Author Archive

October 10, 2014 10:41 am

Free Resources Business Owners Should Use

Over the past few months, we’ve talked about building your website and how to do it right. We’ve talked about how you should be using social media, and we talked about how branding is so important!

All your efforts require time. Some require time and money. Lucky for you, we’ve listed some of our favorite free resources that can help you save precious minutes… and keep your dollars!

Design

Creative Market

While this is a paid website, Creative Market also offers free downloads each week. You can visit every once in a while to see what type of graphics, photos or fonts you can download, absolutely free. Even if you don’t have need for their resources right away, it can’t hurt to have a library handy for the future!

Death to the Stock Photo

There are many stock photography websites you CAN use, and they can definitely be very useful. However, many people misuse stock photos and end up having a very cheesy-looking website. Though it’s always nice to use your own photos whenever you can, sites like Death to the Stock Photo also offer free, royalty-free photograph downloads for your convenience.

PlaceIt

Would you like a photo of your website displayed on a laptop, tablet or smartphone? It can actually take a significant amount of time for a designer to take a screenshot and fit it within another image of a device… or you can use PlaceIt. They have a number of photos ready for you to use. Simply enter your URL and it will grab a screenshot of that page, placing it within the device seamlessly. It’s that easy.

PicMonkey

You have a photo, you know where you want it, but it needs to be cropped, cleaned up, and you also want to add a text overlay. Sure you can do this is other softwares like Paint… I take that back. Please don’t use Paint. PicMonkey is a super quick and easy way to edit (or create) images for your website, emails, social, etc. They have tons of different themes or tools built in… you’re only limited by your imagination!

free resources design

Productivity & Organization

Trello

Do you have trouble keeping organized? Trello is a free tool where you can create an organization board. Create “cards” for different tasks, add lists to them, deadlines, and more. You can even use them with an entire team, assigning tasks to different team members. It’s a super easy, effective beginner’s tool for project management.

Asana

Have a team of fewer than 15 people? Asana is totally free. And it’s awesome! A bit of a more robust tool for project management, you can create projects that contain tasks and subtasks, assign these to team members, add deadlines to each task, and see your tasks in a personal or team calendar. You can even set this up to integrate with your Google calendar!

Hootsuite

Is your business on social media? It should be! Hootsuite is an easy way to manage your social accounts without having to log into each separately. You can schedule posts, reply to follower’s posts, and easily monitor multiple accounts in one convenient place. Note, however, the free version of Hootsuite only tracks up to three separate social profiles. If you want more options, you can pay them $10/month for the professional version.

free resources productive

Analysis and Evaluation

Google Analytics

Every. Single. Website should be using Google Analytics. This free tool shows you:

  • The number of visitors on your site,
  • Where they came from,
  • How long they stick around,
  • Which pages they’ve visited,
  • Their demographics
  • And so, SO MUCH more!

This is a free tool. Simply create an account and embed a few lines of code, provided by the tool. Trust me. Do it now.

Fresh Web Explorer

Use Fresh Web Explorer to find out how your site ranks in comparison to your competitors in terms of inbound links. This can help you find easy wins. If a website links to your competitor but not to you, you can see if they wouldn’t mind giving you a link as well! Fresh Web Explorer also lists “brand mentions” which shows you if a website mentions your brand name without linking to you. With this information, you can contact the website to request a link!

free resources analytics

If you liked this post, check out our online design courses. They come with an optional business component where we go over more tips for starting or running your own business!
 


September 25, 2014 2:55 pm

Dress Code 101: Men’s Fashion

As a sequel to our Dress Code 101: Women’s Fashion post, we felt we couldn’t leave out the men! See below for some handy fashion infographics for figuring out men’s fashion and dress codes.

Casual

Men's casual

Casual wear refers to the “everyday” outfit – something you might wear going to the grocery store or to hang out with some friends. A reasonable expectation of cleanliness is expected in casual situations – i.e. no holes in uncomfortable places, no visible stains, etc.

