Top Ten: Things I Learned from Being on a Design Team

Hey there friends! It's time for the second installment of the Top Ten list! The Top Ten list focuses on a range of paper crafting topics that will get you talking and thinking. You can fist pump the air, with a "right on!" or you can tell me, "Whatever! You've got it all wrong." Feel free to chime in with your opinion! The first Top Ten list dealt with ten trends that needed to end, which a lot of people loved. So, make sure that if this is your first time here, and you haven't read it, that you check it out right here. 

Today's Top Ten list are valuable goodies that I learned from being on a design team. If you're new to paper-crafting, you may not be aware of the phrase, design team. Simply put, a design team is a group of creative ladies that design projects to inspire others. These ladies may design for a paper-crafting manufacturer, or be part of a design team that focuses on a particular element of the paper-crafting industry, such as a challenge blog. If you're trying to get on a design team, or interested in some tips about designing for a team (from a girl who's "been there and done that"), then read on!

Design teams are a professional responsibility. More often than not, when you're on a design team, you're representing a manufacturer or the creator of the design team, not just yourself. Whatever you do online and offline reflects onto the people you're affiliated with. If you frequent message boards and engage in chats with people, you'll soon be easily recognized. More often than not, people from those message boards will visit your blog, and when they find the big 'ol binkie saying that you proudly design for Lucy Goosy Stamples Co. (soo not a real manufacturer), they'll see you as the face of that company to some degree. Your behavior online can influence the way people view a manufacturer. 

The same goes for your blog. While blogging is fun, and can be therapeutic, if you use your personal blog as a design blog, and post very personal information, you may want to seperate the two. Sharing fun tid-bits of your life can help people relate to you, but long-winded dramatic personal life stories aired to the web, aren't professional and don't reflect well as a design team member.  Try to separate the two.
I've designed for a variety of teams, from challenge blogs, to store design teams to manufacturer design teams, and here's the truth: at some point you are not going to be inspired to design. It could be that you don't like this week's challenge prompt, or you received your design team box in the mail, and the product isn't your style. The simple truth is, you still need to create, and do it well.

There have been times when I've gotten product, sat there, stared at it for days, and tried to make something work with it. Maybe I didn't like the design, or it's not my particular style, and I have no clue on how to approach a project using the product. Whatever the case is, being on a design team means that you'll need to step up, and sell that product. You never know-your project could be what sells the product to a person who doesn't usually use that style of stamp, or that type of ribbon! Some of my favorite projects have been made using stamps and paper, that at first, I wasn't too excited about working with.
Being on a design team carries some extra perks that aren't advertised---you can make some great friends. I've been blessed to work on a few teams, where the ladies I designed with became  wonderful friends, who I could share stuff with that I never shared with anyone else. My design team friends and I also met up at CHA, hung out, ate and laughed together. I would have never had the pleasure of meeting them if it had not been for our design team.

Take the time to connect with the ladies on your design team who already share a common interest with you! Often times, the design team has a private group or message board where you can share projects, ask for advice and get to know one another. More often than not, you'll find ladies on your team with common interests. Take advantage of this great opportunity to connect with others. 
Man, I wish someone had shared this advice with me when I first started applying for manufacturer teams; it would have saved me money. I have seen some design team calls include this in the list of requirements for applying, and I went along with it buying any product I could find with the company's name on it. Spending money, and hunting down product of a manufacturer for which you'd like to design for isn't necessary, and it's ridiculous. If the design team coordinator likes your style, it won't matter what paper or embellishments you use because your style will show through in your design. 

I don't recommend buying product for a design team call...ever. Try out for teams whose product you actually use and enjoy.
Like all relationships, the honeymoon stage of your design team affiliation may end sooner than your term. Does that mean that you bail? No! Sadly, the truth is, when you're an adult, you fulfill your obligations. Does that mean that you continue designing for the team, even if you're miserable and feel under-valued? Hmmm....I'll have to chew on that last question, since I've been in this position (twice), and I stayed because I felt it was unprofessional to ditch my commitment, and leave. I wasn't happy, but I did my projects, wrote my posts and finished my term, then I moved on. 

If you're designing for a team, and it's turned out not to be the wonderful experience you thought you were in for, you should thoughtfully evaluate if bailing early could impact your role as a designer within the industry (women talk, ya know). However, if the entire experience is emotionally unhealthy, you should probably step down. In the end, it's a decision, only you can make. 
Chances are that your greatest paper-crafting dreams will not be fulfilled by being on a design team. If you dream of fame and fortune in this industry, a design team will not launch your career. Before you apply for a design team you should be honest, and ask yourself what your motives are for joining. Remember, you're a representative of the company you design for, it's not necessarily a means to an end in creating a name for yourself.

