recommend starting with at least 8GB to start. With many applications out that that use large amounts of RAM, choosing a laptop with a small amount will only result in making it harder for you to do your programming. Our suggestion would be to invest in a laptop with at least 16GB of RAM if you can afford it.

Storage Type and Capacity

Solid State Drives, otherwise known as SSD’s should be your number one option in a programming laptop. An SSD will greatly improve the performance of your laptop when compared to a standard hard drive. Operations such as booting up the OS, launching apps, loading projects and even compiling code will go much faster with an SSD.

You want to aim for 256GB as a starting point. Obviously, if you can afford to do so, an SSD with 512GB or 1TB is a better option. For those starting out, choosing one with a smaller capacity is fine as the operating system can exist alongside your apps and the documents you use frequently. Your other items like videos and music can easily be stored on an external hard drive.

Keyboard

Along with the display, the keyboard is indeed the most important part of the laptop. Choosing a laptop that has a low-quality keyboard will affect your work. Even if you say it won’t. Using a keyboard that you aren’t comfortable working on code all day, will become tedious and bother you the longer you use it.

With any keyboard, if you can, you want to give it a test drive of sorts. Try it out first and make sure that when you use it the keystrokes are comfortable and you can reach all of the functions with relative ease. If you think you may find yourself working in low-light conditions, a backlit keyboard can be a lifesaver.

Battery Life

Nothing is worse than being out somewhere, working on a big project and your battery dies. Not everyone wants to keep their laptop plugged in all day long, especially if the programming they do keeps them around the office all day.

A good laptop battery should last at least 6 hours. I know that many of you are saying that you can just check the battery gauge on the screen, but they aren’t always 100% accurate. Doing your research, like reading our list of the Best Laptops for Coding in 2019 can help you get a better idea of the battery life of top laptops.

Operating System

For many, this will ultimately determine which laptop they choose. While Windows users are allocated a lot of options, those who prefer using the macOS may find themselves pretty limited to what the MacBook offers.

Most Windows laptops will run Linux but it is better to buy a laptop that already supports it. Some manufacturers actually offer high-quality laptops with Linux pre-installed. As with battery life, doing the right research can let you know if your preferred Linux distributions will work well. 

What is Linux?

If you’re just starting to learn about programming, the term Linux may be new to you. Simply put, Linux is an open-sourced, community-developed OS for computers, servers, mobile devices, and mainframes. Linux is supported on just about every major computer platform, making it one of the best supported operating systems in the world. You can also program and code on Chrome OS or Microsoft Windows

Dedicated or Integrated Graphics Card

For coding, having a dedicated graphics card isn’t the most important thing to look for in a laptop. We would recommend choosing a laptop with an integrated graphics card and put more money towards either a larger SSD or better processor which will give you a more powerful laptop, making your work easier.

The Best Laptops for Programming in 2019 – Introduction

The market for laptops these days can be very crowded and competitive in order to earn your money. Finding the best laptops for programming gave us a lot of options to consider. However, using the criteria above, we chose the laptops that stood out so you know these are the best laptops for programming. 

If you see one that you like from our list below, click the link to learn more, otherwise keep reading to see our in-depth review:

Prices are approximate. Live rates are shown below.

The Best Laptops for Coders Compared
Preview
Best All-Around
Best Budget
Best Mac
Best Tablet Laptop
Best Chromebook
Title
Huawei Matebook 13 Signature Edn. Laptop - 13" 2K Touch, 8th Gen i5, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, Office...
ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip 12.5-inch Touchscreen Convertible Chromebook, Intel Core m3, 4GB...
Apple MacBook Pro (15-Inch, 2.6GHz 6-Core 9th-Generation Intel Core I7 Processor, 256GB) - Silver...
Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB) - Newest Version, Platinum
Google Pixelbook (i7, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB)
LG Gram Thin and Light Laptop - 17" (2560 x 1600) IPS Display, Intel 8th Gen Core i7, 16GB RAM,...
Prime Status
Star Rating
Reviews
25 Reviews
1,214 Reviews
3 Reviews
266 Reviews
75 Reviews
31 Reviews
..
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DesignCuts are back with yet another outstanding font bundle deal.

