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Apr 19, 2018

What's in a title?

Since the inception of the design industry we designers have struggled with what title to give ourselves. I started my career calling myself a Graphic Artist. Later I changed to Graphic Designer and stuck with it until just recently when I took on the title of Design Consultant.

Even though the bulk of my work these days is web design I’ve never called myself a Web Designer unless I paired it with Graphic Designer. As in, I'm a Graphic/Web Designer. In my experience, the title Graphic Designer encompasses a broad array of work, possibly including web design. However, the title Web Designer limits you skill wise to only web design.

Graphic Designer and Web Designer are but two of the many titles designers call themselves. Some others include;

  • Creative Designer
  • Visual Designer
  • Visual Artist
  • Artistic Designer
  • Communication Designer
  • Multimedia Designer
  • Commercial Artist
  • Commercial Designer

As well as some more focused titles such as;

  • Logo Designer
  • Brand Identity Designer
  • Motion Designer
  • Video Designer
  • Package Designer
  • UX or UI Designer

Shouldn't your work be more important than your title?

I always thought the title you used wasn't as important as your portfolio of design work. After all, isn't that why clients hire you? Then something happened recently, and I realised how people perceive you based on the title you use.

For the longest time, whenever I would meet someone new and our conversation would inevitably turn to what we did for a living. I would answer the question saying I’m a Graphic Designer. The most often reply to this is, “what sort of things do you design?” To which I would go into my long-practised routine of telling them that I design everything from logos, business cards, posters, magazine ads to websites and online advertising etc.

Most of the time the response I would get would be something along the lines of “That sounds interesting” before whoever I was talking to quickly changed the subject.

Sure, on some occasions the person was interested and ask me to elaborate. Sometimes those conversations would lead to a proposal and maybe even a design project. But most of the time the discussion about what I did for a living just stopped there.

The effects of calling myself a Design Consultant.

A few months ago, I was at a local gathering, and I met someone who asked me that oft-asked question, what do you do for a living? Instead of my standard response of "I'm a Graphic Designer", for some reason, on a whim, I told them I was a Design Consultant.

The reaction I received was noticeably different than previous encounters. Instead of asking what type of things I designed, the person asked what a Design Consultant does. I quickly made up an elevator pitch on the spot. I told him I help businesses fine-tune their brand strategy through the proper use of graphic and web design which helps them attract more clients.

To find out more about elevator pitches and how mine has evolved since that meeting, listen to episode 116 of Resourceful Designer 

After blurting out the random title of Design Consultant and giving an impromptu elevator pitch, the person took me by surprise by asking how much I charge for a design consultation. I wasn't prepared for that question so I blurted out the first thing that popped into my head. $200 for a 1-hour session. The guy handed me a business card and asked when I was available to meet to go over his company's brand strategy.

To make a long story short. I set up a meeting to go over his company's brand identity and current marketing material. He’s now hired me to not only refresh his website and print material but to act as a design advisor to ensure he keeps on track with his brand strategy going forward.

I genuinely believe I landed this client because of the title I gave him when he asked me what I did for a living.

My new title as Design Consultant is not a fluke.

Since that day, I've been using the title of Design Consultant, and I've discovered that what transpired with that gentleman is repeatable. Every new client I’ve met with since then has agreed to my fee to meet with them and go over what could work for their business.

The best part is, clients are now interested in discussing their entire brand strategies, not just logos, business cards and websites. We examine everything including uniforms, vehicle colours, office decorations and more. Things that are not graphics or web related, but do play a part of their overall brand strategy.

For me, this translates into clients with bigger initial budgets. In fact, since implementing my new title, I’ve landed clients with bigger starting budgets than most clients I've worked with in the past.

Weeding out undesirable clients.

Another benefit of calling myself a design consultant and charging a consultation fee for our initial meeting is it weeds out clients that would otherwise take up my precious time.

I’ve had a few people say they can’t afford my consultation fee. If they can’t afford my consultation fee then they certainly can’t afford my design rates.

An added benefit for me.

Something I had not foreseen is people that want to hire me just for the consultation. I’ve had a few people hire me just to get my advice on what they can do themselves to help their brand. These are people who don't have a budget to hire a professional designer but still want to know the best way to build their brand. It’s a win-win for me. Since changing my title, every person I’ve met with has paid me. Not all of them have become clients, but I was paid for the consultation regardless.

Will calling yourself a Design Consultant grow your design business?

I would love to say outright that yes, changing your title will grow your design business but that would be naive on my part.

I know I have almost 30 years of experience behind me and I have a lot of confidence when talking to people. Both of which help me sell people on hiring me as a design consultant. If you have the experience, knowledge and confidence to be a design consultant then maybe it will work for you as well.

If you're not at the point in your career where you can pull this off, you should keep it in mind for the future. Maybe, down the road, you'll be ready to take your design business to the next level by offering your services as a design consultant.

What title do you use?

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 Laurie

Hello! I love your podcast

By the way, you came to me at the perfect time as I just became an LLC running my own graphic design business.

I had a question about the non disclosure agreement episode. I have a graphic design agreement done but is an NDA recommended?

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

Resource of the week Resourceful Designer Facebook Group

I would love to see you in the Resourceful Designer Facebook Group. Join many designers just like you as we share our experiences of running a design business. It doesn't matter at what level of your career you're at I would love to have you as a member. Be sure to answer the three question that pops up after clicking the join button. See you on Facebook!

Listen to the podcast on the go.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Stitcher
Listen on Android
Listen on Google Play Music
Listen on iHeartRadio

Contact me

I would love to hear from you. You can send me questions and feedback using my feedback form.

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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

Apr 12, 2018

Do you have an elevator pitch?

Imagine running into an old high school classmate at the airport. Someone you haven’t talked to in years. After exchanging some pleasantries, you realise they would be a perfect design client for you. They ask you what you do for a living, and as you start thinking of the best way to pitch your services to them, their flight is called, and you’ve lost your chance.

That’s where having an elevator pitch could have helped you.

What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch sometimes referred to as an elevator speech, or elevator statement is a short persuasive speech you give to people that explains who you are in such a way that it sparks an interest in the listener. It typically explains what it is you do, who your services are for, why the people may need those services and how you go about completing those services.

Your elevator pitch needs to be interesting, succinct, memorable and it needs to describe how you are unique amongst all the other designers out there.

It also needs to be short. An elevator pitch of around 20-30 seconds works best.

When to use an Elevator Pitch.

You should use your elevator pitch any time you are talking about yourself and your business. Use it whenever you meet a new potential client. Use it whenever you are introduced to someone, and they ask what you do for a living. Use it as an introductory paragraph on your website.

You should use your elevator pitch every chance you get.

How to construct an Elevator Pitch.

