Back to School Time!

It's back to school time and for the first time both my kids are going to be in school. Yay!!! I have to admit, I am so excited about this. 

I'm especially excited because I'm going to have more time then ever to devote to my business and I've decided to put some of this time towards creating a super special offer for my Learn To Tech Edit course.

If you purchase before September 10 and use the code BACKTOSCHOOL you will get 10% off PLUS:

  • The full course including 7 lessons, 6 assignments, 6 answer sheets and videos of me going through each assignment
  • Access to the regular Learn to Tech Edit Facebook group where you can chat with past students
  • Access to a private Facebook group just for this intake of students where there will be weekly prompts for each assignment and weekly Q&A sessions (for 6 weeks). This is perfect for those of you that need a little more accountability to keep motivated to get the assignments done.
  • A 1-1 session with me when you complete the course which you can use to ask questions or get personalised advice. (Must be redeemed within 6 months of purchase)
  • SPECIAL BONUS: A Marketing for Tech Editors webinar at the end of the 6 weeks where you will learn how to start using social media to get clients. 

This is an incredible bundle that I can't promise to offer again. So if you've been on the fence about taking the course, now is the time to hop off and purchase it. 

You will start getting access to the material as soon as you purchase but we will officially start in the Facebook group on September 12th. This sets up the course to end with the Marketing Webinar on October 27th. You will continue to have lifetime access to the course materials after that date of course. 

If you have any questions, just ask!

5 Essential Tools For Tech Editors

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1. A WAY OF ANNOTATING PDFS

Some designers may want you to work with a text editor but I find that working that way leads to a lot of compatibility issues. (Don’t ask me about the time I sent a file to a client and all the commas disappeared when she opened it!) Evernote is my preferred software but you do have to pay for the premium service. The other option that I love is iAnnotate. This is an app for iPhones and iPads — great for if you like to edit on the go!

WORD OF WARNING: If you use an Adobe product to annotate PDFs your notes may not show up when the designer opens it in a different program. There are usually ways to “flatten” the notes to avoid this problem and something you should definitely test out with a friend first!

2. A WAY OF TRACKING TIME

I am a massive fan of the pomodoro technique. I think this works great for managing your workflow because it’s so simple. If you have to give a time estimate I think it’s really easy to underestimate but judging how many chunks of time it’ll take gives a more reasonable estimate. So I give each editing job an estimate in terms of pomodoros and then I look at how much time do I have to work on editing jobs each day. This helps me estimate which jobs I can fit in and when. I then time myself (you can use a timer on your phone or a special pomodoro app) and see how accurate I was. This also lets me know how much time to bill the client for!
TIP: Make sure to include the time it takes to email the designer in your estimate, even if you don’t bill them for this time.

3. A WAY OF INVOICING

I send all my invoices using Paypal and this works fine for me. I simply download my reports every month and add my income into my financial spreadsheet. If you want something with a bit more functionality, a service like Harvest can work great.

4. A WAY TO MAKE CHARTS

If offering charts is something you want to do then Stitchmastery is the way to go. It’s a highly respected chart making software used by many knitting magazines and book publishers. The nice thing about Stitchmastery is that it generates the written instructions for the charts which is super handy. It also exports the charts to a wide variety of formats including .SVG and .PDF.

5. A WAY TO MAKE SCHEMATICS

Offering to make schematics for designers is another service you might want to consider (and something that can be required if you work with yarn companies or magazines). You can use programs like Adobe Illustrator, but in this case there is an excellent free alternative —Inkscape. I have a tutorial here on how to use Inkscape to make schematics or you can purchase my bundle of premade schematics which you are welcome to use with clients. (You will of course have to learn how to modify and tweak them to fit the design but they serve as a good starting point.)

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9 Tools to Get You Started Designing

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  1. Yarn and needles

    This is a little obvious but well, this is where you have to start! I like to have a wide variety of yarns to play with and a good interchangeable needle set. 
  2. At least one stitch dictionary

    This will be an essential tool to help you when you are thinking about and swatching for potential designs. You will probably still end up tweaking any stitch pattern you find, but it’s a great source of inspiration. 
  3. Layout software

    Once you get the design sorted the next step is to lay out the pattern. I think a lot of people think they need something fancy but to be honest most patterns are laid out just using simple word processing software. Microsoft Word or Pages are great options.
  4.  A simple camera

    You will need at least one photo for your pattern and so you’ll have to have a camera or borrow one. Nowadays the cameras on your phone are amazing and that might be all you need. Or you might want to invest in a simple point and shoot. But whatever you decide, don’t get hung up on this step! You just need a camera that is good enough and that will take a photo that is good enough. You are at the beginning — do not try to mimic the types of photographs that seasoned designers are using. They are further on their journey then you are. You just need to start.
  5. A tech editor

    You want to make sure your pattern is free from errors and to do that you’ll want to hire a tech editor. This post explains what a tech editor does and how it’s different from test knitting and you can find a list of tech editors here.
  6. A way of selling

    So you have your pattern written and laid out and now you have this PDF that you are ready to sell. What do you do with it? You can list it for sale on Ravelry, Craftsy, Love Knitting, Etsy or any or all of the above. Take a look into each site and the fees and T&Cs. I personally prefer Ravelry and Love Knitting but that’s just me.
  7. A way of collecting payments

    Basically you need to have a Paypal account which will hook up with the above sites so they can send you the payments. That’s it! No fancy cart software on your site is needed unless you want to go that option.

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Stitch Dictionary Recommendations

Whether you're new to knitting design or already established, these are my top stitch dictionary recommendations. 

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Plan With Me! February 2016

Wondering how to use a bullet journal for your business tasks, ideas and goals? I review how I used mine in January and go through how I set it up for February. The journal I have is an A5 sized Leuchtturm 1917.

If you enjoy these videos you can subscribe to my YouTube channel by clicking the red button on this page

If you want to get email notifications of when there are new videos up you have to two options:

Option 1 -- Once you've subscribed to my channel, go to your YouTube settings, then click "emails". Click "Manage updates from channels you're subscribed to" then check the button that says "send me updates" and change the dropdown box to "uploads only".  (Video tutorial)

Option 2 -- Sign up to a mailing list just for YouTube updates here.