Inside this eclectic font collection are 16 stunning font families from the world’s foremost type designers such as Latinotype, Fenotype and Zetafonts to name a few, and they include a versatile mix of serifs, san serif, script and slab fonts. Perfect for branding, social media posts, logos, posters and so much more.

If you bought these fonts individually, it would cost $1587, but you can get all 16 font families (239 individual fonts), for just $29 which is 98% off.

An amazing deal which is too good to pass up!

Below is a short preview of what’s inside, but check out the deal page for a closer look.

» Get Eclectic Font Bundle (98% Off)

The deal ends on June 25, so don’t miss out.

These particular fonts caught my eye:

  • Kenfolg – Serifs are making a come back and this display titling typeface is sure to help that trend. Perfect for branding & logo projects!
  • Config Condensed – Similar to the much-loved (yet pricey) DIN font family, with italics.
  • Kinfolk – An eclectic take on a luxurious serif. I love the O and subtle design features of this one.
  • Neue Einstellung – a friendly geometric san serif which seems to be a mix between Avant Garde, Futura and Proxima Nova.

 

» Get Eclectic Font Bundle (98% Off)

The deal ends on June 25, so don’t miss out.

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JUST™ Creative by Jacob Cass - 1w ago

I recently went to TEDxSydney, one of the largest TEDx events in the world.

The theme for the event was LEGACY and the highlight reels of these 20+ highly accomplished individuals, really got me thinking.

What’s my purpose?

Is this what they call a mid-life crisis? Should I be buying that red convertible sports car?

Half joking, I ask myself, how can I serve more people? How can I make the most positive impact?

I wondered, why am I thinking all of this now?

I came to the conclusion, that I’ve reached a point in my life where I consider myself “successful”.

But this word means nothing. Nothing to anyone, except yourself.

Success is defined by the individual.

I’m happy. I’ve helped millions with my blog. I have a loving family. I have a job I love. I help businesses thrive all across the world with my design & strategy work. I have minor “fame”. I’ve traveled the world. I have freedom.

But I’m comfortable. And comfort is the enemy of achievement.

I want more. We all want more – it’s in our blood as humans to continually grow.

So, where to from here? I’m still looking for the answer.

I can’t keep branding and blogging for the rest of my life, can I?

Whatever is next, it has to be different and it has to help people. It needs to have impact.

I am not even sure why I am writing this… or why I am sharing it with you. But I know I just had to get it out there.

What’s my legacy?

Who can relate? I would love to hear from you.

Image by Feng Yu on Shutterstock.

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Over the years, as a brand designer & strategist, I have named a large number of businesses and in the process, collected a large number of brand naming resources.

These are my most valued links and resources:

Online Naming Resources Brand Naming Books Trademarking

When you’ve found a name, ensure you can trademark it in your class (see USPTO class lists).

What are your best brand naming resources?

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This article was contributed by Gabriel Nwatarali.

Looking to learn how to charge more for your design work and attract higher paying clients as a freelancer?

Use the ideas laid out in this article to price your work based on value VS time, and guarantee yourself a solid income.

The following is probably familiar…

You spend hours upon hours honing your skills in order to provide the best possible service to your clients. Then one day the truth hits you and that is, your customers undervalue your expertise.

The good news? You’re not the only one with this debacle. Today we’ll show you how to create a system that attracts higher paying customers.

How Freelancers Can Attract Higher-paying Customers

Here’s the thing.

Freelancing platforms are only one way of gaining exposure and attracting clients. There are other methods of getting higher paying customers. But you’re going to need to focus and think much bigger.

The old saying, “go big or go home”, has a lot of truth to it. You see, it takes about the same effort to make less money for your services as it is to get paid what you’re worth.