Business Casual

Business casual - men's

Business casual outfits are a step up from casual outfits. They are clean cut, crisp, and well-fitted. Avoid denim if you can and opt for a khaki or grey pant. A dress shirt complements the more casual pant look and a nice pair of polished shoes finishes off the look. Make sure you don’t have any wrinkles!

Business

Business men's

In most cases, it is safe to assume that if the dress code is “business”, you need to wear a suit (black or grey), a suit jacket, and a tie. A belt is a really nice accessory that pulls the whole look together for that “polished” feel – just make sure the belt matches the motif (i.e. don’t wear a brown belt with a black suit).

Formal

Formal men's

Formal occasions, like a wedding or reception, require you to break out that bowtie and rock some cufflinks! Ensure that your pants and shirt are pressed and clean and that you have an appropriately coloured belt. Don’t forget to shine your shoes!

Black Tie

Black tie men's

Black tie events are about as fancy as they come. They are a step-up from formal events, and usually the dress code is specified as “black tie” on the invitation to attend. For these events, be sure to have a well-fitted tux jacket (black or white) and black dress pants. A cumberbundt, (that thing that looks like a sash) is tied around your waist where your pants meet your shirt. You could also consider having a boutonnière in your breast pocket.

Like this post? Check out our Style Courses if you’re seriously interested in fashion.

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September 4, 2014 11:33 am

The Dish on Being an Interior Decorator

In this post, we catch up with Design School graduate Jacqueline Curtis and get the skinny on what it’s like to be an interior decorator.

What exactly does an interior decorator do?

There’s a lot going on in the media with a job like this, and it changes so much over the years with trends, styles, responsibilities, etc. An interior decorator is not just the person that puts the room together anymore. You’re in charge of space planning, lighting planning, and plumbing planning. You are a project manager and you’re going to be ordering from and working with many vendors and clients. There is a huge element of customer service and networking to the job, for sure.

What does it take to be an interior decorator? Any particular skill sets or education?

You really have to have to have an undying passion for interior decorating. When you have a passion for something, it is easy to take it to the next level. Things like training your eye to focus on design, studying the skill of movement and how people relate to space are vitally important for this career. It’s easy to walk into a room and dictate to someone how you think it should be done, but you need to get to know your clients on a personal level before you know what’s really best for them. Observing how people interact with the space is a great way to get a feel for how a room should be. It is important to practice ongoing training for your eye and it never really stops! Once you take a course, you must constantly educate yourself, always aiming to learn.

Being an interior decorator and what it means

What are some career paths an interior decorator could take?

I finished design school and decided to work in a big box store for a year. I learned a lot of different trade skills from there! By talking and relating to customers, you are testing customer service skills and at the same time, picking up knowledge from plumbers, electricians and other trades people. It gives you some appreciation and respect for what else is going on in the room.

Working in a paint store is a great way to hone your colour skills. Working in a textile and decor store can offer a huge range of experience in the field. Once you have that kind of knowledge, you can develop your skills further. It is great to test yourself in this way with a secure environment. You also have to learn how to tell someone they are wrong.

What is the average salary of an interior decorator (if known?)

You know, that’s something that is really based on experience and it depends on the service you are providing. Your pay will be different if you are doing a large job or a small job, for example. If you are a published designer, you will be making more money as this sets the precedent for you.

What are the regular duties of an interior decorator?

Regularly it is about colour, accents and harmonizing; everyone wants their house or space to flow. You have to know what is and isn’t working in a room and how to make things work when they aren’t. You need to be able to transform a space! Organization in this industry is huge, so it is important that you are organized. Also, remember that customer service is a very important aspect of the job.

jacqueline curtis brush

Do you have any advice for someone looking to get started in the field?

If something in your gut says that this is something you would like to do, go with it! Never second-guess yourself! Even in a client situation, if you are presenting an option and the person can’t decide, urge them to go with the one they like. If you have a passion about something in the industry, investigate it, look into it, get to know that community and make sure you love it.

