Long-time no post. [ I hope that does not become a regular starting line of the posts on this blog ๐Ÿ™‚ ]

Things are good [ meaning very hectic ]. I spend most of my day meeting local potential clients and then the rest of the evening speaking with/chatting with/e-mailing global potential clients. So yes, my customer base has increased – now I just need to increase those conversions! [ Lots of marketing-speak eh! Shows I’ve been hanging around marketing people – specifically Dhananjay Balodi ]

Ok, here’s the loop on what’s going on:

  • I am talking with a major Indian publishing/pre-press company for doing their communications and marketing material – corporate brochure, industry specific brochures and service-specific inserts. This company is changing from a typical/tradition pre-press agency to a PREMEDIA company. To find out more about what premedia is check out the RR Donelly website. Of course, I will not share the name of the Indian company unless I either get the contract or don’t.
  • I was also called for an interview at an NBFC [ non banking financial company ] for the position of a Public Relations executive. Since I hate to say no and it is always good to create opportunities by meeting people, I agreed to the interview. My first question to them was to find out what similarities did they see in my CV/Resume/Bio as compared to someone with a PR profile. The company clearly had no idea what they wanted – they agreed that there was no match with my CV – they also went to so far as to say that I had a very “unconventional” CV – they would like to see a more “conventional” one. They had never heard of LinkedIn [ which is the sad part – when I explained what it was – the HR Head had a blank look on his face ].The interview was over within five minutes and I left with a very bemused expression. Their receptionist was a nice lady – the 30 minutes I spent waiting in the company’s lobby were spent conversing with her about how she manages traveling/office/home etc.
  • I also met with the owner of a media/film company in Mumbai. They are planning to launch a website [ I hate it when I cannot share details because it’s all secretive ๐Ÿ™ ] and service and needed a designer to do their logo and website. I need to give them some ideas/concepts by Friday and a wire-frame by 27th Jan. If they like what they hear/see, then I’m on and will be doing the full website [ they are starting with Mumbai and will need more creative services as they expand – so the potential client also mentioned they might need me to act as a creative consultant on a retainership basis. ]
  • Then there is a US based photography equipment retailer/wholesaler who needs photographs edited. They need someone who can edit images [ it’s a production job ]. Since the last one week I’ve been looking for someone to partner with because my internet connection’s been bothering me [ I need broadband to download and upload the hi-resolution images ] – and yesterday I told the potential client that I would be unable to do this at least until next month. And today I found someone with the infrastructure and the capability to execute the job. I will be writing to the client soon to decide on the prices and terms and conditions.
  • I am also in the process of finding out how to send an “Expression of Interest” to government agencies for their graphic design/photography needs. Seems I have a lot many more friends to make ๐Ÿ™‚
  • And I am working on a detailed article to share with clients [ and anyone else who might be interested ] how a logo is designed. For now, the title of the article is “The Logo Design Process” and I am done with the copy for the most part – am working on some graphic elements and refining the content further.
  • I am busy getting aside’s business card printed. The first printer screwed up the print job [ there is one embossed element on my, and there was 20-30% angled displacement on each of the 500 cards ] and did not return my advance payment either. So now I am hoping that another printer who has been recommended by Kapil will do a neat job. I picked the paper today and will finalize the deal tomorrow.

I am sure I forgot something [ as long as I actually do it, I don’t think it would be sacrilege if I missed it on the blog ๐Ÿ˜‰ ]

  • I also spoke to a real-estate company. They wanted to re-design their logo [ their current logo is in Hindi and thus not “global” and they wanted something fresh and a look that appealed to their younger customer base ]. The person I spoke to is a consultant who works with them and he handles all their other design requirements. Since I was in the same building as him [ visiting the prepress company above ], I was also introduced to him and we spoke a bit about the logo re-design requirements. I quoted a price, he said that the company would probably pay half of that, I asked him to take a look at the concepts and decide for himself.This was the first time that I took a risk in that regard – I usually never start work unless a deal has been finalized [ unless the work excites and challenges me ] – in this case I asked him to decide the worth of me as a designer after taking a look at the concepts. I did 20 different design concepts according to the brief we discussed.

    It’s been a week and we’ve just not been able to decide a time and place to meet. Since I hand-drew the designs for the logo, I also did not put them up on the web [ I thought the hand-drawn thing will create a better and more serious and professional impression ]. So the client has not seen the concepts [ apparently they wanted the re-design included in some marketing material, which is supposed to have gone out on Friday, 13th Jan], I am not sure he even wants to see them now and I ended up investing two days of work in drawings that will probably never “make-it”.

    Once I have scanned the drawings, I will post them on the blog. [ Probably by tomorrow evening ]. Then I could ask the client to take a look and decide what to do next. At least I’ll know whether the boats coming through or not.

  • I am trying to figure out template design for the LifeRay platform as a potential client has expressed interest in the same. I have downloaded their documentation on what’s needed to design a template – it is an 11-page PDF file.
  • One issue that has been bothering me for quite sometime now is the management of client, potential client, non-client e-mail. So many times, I just completely forget to acknowledge the receipt of an e-mail from potential clients – I am sure there are people out there still wondering why I never got back to them even though I was enthusiastic and willing in the first interaction. I believe I need to find some good software that allows me to keep track of conversations with particular people with respect to the topic being discussed.I know Gmail allows me to read thread of the same conversation, but until I have broadband I don’t foresee myself being online all the time. I waste too much time reading all my RSS subscriptions on Google Reader and then clicking links to new software/applications/designers/websites. Ideally I try to answer all my e-mail by noon – I prefer to read the stuff in the morning, get some work done till noon and then reply to e-mail and follow that with getting some more work done.

    Does anyone know of an e-mail solution/project management solutions or any other solution that you think might work in my situation?

I knew I’d missed something!

Wow! This is turning out to be one long monologue about telling everyone else what I am upto. I’ve written after a long time so I suppose it’s the entire pent-up “I want to share” syndrome ๐Ÿ™‚