4 Biggest Takeaways from the Galvanize Web Development Immersive

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Hey everyone, I'm Jordan.

I'm taking a celebrity shot for Lexi and guest blogging this week.

If you're considering taking a website development or coding bootcamp, this blog post is for you. I recently graduated from a Web Development Immersive course put on by Galvanize at their Platte campus in Denver, CO. Over the 6 months of the course, we learned the basics of web development as well as skills that are valuable to developers outside of writing code. Here are my main non-code takeaways from the course:

1 | Learn to Learn

Though the curriculum was very JavaScript-centric, there was an emphasis on learning how to learn new technologies that we’d never worked with before. We were encouraged to explore new languages and tools, dive into error messages, and continually push ourselves outside of our comfort zones. Coming out of the program, I’m confident that I can learn any technology I need to to further my career and achieve the goals I’ve set for myself.

2 | Team Sport

The stereotype of a developer is someone who sits alone in a dark basement pounding energy drinks to stay up working. In reality, software development is all about collaboration and teamwork. Each team member has their own strengths and weaknesses, and the interplay of skills among them can make or break a project. It surprised me how much teamwork was involved in development, but it makes sense. More eyes on the code, more experience with different technologies, more perspectives on how to approach a problem. All of these advantages are only possible when working with a team of diverse individuals from all different backgrounds.

3 | Community Support

Going into Galvanize, I thought I’d have a 6 month period of growth and mentorship, and then I’d be out the door and back on my own. Luckily for me, I was completely wrong. The relationships I built at Galvanize are permanent, I’ll always be able to ask my instructors and the members of my cohort for help when I need it. And on top of that, Galvanize introduced us to the Denver Devs Slack channel, a network of Denver-based developers that has proven to be a great resource for asking questions, looking for jobs, or just making friends if you’re new to the area. The network you build while studying at Galvanize combined with access to the Denver Devs Slack channel is more than any new developer could ask for in a community of peers.

4 | Agility is Key

Early on the course, the instructional team introduced us to the Agile Methodology. Rather than working on an entire project, Agile software development focuses on iterative cycles of development, where features are delivered at the end of each cycle rather than all together at project completion. Staying agile lets you deliver early and pivot easily when issues arise. None of my projects would have come out as well as they did had I tried to finish every feature before making a deliverable.

Galvanize was an amazing learning experience.

My cohort and I pushed our limits, struggling at times but supporting each other through. I’m proud to be a Galvanize graduate, and I’m proud to have accepted my first Web Development job, starting just one month after graduation. If you’re looking into immersive development courses, I’d highly recommend Galvanize, it’ll be a journey, but you’ll come out better in the end.

Shoot me an email if you want to get together and talk dev over a beer!

Infinity Homes Real Estate Expert: Denver's Source for Buying & Selling Infinity Homes

Andrew Nagel is a Certified New Home Specialist and focuses largely on the sale and purchase of Infinity homes. He works with buyers and sellers in 4 distinct neighborhoods (Lowry, Stapleton, Midtown at Clear Creek, and Solterra) around the Denver Metro area. Andrew is a go-getter and understands how fierce the online competition is for real estate agents, so he is pursuing a multi-site campaign to feature his various specialties - starting with Infinity homes!

For the Infinity Homes Real Estate Expert, Hearthfire Creative was contracted to:

  • Design an affordable, appealing logo
  • Design on-brand marketing collateral (business cards, rotating full page ad designs)
  • Design and launch a responsive Wordpress website, including MailChimp sign up forms
  • Integrate IDX Broker to automate agent and other listings being updated on the website on a daily basis
  • Collaborate with the creative team - photographer, writer, and SEO specialist - to deliver a full service solution to the client

Check out the project:

Real estate agent logo and brand design in Denver, Colorado
Brand and logo design for REALTORS in Denver, Colorado

Business cards for real estate agents that don't suckl

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Responsive real estate website with IDX Broker integration on Wordpress - agency for hire in Colorado

Hey real estate agent, are you ready to take on your competition?

Check out our real estate agent offering - good through August 31, 2017. Otherwise, reach out to us to chat about your real estate marketing needs!

Can we talk about graphic designers providing “easily editable files”?

How I feel when clients ask me for an easily editable file

Because sorry, but no, you don’t own the master files and, no, you can’t just have them.

As designers, we get your pain point here, we really do. In a couple months, you may need to make a couple edits to that brochure design, or change the image on that magazine ad. You feel like you bought a design and you feel like you should be able to change it as needed so it can be re-purposed.

Unfortunately, we cannot just deliver you “easily editable files” - our master files. It’s more complex than you realize and there are legalities to be considered as well.

Here’s the short and skinny:

  1. You don’t own Adobe Creative Suite or Sketch Designers use professional software to create amazing designs for you. So even if you "have an eye for design" and feel like  you could “tweak” our designs, you will not be able to edit the files we deliver to you anyway without owning the software we used. We pay $49.99/month to Adobe or $99 for Sketch for the right to use their software. You’d need to start paying for these and download all the programs we used in order to "edit" our designs.
  2. You don’t know how to use Adobe Creative Suite or Sketch Mastering Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Sketch, and whatever other piece of software we used to create your design took us several years in college, tens of thousands of dollars in college tuition, and years of real-world industry experience. It’s unlikely you'll be able to quickly master these same skills over the weekend.
  3. We don’t want you to mess up our design Unless you fully understand and have thoroughly studied visual movement, visual hierarchy, alignment, balance, the rule of thirds, contrast, repetition and you stay current on the latest design trends by reading blogs and articles from industry leaders on a regular basis, you probably don’t have what it takes to maintain design integrity after you’ve “tweaked” the original design. We’d like to feature the project in our portfolios, boast about the awesome final output we created, and feel pride in the artwork we created for you. We can't do this if the design is no longer representative of the original artwork.
  4. We would like to avoid loss of income Believe it or not, creatives have bills to pay too ;) Can you think of any other professional who would willingly remove any chance at recurring income from their table? Me neither.
  5. It’s easier (and probably cheaper) to have your designer make changes and updates As a follow up to the above, most designers are happy to make updates to previous designs created for you. This helps them continue to put food on the table. Some changes can be really quick for your designer (even as quick as 15 minutes). It is a lot more affordable for you (and respectful to your designer) to simply hire them to make ongoing updates. At Hearthfire Creative, we have made design updates for clients for as little as $37. A lot less expensive than buying and learning design software, buying rights to the master file, and spending hours (days even) trying to reconfigure the original design yourself.
  6. Finally, it is worth noting that under US Copyright Law, you do not own the copyright to the master files, the designer does As the client, you are purchasing the final deliverable artwork only (there are some exceptions, like if the designer signs a work for hire agreement or is a full time employee). At Hearthfire Creative, we were lucky enough to have a client who is a commercial attorney point out to us that “your clients do not own the copyright in the design. The copyright always resides with the creator and will never be owned by any of your clients unless (1) they contract with HC as an independent contractor, AND (2) the work falls within one of the 9 categories outlined by the Supreme Court in its 1989 case Community for Creative Nonviolence v Reed. In most instances your client will not own [master files] unless your client separately contracted for ownership of the master files. They too should be considered yours… This right can be contracted away, but your copyright probably cannot.” (side note, learn more about said client here).

