I’M GOING TO (GRA)FUCK YOU UP

middle finga

I always wanted to read a blog post that had some sort of threatening title. I should have probably called this one dealing with clients or lessons learned from my two year old on how to deal with clients in the field of graphic design, but you wouldn’t read it and I’m sure I’m going to fuck you up is a more popular search term with the search engines (look at me, thinking about SEO).

Two year olds

Being the father of a two-year-old boy has taught me a lot. I am not going to go into detail because that would take way too much time (and I am extremely lazy, I’m actually surprised that I am typing this today, it’s sunday for fuck’s sake). Raising Anthony has actually made me a better person (not necessarily a good father, but I’ll get it right with Isabelle). The qualities that I have been able practice are patience (lots of fucking patience, never shake a baby, never), understanding, discipline, routine, and how to have fun.

Clients

Clients, can’t live with them…ummm, can’t pay the bills without them. I like most of my clients, some of them I consider friends and attend orgies with, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t difficult to deal with sometimes (always).

So what the fuck do you do?

I treat my clients like I would treat my two year old without talking down to them or making them feel like idiots. clients don’t like being treated like idiots, especially when they are acting like idiots.

Patience

client x: When can I expect this? Kind of a rush.

me: Okay, well as long as I can get everything from you that I need I can have this to you pretty quick.

client x: What stuff?

me: Copy, logo, pictures of your product, and anything else you want me to use.

client x: Oh…I don’t have any of that stuff, could you do it?

Ahhh! I get this a lot. I have nothing, but was wondering if you could put together a million dollar campaign for the same price that you quoted me when you thought I would provide this stuff to you, oh and by the way, can I get it tomorrow.

What I’ve learned is to communicate effectively. Instead of getting frustrated and blowing up, I take a minute to explain to the client what my role in this partnership is and what their role is. I let them know that it is important that we each do are own role so that the project runs smoothly and in a timely manner. If the client doesn’t have something I need and refuses to get it to me then i let them know that it can still happen, but the price quoted will change and that it will take longer to complete.

They don’t always get it and trust me this will test your patience, but remember they don’t know better and if you don’t try and educate them in the process, they’ll just frustrate some other designer.

Understanding

client x: Can I give you a jpeg of the logo? Why does it need to be vector? What’s vector?

This is related to patience. You as the designer need to understand that not everyone knows the terms that you use. Once again it should be your responsibility to educate the client. It may take more of your time, but if you’re planning on having this client for awhile it might be a good investment.

Discipline

client x: Sorry, but I need these files to the printer by today. I knew about this for a few days now, but you have done last minute jobs for me before and they turned out great.

You should have let them know before that their request was unreasonable, but you let it slide. If you were to say to them now that you can’t do it, 9 out of 10 times you’ll lose a client. I have rules (sometimes pretty unreasonable, why do people still want to work with me?) and when someone challenges those rules I have to make sure that I am consistent, firm and in extreme cases administer spankings.

Routine

Pretty straight forward. People like routine (for the most part) if I can make things easier on my client by approaching all my projects the same way then why wouldn’t I do that. Not only will the client be happy, but I’ll be happy because the project will be done quicker.

Fun

client x: How’s my logo coming along?

me: Let’s go get shit-faced and talk about it.

client x: It’s 10 am.

They may piss you off, but so does my 2 year old and I still manage to have fun with him. Next time a client pisses you off, blow on their belly. Everyone loves that shit and remember never shake a client, never.

And if you had fun reading this very informative post you should subscribe, after all you don’t want to be an interweb reject.

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KICKING LIFE IN THE BALLZ

Finally! Sorry for the long delay, life has been kicking me in the balls and I had to sit on the sidelines for awhile, but i’m back and i’m wearing a cup (fuck you life). So what’s up? How’s the fam? Business? Seeing anyone?

So what’s up?

Uhmmm, not much I geuss, just sort of kicking it. Over the holidays I became really frustrated and depressed with the direction my life was headed (fuck you Santa and you too baby Jesus). I lost a lot of the initial drive that I had when I decided to get fired from my job. At first it was great. I was getting clients, mostly through word of mouth, but it was paying the bills. Then there were no more clients and even worse people that i had met with and decided to work with changed their minds.

I panicked and did the unthinkable, I got a job! You know that shitty thing I got fired from in November, well I decided that I didn’t deserve any better, lowered my standards and took a job at a place that I knew I was going to hate. I was feeling like I had no other choice, I’m the man of the house, I should be bringing in a steady income, that’s the rules. Plus, like my dad says ‘only lazy people work from home’.