There are benefits to being on a design team. Being on a design team can help you improve your craft by making projects regularly, and trying new things.  Some design teams can also provide you with product that you don't have to buy, and supply your blog with a decent following. Designing for a team can also be a fun experience. However, If you have higher hopes in the paper-crafting industry, you'll have to work above and beyond design team affiliation to accomplish such fame.
Some design teams are a great experience and some aren't. Finding out which ones are great will help you avoid top ten reason number 6. You may be thinking,"this is great advice, but there's no list of   approved design teams to work for." True, there is no list. However you can seek out former design team members of a team you're hoping to join, and ask them about their experience. Remember, the experience should be enjoyable for you, since you are promoting the manufacturer for free over an extended period of time.

When probing current or past design team members, ask them questions such as how many terms did you serve on the team? Did you find the design team coordinator helpful, available and responsive to emails and questions? Did you have enough time to complete projects? Were you given product on regular intervals? Were the design team expectations transparent? Researching how well a design team is managed will make a profound impact on how much you enjoy the experience.
When I was a beginning paper-crafter and blogger, I thought the ticket to paper-crafting fame was being on design teams, and a lot of them. I would spend hours looking for blog challenge design teams as well as manufacturers that I could apply to. There were two things wrong with this approach. First, I wasted a lot of time and second, I applied and joined design teams that were not my style or that followed my brand.

Style? Brand? What are those? Your style is your unique approach to design and your overall aesthetic. For example, if someone looked at a card, could they easily identify it as yours? Your brand, on the other is what you as a designer and a blogger do. Your brand is your high quality original content. You could be a DIY-er, or a mom who blogs about crafts that you can do with your kids with stuff found around the house. Ignoring your brand and style so that you can design for five teams could be  potential suicide to your brand.
Design teams are a strange phenomena. It's the only job where you'll basically work for free. Some people are going to agree with this point, and some won't. That's okay. We all have different goals for ourselves as crafters and as bloggers. But, it is important to address the fact that in most cases, most women give of their free time, their talents, their ideas, and for what? Free product? Really?

In no other industry will you see companies and other bloggers receive such incredibly cheap marketing and advertising. Blogging and crafting as part of a design team are a lot of work and time. Not only do you have to think of a project, you then have to create it, photograph it, edit the photos, and then write the blog post. Finally, you have to optimize it for SEO's, and then distribute it amongst your social media platforms. Dearness, for just the social media alone, people hire that work out.

The design team model gets a lot of flack from professional bloggers and crafters because it can minimize the work and effort needed of those crafters who take this industry seriously. Now, I am not suggesting that you should go out there and demand money for your talents. However, asking yourself questions like, "how much is my time worth?" and "Do I want to expand my brand?" will point you in the right direction in choosing to be a part of a design team. And, note that there are some design teams that do pay their designers for required projects. Just as there are also design teams that pay for published work or for projects displayed at a trade show.
Quite possibly the best advice I ever received, was given to me by my friend, Amber from Damask Love. She asked me two questions. First, who am I as a brand? Do I sell my own ideas? My content? My work? Or, are companies freely using my blog to sell their product? Secondly, who am I as a blogger? What am I offering at my blog? And, how is it any different than the other thousands of crafters who are blogging out there? 

Those questions really made me think about what I had been doing as a crafter for the last two years. I wasn't designing for my brand. I wasn't making a name for me. Heck, I had been blogging for two years, with no changes in readership or influence. These questions and this top ten number one point also motivated me to re-brand Emily Branch Designs, offering new content designed to help you, the reader understand your brand, expand your readership and enjoy the being the divine crafter that you are.

If you're serious about making a name for yourself through branding and learning about crafting techniques,  then I hope you'll subscribe to this blog, and continue to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I have lots of fun posts informative series planned for 2013 that you don't want to miss. And be sure to stop by throughout the week,  you don't want to miss pretty projects or an opportunity to share your thoughts with me.

54 comments:

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    1. Connie, I'm glad you enjoyed this! :-) thanks for reading!