That means virtually anyone can get higher-paying clients. Providing that there’s a demand for what you’re offering and you’ve mastered the skills necessary to do excellent work.

Our aim is to show you how to create a system around your business that consistently attracts the right customers. That’s how you get higher paying clients. Feel free to combine some of the following tips to create your own client attraction system. However, you’ll achieve greater results if all of them are implemented.

1. Get to Know Who Your Customers Are

Whatever it takes, learn about who your ideal customers are. The idea here is to work with people or businesses that you intricately understand their pain points. This enables you to continuously provide solutions that resolve their problems.

What are their most pressing concerns? What challenges keep them up at night? What is most important to them? These are examples of some questions you’ll need to answer.

Perhaps, going through the process of creating personas will give you a nice deep dive into the minds of your target customers. A persona is a fictional representation of your ideal clients or consumers.

Personas give you answers to things like target consumer’s preferred hang out spots (online and offline), job types, average wages, etc. Definitely, worth the time it takes to create them.

2. Specialize or Die Trying

You’ve probably heard this advice before. Specialization helps you focus and differentiates your offerings from the competition. However, we aren’t just referring to specializing in one skill, rather becoming an expert in several complimenting fields.

This will give you an edge over the other choices because it upgrades you from a common find to a rare breath. For example, a copywriter or writer that also has SEO expertise will be preferred over one that doesn’t.

You only need to be specialized in one of them but expert-level in others. So pick one expertise that you love the most, really excel in it, and then add complementing skills to your repertoire. As an example, Jacob is a graphic designer that specializes in logo design and branding.

Continue to add complementary skills to your resume, as you become expert level at each one. Focus and determination are key components of achieving mastery in any industry.

3. Build a Website

By now you know that people pay more for experts. Starting a website (e.g. blog) is a great way to show off your competence. Sharing your knowledge and expertise freely on a personal or business platform will get you “eyeballs”. In other words, it gets the right people to start paying attention.

A website is a 24/7 lead generator that also enhances your resume by a ton! So write on your site, share knowledge elsewhere, and participate in anything that helps to spread your name. In a nutshell, market yourself as you would any business that sells what you offer with a strong content strategy in place.

Do this consistently and you’ll increase your authority within the industry over time. Your own website is definitely something you should show potential clients but don’t rely on it alone.

4. Craft a Winning Cover Letter / Proposal Package

Your cover letter or proposal package is your “elevator pitch” and what you send to prospects. Ideally, it should be short, concise, well written, and communicate to the consumer why they should pick you. In general, it should discuss or demonstrate all of the following.

  • Knowledge and experience in your field.
  • Your communication skills
  • Authority or expertise
  • Convey the feeling of trustworthiness
  • Show off your creativity (e.g. include links to past work)

Remember that it’s always best to show more than you tell. The prospect wants to know that you can solve their problems. That’s their main concern. Include case studies and relevant examples of your work.

5. Show Past Results

Being able to show off past results is relative to your line of services and situation but applies in most cases.

For instance, graphic designers can present their portfolios, online marketers can show some statistics (e.g. conversion rates), etc.

Previous results are a great way of proving your skills. See Jacob’s case study for his Waves to Wilderness rebranding project.

6. Go The Extra Mile

Do you cringe whenever someone says they’re going to work for free? Maybe you don’t mind doing it but here’s the problem with working for free.

Time is too valuable and working for free doesn’t even guarantee you’ll earn the project in question. Not that guarantees should be your focus as a freelancer but neither is giving your time away “willy-nilly” (or without direction).

Instead, you should focus on going the extra mile and giving away things that yields returns to your freelancing career in some way. The former means doing a bit more than one is paid to do. The latter refers to giving away value in the form of content that’ll keep working for you long-term. Make both of these a habit.

For example, an SEO specialist could give away link building ideas or tips on their website. A writer who is paid to create a 500-word article could deliver 700 words to their client.

