Marketing Ideas and Blogging | Social Media Today.

I was blessed (or cursed, depending on how you look at these things) with a non-addictive personality. That is, I lack the particular gene or DNA combination that allows your body or psyche to become addicted to substances or behaviours. I believe it is for this very same reason that I have great difficulty in forming habits. Good habits.

yoga benefits

See, I cannot for the life of me form the habit of exercising on a regular basis. And that’s sort of an addiction I would like to have. If not for my health, then to be able to fit into last summer’s clothes. My yoga mat is permanently rolled out, but unused. I have a small stepper machine sitting under an old (sweat) towel, giving off accusing vibes while I make like couch potato. There’s a pile of exercise and yoga DVDs in the TV cabinet, silently gathering dust in their dark little corner.

exercise more

I admire… no, WORSHIP, those women (and men) whose bodies are testimony to their religious addiction to exercise. Especially women my age. When I was in my thirties, I promised myself I will have the body I had in my twenties again when I am in my forties/fifties. Well, the time is upon me, and I’m nowhere near that goal.

Blueberry pancakes chocolate understands

Am I addicted to food? you may well ask. Nope. I sometimes even forget to eat. But I have my moments where I’m convinced I can consume a large portion of the annual national potato harvest. And one has one’s little cravings… the occasional chocolate and/or doughnut binge. The thing is, I KNOW all the correct eating habits I should have, I’ve done it before. By skipping meals, intentionally or not, your metabolism slows. It is also ridiculously easy to replace snacks with healthy alternatives.So why not do it?

But I honestly think that the reason for my clothes seeming a bit… tight, is not what I put into my mouth, but what I miserably fail to do with my body: Make it move. People become addicted to exercise – I did, almost, when I was in my early twenties, going to the gym religiously 5 times a week. Your body becomes addicted to the endorphins that are released when you have a good workout. But was it enough for me? Maybe not, but that’s a story for another day. I just could never get back into some sort of routine, if not habit, of exercising on a regular basis.

Which brings us to the subject of self-control, self-discipline, self-preservation, self-confidence, self-…. respect? Is it all just mind-over-matter? Working from home does not allow me to make the excuse of “not having the time”. I have plenty of time. I don’t have a single excuse, and every reason in the world why I HAVE to do this.

Of course, all of the above will be moot if I could just START… but I am a procrastinator of note, and to my mind, also one of the laziest people I know… So that’s the aim for the next few weeks – forming a habit. They say it takes 21 days. 3 Weeks.

never regret itI’ll let you know how it goes.

Hey there, all you beautiful people out there, who I don’t know!

When I started this blog, my intent was to write something at least once a week. If there was something meaningful I wanted to say, that is. The one thing I DON’T want to do, is write about rubbish. That’s why I don’t tweet – I detest the banality of it all. Still debating reactivating my Facebook account… As it stands, I either don’t have much to say that I think is relevant, or I don’t have time to write.

On the surface, I don’t have a musical bone in my body. I should, but I’ve never explored that part of me at any great depth. I can hold a tune, sang in the school choir, did a few duets on debate evenings, even tried to learn the guitar. I can’t even read music, so I did it all by ear. But all of the evidence belies the enormous love I have for music. And here I’m not thinking about those arrogant and condescending musical snobs that believe that only classical music is worth considering. No. I’m talking about ALL music. I think I have a deep understanding and appreciation for the talent that goes into creating any piece of music.

I love the way composers weave together notes and tracks (see, I don’t even know the correct terms!) to make up a melody, a song, a symphony. I marvel at bands just ‘jamming’, making it up as they go along, ending up sounding like they’ve practiced for hours. I particularly like that, because that’s the way I design, from a brochure to a piece of jewellery: organically.

I love classical music, but I’m obsessed with symphonic metal. I quite like some pop and hip-hop, but I adore trip-hop. Rock, folk, meditative and World, industrial punk and metal, trance, Latin, even some country… I love it all. I have it all on my iTunes, in my CD collection. I love it ALL!

What music inspires you, takes you to faraway places, brings back beautiful (or sometimes painful) memories, makes you happy, makes you sad, makes you want to dance? What song tells your life story, touches something in your heart, your soul? I personally have so many… Jim Morison’s lyrics, John Petrucci’s guitar playing, Wayne Hussey’s voice, everything by Amy Lee (Evanescence) and Adele. Adam Lambert’s talent (and smile), James Hedfield’s raw anger. It all underscores my life. All life.

Excuse me while I sing along to Katy Perry on the radio…

PS: Here are a few of my fave videos, and check out my playlists on Grooveshark:

http://grooveshark.com/#!/playlist/Indiazen+s+Playlist+1/39581075

My word, have I been busy! The old saying once again proved too true: be careful what you wish for! Not that I’m complaining – as a freelance designer you have to take what you can get, even if it’s all at once! So at the moment I work REALLY hard for at least 3-4 days a week, and I mean almost round-the-clock hard, but then I take it easy for a day or so. I have learned from past mistakes that if you push yourself too hard for too long, you WILL burn out, and then it’s all for nothing. It’s difficult, but on at least one day a week, I refuse to even switch my computer on. Just to give my eyes, my brain, and my creative juices time to recover.