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  2. #2 really got me thinking. #1, hmm, this needs some digesting. The others I already had thought about carefully before I applied for DTs. :-) My best advice is to apply to companies whose product you love. Then the whole experience is less of a job/chore and more of a delight. But then I guess this brings us back to the topic of whether you are blogging as a business or blogging for the love of it. I'd be really interested to read a future post or have a chat with you on what prompted you to decide on blogging as a business - definitely a topic that I'd like to hear/learn more about!

    PS: I was already following you before this whole re-brand - so I think your 'brand' was already doing its job. :-)

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    1. Hey there Taheerah---thanks for your great comment! I'd love to chat more with you. I'm still in the beginning steps of branding, and learning how to do all of this myself. I found some great resources on branding throug the ALT Design Summit and classes I've taken. The info I've learned has totally inspired me, but it's a very slow and steady process. I can answer your questions to the best of my knowledge, just know that I'm in the process too.

      I am so happy that you're a reader! I hope I can continue to deliver to you great content!

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    2. Taheerah, I agree with your interest on blogging as a business or just for the fun of it. I think it's helpful for a blogger to determine this. It sure resolves a lot of issues when this is clear.

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    3. It's also important for a reader of a blog to know this as well.

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  3. Emily, I gleaned so much from this post! My comment was going to be too long to put here, so I just did a complete blog post about it! I hope you'll read it! Again, GREAT Top 10...just what I needed at this time in my life!
    http://pennantsandpinwheels.blogspot.com/2013/02/a-reformed-design-team-wanna-be.html

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  4. Cheryl, you are awesome! Heading to your blog to read it now! So happy that you enjoyed this post!

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  5. Hi Emily, Wow what a wonderfully written post! I enjoyed reading every bit of it! I too am inspired to write a response post. What I would say would be too much for a single comment here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject.

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    1. Jackie, I am so glad that you enjoyed this post! Make sure to send me the link to yours, I'd love to read it! :-)

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  6. Great post Emily! All things that I have put a lot of thought into... I am interested in hearing more about your thoughts and ideas around branding. I'll email you with a few other thoughts ;)

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    1. LOVED your email! Thank you :-)

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  7. Interesting post! I appreciate the time and thought that went into this post. Thanks for sharing your advice.

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    1. Barb, thank you for this super sweet comment....this post only took me five hours to write, edit and design! :-)

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  8. Emily! Funny I linked you from Amber's blog... wish I had found you sooner! I JUST sent Amber an email thanking her that I 'met' her at CHA. Truthfully, I didn't know who she was at the time and vowed to do my research and find out. YAY! We've now been introduced and she does remember me at CHA. I've been thinking about the whole branding myself and uses of social media for the past few weeks, too. I'm glad you were able to do it (rebrand and laumnch) and I wish you all the best in your journey as you grow in this blogging industry! Now it's my turn and I can't wait to see what advice you give over the following weeks. Cheers!

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    1. PS - Some great advice here in this post and loads to think about! Thanks.

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    2. Hello Thanh! First of all, thank you for stopping by, reading and sharing! I am so honored that you'd stop by and read my blog. Secondly, I LOVE Amber! She's a doll, so sweet and the most helpful person on the planet! I knew her online before CHA, but met her and hung out with her at CHA and she is AMAZING! She shared such great advice about branding and blogging, things that I had never thought about before.

      Re-branding is a bit of work, but really exciting once you get the swing of things. Creating your own amazing content, sharing it with others is the best part. Thank you for your support! I totally appreciate it! Please follow this blog and my social media. I have a new feature coming to my blog and newsletter that will share with you amazing ideas for how to grow your readership, branding and blogging 101 and more! I think you'll enjoy the content!

      Good luck! I know that you can do this! :-)

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  9. Mmmmmkay - EMILY! I am so proud of you for this post! Seriously. I hope I don't sound too much like a "mother-hen" when I say this but this post makes me feel like you are the perfect pupil! I am so glad that you brought up the topic of Design Team "payment" or lack-there-of in the paper crafting industry as well as the whole mission of "getting your name out there." I love how engaged your readers are in this post! Each comment is so thoughtful! I think this topic needs to be discussed more. Personally, I am over the whole "working for product" thing. It just cheapens the amount of work that bloggers put into each post and each creation. If you don't mind, I think I might post about this on Damask Love and get feedback from my readers too. Congratulations on talking about this topic in an honest way. It's risky, but worth it. There will be people who totally disagree and don't like what you have to say. I think that makes it more awesome, though. Love that!!!

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    1. I LOVE YOU AMBER!! You seriously inspire me and have helped me out so much! You're not a "mother-hen" at all, rather a perfect "mentor." I owe a lot of things to your great advice!