All in all, it’s a lot easier to establish a great relationship with your graphic designer and engage them on an ongoing basis to make design updates for you. We offer various blocks of support hours to our clients to make this easier.

A few common analogies designers use:

  • You don’t get a custom pantsuit made, then ask the tailor for the pattern and some scissors in case you want to make some changes.
  • You don’t go out to eat, then call the chef a month later asking for the recipe, a sampling of the spices, and for all the kitchen tools used to prepare your meal so you can recreate it.
  • You don't get a professional haircut and color, then expect the stylist to make continual trims and touch-ups forever. Nor do you try and do that shit yourself and expect the same result.

All of this being said, if you REALLY want to obtain copyright ownership of master design files, many designers will negotiate a price with you to purchase those (a separate cost from the original contract). Plan on paying around 300% of the original design fee — the designer will need to set up the file in an easy-to-understand manner and package up all fonts, images, icon packs, etc. It’s worth noting that designers will often purchase licenses to use certain fonts, images, or icon packs and it is unlawful for them to resell those and make money off of them — you’ll need to plan the cost of all of that into your purchase as well.

There’s one exception to master file delivery, and that is related to logos. When you hire a firm to create a brand and logo mark for your business, you should (and usually will) receive the master files as part of the original contract. This applies only if you’re working with a professional agency or professional freelancer (sorry, people who thought Fiverr was a good idea).

And let’s just get real here for a second... would you willingly hand over something to a client that essentially put yourself out of business? Would you consider that good business practice for yourself? Stop asking designers for “editable files” and instead, pay them their worthy rates to make updates for you. They'll be glad to do so!


Want to chat about ongoing design support?

The Best Podcasts to Fuel Your Workday

Hello, Hearthfire community! Here with our brand design agency team of graphic designers, web designers, digital marketers, a photographer, copywriter and developer, and a list of our favorite podcasts!!! In both a professional and personal sense, we love podcasts.

Why? [said no one ever]

As professional creatives working remotely, podcasts are the water cooler banter, the juicy phone call you’re discretely eavesdropping on, the ‘life-changing’ self-help novel that is making its way around the office, the enlightening article the witty lab geek e-mailed this morning. Except with podcasts, you can laugh out loud with only the judgement of your cat - and actually listen to and start some really interesting conversations.

Personally, I have learned more from podcasts that I ever expected, including gossip and book recommendations. Podcasts tell you stories from people you would never meet. Motivate you to try things you’ve never thought of. They create a sense of collective storytelling, start important conversations, and enlighten listeners to explore unknown parts of themselves, and the world. And some of them are funny as hell!  

Here are some of our favorite podcasts - broken down in sections WHAAAT.

Crime / Stories

Crimetown

From the creators of The Jinx on HBO, this podcast takes you through iconic murders in American history. Every season is a new murder case - meaning you can binge a new one every week.


S-Town

Shit Town. This is a must listen for anyone who liked Serial, Making a Murderer, Paradise Lost. While a murder may have taken place, the true reasons of the whole recording unfolds in unexpected ways. It takes place in small-town Alabama and really dives into the lives and thoughts of a part of America that seems foreign to many.


Serial

These types of shows are called Investigative Journalism. Aka crack. 


Terrible, Thanks For Asking

Each episode is a different life, a different person, a different story. But rather than someone investigating them, they are discovering truths and lies about their own lives, during their most intimate, difficult struggles. Listening to these people look inward and grow from their experiences, may help you do the same.


Stuff You Should KnoW

Right on the home page you can find ‘How Ketchup Works’ AND ‘Did you stay conscious after being decapitated?’ What more could you need!


Planet Money

An interesting way to learn about our economy and society. For instance, why aren’t there many women in tech?


Fresh Air

Terry Gross hosts thousands of intriguing interviews. One I was not expecting was an interview with Jay-Z, when she challenges him on feeling guilty contributing to drug addiction when he sold crack as a 14 year old. Hmm.


Business / Entrepreneurship  

Side Hustle School

Real stories, real people, less than 10 minutes a day. The purpose of this podcast is to give you ideas and motivation to take action in creating your 'side hustle' - a ‘how to’ for creating a small business based off your passionate hobbies.


How I Built This

This is a podcast about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. 


Design Matters

Talking all things design, featuring interviews with successful creatives, designers, and cultural leaders.


Here’s the Thing

A series of intimate and honest conversations hosted by Alec Baldwin.  Alec talks with artists, policy makers and performers – to hear their stories, what inspires their creations, what decisions changed their careers, and what relationships influenced their work.


Comedy / Life

Guys We F*ck*d: The Anti-Slut Shaming Podcast

This one is my all-time favorite. Two stand-up comedians from New York discuss sex and life openly and honestly to encourage listeners to take proud ownership and exploration of their sexuality. They interview an array of guests including, guys they have f*ck*d. It is the anti-slut shaming podcast. 


Savage Lovecast

Dan Savage is an witty, sensitive and insightful sex therapist who offers sex and relationship advice to his listeners in real-time conversations.


Monday Morning Podcast: Bill Burr

Because he’s pretty awesome. Start your Monday morning with comical debauchery.


My Favorite Murder

The hosts are two life-long fans of true crime stories - with a comical spin. I think we’ve learned that we all are fans of true crime stories.


Invasion of Privacy

Kate Wolff is a stand-up comedian, but she’s also a mother who is openly exploring her spirituality, understanding the depths of her past, and constantly recreating herself to discover her purpose. Her passion and dedication for personal development is inspiring.


Adventure Zone

A comedy and adventure podcasts based on Dungeons and Dragons. It’s hosted by a family of three brothers and their dad, solving puzzles, fighting enemies, and leveling up their characters in a series of cinematic and humorous encounters.


Sneak Attack! 

Another one for the DnD fans! Their website is cool.


Happy listening, Hearthfire friends!

How To Use Your Website To Market To Millennials

Your website is the most powerful tool for marketing your business and evolving a successful brand, especially if millennials are in your target market. As an entrepreneur and small business owner, a great website gives you the platform to build momentum. In this article, I’m going to talk about the user experience within your website, how to connect with and converge your millennial website visitors into loyal consumers. As a millennial and a web designer, I think a lot about these things in my purchasing decisions. As the first digitally native generation is entering their peak purchasing years, you may want to think about optimizing your website for millennial viewers, too! 