7. Work at a Reduced Rate (if you’re just starting out)

While you shouldn’t work for free, it’s perfectly ok to provide your services at discounted rates temporarily (e.g. when starting out). However, be selective of the businesses that you work with at bargain prices. See here for some freelance rates.

Do a fantastic job and you can place their logo in your portfolio even if they don’t keep using your services. This will strengthen your positioning on the market and attract more clients of the same caliber. But, it’s best to work with companies that can afford your regular rates.

Remember to price based on value, not time.

8. Build Your Email List

You can build a strong “pipeline” by starting a newsletter. An is a powerful marketing channel that can be leveraged to build your freelance business.

However, the tough part about email list building for freelancers is sending emails regularly. After all, you’re extremely busy but that’s where automation can help. Affordable email marketing platforms like Aweber or MailChimp, can help you nurture your audience with automation.

For instance, you can have the automated system send out every new blog post from your site via RSS syndication. That means you can focus on adding value while software handles the delivery.

Feel free to manually send special offers to your subscribers every now and then. Alternatively, you can include a CTA (call-to-action) after each blog post.

9. Use Cold Email Outreach

The truth is that cold email outreach has been overly abused. Maybe it’s because marketers like to ruin good things .

Nevertheless, cold email is still an important way of reaching businesses that want what you’re selling. But to succeed you’ll need to stand apart from spammers. Fortunately, the way to do this is simpler than you might think. Are you ready?

All you have to do is be human. That’s right. The secret to success with cold email marketing is to realize that you’re dealing with another person. So you have to be genuine with your intentions and want the best for your prospect. Also, you’ll need to send out a lot of emails to reach the right people. Having a personal recommendation or referral also helps.

Generally, 1 out of 10 will respond to your email, providing that you aren’t mindlessly spamming. Plus, that doesn’t guarantee they’ll buy anything but at least you can get a conversation going. So out of 100 sent emails, expect 10 to respond and 1 percent of those will probably make a purchase.

10. Utilize Social Media

Social media is something a lot of people swear by and we have to agree that it’s an effective way of getting clients. But the key is picking the right platforms.

While it’s ok to have a presence on major social media channels, you shouldn’t focus your energies on all of them. Pick one or two networks that your target customers hang out on and focus on those.

For example, Twitter lets you send direct messages. You can send messages directly to prospects that have been qualified for your services.

The thing to remember when using social platforms to find clients is that you shouldn’t mass send the same message. Prospects can sense this in action because they probably get tons of mass messages weekly. Also, keep your messages short, clear, and include the “what’s in it for me”.

Other great social media channels for freelancers include but not limited to the following.

  • Quora
  • Reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
The Importance of Using Multiple Marketing Channels

The use of several marketing channels is one of the most important things you must do as a freelancer. The bottom line is that you need to market your services where consumers are “kicking it”.

That means using a combination of social media, search engines, email, snail mail, etc. Don’t limit your reach to one or two avenues, rather use whatever means you can to reach your intended audience.

Think of marketing like casting a net. The more places you have to fish for clients, the greater your chances of acquiring customers.

The most successful B2B companies use multiple marketing channels to reach their customers. Start doing the same.

You Need Skin in The Game to Play

No doubt, freelancing platforms like Upwork or Toptal are good ways of acquiring customers. But these marketplaces have become more competitive. For a long time, anyone could sign up on one of these websites and apply for gigs, which caused quotes or labor cost to drop.

At first, businesses seeking services and possibly the platforms themselves saw this as a good thing. But, when it quickly became apparent that the quality for deliverables had also significantly dropped, it began to turn heads. Now each platform is handling that challenge differently.

For example, Upwork recently announced changes that will affect how much freelancers pay to apply for projects. They’ll no longer offer free connects when people sign up in an attempt to weed out unprofessional freelancers. In other words, you need skin in the game to play.

Should You Keep Using Freelancing Platforms?

The main difference between a freelancer and someone who has a job is that freelancers are business owners in their own right. However, this difference becomes blurred when platforms start treating you like an employee.