      I love how engaged people are. And, they're excited and motivated to take some of the ideas and apply them to their own DT's blogs and branding, which is so phenomenal!

      Thanks for the love my fabulous Ambular! Post away, just don't forget to post some back link love! :-)

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  10. Thank you so much for your advice....even i had been wanting to be on design team for past one years but still no luck,but it seems now i dont want to be because for me my style and my brand is important.though i have just started in paper crafting.

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    1. Triza, I'm so glad that you enjoyed this post. Design Teams can be a wonderful opportunity, and they have a lot of benefits. If being on a design team can offer you exposure for your blog and brand, then it's a great idea. But, if a design team can't do for you what you can do for yourself, then continue branding yourself with awesome products and great content. :-)

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  11. Bravo and a standing ovation!!!!

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    1. Awe Julie, thank you so much! I am thrilled that you enjoyed it! Make sure to read the next top ten series, and stay tuned for my new series debuting soon--"Bettering You Blog and Brand"

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  12. Hi Emily, I emailed you but I'm not sure if it went through. Here's the link to my post in response to your post.

    http://jackierockwell.blogspot.com/2013/02/design-teams-blogging-as-business-vs.html

    Thanks again for your very insightful thoughts on this subject! :-)

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    1. Jackie, OOoooh I am clicking over to your blog right now! YAY! You go girl! :-)

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  13. Thank you. I'm so lost I don't even know where to begin.

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    1. Dania, You're welcome. If you're unsure of where to begin, then you'll want make sure to read the next top ten series post, it discusses some valuable info on you blog, and stay tuned for my new series debuting soon--"Bettering You Blog and Brand."
      I'm so happy that you stopped by to read! :-)

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  14. This is a great post! I wasn't familiar with your blog before, although I've heard your name lots of times in the paper crafting world. I found this post through Damask Love. I'm kind of over the whole design team thing too. At least for now and don't plan to join any design teams again unless they happen to be an awesome fit and will help me get where I want to go. I've met some super awesome people through design teams and I think they're great for making friends and connections. Connections are valuable. But the whole time suck thing is what made me want to quit. I want to make what I want to make and not be controlled by what the manufacturer wants me to design. I'm slowly learning about blogging as a business rather than as a hobby and the whole idea of branding myself. I've become excited about blogging again. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You have some valuable insight!

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    1. Brenda, soooo happy that you stopped by, and I love Amber, don't you? She's such a sweetheart!

      I think your view of design teams is very positive: "not joining unless a DT unless they happen to be an awesome fit and will help me get where I want to go." You're exactly right. Unless a DT can offer your brand exposure that you wouldn't get otherwise, what's the point. Sure you get free product, but the cost of your time in designing with that product is way more valuable, since you could be using it to brand yourself.

      Make sure to stop by and read the next top ten series post, it discusses some valuable info on your blog, and stay tuned for my new series debuting soon--"Bettering You Blog and Brand."

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  15. I think its every craft bloggers dream to be on a design team. For me another major thing is winning a challenge! I've been doing one challenge in particular for almost 2 years and I put sooooooo much time and thought into them, in the hope that one day I might be chosen as their favourite, but alas, it still hasn't happened. I even considered changing my style to 'fit' what they might be looking for, then thought "what are you doing?!" they should like my card because of me, not because I conformed or just tried to make it look like everyone elses. I've also recently joined a DT, and I tell you its not as glamorous as I was hoping. Have I got more views on my page? not really. Do I have to come up with projects with products I may not like and not quite know what I will do with?! ahhuh! Am I getting paid?NO!and the amount of product I get (which I don't get to choose) does not reflect the work that goes into the posts. But, I'm glad I'm on a DT, I feel really privileged, but its definitely made me reconsider which ones I 'may' apply for in the future...If I have the time!

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    1. Bumblebee, my heart goes out to you, I can so relate! There were times when I wanted to make a DT or win a challenge as well, and I always wondered why I never was picked. I did what you did, and tried changing my style to fit them, and it still didn't work.

      The best thing I learned is to be AUTHENTIC. BE YOU. Whoever you are as a designer and blogger, be that person. Readers want humans they can follow and learn from. People who create in the wee hours of the night after the kids are in bed, or blog while in the car at soccer practice.