If you want a quick briefing on the millennial consumer market - here’s an awesome interactive infographic

First, there are a few technical elements to include in the development of your site:

  • Logo. This is essential if you want your website to be unique, professional, and credible. Without a logo, your website can come off as a random blog. If you don’t have a logo, here’s a good place to start.
  • Style guide. The fonts and color scheme. If you work with us, this will come with your logo. It’s essential to have a solid visual brand before developing your website.

  • Call-to-action. Which should be more strategic than just ‘sales’. Your website is not a hard sell.

  • Responsiveness. Think mobile. Millennials are most likely to view your site on their phone.

NOW, here are 7 elements of your website to consider when marketing to millennials:

1 | Win the first impression

Say hello, introduce yourself!  Your website is not there just to sell, but to get to build an audience, create a community, and induce excitement before a transaction ever takes place. After all, millennials are the most brand-loyal generation… if we're convinced. 

"It is easy to convert prospective clients to current clients when they get such a positive first impression of my professionalism!" - Catherine Layden, Delicious Nutritious

2 | Communicate clearly

Got a super complicated sales-training method? Great. Tell us about it. A bunch of micro-naturopathic-ingredients in your granola bar? Tell me all of them! But not too much detail, because I will just google them anyway. Make me so intrigued that I want to google you. We want to know everything there is to know - but don't try and work us over, we are great bullshit detectors.

3 | Make it an experience

Make it fun! Give us something to do. Razzle dazzle us with your colors, photos and transitions - we're impressed with top notch design. But remember - less is more. Take a look at my article on using white backgrounds in websites to make your content shine. 

4 | Write a blog

Your blog is your SEO, and your personality. A blog is a great way to position yourself as an industry expert in your community - and quality is key. Researching your blog topics is a great way to educate yourself and stay on top of industry trends. It proves you are dedicated to hard work and constant marketing efforts - and as millennials have been digitally marketed to our entire lives, we appreciate highly involved, honest efforts. SEO-wise, it is essential to keep growing your site as new trends, buzzwords, and competitors quickly develop. 

5 | Have an offering

Letting people test the product or service without putting money down is the #1 way to build trust. It’s overplayed, but even as someone who can see through the bullshit - I still find myself signing up for e-mail lists because I want to check out their free ebook - bonus if you can provide a discount / free product with sign-up. Millennials are master budget-cutters, but we are willing to spend where it makes sense and provides value. 

6 | Create a community

We want to know who you hang out with - maybe we have mutual friends! Testimonials from clients. Community partnerships. Social media following. This all creates a sense of word-of-mouth marketing. Millennials are way more likely make a purchasing decision based off a friends opinion, than an advertisement.

AUTHENTICITY SELLS, ADS DONT

7 | Keep in touch

Needless to say, there are a lot of companies and websites out there and we spend so much time online that we are quick to lose interest. But if you enticed us enough to sign up with your e-mail list - we want to hear from you! Social media is the best tool for connecting with your audience, and provide fresh content in order to stay fresh in their minds. Ongoing marketing efforts prove that you mean business. 

The bottom-line is, don’t underestimate the power of your website. Keep it active, and keep it interesting. Your website is the vessel to the heart of your business. We realize the true bottom-line for your business - and that main goal of your website is not just for fun, but to converge website visitors to actual customers or clients. But the hard sell is dead, and you have to make millennials believe you, trust you, and actually want to support you and your cause. With our growing purchasing power, you will be happy to have millennials in your market!

How To Find the Right Graphic Designer

A great graphic designer can take your business further than you’ve ever imagined. Strong design and branding can drive your sales, and create your lasting impression on the world. You’re paying for more than the final products – you’re paying for the experience. Your designer can influence your brand with their creative-thinking, visual conception, and strategic consultation that empathetically resonates most with your audience. A bad graphic designer can leave you with wasted time and efforts that, as a small business owner, you simply cannot afford (nevertheless, a sucky logo!) But finding a graphic designer is an ambiguously daunting task. Here’s why.

The graphic design industry is mature, meaning we’ve seen all kinds of trends come and go. However, in the past couple of years we’ve seen a challenging trend that is here to stay: the globally outsourced designer. With so many websites like elance.com and fiverr.com offering prices as low as $10/hour, it has become tempting to cut your budget for a “good enough” job.

In the graphic design and web design / development industries, the playing field has never been so level. Everyone can compete with everyone. People want to be sure that they are getting the very best design and functionality for the absolute least amount. Which is perfectly fine, so let’s review what points you should consider when hiring a graphic or web designer in the vast world of the internet.

Local vs. Overseas

You just can’t beat the prices you will find for globally outsourced graphic design. While it’s not to say there aren't talented and hard-working creative professionals in 3rd world countries, there will be more barriers to get what you want. Time differences, language barriers, cultural understanding and involvement will directly impact your design, and experience in the process. You may lose the ability to communicate back and forth about your specific needs. Your designer may not understand what you mean by “make it easy on the eye” or “make it pop,” let alone have the capacity to create a flawless user experience for your website's intended audience in say, Denver. There are legal ambiguities as well – even if you are happy with your $50 logo, there’s nothing to say is hasn’t been sold dozens of times before.

Freelance vs. Agency

It makes sense that you might look for a local, freelance designer to hire to work with your small business. You might search for something like “where do I find a good U.S web designer?” The first 5 links are advertisements for freelance designer websites. Most of these sites allow you to work with a budget of less than $200 – a clear indicator that the site is saturated with overseas workers. On the flip side, you google “best graphic design agencies” and you find beautiful websites and impressive portfolios, some of the world’s most reputable agencies. These agencies do amazing work - for no less than $15,000 a project. The clients that work with these agencies are corporations with seemingly unlimited marketing budgets. Wouldn’t that be nice!

Full Service vs. Niche

Okay, you’ve searched and searched and have found a few local graphic designers who understand your business and ideas, and are within your budget. One is a freelancer who specializes in logos; an illustrator and graphic artist - exactly what you need right now. The other is a small team that offers a plethora of design services. As always, it comes down to what you need. Are you building a new business from the ground up? We have one piece of advice for you:

Beware of the ad-hoc brand.

This means that one designer did your logo, your friend’s cousin built your website, and you bought a couple of generic infographics online. This rarely adds up to a strong, cohesive brand. And you’ve probably spent a good amount of time figuring out how to get these things done. Prepare yourself to be ready for the growth your business deserves.

Remember, when it comes to hiring and paying for a graphic and web designer - you’re not just paying for the design, you’re paying for the experience. Phone calls. Listening. Ideas and consultation. Creative thinking. Customization. Involvement. Do yourself a favor, and invest in a local, full-service agency from the start. Your business will thank you.