Your Elevator Pitch will evolve and may change depending on who you are talking with. You may even have more than one Elevator Pitch depending on the situation. Regardless, it should follow these basic rules.

1) Explain who you are.

Start off by introducing yourself and your business. If you’re already acquainted with the person you are talking to you may skip this part for obvious reasons.

2) Explain what it is you do.

For an elevator pitch to succeed, it needs to explain what it is you and your business does. Remember, an elevator pitch should be interesting and memorable. Don’t say that you design websites or logos or flyers. Those things are boring to everyone but you. Instead, explain what sort of problems you solve for your clients. Give the listener something to remember about you.

For example. Instead of saying “I design responsive websites”. You could say something like “I design websites that let my clients communicate to their target market in the most efficient way possible regardless of what device they are using.”

Isn’t that more interesting than just saying "I design responsive websites"?

If what you are saying doesn’t excite you, then it certainly won't excite the person listening to you. Your pitch should make you smile. The person listening may not remember everything you say, but they will remember the enthusiasm in your voice when you said it.

3) Explain your Unique Selling Proposition.

A Unique Selling Proposition often referred to as a USP, is what makes you different from all the other designers competing for the same clients. It needs to be something that will make the listener take notice and want to work with you.

For example, you could say something like this. “When it comes to websites, I take the time to research and get to know my client and their target market before ever sitting down to design their site. This allows me to create something that not only looks great, but something that appeals to the site visitors and truly represents the core of who my client is.”

4) Finish by asking the listener a question.

The whole point of an elevator pitch is to start a meaningful conversation. To do that you need to make sure you finish your pitch with a question that gets the person thinking and forces them into a discussion with you.

Make sure you ask a question that cannot be answered by a simple "Yes" or "No" answer. You might ask something like “What kind of return are you getting from your website?”

5) Combine everything together

When you put all these previous steps together, you should have a solid 20-30 second elevator pitch to impress potential clients.

Time yourself. If it’s too long, you risk losing the person’s interest. Find ways to shorten it.

Here’s how the examples I gave earlier come together.

“I design websites that let my clients communicate to their target market in the most efficient way possible regardless of what device they are using.”

“When it comes to websites, I take the time to research and get to know my client and their target market before ever sitting down to design their site. This allows me to create something that not only looks great, but something that appeals to the site visitors and truly represents the core of who my client is.”

“What kind of return are you getting from your website?”

See how it all works together?

6) Practice, practice, practice.

Your elevator pitch needs to sound natural, not rehearsed. How you say it is as important as what you say. You may have to edit it a bit since we often write differently than we talk. Say your pitch out loud repeatedly and on a regular basis.

As you practice, you may end up changing parts of your pitch so that it sounds more natural to you. The more you do it, the better it and you will become.

Here’s my elevator pitch.

This is the elevator pitch I currently use in my business. It has evolved many times over the years, and I'm sure this will not be its last incarnation.

"I help businesses and organisations fine-tune their brand strategy and give them a better chance of success.

Unlike a lot of designers, I invest my time in building a relationship with my clients in order to help them reach their goals. I accomplish this through the proper use of graphic design, web design and other marketing means.

In other words, I help businesses reach their target market.

How are you attracting your clients?"

What's your elevator pitch?

Do you already have an elevator pitch or have I convinced you to create one? I would love to hear it. Leave it as a comment for this episode, and I'll let you know what I think of it.

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 Diego

Hi Mark!

My name is Diego I'm from Uruguay and I'm an art librarian. That’s right, I’m not a designer, but I did take some courses in my teens. Now I’m 26 years old and I’m trying my fit back in at the University again.

I see all the other kids at school with their amazing drawings and I just don’t feel up to their level. I'm feeling discouraged, like I’m trying to catch up. I would really like some advice.

Is it important to have the artistic skills to be a designer?

Are there any course you recommend I should look into? Not on how to use Photoshop or how to create a logo in illustrator. But basic design things.

Thanks, I Love your podcast.

Diego.

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

Resource of the week Canva Colors

Canva Colors is a great source for discovering colours for your next design project. Their Design Wiki on Colors teaches you everything you need to know about specific colors, their meanings, their history and the color combinations that will hopefully give inspiration to your next design!

Listen to the podcast on the go.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Stitcher
Listen on Android
Listen on Google Play Music
Listen on iHeartRadio

Contact me

I would love to hear from you. You can send me questions and feedback using my feedback form.

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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

Apr 6, 2018

Design should not be a commodity.

I recently saw a conversation in a Facebook group discussing price lists on design websites. The consensus was that including fixed or package prices on your site diminishes the value of your services as a designer. This got me thinking. Are designers who include price lists positioning themselves as a commodity?

What is a commodity?

Let me share three definitions of a commodity that I found online.

  1. A commodity is a physical substance, which is interchangeable with another product of the same type.
  2. A commodity is a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors other than price.
  3. A commodity is a good for which there is demand, but which is supplied without qualitative differentiation across a market.

Do any of those pertain to design? Are the designs you create easily interchangeable with designs from other designers? Are the services you offer so widely available from other designers that it diminishes the importance of your skills on every level other than price? Are the services you provide without qualitative differentiation from those of other designers?

If you answered yes to any of those questions then maybe you’ve positioned yourself as a commodity. If you have, I’m telling you right now that you need to change the way you think about your skills and your services. Especially if you offer your services as “package deals” or fixed prices based on the services you provide because all that does is diminish the value you bring to your clients.

What is Design?

Without getting too philosophical, design is simply a solution to a problem.

Clients come to you because they have a problem to solve. They need an identity for their business. They have a product they need to market. They need to generate leads, they need to increase awareness for their brand, they need to convert sales. These are all problems your clients face. Your job as a designer is finding the most appropriate solution to those problems.

You know the saying “think outside the box”? That’s where you are, and it's why clients hire you. Because you are “outside their box”. You have a different perspective then they do about their business, and they are looking to you for solutions to their problems.

There’s a catch. When it comes to design, there is no one solution. Every designer out there will come up with their unique solution to any giving problem. That means that the solutions vary in quality and price depending on what designer a client chooses. It’s a case of “you get what you pay for”.

Back in episode 71 of the podcast, I talked about Good Design, Quick Design or Cheap design and how you can only offer two at a time to a client. How are you supposed to provide solutions to your client’s unique problems if you limit yourself to the cost of a predefined design package? When you do, you’ve already chosen one of the three options, cheap design.

Design should be a consultancy process. As a designer, your job is not to do what the client asks you to do. Your job is to get to know your client, understand their business, find out what their goals are, study their products, learn their process. Once you know everything you need to know about your client, your job then shifts to providing designs to your client that specifically addresses their problem.