A happy person will have that reflected in their work and then your clients will be happy as well!

 

Click the button below to kick-start your interior decorating career into overdrive!

 

 

Jacqueline grew up on the West Coast and has a foundation in Fine Arts and Sculpture and Design. She’s also a graduate of QC Design School! Check out her website to see what she’s up to now.

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September 3, 2014 11:13 am

Personal Branding and Your Business

If I ask you to think of several of your favourite brands, what springs to mind? Your favourite cereal brands? Favourite chocolate bars? Favourite clothing brands? There are so many different labels, and they each have a unique take on a product. So why do certain names stick out in your mind?

It’s because they have done a great job of “branding” themselves: situating themselves in your mind as the superior product to fulfill your needs. These brands have worked hard to create brand awareness, a buzz about their specific brand or label. In some cases, brand names have even taken over the name of the product itself! (Band-aids and Kleenex spring to mind).

Even in your own career, personal branding plays a huge part in your successes (and, consequently, your failures). Having a “personal brand” is a great way to assure quality and make people remember you. Just like when I say “your favourite shoes” and one brand in particular springs to mind, you want to have the same effect on your customers and your target market. There are many ways you can ensure a positive and successful personal brand:

Manage your online reputation

This is a pretty big one in terms of attracting potential customers. If someone runs a Google search on you or your business, you want positive things to come up. You don’t want incriminating photos all over the page or a stupid message you wrote to soil your online reputation. The main message in all of this is to THINK BEFORE YOU POST!

There are several ways you can go about managing your online reputation:

  1. Conduct a quick search on yourself and your brand to see what comes up. This is a great way to know what people are going to see when they Google you or your brand’s name.
  2. Delete old profiles. You don’t need a profile on an “I love teenage things” website if you’re 28 and haven’t used it since the 12th grade. In most cases, if you’ve forgotten the password, you can contact the site’s admin and have your profile deleted.
  3. Change your privacy settings. Make sure that all your social profiles are set to “private” so that only people you approve can see what you’re posting. This way, you can monitor what is posted on your personal versus your professional profile.
  4. Be careful who you are friends with or following! If your business promotes equality but you are following a group that doesn’t promote equal rights, it doesn’t exactly send the best message to potential clients.

personal branding privacy key

Consider how you make others feel

What can you or your brand offer to others that nobody else can? Focus on one strength to attribute to your personal brand. You want to be the person that is known for doing one thing really, really, really well as opposed to being able to do many things in an average way. You want to stand out! What are people going to notice about you and your brand?

Know your product or service and sell it well

Whatever you’re selling, know and sell it well. How would you feel if you went to the doctor’s and he Googled your symptoms to find out what might be causing it. My bet is that you wouldn’t feel very confident in his abilities. You need to know your service inside and out and you need to be able to answer questions immediately and without hesitation to instill confidence in your clients. Remember that you’re the expert (that’s why you’re selling your service)! There are many ways you can exercise your authority on matters in your industry:

  1. Blog about it. Take the time to start a blog on your website and regularly write about industry news, tidbits that people might find interesting, and occasionally about what your business up to. This sets you up as a relatable, knowledgeable, and credible source.
  2. Subscribe to different industry news sources. You want to be the one advising clients on the latest industry trends, not the other way around.
  3. Constantly learn. Your education doesn’t stop when you leave school!

personal branding learn

Ensure consistency across all platforms

If you’ve branded yourself as “Martha Baxter, Interior Decorator”, that’s the name you should be using across all platforms. Don’t shorten it to “MB, Int. Dec.” unless that’s the brand name you want. Pick something and stick with it. This goes for all platforms where your brand is present:

  1. Social media, like Facebook and Twitter
  2. On the phone when you or someone else is taking calls
  3. Printed advertising
  4. Other marketing efforts such as e-newsletters
  5. With vendors: don’t say the order is for Martha Baxter, say the full brand name

Let the experts take care of it

Many people, when they first start out, make the mistake of trying to do it all themselves. If you’re opening a business in event planning, your specialization is event planning. It isn’t graphic design or book balancing. While these can mean extra costs at the outset, it is often better to set things up well in the first place than have to re-do them later, which often costs more time and money. If you’re aiming at creating your own website and balancing your own books, get expert advice before you start!