Zodiac Advanced Technologies: Advanced Technology and Aerospace Industry Consultants

With over 60 years of combined experience in aerospace consulting, Dr. Roman Herschitz and Alex Bogorad have decided to launch their own mission. That is mission Zodiac Advanced Technologies, to be exact. Zodiac is a Colorado startup, providing services ranging from space weather analysis, space threat immunity research, and component engineering materials design.

Zodiac came to Hearthfire Creative in need of:

  • Brand identity/logo design
  • Beautiful, responsive website design

Check out the project:

 
 
Zodiac Advanced Technologies Custom Logo Design in Colorado
 

Custom Business Card Designer for Hire in Colorado - Zodiac Advanced Technologies

Responsive Squarespace Affordable Website Designer Colorado

Want to to know more about our design process?

Check out our custom logo design process here and our in-depth website design process here.

Spotify playlist for creative flow: 12 songs to get in the zone

Waking up, mentally preparing for a productive day, it can be nice to have a little musical inspiration. No distractions, just me, my dogs, and my Spotify playlist. First, I take a moment to feel my feet on the ground, feel my booty in chair, feel the chair supporting me, my desk supporting my tools (my computer and pens), connect with Mother Earth, breath in - count to seven, breathe out - count to eleven. I'm grounded in my creative powers and ready to tackle my next creative project.

Here are 12 songs I love to get in the creative flow

In case you don't have Spotify or don't want to play these songs in your browser, here they are:

  1. "My Only Swerving", El Ten Eleven
  2. "Mountains", Message To Bears
  3. "Gone Wanderin'", Jackie Greene
  4. "Space Walk", Lemon Jelly
  5. "So Far To Go", J Dilla
  6. "Fever To The Form", Nick Mulvey
  7. "It's The Chemicals", Inspired Flight
  8. "Hibernation", Random Forest
  9. "Lucky 1", Avey Tare
  10. "The Light", The Album Leaf
  11. "Waiting For The Clouds (feat. Substantial)", Nujabes
  12. "Circle of Life - From "The Lion King"/Soundtrack", Carmen Twillie and Lebo M.

What are some of your favorite songs for creative flow?

I'd love to hear!


Get monthly inspiration by signing up for our mailing list!

Marketing Your Startup: Budget Breakdown

Starting a business is exciting, nerve-wracking, rewarding, and challenging all at once. In the beginning stages, many entrepreneurs are unsure what kind of marketing budget they should have prepared - they're miffed when it comes to business startup costs. At Hearthfire Creative, we value transparency, so we’ve put together a handy-dandy list of startup marketing costs, including all of our recommended services, along with our pricing.

The All-Inclusive Startup Marketing Budget Breakdown

☑ Logo Design | Your logo lays the foundation for the rest of your branding and marketing efforts. It is worth investing the time and money here. Read our earlier blog post on why some logos cost $100 and some cost $10,000. | $1,250

☑ Stationery Design | Every business needs on-brand business cards, letterhead, professional envelopes, and custom thank you cards to send out to their clients. While these materials may not be used as frequently as they were 10 years ago, they add an extra level of professionalism to your business when they are used, making sure your clients and colleagues take you seriously. | $500

☑ Leave Behind Design | Depending on whether you’re looking for a basic post card, a folded brochure, or a bounded book, it’s important to have a marketing piece you can leave behind with potential customers when you attend events. Design pricing varies a little based on complexity. | $250 - $1,000

☑ Printing | It’s important to remember actual print costs as well - you’ll want to have that stationery and those leave behinds printed by a professional printer. We help consult with our clients about the best local printer, or online printer, for their print fulfillment needs. This number varies based on quantity and quality of printed materials. | $250 - $1,000

☑ Content Creation | Copy is a critical component of your brand. The content you share on your website and marketing materials is very much worth investing in. Develop your tagline, message, elevator pitch, and more. Hiring a professional alleviates a huge burden and allows to stay focused on your operations. | $2,500

☑ Photography | Photography is another critical component of your brand. Your logo, copy, and photography all work together to communicate your message to potential customers. You MUST have a professional business portrait (a.k.a. a headshot) and you should also have brand photography to use on your website, in your blog, on social media, and in your advertising efforts. | $550

☑ Website Design | As we all know, if you don’t have a website that’s mobile friendly, you look like a dinosaur. Whether you want to generate leads online, or just want customers to be able to check out your site after they hear about you word-of-mouth, it is imperative to have a strategic website with a clear call to action. This number varies based on complexity - if you’re looking for more advanced features and functionality, expect the number to fall on the higher end. | $2,250 - $5,550

☑ Hosting & Domain | Don’t forget about costs associated with purchasing a domain name for your website and hosting for your website. Domain names usually cost no more than $15 (unless your domain is already owned by someone else and you have to pay big bucks to obtain it). Hosting varies based on the website platform your site lives on and on how many visitors you anticipate having on your site at any given time. | $100 - $300/year, $15

☑ SEO Setup | As big of rebels as our team is, we recognize the importance of playing by the rules when it comes to search engine optimization. As you start researching SEO, you’ll find several different methodologies. Take caution whenever an SEO firm promises top page results - those promises are usually only attainable by companies who practice unethically and rarely will your top page ranking remain in tact. SEO Setup is one part of the equation, but regular, monthly efforts must be taken to rank high in Google searches (more on that in Ongoing Support below). | $1,850

☑ Marketing Setup | Once the foundation has been laid for the look and feel of your company, it’s time to starting thinking marketing strategy. Creating a well-researched marketing plan, setting up and designing out social media pages, creating and editorial calendar (and more) are important next steps. | $1,650

☑ Promotional Video | Video is one of the best ways to grab and maintain attention from website visitors. Having a professional company video really helps you stand out from the competition. It’s also a great tool to leverage if you can post video series on YouTube. Leverage that platform to establish trust and credibility and point people back to your website once they’ve watched your vid. | $3,000

☑ Blogging | If you don’t have the time or energy to commit to writing one blog post/week, you need tohire it out. Blogging (and all kinds of sharing of original content) are mission critical to your SEO efforts. Don’t let all the work of SEO Setup fall by the wayside because you don’t have time to write a blog. Hire a pro to take care of it for you. | $100/post

☑ Ongoing Support | From design updates, website updates, marketing implementation, social media advertising, print advertising, and all things SEO-maintenance, it is a relief to have monthly marketing support. This price will vary depending on how much ongoing work you have. | $360-$960/month

All in all, you should anticipate spending between $14,150 to $19,165 for all marketing startup costs and around $1,200/month to ensure the longevity of your business.

A little sticker shock? Must be your first time ;)

Most agencies will work with you to find a solution that fits your budget, even if that means cutting out or minimizing some of the normal steps in the process. They'll also work with you to figure out suitable payment terms. For clear projects with a fixed deliverable, many agencies bill 50% down, 50% upon project completion (though we’ve seen other models, too). Some agenices even offer payment plans - we do! At Hearthfire Creative, you can spread your payments out over 4 to 8 months, depending on all the services you’re packaging together.