So, January 3rd, 2008 I wake up at 6am, but not to workout, no I am going to my new job. I get there and stay the whole day. Eight hours wasted. The job sucked, but hey, I was contributing to my family, so it was worth it, right? That night I could not sleep. I kept feeling sorry for myself. I hated the job, but what choice did I have?

6 am my alarm goes off. I lay there in bed wide awake, I turn to my wife and let her know that I won’t be going to work today, or never, without opening her eyes she says, ‘okay’. Fucking right. It was okay, all of a sudden a calm came over me. Things have a way of working out and I was being a huge punk for feeling sorry for myself.

‘It’s not how hard you can hit, but how hard of a hit you can take”

I saw Rocky 6 during the holidays (don’t judge me), and that line stood out. I am usually a pretty strong guy (personality, physically I am as frail as a baby panda). I set goals and acheive them. I don’t understand words like can’t, fail, quit, but that’s exactly what i was allowing myself to do. I guess after you have been hit repeatedly for awhile, you break a little. Well if Rocky could take a hit, fuck it so can I (how old is he?).

How’s the fam?

Good. Anthony is still testing his limits and I love him for it, but for crying out loud, give me a fucking break. Isabelle is still daddy’s lil’ princess. She is trying really hard to crawl and what I find interesting about this is that her and Anthony are completely different. When Anthony was learning he would get frustrated easily and cry, Isabelle doesn’t. She works just as hard as Anthony did, but she never complains. She is also teething right now so my wife and I are not getting much sleep or sex. Michelle is still the best wife I could hope for even though she pisses me off, i know she’s got my back.

Business?

I have taken a break from business. When I was going through that bout of self doubt, I made a decision to put business on hold. I didn’t want my attitude at the time to affect my feelings towards business, but I took some good hits and I know I can take plenty more so it’s time to bring the business back to the foreground and really concentrate on making it successful. I have no choice.

I have also decided to sell my rental property. It was taking to much time and focus from the other important things in my life. I also live in a hot real estate market so selling it should be pretty easy and after everything is said and done I should be making $15,000 – $20,000, not bad for only owning the property for a year.

Seeing anyone?

Only you, I promise. Subscribe please. I am extremely insecure and if you don’t subscribe I’ll feel like a total loser.

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SHANE & PETER ARE MY HOMEBOYZ

Over at Shane and Peter‘s blog they have these questions that they are asking entrepeneurs. Shane left me a comment reminding me that I had to answer it, I warned him that my answers would not be helpful or very insightful, but here they are anyways. Checkout everyone else’s responses, there’s a lot of good shit out there.

What’s your personal mission statement?

Don’t fuck up! I am staring at a sticky note on my Mac right now that says that and I am thinking about putting a note on my wife too (and maybe the children, but probably to late for that).

Biggest mess you dealt with this year?

Potty training Anthony (2 year old) right now, not going to well. Getting fired and creating my own job is a close second.

What current entrepreneurial efforts consume your time?

a) I am starting a Branding/Marketing company that deals with small businesses that are almost ready to throw in the towel. I like taking a piece of shit and molding it into a better looking piece of shit.

b) I have rental property.

c) Looking at opening up a franchise (more info on that later)

d) Helping my wife get her business (custom made baked goods and special order cakes) off the ground.

Why do you do what you do? What inspires you? When do you get most excited?

Some days I don’t know. It grew from a passion for art. When I realized that there was no money in creating art I desperately searched for a way to make a living. Graphic Design…sounds good to me, I like pretty stuff.

What inspires me and gets me excited are the same thing (boobies), good, inovative, fresh design and advertising.

Boxers or Briefs? or as Naomi says, Bikini or Thong, duh?!?

My wife’s thongs. I love the silky feel on my man junk.

What do you do when you’re not [designing | programming | managing | writing | toiling for the wo/man]?

I do the family thing (think of new ways to torment the children), lift weights, listen to really obscure underground hip hop music, and watch mostly crappy movies. I also like to paint, but don’t do too much of that anymore.

What one thing made the biggest difference when getting started?

Ask me in a year, still just getting started.

What’s your exit strategy?

I’m just going to go out for cigarettes (and then you’ll see my face on milk cartons).

What is the last thing that made you belly laugh?

A family friend asked “when are you going to get Anthony baptized?” I responded “when I have proof of god’s exsistense or when he decides that he would like to spend his sunday mornings listening to some guy tell him why he was going to hell”, she responded “our very existence is proof that there is a god”. Man did I laugh, then I sold her some magic beans.