REMEMBER!

personal branding don't forget

You want to present the best version of you that you can. You want your brand to be known for positive influences rather than negative ones and to stand out for the exceptional service that you provide. Keeping your reputation online in mind, you want to craft a brand that instills confidence in your clients and your audience!

 Check out our career training page for more advice on boosting your business!

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August 28, 2014 9:24 am

Thinking of Becoming an Event Planner?

Here’s What you Need to Know First

If you’re thinking of becoming an event planner, there are a few things you should know. A job as an event planner or wedding planner always looks like lots of fun in movies and on TV; after all, your work revolves around planning and attending parties, so what’s not to love? The thing is, like most jobs of its kind, it can be a lot of fun, but it’s also always a lot of work. And, as an independent contractor, you have a lot of additional work-related details that you’re responsible for—you don’t necessarily have access to things like employer healthcare, for example, and in addition to the nuts and bolts of the job you’ll also spend a lot of time on administration and other tasks that aren’t quite as enjoyable as planning menus, or helping a bride shop for her wedding dress! For the right kind of person, however, a job as an event or wedding planner is an absolute blast, and a career that will provide a huge amount of professional and personal satisfaction.

thinking of being event planner books

Personal and Professional Attributes and Skills

Enrolling in a course designed to teach you all about the nuts-and-bolts aspects of coordinating weddings and other events is definitely a good way to kick-start your career in this industry, but just as important is having the right mix of skills and personal abilities that will help you make your chosen career a success. So what are some of the essentials?

  1. Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  2. Exceptional organizational skills—especially because successful event planners are usually working on multiple events at the same time
  3. Time-management and multitasking skills
  4. Be able to visualize the big picture without losing sight of smaller details
  5. The ability to stay calm and in control in a crisis
  6. Be able to quickly recognize and solve problems, and apply creative and unconventional solutions when necessary
  7. Be able to work with all kinds of people
  8. Be prepared to work long hours, including on weekends and public holidays

One of the most important aspects of the job is to have a strong love of and talent for working with people, and the ability to be tactful, patient, and calm with clients, vendors, and suppliers, in all situations. For example, one wedding planner and event coordinator jokingly describes her work as herding cats, telling the future, and reading minds—which speaks to the fact that in any job where you’re working with people to create something to their specifications, many clients don’t always know exactly what they want. Sometimes, that means you have to figure out what a client wants, even though they don’t even know themselves. As well as this, planning an event like a wedding often means trying to please multiple different people all at the same time—the bride and groom, plus two sets of parents, all with different ideas of what they want.

thinking of being event planner bride groom

When it comes to the people aspect of the job, it’s not all about working with clients, however; a single wedding can involve dozens of different vendors, so an event planner also has to build up an extensive network of industry contacts to be able to do their job effectively. This is important because staying competitive in the event-planning industry requires having the right vendor and venue contacts to be able to offer clients plenty of choice and excellent rates. Established wedding planners agree that this is an aspect of the job that absolutely can’t be ignored.

As well as all this, if you’re someone who plans to run your own event planning business, you’ll also need a certain amount of competency in other areas too, such as marketing and advertising, accounting, and an understanding of the relevant legal aspects of the job, such as liability and contract law. With this in mind, it’s definitely a good idea to choose a course that covers all of this essential information.

Event Coordination is a Growth Industry

There are lots of things you need to consider when starting your own business, and one of the most important is whether the industry you’re interested in can actually support you. Is it a growth industry, or will you find that there aren’t enough clients to go round? Luckily, the news is all good for the event planning industry—the US Department of Labor predicts huge growth over the next ten years—a whopping 33% increase, which means it’s the perfect time to enter the industry.

Does this sound like the career for you? Click the button below to learn more about QC’s courses!