Making a visually pleasing website that’s also user-friendly, or making a brochure that stands out amongst the rest is icing on the cake. It’s a byproduct of everything you do for your clients. Your primary job should always be to help your clients succeed in their goals, whether that’s generating leads, or generating conversions. You do that by using your skills as a designer to help your clients.

Clients are not hiring you for a logo, a brochure or a website. They may think that’s why they are hiring you. But in fact, they are hiring you for your knowledge, your experience and your ability to help them with their problem through the use of proper design. Your design skills are merely the tool you use to complement those goals.

When you start thinking about yourself and your business in this way. You’ll realise that

  1. Fixed pricing or package deals are not a way to grow a successful design business
  2. You are worth more than you give yourself credit.

Design is like a fine dining experience.

Think of going to a nice restaurant. The cost of your meal is more than merely the food you eat. You are also paying for everything from the time it took to prepare, to the skills of the chef or cook, to the presentation of the plate, to the atmosphere of the restaurant, to the service and experience they provide you from before you walk in their door to long after you leave.

The same applies to your designs. Your client isn’t just paying for a logo. They’re paying for everything that goes into the designing of that logo and everything they will get out of that logo design.

Continuing with the analogy, fixed pricing, package deals, cheap design, or crowdsourced designs are akin to fast food restaurants. The meals are fast and cheap, and yes they fill an immediate hole by satisfying one’s hunger. But what’s missing when you get fast and cheap? You're missing the GOOD.

There is no long-term benefit to fast food. In fact, there are many proven negative impacts to eating fast food. The same goes for any time design decisions are based on price and price alone. The designs may fill an immediate hole, but they will fail to satisfy long-term growth for a business.

Clients who make their design purchases based on price have no idea about the process that goes into good design, or it’s potential contribution to their business strategy. They see design as a commodity.

What is Creativity?

Here are two definitions of creativity that I found online.

  1. Creativity is the ability to generate innovative ideas and manifest them from thought into reality. The process involves original thinking and then producing.
  2. Creativity is the ability to produce something new through imaginative skill, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form.

Do you hear those words? Innovative, Original, New, Imaginative, Artistic. These are not words that associate with a commodity.

Creativity and Design allow every designer to create qualitative differences between their works. It’s inevitable. That’s the exact opposite of the definition of a commodity. The challenge facing you is how to teach that to your clients.

Unfortunately, clients often don’t know what good design is. Therefore, how can they understand the value in it?

Here’s the issue, bad designs stands out like a sore thumb to the point where even non-designers take notice and recognise what bad design is. However, when something is designed well, it becomes so seamless that it often goes unnoticed. In other words, the better your designs are, the more natural they will feel, and the more natural they feel, the more they will go unappreciated.

Take a well-designed website for example. People who visit the site don’t often notice the aesthetics or user experience. That’s because a lot of thought and design went into those sites to make them feel natural to the user.

What visitors will remember is how easy the site was to navigate and how they felt while visiting it. But they don’t attribute that to design.

Visit a poorly designed site on the other hand, and visitors will notice every little thing that bothers them. Only when design gets in their way will people take notice of it. That’s why it’s so hard to explain to clients the value of good design. They’re not used to seeing the value in good design because when it’s done correctly, it goes unnoticed.

When a client fails to see the value of your services, when they can’t see the difference in what you can offer them compared to the next designer, then to them, design becomes about price. It becomes a commodity.

As a designer, you need to find a way to point out this flawed logic to your clients. You need to make them understand the value you’re offering them.

We live in a world where it is so easy to get a decent design. Not necessarily good design but at least decent design. Sites that offer design contests, crowdsourced design or easy DIY designs are popping up everywhere. Almost every part of the design process can now be outsourced or done cheaper. Like it or not, there will always be someone, somewhere that charges less than what you charge for design.

To most clients, who don’t understand the value of good design, paying less for a decent design sounds like a great way to save money. Once again, They are viewing design as a commodity.

Don’t people often judge things by the packages they come in? Doesn’t the perception of something being better often lead to the belief that it is better? Have you ever chosen something a bit more expensive from the grocery store shelf just because the packaging made it look like it was better quality than the other similar items? That’s proof that design does matter, which means that it’s outside the realm of commodity status.

As more and more design sources become available to clients, many of them will make their decisions based on cost. This will lead many designers to compromise their skills, their experience, their knowledge, and compete based on price alone.

Believe it or not, that’s a good thing for you. Let those designers fight over who can do it cheaper. Let them diminish what they do and compete as a commodity.

As they do, you position yourself as a designer that does more than produce pretty pictures for a small fee. Position yourself as the expert designer that you are. As the solution to your client’s problems. Show clients how good well thought out designs outperform bad designs every time. Show them the value it delivers, and they will become loyal clients for life.

Charge appropriately for that value you provide them. Even if you charge more than the other designers around you.

When you show your clients that design is an investment in their business and not just an expense like the paper in the copier, the lamps on their desks or the coffee maker in the break room. When they view it as an investment, that’s when you will find them investing in you, regardless of the cost.

Have you ever thought of design as a commodity?

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 Meg

I'm thinking about taking a fast track graphic design course this summer. The course teaches Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and illustrator as well as printing and publishing. Once completed you're given a certificate of achievement.

The course sounds really good  to me because I enjoyed using Adobe during school.

But I worry once I complete the course, I won't be able to find a job in graphic design.

Or if I do find a job, I worry that I'll be stressed or anxious under pressure!

Do you think it's possible for a graphic designer to be successful if they can't come up with a design without inspiration first?

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

Resource of the week Brandmark Tools

This week's resource is a suite of tools by Brandmark. Their free AI-powered design tools help you with colour and font ideas and a few other things.

Logo Rank

The Logo Rank Tool allows you to analyse any logo and gives you a rating based on uniqueness, legibility, colour/contrast as well as an overall score.It’s also useful for telling you how close it matches to any stock icon or image.

Font Generator

The Font Generator Tool shows you font pairings for Google Fonts. Find a font to match the one you already have or find pairs that work well together.

Logo Crunch

The Logo Crunch Tool lets you shrink a logo for use as a favicon or App icon while doing some impressive “fixes” to it.

AI Color Wheel

The AI Color Wheel tool automatically colour your graphics for you, allowing you to test out various colour pallets.

Listen to the podcast on the go.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Stitcher
Listen on Android
Listen on Google Play Music
Listen on iHeartRadio

Contact me

I would love to hear from you. You can send me questions and feedback using my feedback form.

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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

Mar 30, 2018

What I learned by talking to new entrepreneurs

I had the honour of presenting a "Branding Your Business" seminar to a group of new entrepreneurs this week. It was one of six in a recurring seminar series put on by my municipality's Business Enterprise Centre. They decided this time around that adding a "graphics" related seminar would be valuable to new business owners and they asked if I would be interested in presenting.