      I'm glad that you found a DT you enjoy. It should be an enjoyable experience. :-) Thank you for stopping by and reading this post! :-)

      I hope that you'll stop by to read the next top ten series post, it discusses some valuable info on you blog, and stay tuned for my new series debuting soon--"Bettering You Blog and Brand."

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  16. I love this post! Let me tell you why. All of 2012 and part of 2011 I served on several DTs and while I loved some of them, I loathed others. The volume of projects requested became overwhelming and I found myself not enjoying paper crafting anymore. The compensation didn’t equal the amount of time, energy and creativity I was pouring into those projects. I grapple with being myself and worrying about "fitting in" with a company or a team. I don't want to ever have to edit myself or become an abbreviated version of myself in order for a company to want to work with me. I do that enough in my 9-5. I had already resolved to rebrand myself and build a brand based on my love for crafting. This article just reaffirmed that for me. Also, watching Amber rebrand herself has inspired me as well. I'm definitely following you to keep up with your posts!

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    1. Hey there Rochelle, I'm so glad that you stopped by. Amber's re-branding was AMAZING wasn't it? She inspired me as well! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post, and commenting.

      I can totally relate to you. When design team projects took over things I wanted to do for my blog and for me, I knew something needed to change. Branding yourself makes your craft so much more, than simply creating a project for a DT.

      Its so good to see other crafters branding themselves! Do you follow Alt Design Summit---AMAZING resource for all things branding in the blog and crafting world!

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  17. Great post Emily! I am really enjoying your Top 10 series. Great points and you are right on on some of your points, insert 'fist pump' here :) I am really enjoying your new format!
    ~Hugs~
    Becky

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  18. AWESOME post Emily! I found you through Amber, but have been a long-time admirer of your published work. I will definitely be following along with you because I am trying to brand myself and most people aren't so likely to "give away" advice. I am so grateful and appreciative of what you offer! You have a new fan in your new format!

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  19. I appreciate all the insight you shared today. Gives me lots to think about.

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  20. Hi Emily! I really enjoyed reading your post! I'm all new to blogging (started this month) and I really appreciate these kinds of insights from an experienced blogger. I live in Sweden, so I don't have much knowledge about the industry in the US. What I do know is that the industry is MUCH smaller here in Sweden and I can imagine that the industry here works in a similar way like in the US. You gave me a lot to think about when it comes to asking myself what I really want to achieve with my blog. Do I want to explore my own style freely and without any obligations to an external party (a company or brand), or do I want to be part of a Design team to get more exposure and experience from the industry quicker? I'm leaning towards the more independent path. Since this is just my hobby for now, it feels much better to embrace my own style and take my time to figure out what to do with my brand, rather than spend a lot of time (that I don't have!) on working free for a company. So, I would like to THANK YOU for you honesty! I found your blog through Damask love. Amber's blog is actually my biggest source of inspiration for blogging! But I will be checking out your blog too from now on! :-) I don't have much on my own blog yet, and I write in Swedish, but you are most welcome to check it out! :-) www.serinedesigns.com

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    1. Hello Serine, thank you so much for stopping by and reading. It sounds like you're on the right track with your blog. I'm excited to check out your blog, and I appreciate you visiting mine. I have lots of great tips to share with my readers this year, so make sure to follow me so that you don't miss anything.

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  21. This was wonderful Emily!!! Thanks!

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  22. Hi Emily, This post was amazing and you are so very right about alot of things in the industry! I am so happy to see you published everywhere and love your brand and what you do in the industry!! Thanks so much for sharing and so glad that I had the pleasure of working with you :) Teresa

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    1. Teresa, you're such a sweetheart! You're the bestest to work with! Thank you for all your support!

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  23. Thank you for sharing it all- good, bad and indifferent!
    I so agree with what you have written, but I also think it is important that we all "find" our way. By this I mean trying different teams,challenges, following blogs and companies and learning from each experience hopefully.
    In the three years I have been blogging I have tried many experiences- oh yes I have! I certainly know what I don't want now, and which people I don't want to associate with.
    I have met so many wonderful people like yourself willing to advise, guide, and share the limelight.
    I am at the point now trying to decide if I should stay or I should go,maybe a bad experience has jaded how I feel but I still need to know if this is what I should be doing.
    Thanks for the insight sweetie

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    1. Dawn, thank you so much for your awesome perspective, and for taking the time to read this! I totally know what you mean about bad experiences affecting your decision. I hope that you continue crafting and blogging because it brings you joy, and you know that you have beauty to share with everyone!