 


Moving in or sharing space with a friend or partner is not uncommon. Practicality, for one, is the biggest factor that brings very different people under one roof. This convenient setup also comes with a set of challenges that requires compromise—one of which is merging design styles.

Coming up with a cohesive place that still reflects your individual preferences is tricky, but here are few tips that might help.

How to merge design styles without losing your sanity

Get rid of the unnecessary

Make a list of all personal items and tick off what you don’t need. Next, take a look at each other’s list. For the same kind of furniture that you both have, choose to keep the quality, timeless pieces. Surely, one of you has better, long-lasting furniture. An antique table made of mahogany versus one made of composite wood? Keep the former and put the latter up for sale. You can always use the extra money to buy a new piece of furniture that both of you want and need.

Play with patterns and textures

Can’t get rid of a classic piece of furniture which sticks out like a thumb in your new shared space? You can always reupholster it. Traditional chairs and sofas can look chic and modern with new coverings. Replace the busy patterns with solid, bold colors that complement contemporary pieces. If you decide to stick to ornate seats, choose a center table with solid lines to avoid the feel of a busy room. Softer upholstery can complement even the most masculine of all leather furnishings. It’s all about striking a balance with patterns and textures.

Invest on new pieces together

If you’re looking to bring in new furniture, invest in items that define both of you. A decorative or functional piece that reflects each of your design styles can bring harmony to your space. Fuse your preferences with a few focal pieces, such as a timeless piece of wall art or a classic bookshelf.

image003

Go for comfort

As much as you’d like to let your style shine in a common area, you also have to consider that you’re sharing it with another person. Merging design styles entails a small amount of sacrifice to make sure all parties are comfortable. The idea is to complement, not overpower, each one’s preferences.

Complement each of your design styles

It is a misconception that combining two different design styles won’t work. For example, ornate pieces such as French antique furniture marry well with Asian or Victorian decor. Interior designers also swear by the 80-20 rule: as long as majority of your design styles complement each other, you can keep things interesting by introducing different elements in your interiors.

Experiment with the extremes

To be safe, most people moving in together just forego their extremely different design styles and settle with neutral tones and pieces. Although it is considerably much less of a hassle, wouldn’t it be more rewarding had you experimented and found unity amidst your unique tastes?

The key is to push the limits. When dealing with dramatic furniture and modern fixed pieces, you can successfully achieve an eclectic mix by juxtaposing the old with the new. You don’t need to keep that mirror with baroque detail holed up in the attic. Hang it up against clean lines and see how it complements your modern chairs.

image005

Consult a professional

If unsure, you can always consult a designer that can help you combine and merge your design styles. An expert’s’ eye can make you see what seemed impossible, without compromising each of your preferences. Meet with your professional designer at the same time to avoid confusion. Make sure you have communicated want you want but be open to new ideas.

Learn the art of compromise and everything will fall into place—even that antique piece of furniture. As long as you agree that this new space is a shared, then there is always room for different design styles.

 

About the author: Angie Cole is a fan of everything vintage and admires the true old-world craftsmanship. She is a fan of Antiques on Old Plank Road, home of antique desks and other French antique furniture.

 

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August 25, 2014 10:32 am

Business Tips: How to Write a Blog

When you’re launching your business, your website is a crucial element that you don’t want to neglect. This is how over 90% of clients will find you at first and you can bet most of them will make up their minds about the quality of your services within a few seconds of reaching your site.

These days, it’s standard for a business website to have a blog. A blog allows you to continue posting relevant content that is useful to clients, along with helping tremendously with your site’s search engine optimization (SEO).

Unfortunately, not many businesses use their blog correctly. Here’s a quick guide to get you started on the right track!

Write about relevant, useful topics

In order to keep readers on your site, they have to find information that is useful to them. “Useful” can have many meanings: the blog article can be funny, informative, passionate, etc. What it can’t be, is a shameless self-promotion of your business. You have a whole website that talks about your business. Don’t use your blog as more of the same!

