Howdy Do It 18 – Ellie Snow

Howdy Do It came from “how do you do It,” the question Ellie & Margot found themselves asking about their freelance lifestyles, and so Howdy Do It was born, a weekly column about the things we do to keep ourselves organized, inspired and on track. Ellie will be here each Monday, and Margot will be over on Mint at the same time.

If you have any questions for Margot or Ellie, you can ask them on formspring.
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There are a ton of great online resources for designers, freelancers, and small business owners. Here are a few that have been helpful to me personally:

Tax info for small businesses & the self-employed
The IRS website isn’t really that scary. In addition to tax info, you can find information on business workshops in your area, get a new business checklist, and find out if what you’re doing is considered a small business or a hobby.

Printable Forms from Leo on the Loose
Erin Vale has made some forms for you to download and print (for a limited time only, so visit today!). They include a print production checklist, measurement conversion sheet, a MAC quick key reference guide for special characters, and a business mileage tracking sheet.

Modish Biz Tips
Although the site is no longer being updated, there is a lot of information here on topics like business plans, finding your niche, branding, marketing, plus some interviews with pros.

Biz Ladies
The Design*Sponge Biz Ladies posts are archived here, and even though I (and probably you) read these posts as they come out, the archives is a great place to check in as you enter new phases with your business.

Small Business Administration
Online training in topics like finance and accounting, help finding a business mentor, guides for writing your business plan, and info on current events that affect small business owners, like Health Care Reform. Tons of information.

Find a mentor or read articles online for starting, managing, growing, marketing, and financing your business.

HOW: freelancing
HOW Magazine’s articles for managing your freelance design career.

Action Method
Behance and Print Magazine created Action Method to help you organize your projects (both personal and business). Right now it’s under $11/month.

Teux Deux
Online to-do list organized by date.

AIGA is the professional association for design, and on their site you can find average salaries in your area, read the standards for professional practice and ethics, find advice for the emerging designer, inspiration and more.

Many freelancers work with clients all over the country, if not the globe. Instead of racking up huge phone bills, I use skype with all my non-local clients. If you both have accounts, the calls are completely free. And the video cam is completely optional.

Seriously. I couldn’t live without gmail, and if you’re not on it I think you should be. Organize documents and spreadsheets (and access them from anywhere) with Google Docs, organize your emails by having specific folders for each client, access your calendar from anywhere, create task (to-do) lists, and send/respond to emails with different email addresses (perfect for people like me who are running 2+ operations).

Pro Blogger
OK, so this one is actually new to me and I haven’t explored it much yet. From what I can tell, it’s a great resource on becoming a better blogger, and learning how to monetize your site. I’ve got some reading to do!

photo by wonderlane



Just wanted to say thanks for doing these posts…I’ve been following them and they’re keeping me inspired 🙂 I’m hoping to get my online store up and running this year – and it’s inspiring to see others who are going after their dream!! thanks 🙂


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