The seminar I presented was advertised with the title “Graphic Design Basics” but, with permission from the person in charge of the seminar series I changed it to “Branding Your Business”. I knew I could provide more value to new entrepreneurs by teaching them the importance of proper branding over simply giving them graphic design tips, although I did interweave some into my talk.

My decision to change the direction of the seminar proved the right one as the engagement and feedback I received both during and after presenting was all positive. In fact the Business Enterprise Centre asked me after the seminar if I would like to become a permanent speaker for all their future seminar series.

I'm not writing this to pat myself on the back. Even though I was the one teaching these new entrepreneurs the value of proper branding I learnt a few things myself that designers can use when dealing with new clients. I go into much more detail on the podcast so be sure to listen for the full story.

New entrepreneurs are often new to the business world

One thing I noticed during my presentation is that of the couple dozen people in attendance, almost all of them had zero business experience before becoming new entrepreneurs. Talking to them, I realised just how naive they were when it comes to marketing their business.

This got me thinking about all the times I hear of designers struggling to attract new clients. If you are trying to build your design clientele all you have to do is put in a bit of effort and you will be rewarded. There are hundreds, if not thousands of businesses all around you that are in need of your services if you just educated them on why they need you.

What talking to new entrepreneurs taught me

Here are a few of the things I picked up while presenting to this group that I believe could help you in landing new clients.

Choosing a business name

The majority of the people I talked to told me that they had trouble choosing a name for their business. Some of them even delayed starting their business because they were not happy with the name they had chosen.

This is a real issue with some people. If you as a designer offered a service that helps people with choosing a business name you can attract clients at the foundation of their business and them help them build upon that foundation with proper branding going forward.

New entrepreneurs don't think beyond the logo

At the start of my seminar, I asked how happy the audience was with their brand identity. Most of them said they were satisfied with what they had chosen.

After my presentation on Branding Your Business, I asked the same question again with different results. Almost everyone who was satisfied at the start admitted that they were going to revisit their brand strategy and find ways to improve it.

There is a huge opportunity for you as a designer to work with new entrepreneurs if you showed them the effect proper branding can have on their business success.

Colour pallets were not even a thought

Almost all of the attendees I talked to had not considered a colour pallet for their business. They may have selected specific colours for their logo, but they hadn't thought of incorporating those colours into the rest of their marketing materials.

You know that the key to a good brand is consistency. Lucky for you most new entrepreneurs don't. This creates the perfect opportunity for you to educate them and become vital to their overall brand strategy.

Trademarks, copyrights and other legalities

When it comes to the dos and don'ts of the design world, new entrepreneurs don't have the knowledge or experience you have. By talking to them about what they can and cannot do in regards to photos, slogans or, borrowing design elements from others, you can save them from the legal troubles ahead. Once they realise there is a line they shouldn't cross they may find it easier to let you handle all the design decisions for them.

Design is a burdensome expense

Many new entrepreneurs think of design as a burdensome expense. They think they are outsmarting the system and saving money by creating their own marketing material.

As a designer, this is the perfect opportunity for you to educate them on how design should be viewed as an investment in their business, not simply an expense. Once they realise this, they will be much more open to working with you.

Why invest in a website when Facebook is free?

I missed this in my presentation. It was afterwards when some of the people came to talk to me that I realised there is a consensual mentality amongst new entrepreneurs that they don't need a website. They believe they can run their business with just a free Facebook page.

If you teach these people the flaw in that logic, you are setting yourself up for having a great client for the future.

New entrepreneurs need you

From my presentation, I learned that new entrepreneurs are ripe for the picking. Most of them have no prior business experience and are perfect canvases for you to groom.

Back in episode 69 of the podcast, I talked about presenting yourself as an expert in the design field. By doing so, you create an opportunity for yourself to attract these new clients once they realise the value of hiring a designer.

Share your thoughts on this topic.

Let me know what you think of this topic by leaving a comment for this episode.

Questions of the Week

There is no question of the week this week, but I would love to answer yours in a future episode. Submit your question by visiting the feedback page.

 

Resource of the week Resourceful Designer Alexa Skill

Resourceful Designer now has it's very own Amazon Alexa Skill! It's available in the USA (Canada and other countries coming soon). If you are in the USA and have an Alexa device all you have to do is say "Alexa, enable Resourceful Designer" then whenever you want to listen to the podcast you can simply tell Alexa to "play Resourceful Designer."

Here are some things you can do.

"Alexa, tell Resourceful Designer to play the newest episode."

"Alexa, tell Resourceful Designer to play episode X."

"Alexa, tell Resourceful Designer to fast forward X minutes."

"Alexa, tell Resourceful Designer to rewind X seconds."

"Alexa, skip" plays the next episode

"Alexa, tell Resourceful Designer to skip ahead X episodes."

"Alexa, tell Resourceful Designer to go back X episodes."

If you are in the USA and you to enable the podcast on your Alexa device, please let me know what you think.

Listen to the podcast on the go.

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Contact me

I would love to hear from you. You can send me questions and feedback using my feedback form.

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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

Mar 23, 2018

Should you offer design discounts to your clients?

Let me start off by saying I'm not a fan of offering discounts for design services. And by the looks of it, I'm not alone. In preparing for episode 113 of the Resourceful Designer podcast, I read a lot of articles about the pros and cons of offering design discounts, and almost all of them said it was a bad idea. The main reason is that offering a discount lessens the perceived value of you, your services and the overall brand you are building for yourself.

By offering a discount people will start to view you as a discount designer. Once you've been given that label, it's hard to escape from it.

However, that's not to say you should never offer discounts to your clients. Here are six situations that may merit design discounts.

When to offer design discounts.

There are occasions when offering a discount can strengthen your perceived value and your brand.

1) Passing on a discount.

Passing a discount you receive from a supplier onto a client is a great way to build loyalty towards your business. This works great for things like registering domain names or website hosting. As well as physical things such as T-Shirts or print runs.

If your supplier is having a sale or is offering you a discount, think about passing the savings onto your clients. They'll appreciate you more for it.

2) Recurring revenue.

Anything that helps you earn recurring revenue is a good thing, including offering a discount. Offering a discount on items like monthly web maintenance packages or design retainers can be the deciding factor in signing up clients.

A monthly recurring maintenance package may be easier to sell if you offer either a free month or a monetary discount if the client pays for a full year in advance.

Discounts for early renewals are another great way to ensure your clients stick with you.

3) Larger Print orders.

This isn’t a discount but it will save your clients money, and they'll appreciate you for it.

Whenever ordering printed material, you get better prices by ordering greater quantities. When a client requests a print job through you, ask them if they have anything else to be printed. Let them know that you can save them money if they increase their quantities.