Nonetheless, these freelancing websites command huge audiences that are ready to pay for your services. So yes, you should absolutely keep using them but they shouldn’t be your only avenue or method for acquiring clients.

You have to set some ground rules when it comes to using freelance sites to avoid becoming a commodity. The key is to build your own business by leveraging these platforms for exposure if you want to thrive.

That means no dropping your prices way below market value just to win business. You have to hold your ground. Know your worth and even if you don’t, keep your prices at market value or higher. Start viewing what you do as a business because it is. After all, you’re selling services to companies.

Confidence Will Increase Your Earnings

Having self-confidence in your abilities to do great work is ultra-important. Not having confidence in yourself will show in everything you do in life even if an attempt is made to hide it.

As a freelancer, trying to score gigs can be scary for many reasons. You have responsibilities (e.g. bills to pay) like everybody else. Sure, you can fake it till you make it but there’s a better way to maintain confidence. That is, ensuring that you have other income sources.

Here’s an example. A freelance writer who is also an affiliate marketer has nothing to worry about whenever they don’t get a writing gig. This is because they have revenue coming from affiliate products too, which increases their confidence.

Similarly, a graphic designer who also has a part-time job somewhere else, won’t have to worry. They have another income source so it’s much easier to move on.

Ask yourself the following question. What would help you be more confident? Then go get it done.

Make a Commitment

To excel in any endeavor you need to commit to it. That means doing whatever it takes to ensure you can keep serving clients as a freelancer. But you got to shift your thinking or mindset a little. Specifically, realize that it takes the same amount of effort to make less money than it takes to secure more.

The tips laid out in this article can help you earn higher-paying clients but none of it matters if you don’t commit. Use multiple marketing channels and don’t be afraid to try things that might not work. Lastly, confidence in oneself to accomplish tasks is extremely critical. So do what you must to increase your confidence.

About the author: Gabriel Nwatarali is a digital marketer and designer and founder of Tech Help Canada, an online marketing agency that specializes in multiple disciplines. Follow her on Twitter to stay in touch.

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When you shoot video, whether it is home movies, a social media post or a documentary you’ve been wanting to make for forever, being able to edit that footage quickly and easily can make all of the difference.

These days, technology has reached a point where you can edit your videos on your laptop right after you shot it making the turnaround time astronomical. We wondered though, what is the best laptop out there for editing video because even the best laptop might not be the best for editing your important videos.

Before you hand over your cash though, you should know what to look for so you have a good place to start from. Let’s start there shall we?

Related posts:

What to Consider When Buying  A Laptop for Video Editing

When you go shopping for a laptop to edit videos on, a basic laptop will struggle to get the job done efficiently, because many base laptops just do not have the processing power, storage space or graphics card to handle editing high-quality video and if they do, the results may not be what you were hoping for, especially if video editing is part of your livelihood.

That’s why we feel that when you start looking around at a new laptop for video editing, you should consider the following factors:

Screen Resolution

We don’t really have to tell you how important a screen on a laptop is but for editing video, choosing a laptop with a 4K screen is the best option to go with if you can afford it. A good screen should be sharp enough to handle jobs like shading as well as color corrections.

Graphics Card

There are typically two names in the graphics card world that are primarily available and that is NVIDIA and AMD Graphics. Both companies offer high-quality products and have become household names in this market.

Instead of suggesting which is better, which can come down to the laptop or your personal preference, what you want to pay attention to is the recommended system setting of the editing software that you intend to use so that you know you are meeting at least those requirements.

Memory

When you edit video, you may not just edit one video straight through and have multiple clips that you may need later saved on your laptop. Without a laptop that has enough RAM in it, those video snippets might not get saved and you may start to run into issues with storage or the speed of the laptop.

With the advent of 4K resolution though, it should be a primary aspect you look at when considering a laptop. You should never look at those that start with less than 8GB of memory. While there are many choices where you can upgrade the memory later on, if spending more on a quality laptop isn’t a concern, you may want to focus on those that start with at least 16GB of RAM.