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  24. Very well done, Emily! Thank you for so generously sharing your time and your expertise. It's the "be authentic" advice that I applaud the most. I'm a card blogger who does it just for fun and friendship and I'm naughty and combine personal stuff with card stuff. But I'm okay with that because that's my authentic self; I am old enough not to care about a brand or being on Design Teams or "winning." I am also delighted to see so many wonderfully talented young women participating in this rather old-fashioned art of card making. Having you and Amber and Jackie, and others, share and mentor upcoming professional card bloggers is a wonderful, wonderful service to them! Keep up the good work!!

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    1. Darnell, you are totally adorable!! "Naughty, and you combine personal stuff with card stuff" had me giggling. It's totally cool to share some fun and personal tidbits on your blog, that's what makes people authentic and real and someone people would read and connect with. No one wants to follow a robot!

      I am so happy that you are learning so much from Amber, Jackie and myself. When you learn great stuff--you just want to give it away so that others can be successful and have fun with blogging too!

      Card-making is awesome!! I think its a great craft that people of all ages can get in to! You're right though, there seems to be a lot more young people getting into it, and that's exciting!! Oooh....you've just given me an idea for another Top Ten post! YAY!! Thank you

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  25. It was fun to read your post. I have been on many DT's and have loved most of those great experiences. My greatest memories are going to the various trade shows and participating in them. These have been the perfect times to meet my online friends, other members of the teams and to get to work with the companies. I love assignments and time crunches!

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    1. Thanks Linda for your sweet comment! Oooh, I love trade shows---they're so much fun! You get to see gorgeous products, and the best part of all, hang out with your friends, online and real---which is on of the great benefits of paper-crafting!

      Assignments and time crunches can be stressful, but you'e right--they can be fun too!

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  26. Super, duper post that is near and dear. I can't wait to begin following you so I can learn more. I read your post with much delight as a past professional in-house designer and amateur blogger/paper crafter whose been disenchanted with the whole design team idea and loved seeing I'm not so alone. I tested the waters by joining a couple different types and quickly learned I wasn't so jazzed with the idea of spending oodles of time fashioning a blog, blogging, teaching, corresponding, critiquing, judging and making projects for a company who gives you a little discount and very little product. I even "tried out" for a team who held a public contest and fared very well but in the end the owner decided a second project and vote was in order and I saw the writing on the wall and said to myself this wasn't for me. It really is amazing how much our lovely fellow crafters give away to promote for someone else. Thanks for discussing it in a public forum and I hope you will expand on the subject.

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    1. Ronda, girl--I hear you! That's why I wrote this post! Women just like you and me have shared such touching stories about their experiences with design teams.

      DT's are not as easy as they look, and designers should be compensated respectfully in the use of their time and talents to promote a company.

      I am sorry that you have had difficult experiences in the past with design teams, bu I hope that you read through the comments and know that other women, such as I and these ladies can share in the struggles and joy of being on a team.

      I am so honored that you are following my blog, and look forward to sharing more content with you!

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  27. Hi Emily, was directed here from an Operation Write Home post on Facebook. So glad I clicked through. Great article. I've been blogging (for fun) for a bit over a year now and committed this year to making it more of a regular thing. I also started entering challenges (just the one's that I am inspired by) and read a great article from fellow commenter Jackie Rockwell (thank you, Jackie) about what to expect from that process. This whole blogging thing is so new so I love to read about other peoples experiences and especially your comments about what to consider before taking the plunge into DT calls. So glad I found you and your blog. Looking forward to reading more from you in the future. Best of luck...and thanks!

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    1. Stacy, thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond. It's great to connect with people who've found this post helpful.

      I am so happy that you're diving into blogging! it's so much fun, and can be stressful at times. Be sure to turn in on wednesday for my newest series titled, bettering you blog and brand! I am going to share with you all that I have learned from blogging and branding so that bloggers at any level are prepared for a fun, successful experience!

      Thank you also for mentioning Jackie's last name too! I have had several people comment on a Jackie, and I had no reference to who it was!

      Best of luck to you too! If you have any questions, let me know and I will try my hardest to answer them! :-)

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  28. Hi Emily, I've never been on a DT and was thinking about applying to go on one, so I googled about it and your blog came up first. I really enjoyed the read and all the helpful info and your input on it all. Can't wait to read more posts as I search thru your blog. Thanks so much for sharing all your thoughts on this, very helpful. Xx

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  29. Awesome post! Very insightful and I couldn't be happier that my google search lead me to this post first. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

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