For example; ordering 1000 business cards for a new employee may cost them $100. But if three other employees are running low on cards, and you combine their orders with the new one, the print job will cost $80 per 1000 cards. Your client will appreciate the money you are saving them.

4) Your client is a reseller.

Whenever you are working for a reseller/wholesaler, you should be offering a discount for your service. This will allow them to charge their client a similar price that you would have charged them directly.

Designing for a reseller/wholesaler usually means more and consistent work. Therefore the design discounts you offer are offset by the volume of work they are bringing in.

5) When the client merits it.

I know I said that I'm not a fan of offering design discounts. But sometimes the client does merit it. For example, I recently met with a new client to discuss an overall brand refresh for her business. The project will encompass many areas of her business including a new logo design. During my meeting with the client, I got a feel for who she is, what she stands for and the image she wants to portray to her clients. By the end of the meeting, I already had a very good idea of what her new logo should look like. Before leaving, she handed me a  rough sketch she had drawn of the type of logo she thought would suit her business. To my surprise, it was very close to the vision I had in my head. I told her as much, and then I offered her a discount on the logo portion of the project. After all, I didn't feel right charging her my full rate for a logo design considering it would be very close to her idea.

6) When you feel like giving a discount.

This is the one time I agree that a design discount is in order. Discounts are fine as a special gift, not as an umbrella deal. Meaning, it’s fine to offer a single client a discount for a special reason.

For example, a loyal client that brings you regular work asks you to design invitations for his daughter's wedding. You might consider offering him a discount as a form of thank you for the past and future work he sends your way.

When not to offer a discount.

There are certain times that may merit a design discount, but there are also occasions when you should not be offering a discount at all.

1) When a client asks for it.

Some clients will try to pressure you into giving them a discount. Don't be lured into this trap. Remember what I said about being perceived as a discount designer? That's precisely what will happen if you give into a client's demands.

Any client that threatens to seek design services elsewhere if you don't lower your price is not worth having as a client.

2) Additional design services.

This relates to designing something at your regular rate and then offering a discount to design additional items. Such as designing a logo and then offering a discount to design business cards.

There is no reason for you to offer any of your services at a discounted price. Once again it diminishes your perceived value and positions your business as a discount design service.

This scenario includes "design packages" where a client saves money by ordering packages of multiple items. Such as a stationery package that includes designing business cards, letterheads and envelopes.

3) Different rates for different services.

Not quite a design discount but some designers offer different rates depending on the service they are performing. For example; charging a higher rate for design services and a lower rate for page layout services. Your time is valuable regardless of the services you are performing. Remember, a client is hiring you, not the service.

Alternatives to design discounts.

Offering a design discount may sound like an easy way to build client loyalty, but in fact, it may be doing more harm than good.

Alternatives you could try include offering rewards or incentives for being a loyal client. Send a gift card to someone who referred a new client to you. Buy dinner or send flowers to a client after completing a large project with them.

Rewards and incentives will be remembered much more than a discount ever will. Clients will appreciate them more and will think highly of you for thinking of them.

Another option is to go above and beyond in your services. Clients will remember the little things you do for them, especially if they were unexpected. Such as hand-delivering a print order to make sure everything is ok with it.

Merely showing your appreciation towards a client is sometimes all they need.

Monetary discounts are quickly forgotten but doing something special will be remembered and appreciated.

Do you offer design discounts or do you have an alternative solution?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Questions of the Week

There is no question of the week for this episode, but I would love to hear yours. Submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.

Resource of the week resource name

Google Alerts, found at google.com/alerts, is the way I use to keep me up to speed on all sorts of topics. It's extremely easy to set up alerts. Simply enter the search terms on the page and Google will email you the results daily, weekly or as they come out. It's just like doing a search engine search, but the results are delivered to your email inbox. You can filter the search by language, region, sources.

Google Alerts is an easy and free way to stay on top of things.

Listen to the podcast on the go.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
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Contact me

I would love to hear from you. You can send me questions and feedback using my feedback form.

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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

Mar 16, 2018

Taking your design business international.

There are many ways to attract international design clients. You can travel the world and talk to people about your business. You can invest in an international marketing campaign. You can become an SEO wizard and draw clients from around the world to you. Or, you can do what I did and give something away for free.

My first international client, without even trying.

If you listen to the Resourceful Designer podcast, you may have heard me mention bits and pieces this story, but I don’t think I’ve ever shared it all in one place.

I started podcasting in 2013 doing TV Fan Podcasts for some of the television shows I enjoy. I have podcasts covering the TV shows Under The Dome, Orphan Black, Killjoys, and The Expanse. You can find all of them on my podcast network at solotalkmedia.com

Unbeknownst to me, the journey that led me to have international design clients started with my podcast for the television show Under The Dome. While making that podcast, I met Wayne Henderson from California and Troy Heinritz from Illinois, two friends who were podcasting together about the same Under The Dome TV show. You might think that two podcasts talking about the same TV show would become rivals but the podcasting world is different. Podcasters are mostly outgoing people, and we like to help each other out, even when our shows are on the same topic. It didn't take long for Wayne, Troy and I became friends. In fact, Wayne is the man with the sultry voice you hear at the beginning of every episode of the Resourceful Designer podcast.

How does this relate to designing for international clients?

I'm the type of designer that doesn't like creating things without purpose. Any time I test out new software, buy a new Photoshop or Illustrator plugin, acquire a new font, or obtain anything else, I like to test them out on real projects. Often those projects are current client projects but if I don't have a client project suitable for me to "experiment" on I will find something else that may need a redesign and experiment on that. Even if it's not something I was hired to do.

Like many podcasters, Wayne had multiple podcasts. One of those podcasts was on the subject of Voice-Over Artists. I don't want to sound mean towards a friend, but the artwork for Wayne's podcast was horrible. So when I purchased a Design Cuts bundle and acquired a fancy new font with multiple variations for each character, I decided to experiment with it by designing a new logo for Wayne's podcast.

My goal wasn't to design a new logo; it was just to experiment with the font. But if I ended up creating something I liked, it might as well be something useful, and that's what happened. After experimenting for a while I liked what I had created, so I decided to spend a bit more time fine-tuning the design.

The artwork was useless to me so I offered it to Wayne free of charge and told him he could use it if he wanted to, no obligations. Wayne loved the artwork and immediately replaced his old artwork with my new design. Not just that, he was so grateful for the unexpected gift that he started telling everyone in the podcasting space about the great artwork I created for him.

A month or so later, I subscribed to the stock photo site GraphicStock (now StoryBlocks). While searching through the stock images, I saw one of a football on turf that caught my eye. A design idea popped into my head, and I downloaded the image.