Storage

Just like memory, storage is a very real thing to consider when shopping for a laptop to edit videos. A good rule of thumb is that the more storage, the better. Like memory, there is a level that you shouldn’t consider anything below. In this case, any laptop with less than 256GB shouldn’t be considered, unless that’s what you can afford with your budget. If you can only afford a smaller amount of storage, you can always use an external hard drive for additional storage of your videos

Processor

The old saying more is better definitely applies to the processor in your laptop in many cases these days. Many CPU cores are designed to use less power, like the Core U-series from Intel but still comes with four cores in it.

If you’re concerned that your processor isn’t fast enough, you can test it using Cinebench benchmark test which shows how fast your laptop is when you are rendering a 3D image. While a higher score is better, results over 700 don’t necessarily mean that your laptop can handle video-editing jobs.

Battery Life

Doing any kind of video editing is going to consume a lot of your battery’s juice. Having a laptop with long battery life is a good option to have. Although you will likely keep it plugged in most of the time, it is good to consider the life of the battery so you aren’t caught off guard in those moments it isn’t plugged in.

Weight

Portability was the number one reason why laptops were created in the first place. A laptop gives you the option to work just about anywhere you want and not stay tied to a desktop PC. Being portable, you don’t want your laptop to feel so heavy that it feels as though your carrying around a brick. Keep in mind though that a laptop that weighs less than three pounds will not have a display larger than 14 inches and won’t have a discrete GPU in it.

The Best Laptops for Video Editing, Motion Graphics & Animation In 2019

We have to be completely honest, there are a lot of laptops out there for a consumer to choose from. This can make choosing the best laptop for video editing a very confusing process and we are all about making it easy for you to choose the best option for you to get started right away.

Below is our list of The Best Laptops for Video Editing in 2019. Each link below will take you where you can get more information on the laptop, but if you want to know more about each one, we cordially invite you to keep reading below.

  1. Acer Predator Helios 500 – $1899
  2. Dell XPS 15 – $979
  3. HP ZBook X2 – $2526
  4. MacBook Pro 15 w/ Touch Bar – $2499
  5. Huawei MateBook X Pro – $1127
  6. Microsoft Surface Book 2 – $2330
  7. Razer Blade 15 RTX – $2799
  8. Lenovo Yoga 720 – $715
  9. HP Pavilion 15 – $439
  10. MSI Prestige P65 Creator – $1999
  11. Asus Zenbook 15 – $1281

The above prices are approximate – the live prices are shown below each item.

Top Video Laptops Laptops Compared

Our top 6 picks.

Preview
Fastest Choice
Best Mac
Best Value
Budget Choice
Tite
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-72NU Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7-8750H, GeForce GTX 1070...
Apple MacBook Pro (15" Retina, Touch Bar, 2.6GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) - Space...
Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition Thin & Light Laptop, 13.9in 3K Touch, 8th Gen i7-8550U, 16...
Microsoft Surface Book 2 (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB) - 15"
Lenovo - Yoga 720 2-in-1 13.3" Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i5-8GB Memory - 256GB Solid State...
MSI P65 Creator 8RF-450US Ultra Thin Productivity / Gaming Laptop, 15.6" 144Hz Anti-Glare Display,...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Reviews
26 Reviews
94 Reviews
24 Reviews
366 Reviews
28 Reviews
223 Reviews
OS
PC
Mac
PC
PC
PC
PC
Screen Size
..
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When someone starts the process of buying tech to fill their office and help their business grow, the most likely piece that is forgotten about is the keyboard. Honestly, when you buy a desktop computer, are you really buying it for the keyboard or for the specs in the computer tower?

Along with the mouse, the keyboard is easily the most important piece of tech you can own as you use it the most, so why not get the best one that you can?

With that in mind, we wanted to help you get the best keyboard to make that PC hum and that’s just what we’re going to do with our Best Keyboards for Designers in 2019 post. 

