:: 3 Valuable Resources for Creative Professionals ::

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For my professional creatives these are the things that have proven valuable to me, hopefully they can be of help to you.

File Aug 09, 2 34 16 PM
1. The Win without Pitching Manifesto – If you’re a creative professional navigating the business side of things with clients and prospects then this book is the one. It gives you guidance on how to avoid all the bullshit while staying the course of being a valuable creative and not just a service.

2. The Futur – An amazing and in depth YouTube channel that focuses on education for creative entrepreneurs. The client vs designer role play videos are hella helpful. It covers everything from education, design, business, and learning.

3. Designspiration – A high level resource of great design inspiration from all around the world. They make it super easy and quick to search any keyword.


:: 5 Questions To Ask Before Meeting A Client ::

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As a creative in this industry or even someone running your own business you are going to get tons of inquiries about projects – someone sends an email, you reply, schedule a meeting/call, and draft a proposal only to never hear back from them. Time wasted. The problem is how do you filter out the potentially productive prospects vs. the unproductive ones?

Before we get into the questions I have to give credit to Rhonda Page for elaborating on these questions. She is a fellow creative who has spent 25 years in the design and branding business – starting as a designer then progressively mastering client services and business development. Rhonda sees both sides of the coin. As a creative you might have an award-winning portfolio but clients primarily want to know if you can solve their problems. Can you? With each inquiry think of it as a strategic partnership and what kind of energy you both bring to the table. Don’t be attached to the outcome if you land the job or not. Rather focus on determining if the parties are well enough aligned to proceed. These 5 questions you ask upfront will save time and benefit clients and creatives alike.

1.) How did this project come about?
You want to find out the story. Does it interest you? What is the series of events that lead up to this? Why are they contacting you? Try to find out what role you will play in this and what problem needs solving.

2.) Who are the decision makers?
You need to find out who they are. Push to meet with them.

3.) What is your budget?
The trickiest question of all. Do this over the phone. If they don’t have an answer then give them a range saying it will cost X amount of dollars. Wait to hear their response. Their tone of voice over the phone can dictate a lot.

4.) How serious are you about moving forward with this project?
What is the time frame? Are they ready to start the next day? If they say they are looking for estimates, then find out what it will take to make them move forward.

5.) Who else are you talking to for this project?
You want to see if they narrowed in on your or are just shopping around. If they are talking to 2-3 other vendors that’s okay. More than 5 is a red flag.

If you feel a connection and think you are a match then proceed with the meeting. Everyone wants to do fruitful work with folks they trust and enjoy. These questions will help you get there faster.

What questions do you ask when a client inquires about your services?



:: Must Grow, Contribute Beyond Yourself ::

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I have these two statements listed on my board as well as the Set Goals, Work Hard, and Think Right quote. I’m no guru and my quality of life and career isn’t exactly where I want it to be or should be. However, with faith and dedication I know it will eventually be where it needs to be. I know folks in the same boat so when I come across things that speak to me I like to share the goods. Enjoy!


Anthony Robbins The_Power_of_Human_Connection_and_Love



:: My Top 10 Blog Posts of 2011 ::

Posted by flavorinnovator in art, case study, client, DIY, health, inspiration, money, news, personal, productivity, video | No Comments » »

1. Honeymoon Videos – Video recap of our honeymoon in Thailand
2. DIY Blank Walls for Cheap – Decorate your home for cheap
3. Time Management – Learn how to manage your time more efficiently
4. Calligraphy Process Video – A new style is born live on screen
5. Help Japan Print – An effort to help those affected by the Tsunami
6. Money Management – Easily set up your money to work for you
7. Honeydipped Series Unveiled – My biggest personal project this year
8. SJ City Lettering Series – An ode to the city of San Jose
9. Give Thanks Free PSD – Download one of my photoshop files for free
10. 5 Natural Ways to Avoid Getting Sick – A personal guide to avoid getting sick


:: Stretches to Relieve Back Pain ::

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Nowadays most of us are in front of the computer designing the most magical of logos, crunching numbers into the matrix, trolling on the web, or trying to get an elite status on Yelp. Whatever the case, sitting for long periods of time can wreak havoc on your back. A lot of us have probably been zoning out in front of the monitor for over a decade with a many more decades to go. So that’s why I want to share with you a few effective back stretches I’ve employed over the years to prevent or temporarily heal back pain. Do these a few times a week at home or at work and your back will be thankful.

Lower Back Towel Stretch
This is my favorite stretch and is a free alternative to the lumbar back stretchers you see being sold on the internet. Try lying on your back flat on the floor with a rolled towel under the small of your lower back. The height of the towel when it’s rolled up should be no bigger than your fist or five inches. It might hurt a bit at first but try to relax completely. It takes fifteen minutes to realign and stretch your back muscles with this position. If you can’t do fifteen minutes from the beginning then slowly work your way up. Use the time to meditate and you’ll be doing your body two goods instead of one. When you come out of the stretch turn very slowly onto your side and then lay on your stomach for a minute before getting up.


Have other stretches you do to relieve back pain? Please share your knowledge in the comments section.


:: 5 Natural Ways To Avoid Getting Sick ::

Posted by flavorinnovator in DIY, food, productivity | No Comments » »

We hate getting sick. When there is work to be done, mouths to feed, functions to attend, being sick isn’t on my To-Do list. I’m sure it’s not on your list either. Alternative medicine might be all that you need when it comes to prevention or curing an illness. For the past few years I’ve adopted these techniques and my body has been chugging along with no major speed bumps. No flu shot either. So, if you’re looking for a few natural ways to avoid getting sick this year please keep reading.