Have you ever been in business before?

Legal…no.

At what point do you consider yourself successful?

When I can remove myself from the business and still collect a paycheck.

What was your first experience with a computer?

Grade school, one of those old apples playing Oregon Trail.

Steve Jobs vs Bill Gates in a jello wrestling match, where’s your money?

In my wallet, I only gamble on dogfights and only if Michael Vick is fighting.

Where do you do your best thinking?

In bed, that stage between being awake and sleep, thats where all my good ideas come from…unfortunately I never remember them, but when I do you are all screwed.

What does your average daily work / life balance look like? How much time do you work, play and sleep?

I am always working. I don’t have to be at a desk, but my mind is always going, thinking of a better way, smarter design, whatever. I even dream about work. I sit at my work area for about 7 hours a day (except weekend), sleep about 5 hours and play with whatever time is left over (I hate math, so don’t ask me).

If I could introduce you to anyone, who would it be?

Paul Rand.

What stops you from giving up when you are frustrated?

Anthony. I’m not saying that I do it for him, what I mean is Anthony wants something, his two year old brain doesn’t fully comprehend no, so he keeps at it and he will do anything it takes to get it.

If Chuck Norris and Steven Hawking had a baby (hey it’s my damn interview), would you vote for her for president?

Good thing I will never have to make that decision, I’m Canadian.

If you drop a cat, how do you make it land on its back?

Lots of ways to do this, but easiest way I can think of is spreading a little peanut butter on it’s back before you drop it.

Thanks Shane and Peter, I have learned a lot about myself. PEACE!

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SPEC WORK: YOU HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO!

This is a conversation I had with some douchebag that was “interested” in having me develop a logo and identity for his company.

Douchebag: I like your work. I would like to see what you could do for me and my company.

Me: Sounds good. I’ll send you a questionaire and a contract and we’ll go from there.

Douchebag: Whoa, wait a minute. I don’t think you understand. I am asking for you to submit a logo and then I would choose from a group of submissions from other designers. Feel free to send more then one submission.

Me: Oh I see. So basically what you want me to do is spend my billable hours working on a logo for you, which I may or may not get paid for. Sounds like a great idea! How many other stupid designers did you get to agree to this?

Douchebag: I can sense your sarcasm. Hey, don’t do me any favors. I was simply providing you an opportunity to do some work, get paid, get exposure, expand your portfolio and potentially work with us on future projects, but if you don’t need the money that fine with us.

Me: Wow I never thought of it that way…FUCK OFF!

I am a huge believer in burning bridges, that way assholes like this can’t get back to you. Better yet, burn the bridge with this guy on it.

Spec work

Spec work is when you do work for a client. That client has other designers doing the same thing. He then chooses from a number of logos and that one person is the lucky one, the only person that will get paid for their work. If this sounds good too you then you will love this post, 5 reasons why you should do spec work.

1) Exposure Exposure Exposure

If your design is choosen think of all that exposure you will get. Everyone (soccer mom to corporate ceo) knows who the designer is. Like that guy who designed the home depot logo or those guys who did the starbucks marketing, they’re practically household names.

2) Get paid for what you like doing

…but only if the design is choosen. Look on the bright side though, if the design isn’t chosen all that time you spent on research and design is like personal development time. You’re sharpening your skills. I have a dentist who is homeless, he is so passionate about his job that he refuses to accept money for his hard work.

3) Expand your portfolio

This is a great way to get more work in your portfolio. Clients love seeing work that was never used and when you tell them that you did it for free, you may just score that new client, but the bad news is they can’t pay you, good news, at least you’ll have a portfolio piece.

4) Future Work

So you do this work for a client, they love it, you’re the only designer out of a group that gets paid for it. Now the client needs something else and guess who they call? That’s right, you get another opportunity to submit a design for their approval, which you may or may not get paid for.

5) You get to work with douchebags with high expectations and tight wallets

This is the best part. You get to work with people that have these extremely high expectations and will occupy most of your time. I don’t know about you, but I love spending time doing stuff that I most likely willl not get paid for.

Conclusion

Spec sucks! Don’t forget to subscribe because I drop knowledge like gravity be dropping apples. PEACE!

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keeping it simple = success

Sorry about the gay title (flinstones gay and not that other morally wrong gay), but I am a loser and also the writer so too bad.