And while sure, you can always hire your nephew who is in high school for cheap (don’t worry, he totally took a computer class after second period last year), we’ve noticed that entrepreneurs who go this route usually end up frustrated at a lack of communication and without quality end deliverables. Most end up hiring a professional agency in the long run anyway, so take our advice: do it right the first time.

We’re happy to take care of all the items on this list for you.

9 Awesome Social Media Platforms for Marketing Your Business

There are seemingly countless social media platforms out there.

Keeping track of them all and knowing how to utilize them effectively is extremely beneficial to your company’s success. There are billions of users that you can access with a few clicks of your mouse. Knowing the demographics of the audiences on these platforms, and how to reach them creatively, is key.

According to CNN Money Facebook had “1.86 billion monthly active users as of the end of 2016” and the number is continuing to grow. Twitter claims 3.3m active monthly users. And last year Pinterest hit 150m active monthly users. Obviously you want to take advantage of these platforms in your marketing efforts but it can be daunting figuring out where to start. We at Hearthfire Creative are here to help.

These are my 9 favorite social media platforms for businesses:

  1. Nextdoor is a free private social media platform, centered around your neighborhood. Trade services can have great success on this platform utilizing a company page and referrals from users. In the past 6 months over 40.7M visitors have used the site.
  2. Facebook - EVERY business should have a Facebook company page. Post all kinds of online content, blogs from your website, upcoming, events, and status updates. Consider boosting some of your posts and creating ads. Your page should be kept up to date with regular posts and monitoring your information to ensure it is accurate. This keeps your business popping up in feeds, thereby increasing top of mind awareness for your business. If you're looking to reach millennials, you'll have to move outside of Facebook, as the platform is leaning more and more towards being populated by baby boomers. Millennials are on FB, but they more regularly use other platforms.
  3. Pinterest - utilize Pinterest to telling you brand’s story with visuals. Pinterest users are active and it doesn’t cost anything to promote your business on the platform. This is a great avenue for increasing your brand visibility, especially if you're targeting stay at home moms or creatives of all types.
  4. Instagram was the fastest growing social media platform in 2015. Use this platform to show your company's worldview, culture, and values. Engage your followers by sharing their photos on your website and crediting them. Cross promote your business partners on your channel for extra credibility. If you're marketing a physical product of any kind, you've got to get on Instagram.
  5. Twitter – the average Twitter user makes at least $50,000 a year. 37% of Twitter users are between 18 and 29 years while 25% of users are 30 to 49 years old. Use this platform to post content, interact with potential clients, answer questions and make announcements. Twitter is a great way to reach or follow celebrities and politicians... it is also a great way to tarnish your name or reputation if you don't think twice before sending out that tweet ;) Twitter limits the amount of characters you can include in a post, so be thoughtful, accurate, and concise. Twitter has a very active user base. Capitalize on this!
  6. LinkedIn is unquestionably the most polished, professionally-focused social media platform out there. The site supports 24 languages has over 400 million users. LinkedIn is great for connecting with people and businesses. While you should have a company page on LinkedIn, it may be a better use of your time to focus on your own individual profile here, while building relationships with other individuals.
  7. Tumblr is a social blogging platform, where users can post their own articles, then interact with others'. It can be a bit overwhelming; it hosts around 200 million blogs. I suggest considering Tumblr as an added SEO strategy after you've seen success on some other social media channels. If you're an author, poet, or musician, you should have a presence on Tumblr.
  8. Yelp is also great for the trade and service industries. Yelp has, on average, 1.4 million unique visitors a month. Yelp's review feature is what makes them unique - your business can collect reviews from happy clients in order to build a positive online reputation. Most people, in today's day and age, resort to user-submitted reviews to make decisions on restaurants, lawyers, and therapists. If you own one of those three types of business, you should consider leveraging Yelp.
  9. Reddit is composed of multiple Subreddits where users geeks out on specific topics (from Bitcoin to Broncos to Spirituality). Most Redditors don’t appreciate self-promotion; they don't want you to directly market your business here. To wade into this platform you need to invest with relevant, quality content. Engage in conversations, provide real value to users, and build your reputation as a helper and a teacher. If you're an expert in your industry, consider doing an Ask Reddit where users can submit questions and you'll provide educated answers - this is a great way to build your credibility. At 234m unique users, this community is a fun platform to explore. Reddit is great to leverage for anyone in tech and cutting edge industries. Or, you know, just jump on the Denver Subreddit to keep in touch with our great city.

There are some great tools out there (like Hootsuite) that can help you in your marketing efforts. If you don’t have the time and bandwidth to do it yourself and would like to talk to us about our SEO & Marketing packages shoot me an email. We’d love to help you roll out your social media marketing campaign!

Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching: Fun to Fast

USA Triathlon Certified Coach, Sonja Wieck, is filled with passion and experience. Her business, Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching, takes a unique stance on triathlon coaching, bringing light and fun to the forefront of the rigorous training.

For Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching, we were hired to:

  • Design a spiritually charged, compelling logo
  • Design on-brand business cards for the whole team
  • Design professional stationery
  • Design promotional materials for print and use on social media

Check it out:

 
 
Best Logo Design Company Denver, Colorado
 
 
Brand Identity and Graphic Design
 
 
 
Letterhead and Business Card Design

Not sure about your brand position?

Reach out to our founder, Lexi, for some guidance.

A review of Sketch: pros and cons of the latest UI/UX tool for designers

First released in 2008, Sketch has come a long way in the world of design software.

Most of us designers were strictly taught to use Adobe Creative Suite in college (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc.), but Sketch is making a name for itself as a viable new tool for mobile and web interface mockups in the design community.

After using Sketch on 2 projects (a mobile app UI design and a data-driven web dashboard UI design), here are a few pros and cons I’ve found:

Pros

  • Cost Sketch costs just $99. That’s a huge savings compared to Adobe Creative Suite’s, Creative Cloud monthly fee of $19.99 for one app, $49.99 for all apps.
  • If you know Illy, Sketch is easy to learn Most of the tools you’re used to using in Illustrator are readily available in Sketch, they’re just organized differently. It’s quick to learn if you’re accustomed to using Illustrator. Watch some tutorial videos and leverage Sketch’s Documentation and you’ll pick it up real quick like.
  • Great for web and mobile layouts Sketch keeps us designers accountable to pixel perfect layouts. It leverages grids, snap to grid functionality, and snap to pixel functionality so you never encounter half-pixel renders or imperfect alignment - critical in a world of responsive design/multiple screen sizes and resolutions.
  • Vector based Rest assured your graphics will scale beautifully, because Sketch provides vector outputs. This is true for Illustrator, as well, so this point may be moot if you’re comparing Sketch just to Illustrator, but many UI/UX designers I know still use Photoshop for interface designing and in their case, those raster outputs can be burdensome when it comes to export and implementation.
  • Pre-loaded screen templates, easy to add as artboards This is a HUGE pro for me, as it can be a real task trying to decide on the ideal dimensions to design for, especially considering there are so many different screen sizes and resolutions in the mobile market. Sketch provides a library of pre-built artboards for iOS devices and responsive web design layouts. Just add an artboard and select the device you want to design for, simple as that.
    • *BONUS* There are even libraries with standard iOS icons, Android icons, and Mac icons that you can use in your designs - who doesn't love a little streamlining?
  • Symbols GOLD! Interface designers reuse multiple elements, from navigations, to buttons, to icons. With Sketch, you can set symbols, reuse them throughout your design, and when you modify the master symbol, that modification automatically gets rolled out across your designs.
  • Autosave = fewer heart attacks We’ve all had that “oh shit” moment when your computer wigs out because you are pushing it to the max and everything crashes. Did I save? Are my last 2 hours of work all for naught? Sketch leverages Apple’s Auto Save and your work gets automatically saved every 5 minutes. Phew!
  • Device mirroring This is a real treat for clients. Mirror your designs directly to their devices so the whole team can get a feel for how the designs look right on their own phones or desktops. This is also helpful for us designers, as some of us tend to get a little wrapped up in beauty over function. With mirroring, you can stay focused on usability, making sure that sexy feature will translate well.
  • Sharing in the cloud Another treat for clients and team collaboration, you can share your whole interface up to the cloud and simply send out a link to the team to share your designs. No more sending of massive files, no more trying to figure out if you’re sending the most up-to-date iteration. Just push to the cloud and share a link.
  • “Make Exportable” - shit yeah Convert any group or layer to a slice and export it (or all of them!) as a PNG. This is a super simple way to deliver graphics to developers and a huge time saver for everyone.
  • Community support, custom plugins In one of my Sketch projects, I ran across an issue where I wanted to create a pie chart and couldn’t find any feature in Sketch to accomplish this seemingly simply task. A quick Google search was all I needed to find a plugin for Sketch specifically created to support pie charts in Sketch. (Thanks @abynim on Github for Sketchy Pies!) There seems to a be a lot of community support and resources available, which is exciting and helpful.

Cons

  • Limited illustration - not going to design a logo in Sketch While Sketch is great for mobile and web interfaces, it isn’t sufficient for creating custom logos, complex illustrations, or in-depth print designs.
  • Old habits die hard ("v" is not the hotkey you think it is) While most of the features in Sketch are similar/identical to Illustrator, there are some habits I have ingrained from using Illustrator for years that did not convert well to Sketch. You’ll have to relearn a few hotkeys/workflows in Sketch. For example, “v” does not engage the selection tool.
  • Sharing in the cloud, resolution not so good I also listed this as a pro, but one downside to cloud sharing is that the screens don’t render in totally high resolution. Clients will see pixelation and distortion when they zoom in to your designs, which can be alarming for them.
  • Built exclusively for Mac, sorry PC designers (if you even exist) Sketch is built only for Mac at this point, so if you’re a designer on a PC, you’re out of luck. But you should probably make the jump to Mac anyway ;)

Overall, I still prefer Illustrator for creating more complex designs, and I definitely prefer it for print design projects. It is entirely possible this is simply because of my comfort zone, as I’m sure there are dozens of tools in Sketch I’ve yet to learn. However, at Hearthfire Creative, we are making the switch to Sketch for all mobile user interface designs moving forward. 

Are you a designer who agrees or disagrees with these points?

Shoot me an email - I’d love to hear what I’m missing!

Gotta give a shout out to my cousin and insanely talented UI/UX designer, Erin Nolan at madebyeno.com, for introducing me to Sketch. Love ya. Real talk.

Meet the Team: Courtney

ANTHROPOLOGIST, NERD, TRAVELER

Who likes statistics! I do I do! Geeking out on strategic research that helps propel our client’s business forward is one of my favorite things about this job. That and getting to maintain strong communication and relationships with our clients. While design and technology are something I’ve found a passion for as my career has progressed I started out with a BA in Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. That’s right ladies and gentleman I spent 4 years diving into the “holistic study of humankind”. How does that relate to what I do now? In Anthropology you spend a lot of time talking about how people have developed tools and how that has influenced culture. Now, I specifically focus on the tools of design and internet based technology and how they influence our everyday lives and businesses’. Oh man, I am looking forward to doing some strategic research for you next project!

VALUES AND THINGS I LOVE:

courtney-layton-hearthfire-creative-brand-strategist-1.jpg
  • Hard work/work ethic
  • Collaboration
  • Humans!
  • Statistics
  • Traveling

CREDS

  • BA from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
  • 4 years’ experience in the Tech field
  • Apple Specialist

FAVORITE SOFTWARE AND TOOLS

  • Slack
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Trello
  • World of Warcraft

PROJECTS I'M DREAMING OF LAUNCHING IN THE FUTURE: 

  • Publishing a novel
  • Diaper Dash! - A 5k &10k  fund raiser to provide diapers and wipes to families who can’t afford them.
  • I have several crazy business ideas floating around. I'll make one of them happen!

Give me a shout!

Stand out in the App Store, boost user acquisition

So you’ve got an idea for the next big app.

You’re brainstorming, you’re chatting with friends, you’re dreaming… You can already imagine the conversations: “there’s an app for that. Check out <insert your App’s name here>.”

There are several reasons why some apps fail and some succeed. Having the right team in place is usually a differentiating factor between the two. Standing out in the App Store is another. In order to make your dream a reality, there is something you should keep in mind. And it is all the buzz in tech right now: user acquisition.

Acquiring users is the single hardest part of successfully launching an app, and it is also mission critical if you don’t want to sink tens of thousands of dollars into an otherwise fruitless venture. After all, what good is your app if you don’t have any users?