What should you look for in an awesome keyboard? There is surprisingly more than you might think, so let’s start there.

Related Posts:

What to Consider When Choosing A Keyboard

If we asked you what you look for in a keyboard, many people would more than likely say that they didn’t know. It’s a keyboard after all.

If it were 1996, those people would be right.

But in 2019, keyboards, like many other pieces of technology, these days multitask and are used for more than just using it to type on a screen. This means making sure you consider certain things first will help you find the best keyboard for your work. Remember a good craftsman never blames his tools, so here is what you should consider before buying a keyboard.

Type of Work Being Done

Keyboards designed today are much different than the ones that came with computers years ago. Keyboards, like many other pieces of tech, are tailored to fit into a specific niche. Many of these specialized keyboards have special keys that can be programmed to accomplish things that might be part of your work. Picking a keyboard that is designed to help you with the work you are doing is very important.

Keystrokes

When you buy a keyboard, making sure that the keystrokes feel comfortable and not too much like tapping away on a typewriter, which was notoriously tough to type on. If you can, try the keys out beforehand to see how it feels to type on it. Does it have a soft touch that is responsive or does it require you to use a little more force to press the key down. Everyone has a different preference. The type of switch that the keyboard uses, which is the mechanism that responds when you press down on a key can make all the difference when it comes to the comforts, sensitivity and amount of noise created when you type.

Compatibility

When PC’s first starting appearing in homes, keyboards plugged in using a PS/2 connector and are thankfully obsolete. These days, many keyboards connect in one of two ways. Most, especially those that come prepackaged with a computer connect through USB ports and these can be the chosen connection method for many keyboard manufacturers today. However, many consumers have grown tired of all of the wires that get in the way and manufacturers listened created wireless keyboards that typically via Bluetooth and can make using the keyboard a much easier experience depending on the situation.

Design

Long gone are the days of the bleach white block-style keyboards that would change to a yellow hue the longer you used it. With the needs of users being so different these days, keyboard manufacturers have had to get creative to meet those needs. Whether it is an ergonomic keyboard, a foldable one for easy transport or one that you can use with a tablet. The old days are long gone and the options range far and wide.

Extra Functions

As previously mentioned, any keyboard makers design their products to fit certain niches in order to serve them better. One of these changes in design includes adding extra function keys that can help you connect to the internet, change the volume easier, and if the keyboard works well with a program, you can program hotkeys for repetitive tasks.

Price

If you’ve read any of our other guides, you know that it always comes down to the price as the thing to consider when buying the best piece of tech. This is no different from a keyboard. While we think spending crazy amounts of money on a keyboard may be ok with some, for many, the best keyboard won’t necessarily break the bank.

The Best Keyboards for Designers in 2019

Choosing the best keyboard for the work that you do is a lot like finding the best pair of sneakers. When you have them on, you want to feel comfortable and supported every time you put them on. The wrong keyboard can affect how you do your work or even keep you from wanting to use it, which in the long run will hurt your work.

Here is our list of the Best Keyboards for Creatives in 2019. If you see a favorite below, click the link to learn more about it or keep reading to see our entire list.

The Best Keyboards Compared
Best Overall
Best Ergonomic
Best Value
Best for Travel
Best Compact
Logitech Craft Advanced Wireless Keyboard with Creative Input Dial and Backlit Keys, Dark grey and...
Kinesis Advantage2 Quiet LF Ergonomic Keyboard (KB600LFQ)
Anker Ultra Compact Slim Profile Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac with...
Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480 – Black – works with Windows and Mac Computers,...
Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard for iPad, iPhone, Android devices, and Windows tablets
Apple Magic Keyboard (Wireless, Rechargable) (US English) - Silver
148 Reviews
109 Reviews
1,549 Reviews
2,547 Reviews
357 Reviews
585 Reviews
$169.99
$339.00
$21.99
$28.90
$94.99
$88.99
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Earlier this year, I posted an article on the latest logo design & branding trends and now 6 months on, the official 2019 logo trends report has just been released by Bill Gardner of LogoLounge.