Use your business blog to demonstrate your knowledge and to cement your position as an industry expert in your field. And mix it up. Providing a variety of content to your readers will allow them to see that your expertise is broadband. Use different “content categories” to keep your articles organized and help readers find their way around your blog.

If you find you’re running low on content ideas, scour the internet for inspiration. Obviously you don’t want to steal anyone’s work, but by reading different blogs out there it can help spark an idea for a future blog topic of yours.

how to write a blog stay relevant

Mix it up!

When you write a blog, it’s important to post different topics and different types of articles to your blog to keep things interesting for your readers. Try mixing some of these different styles of posts:

• “Top 5 / top 10” style lists
• Expert advice
• Client stories
• Product features
• “Top picks” relevant to your industry
• Video content
• Infographics
• And anything else you can think of!

Post often

Especially when your business is just getting off the ground, you should be posting to your blog at least once a week, and preferably more!

Posting frequently to your blog will accomplish two goals:

  1. The more often you post new content to your website, the more search engines will index your site, which will lead to higher listings on search engine result pages.
  2. A high frequency of posts will resonate with visitors to your blog. If you post sporadically or at a slow pace, readers won’t stick around.

Be visual

A blog article that’s one long paragraph will not be read.

You’ll want to write your articles in an easy-to-read format. Use headers to separate key points, and try to write simple paragraphs. Bullet points can be your best friend as they allow you to convey a large amount of information while forcing you to be as concise as possible!

You’ll want to use images in all of your blog posts as well. Pictures, graphs, illustrations, etc. are a wonderful way of breaking up text and keeping your readers engaged.
IMPORTANT!

Make sure you have proper permission for whatever image you post on your blog. If you’re using your own pictures, make sure you have a signed photo release from any person who appears in the photo. If using images from another source, obtain written permission from that source and credit their work accordingly.

Use keywords

This is where your market research will come in handy. Not only should you be writing about topics that appeal to your target clientele, but you’ll want to take it a step further and use the exact keywords they use online.

While it can be tough to compete for high traffic keywords, you can easily rank for some highly targeted, long-tail keywords. Example: say you’re writing an article about the top 5 floral arrangements for a spring wedding. Instead of targeting “spring wedding” or “floral arrangement”, try targeting the phrase “spring floral arrangement with daisies”. You’d be surprised how well this works.

A quick warning about keyword stuffing:

Be careful not to oversaturate your article with a bunch of keywords. This is often a rookie mistake that can actually result in your entire website being penalized by search engines. While you SHOULD edit any article to have a focus keyword or two, make sure the final article is concise and cohesive. If the article ends up reading unnaturally, you probably want to go in and remove a few keywords.

how to write a blog keywords

Be authentic: write it yourself!

A blog is a wonderful place to show a bit of color, attitude, and personality. While you should always be mindful to your brand values, you can afford to be a little more personal on your blog. Use a simple, conversational tone that resonates with your audience, and have some fun! Tell interesting stories, explain why a specific topic is important to you, share your likes and dislikes with your audience, etc.

Probably one of the worst mistakes you can make with your blog would be to outsource it to someone else. Hiring an agency or a copywriter to write your blog content will reduce your blog’s efficiency very quickly. While an agency might help with keyword focus and might help bring more visitors to your website, but 10:1 those visitors will be much less qualified for your website and likely will be turned off by the impersonal tone of your articles.

Once your business takes off and you start being a little too busy to write an article per week for your blog, then your blog has accomplished its mission! At this point, I’d opt for cutting back on the blogging schedule instead of handing off this task to someone else.

Describe multimedia content

Posting videos or infographics is a great way to offer different types of content to your audience. But search engines are not yet able to read the content that’s found on a video or image. So, you’ll want to make sure to write up a few (keyword rich!) paragraphs describing what’s found within the video or image.

Use a strong call to action!

Have you ever read a blog article, and without even realizing it you’ve ended up jumping from one article to the other on that website, eventually landing on a product page? That website is using amazing calls to action (CTAs)!