By coincidence. Wayne and Troy have another podcast together for their favourite NFL football team, the Green Bay Packers. Once again, the artwork wasn't the greatest.

So using the stock image as inspiration, I designed new artwork for that podcast and gave it to them. Again, with no obligation for them to use it. Both Wayne and Troy were so pleased that once again they started sharing what I did on social media and the two became ambassadors for my design business.

After that, every time they saw a post in a Facebook group where someone asked a question about a design they would share my name. I would get a notification that my name was mentioned, and I would join the conversation. Most of the time I would just help the person out with advice or give my opinion on a design they already had. I didn't try to sell my services.

After a while, people started to notice that every time there was a design related question, I would provide a useful comment. It didn’t take long for one of those people to reach out to me to have something designed. The first was a woman from California. I created podcast cover art and a website for her. She was so pleased that she started sharing my name on both her podcast and on social media.

I was then contacted and hired to create podcast cover art by a couple of her listeners who heard her talk about me with high praise. One of them was from Hong Kong and another from London, my first overseas international clients. The client in Hong Kong liked working with me enough that he hired me for another project of his that was not podcast related. This project was in partnership with someone he knew in Japan. A couple of months later the man from Japan asked me to design something for a side project he was starting. And so on and so on.

Most designers agree that the bulk of their clients come to them via word of mouth referrals. That's precisely what happened to me but on an international scale. I've now worked with clients on every continent except for Antarctica. Most of them stem from those first two artworks I did for free for a couple of podcasting friends.

This all started in March of 2015. At that time almost all of my clients were local except for a couple in the USA. Now, over 80% of my clients are international. Half of them are linked somehow to the podcast space.

What exactly did I do?

  • Instead of wasting time experimenting with design, I chose to experiment by designing something useful.
  • Even though I was experimenting, I made sure to produce good work. Designs I could be proud of.
  • I gave the design away for free to people who would appreciate it. Please keep in mind that doing free work is not the same as working for free. I can guarantee you that if Wayne or Troy had come to me asking for the artwork, I would have charged them for it.
  • I provided good work that people appreciated, and it made them want to spread the word about me.

Now, three years later. My name is recognised in the podcast space as that podcasting graphic designer who understands the podcast industry. And who do people turn to when they need a designer? Someone they know, someone they’ve heard about, someone who understands them.

Times change.

We’re lucky that we live at a time where it’s so easy for someone in California to have a conversation and share knowledge with someone in Scotland, Brazil or Australia. We're also lucky that boundaries have been broken. It wasn't that long ago that people were fearful of hiring someone from outside their borders. Now, most people do it without a second thought.

How does this apply to your design business?

How does this apply to you? Easy, if It worked for me, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for you. In episode 54 and episode 93 of Resourceful Designer, I talked about Niches and how they can help grow your design business.

That’s what I did without even realising it. I went after the podcast niche. It took me three years to get to the point I'm at now, and no, not all my clients are in the podcasting space, but by ingraining myself in that niche I've built an international design business, and it keeps gaining traction every day. Now I've partnered with a podcast production company who contracts me every time they have a new client that requires either podcast cover art, social media branding, website or any other design work.

This method can work for you.

If you have a passion or a hobby, I encourage you to get involved with others that have the same passion or hobby. Attend events related to your hobby, follow them on social media, join facebook groups or sub-Reddit groups, even forums if they still exist. Get to know the people in your space, help them out if you can, let them know what you do but don't sell yourself. By offering valuable information and showing that you know what you're talking about, I’m sure that eventually, you will get work from it just like I did.

Gary Vaynerchuk has a book called [easyazon_link identifier="006227306X" locale="US" tag="resourcefuldesigner-20"]Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.[/easyazon_link] In his book, Gary explains that you will be more successful at selling yourself if you've continuously offered help before. Be helpful, and when the time comes people will repay you for that help.

As I said at the start, there are many ways to attract international design clients. This is the way that worked for me. It took three years but it was well worth it, and I can't wait to see what my client list will look like three years from now.

Be helpful, Do good work, Treat your clients right and be patient. It will work out for you as well.

How do you attract international design clients?

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 entire episode was based on a question I received from Nayda. This is what she asked.

Recently I listened one of your podcast in which you said that most of your clients are not locals in Canada. That’s why you set as one of your 2018 goals to gain more local clients.

I was wondering, how do you find overseas clients? Recently I stumble upon the “Upwork” platform. In Puerto Rico, where I am from, they developed something similar after Hurricane María hits us. It’s called “Shop & Hire”.

Did you use a platform similar to these to get your overseas clients? Also, what are your thoughts about the use of platforms such as the one I mentioned?

Have a great day!

Nayda

This article is part of what I discussed on the podcast. Listen to the episode for the full story.

Resource of the week Backblaze

Never Lose a File Again with the World's Easiest Cloud Backup. Backblaze gives you peace of mind knowing your files are backed up securely in the cloud. Just set it up and forget about it. Backblaze works in the background and automatically backs up new and modified files.

Hard drive crashes are only one thing you need to worry about. Your files are also vulnerable to hardware theft and natural disasters such as floods, fires, earthquakes etc. With Backblaze, you can rest at ease knowing your business files are safe no matter what happens. Backblaze works on Mac or PC and is just $50/year.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
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Contact me

Send me feedback

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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

Mar 9, 2018

What makes up good impressions?

The impressions you leave on your clients determine their willingness to work with you in the future. When good impressions outweigh bad impressions, clients will want to do business with you again. So how do you ensure you are making good impressions while dealing with your clients?

Let me tell you a story

About a year ago something happened to our washing machine. Every time we tried to do a load of clothes the washer would start up and then stop. Lights on the front panel would start flashing but nothing else. I tried the first trick in the book and banged it a few times, but it didn't help. It was time to make a service call.

I called an appliance repair guy I had used in the past only to discover he had retired. He was kind enough to give me the names of several people I could contact, and I dialled the first one on the list. A woman answered the phone and seemed confused when I started talking. She interrupted me, asked me to "hold on" and put the phone down for what seemed like minutes before a man finally picked up. I told him what my problem was and made an appointment for the next day at 10 am.

The following morning at 11:20 am a rusty pickup truck with a magnetic sign on the door advertising the repair business pulls into my driveway.

A couple of minutes later a middle-aged gentleman walked up to my door wearing sweatpants and an old Van Halen T-shirt. His branded sweat-stained baseball cap confirmed what the tuck said. This was the repair guy.

The first thing out of his mouth was an apology for being late. Apparently, there was a long lineup at the drive-through coffee shop that put him behind schedule and then he got lost trying to find my place. I invited him in and showed him the washing machine.

