Scuse’ the mess!

I want to apologize for the unreadable state of most of the site right now. For some reason, my php includes are not working, and I have a ticket in to WebQuarry about the issues.

Until it is resolved over 90% of my site is not functional 🙁

Sorry for the mess!

Busy, Busy & More Busy.

Hello all!

Time for a quick update as to what is going on with Lori!

I have been so busy the past couple of months with kids, work and home life, that I barely get a chance to sit down and recollect my thoughts here in writing. Let me try to catch you up.

First, as many know already, I have been homeschooling my kids for, oh’, about four years, and after a ton of coercing by my ex and husband, decided to try a go at the local public school system. The kids have been enrolled now for about six weeks, and they are enjoying it. Where I chose to send them is a higher academically rated school, and I have been very involved in their day-to-day education. I spend about 4-6 hours per day volunteering my time as a room parent, part of the PTO, and have volunteered to redesign and rebuild the “school website.

I am also in the process of obtaining my Para Pro license, and substitute teacher certification so that I can help my kids teachers when they need time away.

In health, Dad is doing ok. He remains in a comatose state, but still moves his arms, legs and body with the strength of a fully healthy man. He did, however, have a seizure a few days ago, and though minor (3-5 minutes) he has been to see a neurologist about the incident. He is still on a feeding tube, but that is all that supports him. He gets out in his specialized wheelchair a few times a week, which he enjoys. It has become more real that he may not ever recover completely, but I still hold hope that one day he will talk with me again. 🙁

Work: Trying to work and juggle all the other things has not been the easiest task, but I have remained busy through the summer, and into the fall. I have designed at least five sites over the summer, and am still working on a few more. Here are the latest contributions to my portfolio of work:

Chattanooga Fishbowl – Database = decent, User base = massive, site design and usability = horrid! So I gave the Nexbowl a fresh new look, reorganized the database, and created new newsletters that are visually appealing and at the same time, always deliver fresh content to the readers, something that had not been done in the past.

Sock Monkey Ministry – Beth has had her site for quite some time, and while I was researching information on Sock Monkeys (my kiddos love them as much as I do), I came across her site. I found it full of great content, but a not so good display of it, so I offered to redesign it as a donation to her cause.

Arlie Davidson Catering – I was fiddling around on CraigsList, and decided to click on the Barter category, and stumbled upon Arlie. He was looking for a small site to display his talents as a gourmet caterer in trade for handiwork. I knew I could give him something super, and decided to contact him, since I am also in the works of remodeling my home. The trade has been perfect – he has an online presence and I have a beautiful kitchen, bathroom and stairs to show for it. Sometimes trade is good. 🙂

My husband (and my Dad) is a member of the Dade County, GA Sons of Confederate Vetarans, and their site needed much more than a overhaul. So I donated my services to them to redesign and redevelop their site to better represent their cause. You can see it at

Throughout the summer, I have also been working on and Pandesa, and have just about finished those off. I have also created designs for Rachel Gaunt at Unfurl, Cafe Romaine, Pat Martin for This Lady Cares, a new design for a new domain for Tom at Aquatic Adventures, worked with Jason on EcoCon, Cleo & Cat Jewlery, and Peak22.

Finally, just last night I decided to enter a design in a local contest for the design of a radio station’s site with a decent price as the price – you can see that here, and give me your thoughts in comments.

Till next time.

Freelancing Tips

I was reading one of the mailing lists I am a member of the other day, and some questions came up about Freelancing. Some were interested in knowing the best way to get business as a freelancer, and since Zenful Creations came from years of freelancing, I thought I would share my experiences in freelancing. I posted a list of seven items to the message list, and received numerous comments and a few more questions, so I decided to add a bit more to the list, and post here.

1. First and foremost, have a GOOD website. Make sure it has at least six original designs, the service you provided (a before and after shot is always good), and a little detail on your process helps too. Make sure your site is easy to use, and preferably compliant with standards. Make sure there are no typos in your content.

2. Get signed up on sites such as,,, and many many more… Over the years I found great success at, and also acquired several projects from DesignCrowd. I would also suggest checking 37signals Job Board, and CSS Beauty Job Board for new listings as often as possible.

3. Participate. Find listservs, message boards and blogs about freelancing, and participate in discussions. Affiliate with other freelancers – if they are too busy to take on a project they may pass it on to you, or they may partner with you on larger projects.

4. Post a free ad on Craigslist in your area. Craigslist allows you to post an ad for your services every 45 days. With the usership of this site, you will at least get a hit or two each 45 days. While you are on Craigslist, make sure you check out the ‘Barter’ section, and ‘Creative Jobs & Gigs’.

5. 3rd Party Endorsements. Always get testimonials from the clients you work for. Since the launch of this online reputation manager, I have had all clients that I worked with give me a review on – it is a place that you can send current clients (or have a link from your site) to find out more about working with you.

6. Network. Join professional organizations such as your local BNI, or attend other networking events in your area to build your synergistic relationships, and meet people that will refer you to people they know. You can find events local to you on, on Craigslist in the events or community section and also in your local newspaper.

7. Blog. This will increase traffic to your site – I suggest blogging about each design you do or whatever niche it is you have; blog the before, process and after. Blog about open spots in your schedule… Blog when you are full and can take no clients at that time (which shows you are busy) – clients tend to like busy designers as that usually indicates they are good at what they do, and in demand.

8. As funny as this one may sound, it works. Get yourself a myspace account – for your business – there is so much traffic on myspace and it is a great place to network. Customize your design if you can. I have been approached by many clients over the past year (mostly musicians and artistry) who desire to have a customized myspace page. Upload design proofs in the pics section. Keep clients or partners in your friends list, and keep your comments well moderated. Keep it professional.

9. Use a contract. Always. Everytime. A contract is important in any project you do. The contract not only protects a you and your client legally, but it also clearly details deadlines and payments. If you do not already have a contract, you are welcome to copy mine and edit it to suit your needs.

10. Keep up with your records. As a freelancer, you are an independent contractor, and therefore, are expected to keep up with and file your own taxes. You can either pay them throughout the year (file quarterly), or put the money aside to pay later. Get a good program such as QuickBooks, or Quicken, and keep it updated. Also, keep a record of the business expenses you can write off at the end of the year – books, travel, lunch meetings etc.