On the flip side, have you ever read a blog article where you get to the bottom of the page and think “Well, I’m done here.” and left? Odds are, that blog didn’t use any CTAs at all!
A call to action is asking the reader to do something while they’re on your blog. These can take many shapes: from links inside an article’s body to buttons to fancy images. Many think CTAs are reserved for very important actions: namely, purchasing your service. That’s very untrue. A CTA can ask the reader to perform any number of actions including:

• Reading another article on your blog
• Visiting a specific page on your site for more information
• Watching a video
• Commenting on your article*
• Contacting you
• Signing up for a newsletter list
• Visiting your social media accounts

*If the comment box is on the same page as your article (which it should be!) you might want to think about another CTA on top of that so the reader has somewhere else to go once the comment’s been posted!

Whatever call to action you use, make sure there is some logical reason why your reader would want to take that action. For example, a designer with an article about restoring antique furniture could easily have a CTA to read another article about purchasing antiques, but would want to avoid a CTA that links directly to his/her feng shui design services.

how to write a blog call to action

Let’s get to it!

If you already have a blog on your website, it’s time to look it over and see if there are any improvements to be made. If you’re just starting out, I’m sure you’ll have a great time writing your first few post.

Do you have any additional business blogging tips? Let us know in the comments!

 

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August 21, 2014 1:59 pm

Student Feature: Jessica DeCoste

Jessica DeCoste is a 23 year old student enrolled in the QC Event & Wedding Planning course. She was born and raised in Alberta and plans to stay there for the immediate future. She loves working with people, especially when it involves achieving a common goal.

Notes from Jessica

Though I love being out-going and personable, I am also always grounded to my work or a project that I am passionate about. I am very organized and, oddly enough, work well under pressure. I am always available to help, which is exactly what I want to do as an event planner. I want to take the stress away from clients to create an enjoyable experience for them.

Growing up I was always excited to plan my own birthday parties. I would have a set schedule with what games we were going to play, and when to open presents and have cake (thanks for providing the budget, Mom!) Everything was always planned perfectly because I always wanted my friends to have a good time, which they did!

After struggling with a career choice for a few years, I had to sit down and ask myself: “What do I actually enjoy doing?” Everything fell into place when my birthday came around. Even at 23 years old, I had it all planned out and I enjoyed every second of it. I even had a friend approach me for some help with her daughter’s birthday party. I like to help people and I always have. I think a career doing this is exactly what I want to do.

EDL 10th Anniversary 2013 edit

Did you always see yourself as an event planner?

As a career, I never considered being an event planner. I’ve always been one of those people who didn’t really know what I wanted to do but enjoyed learning everything I could. I went to school studying Communication Arts at Lethbridge College which was great in eventually leading me into to the world of corporate, conference and event planning that I am now a part of. Studying the QC Event and Wedding Planning Course is a great way for me to become even better at what I do. And I’ve enjoyed every second of it!

What are you enjoying most about the QC course thus far?

I really enjoy the ease of following the program. I have never studied anything in an online format, and I’ve always been more of a hands-on learner, so I was nervous about not knowing how and when to do everything (readings, assignments etc.) I love that everything can be done at my own pace and that the course itself is clear and easy to follow. Working full-time, volunteering and having two one-year-old puppies at home, my life doesn’t often allow for spare time. Being able to do this when I can has made the experience even greater than I had initially hoped!

The online chat is also a great resource if I ever find myself with any questions.

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What is the most valuable thing you have learned thus far?

I’m thoroughly enjoying the business start-up education and advice included in the program. I don’t intend to start my own business after completion of the course; however, I may decide to do so in the future, and it’s great having the resources and knowledge available to do so. I knew a little bit about business education when I started with QC, but certainly not enough to one day start my own.

I’m enjoying all aspects of the program as it is up-to-date with current trends in the industry, but also allows for creative freedom and ideas! I love to be creative and come up with “unusual” or “out-of-the-box” ideas and this course allows me to do just that.