Seriously, if there’s one thing I can tell any prospective freelancer reading this, it has to be this: take care of yourself first. You are your own best asset, and if that asset cannot perform to the best of its ability, you might as well get off the bus right now, because you ain’t gonna make it. Unless you have some superhero power (unlikely), or you’re on drugs (not recommended).

All of the above paid the bills, but I am still a month or so behind on the finance front, because of the monkeybrains I was working for until end February this year. So I’m scheming in the background on ways to make more money, without cash outlay upfront. I know: “You can’t make money if you don’t spend money” and all that crap, but what if you don’t have money to start with? Did the marketing genius who thought up that quote ever take that into consideration, or was he or she just another rich bastard who never had to struggle financially?

If my numerology chart is to be believed (!!!), 2013 promises to be a prosperous year for me. It also said that I am a frustrated performer who wants to do charity work. So we’ll see.

In the meantime, I think it’s time for me to get back on the social networking horse. I’ve been out of the loop for at least 3 months, but it feels more like a year! Luckily I don’t suffer from FOMO…

Well, now I can put the whole distasteful business behind me: I had to take my ex-boss to the CCMA (labour Council) for unfair dismissal, and although I didn’t get what I wanted, I also didn’t capitulate by agreeing to their ridiculous offer either. I’m not the kind of person who will sit back and enjoy the slap in my face; I would much rather be the one doing the slapping, thank you very much!

Now I’ve got to look at my options and opportunities. I’m doing some freelance work, but that’s not going to keep the toast buttered every month, unless I can score a regular gig (i.e. couple of clients on retainer). So I am looking into other avenues of potential revenue that won’t cost me an arm and a leg to start up. The online business thing might have worked – but there are too much of it out there, and I can’t make heads or tails out of the dodgy morass of so-called opportunities by so-called gurus. (Hello, anyone reading this that offer me some genuine guidance???)

Other things I want/need/have to do:

1. Learn all I can about Social Media Marketing without going on a very expensive course. I’ve accumulated an impressive collection of e-books on the subject; now I just need to DO IT! No more excuses…
2. Start making jewellery again. My stock has dwindled to only a few pieces, that hasn’t moved in over a year, so time for a SALE! Then on to some new designs and ideas.

A piece I sold even before I finished it.

A piece I sold even before I finished it.

3. Maybe I should start getting “crafty” again. I know, I know, it’s very uncool, but I’m not going to do decoupage or crocheting or heaven forbid, scrapbooking… okay? But I’ve seen a gap for making bookends. I was looking for some, and locally there just aren’t any. So I want to make them.

I can make this

I can make this

4. I’m getting another tattoo! A small but intricate butterfly in the back of my neck. Butterfly tattoos signifies “new beginnings”, and this girl’s coming out of her cocoon! What do you think…

Something like this?

Something like this?

I’ll design my own, though…

5. If this freelancing thing is going to happen, I will need more space. Looking into the possibility/feasibility of building small office onto my house…

Perfect

Perfect

Okay, let me go and work on this To-do list some more…

Well, it’s about time. I’ve been wanting to start a blog for ages, but never got the time. Now I do. I’m jobless, for the first time in my life. Weeelll…. maybe not quite, if you see freelancing as a legitimate career option. I’ve done it before, and quite frankly, now more than ever, I can’t see myself working for a boss again.

Incompetent bosses, bosses with no managerial skills, bosses without imagination (especially if you work in the design and advertising industry – in what alternate universe did they think they can run an ad agency without a creative hair on their bodies?). Sexist male bosses, weak bosses who cannot handle employees, especially of the female variety, to have opinions of their own. Female bosses who try to out-do each other in the bitch-department… the list goes on and on.

So, potentially I can be boss-free for the rest of my career. I can even have a different career – I am my own biggest fan, and I will give myself the opportunities no other short-sighted, closed-minded employer out there is willing to give me.

Pretty exciting? Maybe… if it wasn’t so damned scary!

But the truth of the matter is that jobs requiring my particular skill set, with my 20 years of experience, are scarcer than chicken teeth, like you would say in Afrikaans. And people are just not willing to take a chance on you, or pay you the money that you deserve for your years of blood, sweat and tears. The other side of the coin is obviously that freelancing is not a consistent earner. And I’m single. With debt. STREEEESSSSS!!!!

So the thinking behind this ranting comment on the state of the job market for graphic designers (or any creative) is this: we should stand by each other, plug ourselves and each other on every occasion that presents itself, pool ideas, resources if the need arises… designers, illustrators, photographers, copywriters, developers, and anyone that contribute to the collective creative process. That’s it – a Creative Collective made up of superior individualists. Maybe we could start a political party…

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