In my previous post, Stop Being Fat, you learn that I was fat and now I am less fat. I also promised that I would let you in on my secret (it’s a good one, not like that crap you read in The Secret). I knew that in order for me to be successful at this I had to keep it as simple as possible, so I looked (and researched) methods to lose fat (not weight), that would not require me spending hours in the gym, hating everything that I put into my mouth, and it had to be easy. After doing a bit of research I came to the conclusion that I would have to alter my diet, become more active and learn to manage my time better, which just happen to be my 3 least favorite things.

Diet

This can get pretty confussing and there are a lot of opinions out there about what ‘diet’ is best. My decision was based on calories. bottom line is you eat more energy then you need, that energy is stored as fat, eat less energy then your body requires, your body uses the fat reserves as energy. Got it?

Calories count…so count calories

I read that to maintain a calorie balance you should consume 12 calories for every pound you weigh, so that put me at 2500. I tried this for two weeks, but realized I needed to go lower so I dropped it to 2000. I divided my calories equally throughout my 5 daily meals so I was eating 400 calories per meal.

Because 2000 calories isn’t much I knew that I would have to eat ‘good’ foods in order to fill myself up and not crave that bucket of ice cream that my wife was eating (she was 8 months pregnant) while we sat there watching The Biggest Loser. ‘Good’ foods consist of nutrient dense, low calorie foods like green vegetables, lean meats, fish and beans.

Gain weight to lose fat

I was focused on building lean muscle tissue because extra muscle causes the body to boost it’s metabolism, so I was eating 1 gram of protien for every pound I weighed. Approximately 200 grams of protien per day, equals about 800 calories which was a little less then half my daily calories. The rest of my calories came from vegetables and complex carbohydrates (avoid processed foods).

Put down that can of Coke

Don’t drink your calories. A can of Coke has about 160 calories, you can have a can a tuna for that many calories (not as fizzy, but like a hundred times fishier). Which would fill you up? I only drink water and I drink 4 litres a day. It is important to keep your body hydrated.

Online calorie counter

How do you know how many calories your food has? Well you can get a calorie book and check the labels (goes against my principle of keeping it simple so don’t do this, it’s stupid) of everything you consume OR you can go to fitday, setup a free account and start a nutrition journal. In order to be successful I think it is important to keep a journal, this way you can see what works, what doesn’t and what changes need to be made to reach your goals.

Tune in tommorow for information on training, you will not be disappointed (unless your expectations are to high, then you probably will be disappointed, sorry). I just realized that I didn’t use the words fuck or shit. Wow, how professional of me or am I just becoming a pussy? Subscribe to my blog to find out.

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STOP BEING FAT!

This is what my wife told me when she was 8 months pregnant with Isabelle (our youngest). Have you ever been kicked in the balls (if you haven’t, it really hurts)? To have a loved one say that to you hurts. So I moped around for a bit making excuses like no time, I already don’t see my family enough, and I just don’t want to.

May 30th, 2007 Isabelle is born. Oh shit! It’s a girl! Now what the fuck do I do? I held her tight and 100 (or so) thoughts ran through my head, but the one that came through crystal clear was ‘when she is older and dating, will I be able to put the fear of god into the boy she invites over to meet me for the first time?’ Would I respect myself in my current state? No. Another kick to the nuts.

So, now what?

I realized that I had to address the excuses that I was making in order for me to succeed, I needed to choose a fitness and diet that I would stick to, and I also needed some short term goals and at least one long term goal. I took out a paper and pen, went to my computer and started researching and writing.

Excuses are like bellybuttons, everyone has them!

1) No Time

Biggest bullshit excuse most people make. I knew that I only needed an hour a day to implement a training routine. I spent more time watching re-runs of Seinfeld then an hour, if I cut this back I could make enough time (but it’s Seinfeld). I started waking up at the bum crack of dawn and I would drag my tired ass to the gym. I did this because everyone would still be sleeping at home (don’t miss any valuable time with the fam, even though they do piss me off sometimes), the gym would be dead in the morning, and I didn’t get a chance to make an excuse (ahhh look at all this work I have to do, I definitely cannot work out).

2.) Rather spend time with family

So I don’t sleep in anymore. Workout while the family is sleeping, get home, start making breakfast, and enjoy a conversation with my loved ones (I really do love them, sometimes) before I start my day. If I can’t make it in the morning then I plan an activity the whole family could do in the afternoon.