Many app startups choose to launch their app first on the Apple platform - feel free to shoot us an email to ask us why. Here are 9 things to consider from a user acquisition/App Store perspective when launching your app:

  1. Do your due diligence
    • Take time to understand Apple’s latest features and the way the App Store works. Apple adds new features to their core operating system on the reg. They tend to rank apps higher when they are leveraging these new features, and even higher if app pages effectively call them out. The App Store should not be viewed as just a form you fill out after you’ve done all the hard work of design and development - you should have a researched strategy for optimizing your app page within the App Store and it should be incorporated into your plan from the get-go.
  2. Killer UI design is a must
    • The interface design of your app is a fundamental component of user acquisition. A user is more likely to download an intuitive, nicely designed app over an outdated, cumbersome app that is difficult to use, right? Duh! We’ve all done it… downloaded an app, just to open it up, close it, and immediately hit delete. Don’t underestimate the value of user experience/user interface design. It is worth investing in a skilled UI/UX designer if you indeed want your app to be successful.
  3. Strong icon design is also a must
    • Your app icon is the first thing your user sees in the App Store - make sure it grabs their attention. App icons are small. Leave words/phrases out of the app icon design, as the name of your app will display in text below it and you don’t want to waste valuable design real estate on unnecessary text. A strong app icon will also encourage users to continue opening your app, as it is the sole representation of your app on their phone screen.
  4. Custom screenshots are becoming standard best practice
    • Hire a pro to design custom App Store screenshots, which sell your app to potential users. Include iPhone mockups (and iPad mockups if you'll support that) in the screenshots, as Apple appreciates any ode to their devices. Describe the benefits of your app briefly on each slide (for example, “Get paid on time.” or “Stay close with your friends.”). Users in the App Store often scroll through screenshots before deciding to download your app. Make an impression and tell them how your app is going to change their life for the better.
    • Bonus, add a video! Apps that have videos are also more likely to see higher download rates, as users are afforded the opportunity to experience your app without having to take that extra download step immediately.
  5. Be strategic about metadata
    • Metadata is the information you report to Apple and that is displayed on your app page in the App Store. Treat that page like you would a landing page on a website. Take time to research keywords that are being searched for and include those when describing your app. The title of your app should include a couple keywords and your app name, while also being short and catchy: “OWLe - Operations Efficiency for Airports”. Apple has also reported that users tend to appreciate and download apps that are built on-shore (in the USA). If you didn’t leverage overseas developers and contributed directly to your own local economy, feature that in your metadata!
  6. Niche wayyyyyyyyy down for the initial launch
    • Most marketing professionals understand the importance of defining your niche. Don't waste money on broadly marketing your app to "everyone". Instead, start with a distilled down target market. Consider taking our Ideal Customer Persona exercise to help you define this niche.
  7. Release on a Tuesday
    • Apple releases new curated lists for Featured Apps on Thursdays - it is believed that launching on a Tuesday gives them enough time to notice your app, while also realizing that is fresh, new, and hot.
  8. Don’t write off traditional PR and advertising
    • Start out by pitching your app to Apple - ask them to feature it! Send an email to appstorepromotion@apple.com or appoftheweek@apple.com and share with them why your app deserves to be featured. It’s worth consulting a PR pro to help you draft this email. You should also have an integrated marketing plan that leverages outlets outside of the App Store to drive downloads and acquire loyal users. Build a promotional website, advertise on Facebook, reach out to media outlets outside of Apple, and build the hype around your app in other targeted markets.
  9. Keep a close eye on ratings
    • Ever wonder why so many apps ask you to rate your experience? It’s because they want to acquire other users from your positive review! According to Business Insider, “Apple looks at reviews, engagement, star rankings, downloads, revenue and sales, and simple stuff such as whether your app carries the appropriate key words for search, targeted in the right way.” Stay in touch with the people who are reviewing your app, pivot and add new features when your users ask you to, and solicit positive reviews from your mailing list as often as possible. If you give your users what they want, they are more likely to give you a five star rating, leave you a positive review, and help boost your app in the App Store.

User acquisition is only one component of app success. There are several other things to consider when scoping out and planning your app (the MVP model, for example) and having a great team in place can help. Launching an app is just like starting any other business - there are risks that need to be measured, investments that need to be made, market research that needs to be performed, and a willingness to pivot if/when your users give you feedback that they want a new or different feature.

Unsure if the app market is worth investing in?

Global app stores are expected to exceed $139 billion [in revenue] by 2021.
— App Annie

According to App Annie's report from the end of 2016, “2016 is shaping up to be a phenomenal year for the app economy. By the end of December, we expect $52 billion in gross consumer spend on mobile app stores and a staggering $77 billion in gross spend on mobile in-app advertising. Mobile is more mainstream than ever, and businesses from all industries are relying on this channel to bolster existing revenue streams and unlock new ones.”

Yeah, we think your app idea is worth a shot.

We’d love to consult with you. Check out our App Blueprinting process, then give us a shout.

Meet the Team: Elizabeth

Hello!

My name is Elizabeth.

I am a graphic designer, learner, lover, yogi, and cat-momma.

I was born and raised in Philadelphia, and journeyed to Colorado in 2010 as a freshmen at the University of Colorado in Boulder. I studied Marketing in the business school; my two favorite classes were Consumer Behavior and Advertising & Promotion. I was happy with my area of emphasis, I was drawn to marketing because I saw it as the “more creative” side of business. That’s not really true - it’s mostly research, financial analysis, and social consciousness. I couldn’t see myself in these corporate entry-level marketing jobs professors talked about; there was a piece missing somewhere. My junior year I discovered and enrolled in a program called Technology, Arts & Media, and that’s when it began to come together for me. I took classes in typography, photoshop, web design, front-end development; I learned about design principles and inspiration, as well as creating and critiquing professionally relevant design projects. For the first time in my educational career, I felt truly passionate about my classes and was excited to begin my career.

An instructor once told me,

do work that comes from deep in your heart, and nowhere else.

I’m striving to develop my skills to do better work to provide value to things I love.

Values & Things I Love:

YOOOOOOOWASSUP!

YOOOOOOOWASSUP!

  • Authenticity

  • Animals!!!!!!

  • My friends & family

  • Personal Development

  • The Finer Things in Life ; ) [food, wine, whiskey, massages]

Creds: 

  • Bachelor's Degree in Marketing from The University of Colorado
    • Minor in Digital Media
    • Certificates in Advertising & User Experience Design
  • Leader of Creative Connections networking chapter
    • Ambassador of the DaVinci Institute 

Projects I’m Dreaming of Launching in the Future:

  • Continue to develop my thesis project in my digital media capstone. The idea was to try to portray the emotions of young adults who may be struggling with their mental health and feel unable to communicate those confusing feelings. I want to explore this further. You can check out the project here. 

  • I really want to pickle. Maybe even design labels and a product line and sell mason jars or pickled veggies at a farmers market. I’ve been thinking about this for a while.

  • Start a blog with my mom. She has her own dog grooming business, but it’s bad on her shoulder and she can’t do it forever. I’d love to use my skills to transform her business, and work together.

Mountain State Financial Group: Mortgage Solutions to Meet Your Needs

Robert Hoff and Seth Angell of Mountain State Financial Group (MSFG) run a top-notch mortgage firm, specializing in conventional, jumbo, VHA, and FHA loans, and fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, and reverse mortgages. In launching their business a few years ago, Bob and Seth realized they needed a professional, memorable brand that emphasized their financial knowledge and customer-first approach to doing business.

That's where we came in!

