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Money — Life of A Designer

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

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Spring Cleaning for Cash

The birds are chirping and the sun is shining! Time to open those closet doors and examine why you still have jeans from 1991, that ipod brick from 2000 (you know, the one that weighed 10lbs and held 10 songs?), and all those old cell phones. Thanks to the folks at Gazelle, emptying your closets and office drawers just got a little more beneficial, without the hassle of a garage sale. Unfortunately they don’t take the old jeans (or I would be a millionaire), but they do take small electronics, laptops, mp3 players, cell phones, and other gadgets off your hands.

Featured on NBC’s Today show and in Wired, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, Gazelle is a company with a green mission to first try to reuse electronics and as a last resort, recycle them. You simply go to their website, enter your gadget and search. After you answer a few question about its condition, they instantly offer you a quote. If you accept, they send you a pre-paid box to send in the goods. Once they receive it, they pay you via Paypal, Amazon.com gift card, or you may donate it to charity. And if your item is worthless (doesn’t work, damaged, etc) they will recycle it for you at no cost. It’s a win-win situation!

According to their website, someone in Kentucky just received $116 for their Blackberry. And a guy in Ohio just got $206 for their HTC Sprint Hero. All items get a cash offer. They also accept GPS devices, video games, PDAs, video cameras, digital cameras, and movies. Even my ipod from 2001 was worth $6 and some old Wii games are worth about 10 bucks each.

So, clean out your closets and empty that box under the bed or that plastic tote in the closet for some extra cash. Thanks to Gazelle, spring cleaning just got interesting!

Designer Tip – Google Apps

It is time for another designer tip. GOOGLE APPS is great for any new business or small organizations. There are a couple of options depending on the size and type organization you are. I am going to focus on Google Apps Standard for new and small business, meaning you are 1 to 50 people. The best part about GApp Standard is it is FREE!!!! Because I know as a new business starting out free is great, especially since I do not have a team of IT people to back me nor the money to pay for them. Anyways. What you need to have before you sign up for GApp Standard is your domain name. So go to GoDaddy, Media Temple, Gator something, or wherever and purchase your domain. You don’t have to get hosting with your domain if you don’t want too. So don’t let them up sale you.  Now that you have a domain you can rock out with GApp Standard.

What you get when you sign up for GApp Standard:

Email – All of the above is kinda what you get in an standard Gmail Account but everything will be at your domain name. Also you can share and collaborate with the others on your account.

So lets go through some scenarios. You purchased the domain designtumble.com and your company only has 5 people – Sally, Bob, John, Sue and Jane. Ok with the GApp Standard each of those people can have their own email Sally@designtumble.com. Yeah that is great and nothing really special. Well if you are like any website you will need emails like contact, info, help, advertising, or any number of other non person emails. GApp Standard helps with that too. Yeah you are only allowed 50 users, being the people with individual accounts, but you can create nicknames for each of those users. So,  Sally is the best with questions, she then has the nicknames on her account for info and help@designtumble.com. John on the other hand handles media so he gets contact and advertising@designtumble.com. All of the nicknames can be rearranged or all assigned to one user, which is great if you are a one person company just starting out. What makes it even better is that as your company grows you and assign that nickname to the new person and receive a little less mail. Also this is better than having your mail hosted at one of the companies that hosts your website, like godaddy, is because it is free and if you move hosting you will not loose your mail. I know since I am not the most IT savvy person I would not know how to transfer, sync whatever servers to keep all my email.

Now some other features than mail.

Documents – OK this is one of the best features and can potentially save you tons of money too. OK with Documents you can create upload download word documents, excel spreadsheets, and powerpoint presentations. Basically you have a free Office Suite rather than paying Microsoft some $100+. Google Docs will even let you export it to any number of formats. So, if your client has office 2007 you can export to those file formats. Also a great feature is the share feature where you can share the file with the others on your domain/ in your company. So, Sally can be starting a press release that John now needs to finish. She saves the file and sends him an email or starts a chat window with him and tell him to finish it and BAMM! He opens the file on his computer. AND!!!!!! The best thing about this is your files are whereever you are. CLOUD COMPUTING. As long as you have a computer you can gain access to your files. No more I left the CD or USB drive at the office or the computer just died or Billy the intern drop the computer in the coffee. It is in your account and ready to go.

