T-shirt design for the beginner (Part 5)

February 27, 2007

clock on the wall 


Remember your most important commodity as an entrepreneur when designing your T-shirts.  It’s the reason you’re taking the Bootstrap Design approach instead of looking over the resumes of professional designers. And chances are it will pay off in the end: 

…it’s interesting to note how much of a commodity time really is for the bootstrapper. Actually, time is money for most entrepreneurs as the saying goes.

Venture Capitalist Brad Feld made this observation in his own ten tips for bootstrappers. (READ MORE)>

Photo credit: marykbaird, morgueFile 



T-shirt design for the beginner (Part 4)

February 22, 2007

Bootstrap T-shirt design


What kinds of materials do you need for your do-it-yourself T-shirt design project. 

In fact, you may have many of them around the house already. 

I used nothing but some common household items, some borrowed technology and my Dad’s home PC set-up to get started, and I might have been able to get by with even less had a set my mind to it. 

Check the link for a complete list of the items I used for my project. (Yours may differ, of course, based on your design and creativity.) 

Then check out the following post for the next step in our project. 


T-shirt design for the beginner (Part 3)

February 21, 2007

n10ah music T-shirts


The task was simple. Create promotional merchandise to help promote my new venture, the n10ah Online Music Network.

 But some obstacles did stand in the way. Read on: 

The project probably could have been completed faster had it not been for full-time employment demands which are often part of the realities for any bootstrapper.

But I wanted to demonstrate how it could be done in the quickest, most inexpensive way possible as part of a down and dirty bootstrap start-up…(MORE)


T-shirt design for the beginner (Part2)

February 20, 2007

n10ah T-shirt



Creating customized T-shirts to promote any business can be fast, easy and fun with a little know-how and easy to use tools available on the Internet or as part of your existing home PC set-up.


Selling the T-shirts on line is easy too and can be done free with some Internet services. It can also create an additional revenue stream for your existing business.


Here’s Part 1 of how I custom designed great looking T-shirts for one of my on line businesses, the n10ah Online Music Network in just a few days:

Stocking an online store doesn’t have to be a major project.

And, as I intend to show in the next few posts, it does not require a large capital investment to create attractive items for sale, either as a supplement to your main business or as the beginning of a self sustaining retail business…(READ MORE)


T-shirt design for the beginner (Part 1)

February 18, 2007

Design your Own T-shirt

If you want to create personalized T-shirts to display on your website promoting your business, the solution may be simpler than you realize.


In about a week’s time, I created a series of promotional items for my n10ah Online Music Network and created an online store to sell them using primarily existing on line tools and services and a little ingenuity.


I created the designs for the T-shirts themselves in a substantially shorter time as you’ll see, again using little more than some easily available technology.


In a series of articles on BootStrapMe.com entitled “Fill your boutique in about a week” I go through the steps I took to get my T-shirts designed and my Internet store up and running.


You can do the same or create your own line of designer T-shirts for on line sale. It’s easy. In the next series of posts we’ll review some of the steps I took and how I got there with links to the original BootsStrapMe content.


Follow along!



7 great sources for free photos on line

February 9, 2007

Another free Pixel Perfect photo

There are plenty of sources for royalty free stock photos on line—Photos.com, Artzooks and Dreamstime to name but a few.


However, most charge a subscription or per photo fee to use images for your particular project.


Not so with a collection of sites hunted down by Romanian blogger and entrepreneur Cristian Dorobantescue who has located these 7 sources for free photos on line:


1. Freephotobank.com offers its photo collection:

for personal or commercial purposes. Any magazine, newspaper or other publication, product, design element or promotional material they appear in may be sold or distributed in an unlimited number without any implications.

2. Stock.xchng is a community of photographers and designers who share their images online and for use with some stipulations

3. The morgueFile, maintained by brothers Kevin and Michael Connors, is a site designed around the concept of a newspaper’s inactive files where artists from around the web may contribute images free for use by others.

4.  Image*after is an online photo archive offering images and textures free for use for both personal and commercial use billing itself as “the raw base for your creativity.”

5. Openphoto is another user driven site requiring registration and boasting 3,430 images and 9,038 users

6. Pixel Perfect Digital offers a free stock photo library, photography news and links and an on line camera store

7. Finally, bigphoto.com offers a searchable library of photos from around the world by amateur photographers often while on holiday but also includes some photos arranged by theme and miscellaneous images.

All offer images of good quality as I have tried to show by using a selection from each in numerous recent posts.