Wash your hands. You hear this time and time again but I’m here to tell you once more. Our hands carry germs and viruses freely like a carpool lane. A bit of soap and scrubbing will easily turn that carpool lane into the slow lane. Also, don’t forget to exercise, take vitamins, and get some proper shut eye.

Originally from the Ayurvedic/yoga medical tradition, this ceramic pot looks like a cross between a small teapot and Aladdin’s magic lamp. Magical indeed. When you want relief for your sinus problems look no further than the Neti Pot. This treatment thins the mucus and flushes out your nasal passages using a water and salt mixture. A bit tricky to use at first but the relief is instant.

My mom used make her own version of this for me every time I had a sore throat or came down with a cold. Now that I think about it this tonic is similiar to the infamous Master Cleanse. Ginger is know to ease digestion and nausea. Lemons are high in potassium and vitamin C so its a good antioxidant and helps flush out toxins. Honey is a natural energy booster and great for building immunity. Cayenne Pepper has capsaicin, which has been proven effective against pain. Better than chicken soup!

1 cup water
1″ or so ginger root, peeled and smashed or grated
1 lemon wedge, or to taste
1 teaspoon honey, or to taste
Dash of cayenne pepper

Directions: Microwave the water for 1-2 minutes. Add ginger, lemon (squeeze it into the water then drop the whole thing in), honey, and cayenne to water and stir.  Sip while hot and drink to good health.

Remember my video for this recipe? This shake has been a part of my daily diet for the past few years. I used to get in that midday slump, around 2pm, where a nap was very necessary. However, with this in rotation I can keep pounding the pavement with a clear mind. The key ingredients in this recipe are Wheat Germ and Flax Seeds. These wonder “foods”, well, do wonders for your heart, digestive system, skin, and are packed with many of the vitamins and minerals to keep your body functioning.

1 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 banana
1 TB whole flax seed
2 TB wheat germ
1 handful of kale or spinach
1/2 cup pineapple or other fruit
1 1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup water

Directions: Combine all ingredients in order in a blender. Blend well and until the flax seeds are finely ground, about 10 seconds. Serve and enjoy that wholesome goodness. Makes 4 servings.

I take one of these if I feel my body may be coming down with a cold. Supposedly the zinc formula releases zinc ions to fight your cold virus. This in turn will help decrease the severity of the cold and shorten the length of time you are sick. No more being out of commission for two to three days with a cold.

So there you have it, my personal playbook I use to defend against the pathogens of this world. What other remedies do you have to prevent or cure your sickness? Please share in the comments section.


:: Give Thanks – FREE Layered Photoshop File ::

Posted by flavorinnovator in art, giveaway, inspiration, productivity | No Comments » »

As a designer I’m always curious about the process of how designs are crafted. For someone to give you insight into their process is priceless.  Sharing this knowledge is important and helps build up those around you. That’s why I’ve decided to give you one of my works in a layered Photoshop (PSD) format so you can take a gander inside, get inspired and learn from it. Feel free to share.

Download: Give Thanks layered PSD


:: Passion Projects ::

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This week I’ve heard the saying “passion project” repeated a few times and it struck a chord. It conjured up feelings of struggle and joy.  Whether you’re investing extra time and energy into a side business, producing a video, or feeding the less fortunate, these projects can have a huge and positive impact on your quality of life.  The struggle is not knowing where to begin. The struggle is making it come to fruition. The struggle is doubting and worrying how it will turn out. Yet, the pros outweigh the cons here. Knowing that you saw a project from start to finish should give you increased momentum and direction in life.  You’ll feel awake especially if you’ve made a difference in someone else’s life. So ask what makes you come alive, and go do it! A little theme music below.

Diz GibranImpossible


:: The Freelancer’s Home Workout ::

Posted by flavorinnovator in food, personal, productivity | 1 Comment »

Do you work from the comfort of your own home or studio? Want to exercise but not pay tons of money for the gym? If you are like me then keep reading. Below are two DVD home workout programs I have enlisted in for the past two years. What I like most is the variety of workouts and how everything is outlined. I do slack off some days, but I’m just trying to stay in shape here not enter a bodybuilding competition. An essential part to staying healthy is your diet … it’s probably more important than exercising. These programs do a great job at outlining what foods to eat and when to eat them so you can stay fueled throughout the day.  Of course some motivation and self discipline is needed. Like my man Ratha says, “just show up.”

I use this program for my exterior. Building muscle, getting lean, gaining strength, getting ripped, you can do it all with P90X. All you need is a set of dumbbells or resistance bands, a pull-up bar, and about an hour a day. No gym membership required. P90X is driven by the science of Muscle Confusion. With Muscle Confusion your body keeps adapting and growing through the workout.

I use this program for better cardio, core strength, stamina, and energy. Basically to feel good internally. No equipment or weights needed. The secret to this workout is MAX Interval Training where you perform long bursts of ultra-high intensity moves followed by brief periods of rest. Due to this fact, each workout keeps your body fully engaged as you rotate between aerobic and anaerobic intervals.

P90X/Insanity Hybrid
Currently this is my regiment which I started this earlier this year after finishing both P90x and Insanity twice over. It combines the best of both worlds and has given me optimum results. I can now climb freeway walls and run faster from the police. Jokes. I have noticed an increase in overall strength and cardio compared to doing the two programs independently.

Mini-Exercises and Stretches
Read this article to find out what moves you can do to keep blood flowing at work. Simple and effective.

Top 50 Foods to Fuel Your Workout
This article outlines what foods you need to eat before and after to get the most from your workout.

I know there are many different  exercise programs such as CrossFit, Tabata Training, Zumba and the likes so find one that suits you. More so, push yourself hard, eat right, and stay focused. Want to get inspired? Watch this video.

Have any home workout tips or advice? Please leave a comment.