Calendar – The calendar is great and can be set up to sync with just about any other calendar program. Also this calendar can be shared with all employees as a master calendar and each person has their own individual calendar. Depending on how a person puts in their events/ appointments other will see it as just busy or full description. You can even create group/ project calendars editable by the members.

Sites – I don’t have much experience with Sites. From what I can tell you are able to create a website through your account and set it so anyone in the office has the ability to edit it as well that is great when people need to update info like a new hire or project or portfolio.

In the email there is also chat which is great for collaboration and planning lunch.

So basically, GApp Standard is great option and I think the best option for anyone starting out. Not to mention the fact that many companies and universities are switching to Google Apps. If you have more of a budget and would like additional features like Google Video, Google Groups, and larger storage space; you can update to Premier Edition which cost $50 a year, which is cheaper than getting IT personnel, servers, and stuff.

Go check out Google Apps Standard!

*They are going through some updates that will lead to people being able to email up to 1GB file attachments and Upload any file type.

Would you try Google Apps Standard?

Save Some Money And Go Out!

grouponI have know about Groupon for a couple of months now and it is simply awesome! Here is a viedo on how Groupon works! It is pretty simple.

  • Groupon finds great deals and posts them each day
  • You purchase at a savings
  • You only have to pay if enough people buy
  • Enjoy great savings
  • Repeat…

This is a great idea that will save you tons of money and let you see new things in the city all by using collective buying power. Groupon can recieve discounts from 25-75%, and those saving get passed on to you. Their customer service is also rockin’, if you have any problems they respond quickly and try to resolve it your satisfaction. The customer service phone line even has real people.

This is even a great deal, if you are a business. Think about it this way. Their site is divided up based on location, so your advertisement is being seen in your market. Two, if not enough people purchase the service, you don’t lose anything and you just received free advertisement. Finally, you do not have to pay anything and actually you receive a check from Groupon for what was sold. Pretty much getting featured on Groupon is a win for everyone. To learn more about, how Groupon works for business click here.

Groupon is currently servicing the following cities, Atlanta, Autin, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis/ St. Paul, Nashville, New York, Omaha, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, and Washington DC.m So, if you do not see your city listed, they are taking recommendations for new locations and if you know of a business that you think should be on Groupon they want to know that too.

Too bad I don’t have anything to sell or I would try to get on Groupon. Oh well! What do you think about Groupon for you or your business?

Making You Cash or Hurting Designers…


99 Designs and Elance are both websites that allow professional and amateur designers to create designs that compete against each other either for a set prize amount or lowest bid respectively. There is a debate going around in the design industry of whether these websites are detrimental to the industry or should they even exist. In these tough economic times where many designers in varied design fields are unemployed, these sites server a function in our economy.

In this economy and economies that are not as developed as the states, the amount of money an individual can make from these sites can help support them or even sustain their lifestyle. They also offer designers not specifically trained in an area the opportunity to create designs they may not have previously had access too. Also, the work made for these sites can be used in the designers portfolio. These sites allow small and medium size businesses to gain access to designers that they would not be able to afford if they went to a traditional design firm with rates greater than their budgets.

The opponents to these sites say that they are depriving clients and designers of the in depth communication and understanding of the project, process, brand and company. They also say that the designer is investing great time, effort, and skill in a project they may not win. The question of the copyright is brought up as well as with 99 Designs if you win the contest you must sign over the copyright of the art over to the company. The amount the designers are paid for their designs is also debated as being too low. Another scenario the opponents raise is that the client will close the bid/ competition and walk away with all the ideas.

All arguments are valid depending on your view and situation. For those small/ start up business and unemployed designers 99 Designs and Elance are a convenient solution. For larger companies and professional designers/ firms looking for a full design/ branding solution these websites aren’t meant for you. So it is up to you to decided if these sites are “Making You Cash or Hurting Designers”?


This article is not an advertisement nor a criticism of 99 Designs and Elance. Please review and make your own judgments of these sites before using or not using these sites.