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Resourceful Designer podcast: Offering tips, tricks and advice for starting and growing your graphic or web design business.

When was the last time you updated a piece of software?

Think about the last time you updated a piece of software. Whether it was an app on your phone, a website plugin or theme or an application on your computer. When you updated it, did you look at why it was being updated by reading the release or change notes?

There are three main reasons why a piece of software requires an update.

  1. Bug Fixes
  2. Security improvements
  3. New Features and Functionality

Do you know which of these reasons each update you perform is for, and why it was released?

We’ve been taught to update without thinking about the reason.

It’s become so easy these days to update software. Our phones have a convenient “Update All” button, so we don’t have to scroll and update each app individually. There are convenient services that allow you to manage and update multiple WordPress websites from a single dashboard. Even the software on your computer makes it easy. Most of the time, a popup will appear informing you of a new update and asking if you want to update the program right away or do it later. In some cases Later will happen in the background without you needing to be there.

What added new features and functionality do those apps, plugins and software you download offer? By not paying attention to why there’s an update to a piece of software, are you being left behind? Are you missing out on functionality that may improve your processes and your abilities as a designer?

I remember back in the day when physical floppy disks or CDs were required to update software. In those days, software companies would mail you promotional material showcasing all the great new features they were adding to their program hoping you would purchase it. I also remember reading magazine articles leading up to the new releases describing how each new feature would make my life easier. With today’s subscription models, software companies don’t need to sell us with the hype of new features, they already have our money.

I remember reading about the upcoming version 3 of Adobe Photoshop with the introduction of great new features, including one called Layers. I just had to have it, no matter the cost. By the time I received and installed the latest versions, I knew every new feature available to me and whether or not it was something I would use.

Nowadays, there isn’t as much fanfare with software releases as there used to be. We’ve been conditioned to automatically click when we see a little red dot without giving it much thought. Maybe it’s just me not being on top of things or following the right blogs or social media accounts, but I don’t think I’m the only one in the dark. Are you’re like this too? It makes me wonder what other features programs such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop have that I don’t know about that could benefit me.

Adobe regularly releases a major update for all their programs each October. Many Adobe users, myself included have absolutely no idea what new features Photoshop, Illustrator and all the other CC programs will have. There are probably articles highlighting what new features to expect. But unless you search for them, there’s a good chance you’ll update your software without giving it much thought. What will you be missing out?

If you want to improve your productivity, increase your skills, and add to your toolbox, the next time you update an app, plugin, or software, read the changelogs or release notes. Learn why the update was released and what possible new features and functionality they offer.

So let me ask you again, when you perform a software update, do know why?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Questions of the Week

Submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.

This week’s question comes from a member of the Resourceful Designer Community

I have a website project that has stalled out and has been dormant for several months. My client is unable or unwilling to provide me what I need to complete the site. The copywriter I hired is demanding full payment for her services even though there’s still some outstanding copy to be written that’s dependent on what the client still needs to provide me. Should I be paying the copywriter her full fee even though not all the agreed upon copy was written?

To find out what I told them, you’ll have to listen to the podcast.

Resource of the week Careful Cents article on Lowering Invoicing Fees

Do you use PayPal as part of your invoicing process? Are you aware of the fees you are paying to use the service? Would you like to lower those fees and keep more of your hard-earned money? Decrease PayPal Fees: 5 Ways To Lower Invoicing Fees is an article on Careful Cents that may be able to help you do just that.

Sure, transfer and processing fees are the costs of doing business. But lowering those fees by even half a percent could save you thousands of dollars each year and put more money in your pocket.

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I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business, please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

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Resourceful Designer podcast intros are performed by the amazing Wayne Henderson of MediaVoiceOvers.com. Wayne is available to help you with any voice-over work you require.