Some sites, like Freephotobank.com and the morgueFile offer the best results by first down loading an image in zip file form and opening it either on your desktop or in a photo file.


Most request or require a credit, link or both to the site as a condition for use and all offer terms of use sections with various restrictions that should definitely be consulted before downloading or using any images.


Photo credit: DHester, Pixel Perfect Digital

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How to make your website great

February 6, 2007

My great website

For more inspiration to make that first website shine, it often helps to check out some free on line tutorials that may give you ideas and perhaps alter your perspective on things a bit.


Some years ago, with no previous experience, CAD designer Gene DeFazzio set out on a personal odyssey to create his dream site and documented what he learned along the way.


The result is Rocketface.com, a compendium of information for the perspective webmaster with a focus on the webdesign beginner.


The site includes sections on:

Be sure to save Gene’s site to your favorites and feel free to share any other useful sites you’ve found with other readers in the “Comments” section.

How to build your business website (Part 12)

February 2, 2007



BD: What has been the biggest benefit, if any, to having a website in terms of its impact on your business? Was it worth the investment of time and resources? Can you give business owners any tips for how to gauge the effectiveness of a business website?  

Denise: This is a hard one for me to gauge and advise on just yet. It’s a given that a business must have a website these days. No one I know has even looked in a phone book for years. And as a virtual assistant I have to have an online presence. It’s my work arena and I have to demonstrate my knowledge and use of it. So that’s where I’ve concentrated much of my efforts, but not solely on my website. I honestly don’t know whether my site stats are good or bad compared to others’. I’ve seen them and know how to access them, but haven’t learned much about analyzing and improving them yet. I do a lot of my networking in the community where I work and live, because I enjoy it and it’s beginning to pay off. I do my best to drive these contacts to my website for more information. I also network within my industry groups online and landed my first client that way. At the same time, I’m learning gradually about SEO and online marketing and want to spend more time building my site’s visibility this year. 

Plus, if you’re interested (sort of related): 

Something I’ve learned since launching last August is that it’s very easy to become scattered in your marketing efforts, whether online or off. There’s more information and advice out there than any one person can absorb. You can’t follow it all. Get some kind of plan in place and work steadily on it. It may not be a formal marketing plan. At least develop a list of goals and benchmarks, with next steps and action items for each. Keep it in front of you and work on it every day. Clients come and go, so you have to keep filling the pipeline.


Photo Credit: bigfoto.com





How to build your business website (Part 11)

February 2, 2007

DHester’s white mouse



BD: What do you think are the major elements that every business owner should include on his/her website? Would you recommend a check list and did you have one to make sure nothing was left out?  

Denise: I do think there are some major elements that every business website should have. I think we all know by now that we have mere seconds to impress someone enough with our Home or landing page to make them stay to find out more. Other vital components are About, Services or Products, and Contact. These all lend legitimacy and I personally move on quickly if any are missing. I would also take the time to provide FAQ’s. This shows consideration and understanding of your clientele’s needs. It’s nice to have a Comments or Testimonials page as well, but these can be sprinkled individually throughout a site as an alternative. In the virtual assistant industry – as with many service industries – pricing isn’t always provided online. For several reasons that were seconded by my counselor at our local SBDC (a professional speaker herself), I chose to publish my pricing structure. This is a tough call for service providers and an individual business decision to make. I think if you can at least provide a ballpark you’ll be saving yourself time by eliminating those who have no intention or can’t afford to pay your rates. 

I definitely recommend a check list. I’m a big Outlook and GTD (Getting Things Done) fan, so created a corresponding task in Outlook for every page on my site, with bulleted action items for each one.

Photo credit: DHester, Pixel Perfect Digital 


How to build your business website (Part 10)

January 31, 2007

photo © Michael Jastremski for openphoto.net CC:Attribution-ShareAlike



BD: What, if anything, did you take from the experience of building your own website and are there factors that you think determine whether a start-up entrepreneur should do the same, outsource or use a blog or other existing platform instead? If so, what are they?  

Denise: As I mentioned earlier, I did have some previous basic experience. Without that I couldn’t have begun to tackle it on my own. It simply wouldn’t have been time or cost effective and I would have had to make a design investment. I find that even using a blog or other existing platform calls on that prior knowledge. So the three factors you have to consider in deciding whether to outsource are your time, money, and experience. How extensive or limited are these resources for you?


Photo Credit: photo © Michael Jastremski for openphoto.net CC:Attribution-ShareAlike