The first thing he did is start a wash cycle that ended with the same results I had been getting. He then proceeded to press a certain combination of buttons that put the washing machine into a diagnosis mode which allowed him to see what error codes the machine was generating by what lights flashed on the console. He then pulled out a sheet of paper and compared the flashing lights on the washer to their error code on the sheet.

At that point, I asked him what his thoughts were, but he told me he still had to run more tests before deciding. I let him get back to work without any more interruptions. After watching him for several minutes, I started to understand what he was doing even though I didn't understand what the flashing lights meant.

Finally, after several minutes he told me that it was the same error code that kept coming up. This confused me since I was seeing different lights flashing every time he did something. But I'm not an appliance repair guy, so I took his word for it.

He then told me the error code indicated a faulty motherboard and on a machine as old as mine he didn't think it was worth repairing. I thanked him very much. He wrote me an invoice. I gave him a check and sent him on his way.

For some reason, I wasn't feeling confident with his assessment. So I called my wife, explained the situation and told her that before we run out and purchase a brand new washing machine, I would like to have someone else come in and look at it. It may cost us a bit more, but I would feel better after a second opinion.

I went back to the list of names my retired appliance repair guy gave me and called the second one on the list. This time a man answered and introduced himself as Dave from, and he mentioned his company name. I explained my washer problem, and he asked a few questions. He then told me he was booked up for the week but his last appointment for that day wasn't that far from where I live, and he could stop by afterwards if that were OK.

At 5:05 pm Dave called me to confirm I was still home and told me he would be there in 15 minutes. At exactly 5:20 pm a white van with professionally applied graphics of Dave's logo and contact information on the side, pulled into my driveway.

When I opened my door, Dave was there wearing blue work pants, work boots and a blue button shirt with his logo embroidered on the pocket. Before stepping into the house, he took out a pair of disposable booties and put them over his work boots so not to damage my floors.

I showed Dave the washing machine, and he started doing the same thing the first guy had done. Except, Dave didn't have a paper to refer to, and he explained everything he was doing to me. He described how diagnosis mode worked and what each flashing light we were seeing represented.

He then explained how he had to press a specific button combination to reset the machine after each test. Otherwise, it would give him random errors codes, and he wouldn't be able to diagnose the problem. To my knowledge, the first repair guy never did that.

After only a couple of minutes looking at the machine, Dave told me he thought a drum sensor that was causing the problem. He explained to me that there’s a sensor under the drum that measures RPM and from what he could tell it was sending out false information.

Dave went out to his truck and returned with a new sensor. He replaced it and tested the machine, and it started working again. He then told me that he was 99% sure the new sensor fixed the problem but we wouldn't know until the machine had gone through an entire wash cycle and he wasn't going to wait around for it to do so.

So Dave took the old sensor and put it in the box the new sensor had come in. He then told me to run the machine for a few days. If everything turned out fine, I could dispose of the old sensor, and he would send me an invoice. However, if it turned out that the problem was more than just the sensor, he would replace the new one with the old one again, and he wouldn't charge me for it.

We shook hands and Dave left. A few days later he called to see how things had worked out and I told him the washing machine was working fine. A few days after that I received an invoice in the mail for $75. $40 for the new sensor and $35 for the 30 minutes Dave spent at my house.

Our washing machine is still working today.

Good impressions vs bad impressions.

Think about the story I just told you. According to my old retired repair guy, everyone on the list he gave me was an experienced and competent appliance repairman. From what I was able to discover while Googling contact information for both repair guys, each had been running their appliance repair business for over 15 years. Both had good ratings on Google, and the reviews for both were favourable showing past satisfied clients.

I don't dispute that each one knows his craft. Sure the first guy misdiagnosed the issue, but nobody's perfect. I'm confident that in his mind the problem was a faulty motherboard.

It's not their skill I'm questioning. It's the impressions they left on me. The first guy left a bad impression. Staring at his vehicle to his attire to his demeanour. The second guy, on the other hand, left a good impression on me. From the moment he pulled into my driveway to the moment he left.

How good impressions affect decisions.

Fast forward to this past weekend. My wife and I woke up Sunday morning to a fridge that wasn't working. Luckily the cold weather at this time of year in Canada was in our favour. We were able to save all our food by putting it on our back deck in coolers and plastic bins, but I knew we couldn't last like that. I needed to have a repair guy look at our fridge as soon as possible. Who do you think I called?

Even though it was Sunday and I knew Dave worked Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm I decided to call and leave a message for him to get Monday morning. I dialled his number, and when his answering machine picked up, I proceeded to leave the following message.

"Hi Dave, It’s Mark Des Cotes here. I don’t know if you remember me, but you repaired my washing machine last year. I’m calling because there’s something wrong with our fridge…”

At that point in my message, I hear the phone pick up, and Dave say “Hi Mark, Dave here, what’s the problem with your fridge?”

I was stunned. I wasn't expecting anyone to pick up and I told Dave as much. He said to me that he can listen when people leave messages and that his ears perked up when I mentioned that I was a past client. And then when he heard me say I was having a problem with my fridge, he decided to pick up.

Dave told me he wasn't busy that afternoon and offered to come by and have a look. I was about to give him my address when he told me he remembered where I lived and he would see me at 1:00 pm. More good impressions.

Dave tested a bunch of things, explaining to me the whole time what he was doing. Unfortunately, unlike the washing machine, we both agreed that the investment required to repair the fridge wasn't worth it. We had to get a new one. With all the good impressions Dave had left on me through our two encounters, I didn't question his assessment.

Good impressions and your design business.

So what does my story have to do with your design business? Simple, Good impressions make a difference.

You can be the best designer around, but if you don’t make good impressions on your clients, you could be losing them to lesser quality designers that do make good impressions.

How do you make good impressions?

Be courteous

Don't just listen to your clients speak, hear what they have to say. Involve the client in your conversations, shake their hand every time you see them. Look them in the eye when talking with them.

Be punctual

Show up when you say you will. Deliver when you say you will. If for some reason you can’t be punctual, let your client know in advance. Apologizingafterwards is too late. The bad impression damage is already done.

Be Presentable

Unless your clients are part of the corporate world wearing a suit or fancy dress may not be necessary, but you should still look clean and presentable. Wear professional looking clothes. Be conscious of your grooming. If you wear fragrances, make sure they are not overpowering. Don’t show up to a meeting with a backpack, carry your things in a good looking case or portfolio.

Act professional

Have answers to your client's questions. If you don’t have the answers, offer to find them and get back to your client. Answer your phone in a professional manner. Reply to your emails in a professional manner by always addressing the person you are talking to and signing the message, so there's no question as to whom it came from.

All of these things will make good impressions. If you do it right, you’ve already won half the battle when it comes to landing and keeping clients. If you have design skills to match, you have nothing else to worry about.

What are your experiences with bad or good impressions?