(The report officially launches tomorrow, but Bill sent me over an early copy to share with you guys!)

This report has been put together by carefully analyzing over 300k logos from the past 17 years, handpicking those that contribute to emerging trends for the year. The findings & insights are found below.

» Watch Report on LinkedIn Learning

via Free Month Trial or $29.99 for a one off purchase

2019 Logo Design Trends Report Summary
  • Less traditional colors are being used
  • Patterns & textures are replacing color fills
  • Odd gradient hues are being utilized in attempt to “own” a gradient blend
  • High-chroma gradients are rampant
  • Identity is often trumping logo design in terms of brand hierarchy
  • New plugins, filters, effects & animation are making way for new treatments
  • Repeated themes include; drones, vaping, tacos, weight bells, lightbulbs, mushrooms, tikis, waffles and needles

Remember, as Bill says:

“The key takeaway from this report is not to imitate, but to find a way to push these ideas forward and make them your own.”

Please share this article if you found it useful. You can find Pinterest pins at the end of the article.

Past Logo Design Trend Reports: What are the Logo Trends of 2019?
  1. Morse Shade
  2. Loaded
  3. Orphan Shadows
  4. Zip Tone
  5. Dots
  6. Highlights
  7. Quarters
  8. Spell Signs
  9. Holes
  10. Spot Drag
  11. Gradient Breaks
  12. Contour Stripes
  13. Period
  14. Wings
  15. Doors

Further explanations are provided below.

1. Morse Shade

Dots & dashes with rounded extremities, often to convey motion or shading

2. Loaded

Layering of elements with high contrast

3. Orphan Shadows

Subtle shadows that convey depth, often singular in application

4. Zip Tone

Retro tonal shading, reminiscent of the 70s

5. Dots

Oversized dots often to convey a pattern, shading or tone

6. Highlights

Sparks of color for visual flair, often in electric hues

7. Quarters

Quartered circles, squares and triangles arranged in a pure form

8. Spell Signs

Single lined, geometric forms aligned with precision

9. Holes

A shape purposefully carved in or around other elements

10. Spot Drag

Dynamic and vivid blends between shapes, often circles

11. Gradient Breaks

A stepped gradient effect, often split along geometric breaks

12. Contour Stripes

Providing dimensionality with a variety of wrapped lines

13. Period

Use of the dot for visual emphasis and/or making a statement

14. Wings

Shapes and letters forming wings, or a shape with wings attached

15. Doors

Doors or windows used to convey connectivity to another place

Pin 2019 Logo Trends to Pinterest

A shout out to Bill Gardner & LogoLounge!

A huge thanks to Bill Gardner from LogoLounge (read our interview here) for putting this report together. In case you did not know, LogoLounge.com is the world’s largest logo search engine and for less than $10 per month (billed annually), members get unlimited uploads and access to more than 300,000 logos from designers across the globe. They also get immediate entry into the selection process for the LogoLounge book series. For a deeper dive into these logo trends, watch their report on LinkedIn Learning.

Learn Logo Design & Adobe Illustrator

Learn logo design & Adobe Illustrator with the LogoCore Masterclass which includes 65% off Adobe Creative Cloud, and an exclusive + 10% Discount.

The LogoCore Masterclass is the most in-depth online logo course available, perfect for beginners and intermediate designers looking to learn logo design.

Master Adobe Illustrator, learn grid structures, how to vectorize a logo, how to present design work, create a styleguide, build a creative brief, get valuable feedback, animate logos and so much more. They also have a mentorship program.

Get an exclusive 10% discount with coupon code ‘JUST10’. Simply enter the coupon at checkout.

The best part? You get 65% off Adobe Creative Cloud.

» Enroll in LogoCore Masterclass

Do you have any further logo design trends or inspiration to add?

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