3.) I just don’t want to

It is hard work to change your patterns and routines. It is also hard work to stick to a training program and diet. I had to make it enjoyable if I was going to be successful. So I picked an activity I enjoy (weightlifting) and a diet that I could tolerate (meat eaters special) and I gradually implemented the changes. I also had goals now (written on paper), that I could look at everyday and ask myself how I was going to accomplish that goal.

Goals, not just for soccer players anymore.

I don’t think I would have been able to accomplish anything without having these written down. They kept me focused and on track. I could evaluate my results weekly and make the necessary changes in order to accomplish these goals quicker. I set up short term goals that I could cross off the list when done (very satisfying feeling) and I have a long term goal that will someday be crossed off the list.

Results

I weighed 215 lbs on my 5′ 10″ frame. After 2 months of training and diet I was down to 195 lbs (and I am staying around this weight for now). I am looking a lot better, I am a lot healthier and a somewhat happier person. I have a goal of reaching 185 lbs (but not until after the holidays) and increasing my strength so that I could build lean muscle.

Great! How the fuck did you do it?

This week will be fitness week (yay). So to find out how I did this (really simple, i only spend 4.5 hours in the gym a week), you will have to tune in tomorrow and don’t forget to subscribe or you might just miss out.

PEACE!

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WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE AN ALTEREGO, PART 2

Shane left a comment in part 1 that had me thinking a little. Go read his comment then come right back, I’ll wait. Done? Good. Creating an alterego and modeling are two different things (in my opinion, but you will quickly realize that it’s not worth much).

Modeling: this is when you copy the actions and traits of people that you admire and would like to become. It’s a great way to develop yourself and to push yourself to do things that make you feel uncomfortable. I model myself after people all the time, but so does Bobby.

Alterego: is a character that you create to help you cope with an uncomfortable situation. Your alterego could (and most likely is) modeled after someone you know. The big difference here is that the alterego is separate from your values and beliefs. you could turn it off and on (sometimes not in your control).

What the fuck are you talking about?

Let me give you an example. Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell is a an Ultimate Fighter (if your not familiar with this type of fighting, google it, but wait until after you read this post). I don’t know Mr. Liddell (be polite, this guy can kick the shit out of me), but I assume that he is a pretty good guy. I assume that he has close family and friends that he truly loves and they probably love him too. But wait a minute, this guy is a vicious fighter! He goes into the octagon to seriously hurt people, this is his job. Really? Is Mr. Liddell (seriously, please don’t come after me, i’m scared of you) a monster? No, I don’t think so. I know that I would never ever want to meet ‘The Iceman’, not even in a crowded mall, in broad daylight, with a can of mace and my rape whistle. Mr. Liddell (don’t hurt me, I only have good things to say about you) I would meet. I would introduce him to my wife and children, we could even go out for beers (my treat of course).

Not just marketing

All you marketing gurus out there (you know who you are) are probably saying to yourselves, ‘you’re a fucking idiot‘. I do understand that ‘The Iceman’ is a lot more marketable then Chuck Liddell, I’m not kidding myself, but do you think that matters to Mr. Liddell? When Mr. Liddell (hi, I have two young kids, they need a father, please don’t hurt me) steps into the octagon in his mind he switches to ‘The Iceman’, a guy who’s only goal is to inflict pain on whoever is placed in front of him.

Parents don’t raise there children to be murderers, pornstars, or stippers (I hope), but we still get these in society. If you look at gangs, the members rarely use there real names, they have nicknames. Skinny G on the corner is a killer, but John Smith is a 15 year old fatherless child who still gets grounded by mom. I think you get the point.

Michael Brito and Bobby Street

Here is an example from my life. When I was a student at Red River College (grafuck design), I entered the program as Michael Brito because this is what I thought I needed to do to be successful. Michael Brito is a hard worker, he is dedicated, and he’s not a quitter. Sounds like a winning formula, right? Well, Michael Brito did not do so good in the first semester. I was frustrated. How was I going to get everyone’s fucking attention?

Second semester starts, we are given our first assignment and Michael Brito starts working on it. Then I got up, took a deep breath, and decided that if I wanted a different result than first semester that something had to change.

Introducing Bobby Street

I became Bobby Street (well, I didn’t just become Bobby Street, he has been around for awhile, but he decided to make an appearance). The moment I did everything changed. I became more popular (even though I was brutally honest and offensive at times), I was a lot more confident and because of that my work improved. I stopped looking at what others were doing and did my own thing, good or bad I knew that people would talk and I was happy that they were talking about me.

So you liked this post, now what? Well you could subscribe. Everyone else is doing it and if you learned anything from this post it is that you should do what I tell you, because you want to.

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