By Perks |
This month we interviewed Calvin Lee of Mayhem Studios, a graphic designer who is extremely social media savvy. He is a “Self-Proclaimed Media Ho, Designer Guy and Twitter Addict. In his spare time, Stunt Doubles for the Hulk and a really Nice Guy!”. His Twitter bio is just indicative of his personality, which is a mix of professionalism and fun and he comes off as an all around nice guy who doesn’t take himself seriously. If you know of Calvin or if you have no clue who he is then read a little further as we get an in depth look into who he is and where he comes from. Ladies and Gentlemen, Calvin Lee:
1. Give us a brief timeline of your past 10 years.
For the first 5-6 years I was a student worker at the City of Los Angeles in a clerical position, which I wasn’t really happy at. When there was an opportunity at a design studio. I jumped at it. That job lasted for about two and half years, until they went out of business. I had planned on looking for another full-time job but I ended up freelancing for a small design studio referred by a friend and other freelance work I picked up. After five years of freelancing, I took another full-time position at the City of Los Angeles as a designer, working on redesigns for the Mayor, Council Offices and various City departments. All the while, I was still running my Mayhem Studios on the side.
2. How did you get into design as a profession?
I always wanted to get into some kind of creative profession but didn’t know exactly what. I discovered I really liked designing logos and working on branding projects. I started taking on small projects here and there. I build up my skills and clients from there.
3. What is the one project that you’re the most proud of?
The project I’m most proud of is for Fundstream, one of my first design projects as a designer where I had full control. It was also my first diecut tri-fold, which came out pretty nice.
4. Do clients find you via social media? If so, can you give a more notable example?
I do get a bunch of inquiries from social media. Lot of it is for WordPress blogs. One notable example is Guy Kawasaki. We build a friendship through Twitter. We eventually meet in real life #IRL at the 140 Conference and we continue to stay in touch.
I’ve worked on two design projects for him. A business card and Alltop Banners. I also help him with Alltop when it was first launched.
5. Over the years design has become more social with aggregation pages, embedded widgets, custom icons and sharing links as well as custom Twitter and Youtube pages. Are you getting more requests to create more social media friendly/optimized designs?
Yes, I do get more inquiries for design branding across all social media networks like Twitter backgrounds, Facebook, youtube, etc. I am not too sure if that interests me that much right now but I do like branding projects.
6. You’re an avid social media sharer and engager. What tools do you use for content curation and where do you get items to share from?
All this social media stuff is still pretty new to me that I don’t really have any tools I use for curation. I was using Twitter favorites for awhile. The way Twitter is now, it’s really hard getting to my older Tweets.
I have great followers that share great information. I also use Google Reader with all my favorite blogs and Alltop is very useful.
7. Sharing and engaging can take up a lot of time. How much time do you approximately put into each every day? Do you set aside time so you can work?
I would say 24/7 throughout the day and night. I think engaging and sharing is just part of my now. It’s hard for me to separate, gets harder everyday. I’m pretty addicted! I try to balance it, jumping back and fourth between work and play.
8. Do you automate any part of your process?
Nope, I am totally against automating social media and engagement. I still tweet and share everything manually. If you see me tweeting, it’s me live day or night.
9. Can you approximate how much business comes from social media referrals – from clients spreading the word online, from people coming across your social channel or otherwise?
It’s hard to say. I haven’t actively tried to get more clients or put the word out that I am available. I also assume people think I am too busy with clients to work with them. I may have to change that.
10. Since you have created a prominent presence in social media you have become an influencer to many. Can you describe what being an influencer means to you and to others who want to utilize your influence?
This thing about being an influencer is pretty mind blowing. I went from a Average Joe to this Twitter celebrity, pretty crazy. It’s fun being treated like a VIP and being approached by brands. I try to keep a level head about it.
I know I can build buzz at events or get more eyeballs on products. That is the reason why Brands approach me is because of my influence in that.
11. You’re pretty vocal about your support of Klout and all of their programs you’re involved in for brands. Is it just getting free stuff or have you seen any tangible outcome – personally, professionally or brand-wise?
Klout Perks are cool and fun. All the perks is a plus. I think Klout has seriously pushed my influence even higher. It’s the reason why I was in Forbes and other various articles. Everything was build on that, eventually Brands contacted me.
12. Has any engagement ever gone to another level beyond the initial engagement?
Yes, it has. I try to take that engagement to the next level. Meeting in real life #IRL. I love meeting my followers. It builds deeper friendship once you meet in person. It has been many.
13. Is there anything on your mind that you want to share with us?
It’s always about your followers, educate and share. Put them first. It’s not about you.
14. Before we go, what would you like to tell our readers? Feel free to give us all your vital info – websites, projects, social channels, anything you want to promote.
Look at question 13.