What has your most successful project been thus far?

I have done a number of event-planning projects; however, I didn’t do them alone. I can’t take all the credit for their success!

I worked with a great crew when I was at the Lethbridge College Student’s Association. We worked on so many fundraisers, awareness projects, and some just-for-fun events that it is truly difficult to pick just one “favourite”.

What are some things about event planning that you find tedious or trying?

I find it tedious to remember each and every tiny detail of an event. Knowing that this is extremely important in the industry, it has forced me to become more organized, which really is the key to success. When you have a repeat client, they often request many of the same partners and suppliers from their last event. When you’re involved in lots of events, it’s hard to recall the suppliers and partners involved in each one. Keeping a record and knowing what happened one, two, three years ago has made it much easier for me to comprehend. It’s tedious work, but ultimately rewarding for you and your clients.

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What do you think is the next big thing in event planning?

Working in the industry, I know that there is a lot on the go and that it is ever-changing. I believe that clients want “something different” in their event. Many events are done “by the book” (and some clients like it that way!) but once in a while it is good to suggest something completely unexpected. Specifically, many corporate and business events are very similar and altered very slightly for each event. My favorite thing to do is to suggest “weird” and “unique” venues. Instead of having the gala in a conference room at a hotel, host it at a local vineyard or at a specific exhibit at the local museum. These little changes can make people say “Remember that event we went to that was held at the ________”. Having people talk about an event, after the event, is one of the best compliments an event planner can get!

What does the future hold for you?

To be honest, I’m not completely sure! I’m extremely excited to finish the course as I’m only three units in at this point. Aside from my full-time job, I hope that I can work on charity events and fundraisers for non-profit organizations. I love the rewarding feeling of helping people and organizations help others. I can say with confidence that I will definitely be working in event planning, one way or another!

To find out how you can become a student at QC Event School, click here!


August 18, 2014 8:53 am

So You Want a Career in Decorating…

You said you wanted a career that was creative, made you think on your feet, involved developing professional relationships with many different kinds of people, and offered lots of variety. A career in decorating will give you all that – and more.

 

You never know where you will be, or, for that matter, what you will be doing! In the course of one week, a call might come in from a very high-end client. Could you find time to fly to New York and Florida with her to advise on furniture purchase and decoration for the new penthouse she has just acquired in Miami? Sure you can.

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Later that week, the next call offers a staging contract for a house that needs to sell very quickly. You go for a first visit. Glamorous, it ain’t. You don rubber gloves and before you know it, you and your team are busy house cleaning. And it is quite the job. The house has been vacated by an elderly man who lived alone. Let’s just say his cleaning was not quite up to par. Before you can get into advising about new paint color, it’s probably wise to rid the house of the odor of cats.

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And, before you go to work on the house or send your cleaning team in, check out all the fabulous facts on vinegartips.com. A quick read and you will feel in charge of the whole world.

Just don’t forget to keep your gallon container of distilled white vinegar with you at all times!

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August 15, 2014 9:00 am

Back to School Giveaway and Sweepstakes

September is just around the corner, and with this in mind, we’re launching our QC Back to School Giveaway and Sweepstakes! From August 15th to September 15th, ALL North American students (in makeup, event, and design) will receive a free QC tote bag when they enroll in the course.

And that isn’t all.

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*Tote bags available for North American students only

Whatever country you’re from, every makeup, event, and design student will have the chance to win FREE TUITION after they’ve enrolled in their course. Don’t miss out on your chance to win!

Here’s how to enter:

Step 1

Enroll online or by phone

Step 2

Enter the Free tuition draw

Step 3

Get more chances to win by:

  • Tweeting
  • Posting to the blog
  • Liking our Facebook Page
  • Pinning us

(These are all explained in greater detail once you enter the sweepstakes!)

Step 4

The winner will have his or her tuition FULLY REIMBURSED! This includes shipping fees, your deposit, and your course fee(s)!

Find out more about our Design, Makeup, and Event promotions.