For MSFG, we have:

  • Designed a psychologically compelling logo
  • Designed on-brand business cards for the whole team
  • Designed professional stationery and marketing materials
  • Designed and launched a fully responsive website with a custom mortgage calculator

Custom Logo Design

 
Logo Design for Mountain State Financial Group
 

Alternate Logo Mark

 
Alternate Logo Design for Mountain State Financial Group
 

On-brand Business Cards

Custom Business Card Design for Mountain State Financial Group

Promotional Postcard Design

Promotional Postcard Design for MSFG

Customer-friendly responsive website

Squarespace Responsive Website Design for MSFG

Looking for a simple, smart brand and online presence for your professional business?

Bitcoin - What's the big deal?

Bitcoin. What is it?

A basic definition is that it is a global decentralized digital currency.  

OK…. but what does that really mean? How does it compare to cold hard cash and my bank account? Let’s do a little comparing and contrasting.

What backs the types of money?

Financial times defines Fiat money as: Paper money or coins of little or no intrinsic value in themselves and not convertible into gold or silver, but made legal tender by fiat (order) of the government.

The USD is fiat money. The USD is no longer backed by gold. I repeat, the USD is no longer backed by gold. To many of you this will not be news but to some… it may come as a surprise.

Fiat (in our case USD) is backed by goods, services and the economy of the issuing country. Bitcoin is backed by goods, services and the sound consensus of the users.

Who oversees the monies?

Fiat money is overseen by central banks and the governing authorities of the issuing country. Bitcoin is decentralized meaning no one entity oversees transaction but the network of bitcoin users computers verifies transactions.

What determines the value?

Fiat monies are established by governments and are not linked by a physical reserve and therefore carries a risk of hyperinflation. According to Investopedia “Most modern paper currencies are fiat currencies; they have no intrinsic value and are used solely as a means of payment”(Investopedia).  Supply and demand determine the value of fiat. However, governments control the value of fiat by artificially increasing or decreasing the supply.

Bitcoin value is determined by supply and demand. Since it is decentralized and the supply is limited it is a true open market supply and demand situation.

Security

We all know the realities of credit card processing hacks. I’m not going to waste your time diving into this.

Bitcoin uses cryptographic proofs to keep transactions secure… in other words very advanced math keep transactions virtually un-hackable. Your users don’t have to enter their private information to send Bitcoin so in a transaction your information is safe and your client’s information is safe, hackers lose, we win.

There is a plethora of articles that dive deeper into the technology and social implications of Bitcoin.  I will not pretend to be intelligent enough to add to the dialogue on this level. This blog post purpose is to present very simply why it matters to you as a small business owner.

You may be thinking this is all just dandy, but understanding and utilizing Bitcoin it isn’t worth my time.  We’ll, let’s bring some practicality to your business.

There is a growing number of businesses online as well as brick and mortar stores that are accepting Bitcoin worldwide. But does it make sense for your business? There are three really good reasons for you to take into account while answering this question.

 First, and the biggest reason is that you only pay 1% transaction fee or in certain cases much less. You do the math. How much money can you save on credit card processing if you start accepting Bitcoin?

The second reason I am going to point out is the risk of payment fraud is non-existent with Bitcoin. Customers can pay without offering sensitive information and you eliminate chargebacks.

The final reason I am going to give is that there is a growing community of enthusiasts who are looking for businesses to accept Bitcoin as payment. Why not make your business the one they spend their Bitcoin at?

Some major merchants that accept Bitcoin include:

  • Overstock.com
  • 1-800 flowers
  • Expedia
  • United Way
  • Bloomburg

Do you want to start using Bitcoin? Create your own digital wallet at coinbase.com to get started.

AND on that note I would like to point out that Hearthfire Creative accepts Bitcoin! If you're looking to hire a graphic designer that accepts Bitcoin, here we are.


Want to chat cryptocurrency?

Define your niche: FREE Ideal Customer Persona exercise

Many business owners struggle with defining their niche. We all want to serve “everyone” right? While that is a great sentiment, it is a recipe for disaster when it comes to marketing. It’s imperative that as a business owner, you define a very refined niche – that you know and understand your Ideal Customer Persona – in order to see your marketing dollars perform at the highest level.

My good friend and colleague at Mash Marketing, Atalie Taziri, once told me:

Imagine you have a pint glass of water and a large bucket of water sitting next to one another. You drop one drop of food coloring in each. Which one is going to result in the strongest color? The most potency? The pint glass!

This is one of my favorite target market analogies to date. If you only have $40/week to spend on Facebook advertising, you must distill down your audience in order for that spend to even be worth it. Same applies to a larger budget – even if you can drop 100 drops of food coloring into the pint glass and the bucket, the pint glass will still remain more potent.

In order to ensure your messaging is received well by your target market, You MUST become intimate with your ideal customer persona.

Alas, we offer you our Ideal Customer Persona exercise to help you define your niche. The theory here is to create one persona, one personality, one character who represents your absolute ideal customer. Of course, you will work with other types of people… but getting strategic and creating one dream persona that you can center your marketing plan around helps to effectively guide messaging and creative design. This person should be someone that has a budget to hire you, is easy and fun to work with, and has an obvious need for your service or product. In going through this exercise, you should start to feel like you could even role play your Ideal Customer Persona in a play or movie – imagine what it would feel like to be this person, what would they say, how would they act and react, and why they feel the way they do.

Fill out the form, take your time, and at the end hit submit and we’ll email you a custom PDF overview of your Ideal Customer Persona at no charge. Fill in as much as you can - the more detail, the better. Print it out and hang it near your desk to be constantly reminded of whom you are marketing to!

Ready to get started?

We hope you find this exercise valuable! After you complete the exercise, we'll send you a custom PDF Ideal Customer Persona overview via email!

Delicious Nutritious: Nutrition Therapy for Vibrant Health

Master Nutrition Therapist, Catherine Layden, is very special to Hearthfire Creative. As a matter of fact, Catherine’s business, Delicious Nutritious, was Hearthfire Creative’s very first client. Yep, our first client EVER. We have been working with Catherine (and loving it) since our inception.

So far, for Delicious Nutritious we have:

  • Designed a striking, delicious logo
  • Created standard stationery items: business cards, letterhead, business envelopes, and trifold brochures
  • Created more unique print marketing items including: custom birthday cards for her clients, coupons, organizational folders, gift certificates, notepads, custom health report templates, and thank you cards
  • Created her social media pages and on-brand cover photo designs (Facebook, Google+, Twitter)
  • Designed MailChimp templates
  • Designed a custom PowerPoint presentation template
  • Designed and refined a strong, responsive website

Check it out:

Custom logo design for Delicious Nutritious
Custom print collateral graphic design for nutritionist
Business card design for holistic nutrition therapist
Responsive Squarespace website design
Custom logo design and tagline for Delicious Nutritious

It’s 2017! Are you ready to up the ante on your business marketing?