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 Joshua

I have been on my own for the last year and I am struggling to decide where to spend advertising dollars. What is the most efficient way to gain new clients? Working with the local chamber of commerce, FB or IG ads, or some other avenue. My clients have been good at referring to me but since I am new I do not have a giant book of business to pull from.

Any ideas would be great!

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

Resource of the week Four Week Marketing Boost

The Four Week Marketing Boost! is a guide I created that will help you strengthen your marketing position, boost your brand’s awareness & social presence and ultimately ensure you are in tip-top shape to offer a best first impression to potential new clients.

This guide is divided into 20 short actions that easily fit into your regular day and are designed to take as little time away from your client work as possible. Although you can complete these exercises quickly, it is recommended you tackle only one per day, spending no more than 30 minutes per task. After 20 days you should be in a comfortable position to present your most favourable image to potential clients.

And yes, this guide is free! Get it by visiting marketingboost.net

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Send me feedback

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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

Mar 2, 2018

What Is Value-Based Pricing?

Value-based pricing is a way to not only get paid for your time and expenses but a way to get paid for the value of the services and products you provide to your clients.

Value-Based Pricing = Time + Expenses + Value.

With hourly pricing and project-based pricing, you are compensated only for your time and expenses. This way is ok for newer designers just starting out. But once you’ve established yourself and start to build a reputation as a skilled designer, you become more valuable to your clients than merely the time you spend on a project. At that point, you may want to consider switching your pricing method to value-based pricing.

After all, If that new website or logo your designing will help your client’s business grow and perhaps earn them a half million dollars over its lifetime, that’s a great value to them, and your prices should reflect it.

Establish a baseline price.

Before you start using value-based pricing, you need to establish a baseline price. Your baseline price will be different depending on the scope of each project, but they all start off the same way.

When submitting a quote using value-based pricing, it’s important to remember the formula: Value-Based Pricing = Time + Expenses + Value.

To start, you need to estimate how long you think a project will take and multiply it by your hourly rate. Make sure your hourly rate reflects your skills as a designer.

Once you have your time figured out, estimate your expenses for the project. Not just project specific expenses but business expenses as well. Business expenses are something many designers overlook when quoting.

How much electricity will you be consuming while working on the project? If you are renting space, you should know how much per hour it costs you and include it as an expense. How much does your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription cost per hour of use? All of these are considered expenses and you should bill for them. Just because it’s a business expense doesn’t mean you can’t charge your clients for it.

Remember that besides your time, you should be charging enough to keep the light on and keep your business running as well.

Taking all of this into consideration, you will have a different baseline price for every project. A website will take more time to develop than designing a business card will. Don’t forget to add a buffer to your baseline price. We all know about scope creep so compensate for it in advance by adding anywhere from 5-20% or more to your baseline price.

Once you’ve determined your baseline price for a project, you can then adjust your quote based on the projected value of the project to your client, that's value-based pricing.

Determining the value of a project

Determining the value part of value-based pricing is tricky. Through back and forth conversations with your clients, you need to figure out what sort of return they expect to achieve with what you provide them. Only then can you figure out a percentage of that amount as the value part of your price equation.

When first starting out with value-based pricing it's normal to offer lower prices as you get used to the concept of how much value design can provide. Over time as you practice and gain experience, you will get better at determining the true value of a project. The trick is to try and let your clients estimate the value for you by asking lots of questions about their business.

Be more than a designer

When you first start your business, chances are you'll run it more like a technician. A client tells you what they want, you design it for them, and they pay you. Many designers continue using that model their entire career. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But If you want to use value-based pricing you need to do more. You need to establish yourself not only as a designer but as a design consultant.

As a designer, most of the communication goes in one direction. From the client to you. As a design consultant, communication evens out or even tips in the other direction with you directing the project more than the client does.

To establish yourself as a design consultant, you need to be inquisitive about a client's business. Ask them questions like “What sort of growth do you anticipate for this upcoming year?” or "How do you think this proposed design project will affect your bottom line?" or “How much money are you willing to invest to ensure the success of your business?”

By asking these types of questions from the start, questions that have nothing to do with the actual designing of the project, your clients will realise that you bring much more to the table than merely your design skills. You deliver insight and value that will continue long after you’ve completed their project.

If you establish yourself as a problem solver, which is what a consultant should be, and you approach clients with confidence, you will build trust with them, and they will be much more willing to open up to you about their business. Once you have that trust and your clients see the knowledge and value you bring to them, they will be ready to invest more with you.

Several of my clients use me as a sounding board to ask my opinion on business matters. Matters that have nothing to do with design. That’s because of the trust and value I've provided them over the years. Those clients value me more than just for my design skills, And that means I can charge them more for my services based on that trust and value.

The tricky part is putting a price tag on that value. Maybe that value is $5,000, or perhaps it's $50,000. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to figure it out. You will need to judge for yourself what you think the value of each project is to your client and then present your value-based price with confidence.

It is trial and error. But with practice, you will get the hang of it, and start to know when you can charge more for a project based on value and when you can’t. Before long, you will feel comfortable and confident in asking for what you are worth.

I remember years ago when I used to design websites for $400-$700. The first time I quoted $1000 for a website I was very nervous, but I believed the value I was providing was more than what I had been charging. My clients must have agreed because they accepted my quotes, and soon $1000 became my new base price for a basic website. Later, recognising even more value I was bringing, I raised my price to $2000 wondering if clients would laugh in my face. They didn't. They agreed, and $2000 became my new base price.

Every time I raised my prices and asked for more money, based on the value I was providing, I kept thinking I was asking too much and I would never hear from those clients again. But you know what? It never happened.

Let me tell you what did happen. When I was asking $400-$700 for a website, I had a lot of clients say it was too expensive or they couldn't afford it. I was winning one out of every four or five quotes I submitted. But now that my starting price for a basic website is several thousand dollars, I rarely have a client turn me down. Most clients are referred to me by someone they trust, and they've heard of the value I provide beyond a simple website. With that knowledge, they are willing to invest in my services even though I charge much more than the next guy.

You are a professional designer, that’s why clients are coming to you in the first place. If a client doesn’t like your price for their project, if they don’t see the value in hiring you, then you don’t want them as a client.

There are no bad clients, only bad design choices.

Before that statement makes you stop reading let me explain. When I say bad design choices I don’t mean a designer's skills, I mean their people perception filters. If you end up with clients that are rude or disrespectful, clients that micromanage you or are stingy with their money, it's not the clients' fault; it’s yours for agreeing to work with them.

Unless you are just starting out, you should have enough experience in recognising demanding clients to be able to turn them away before ever having to deal with them. The money may be tempting, but the headaches are not worth it.

By using value-based pricing, by establishing yourself as a design consultant, a professional in your field, you will project a higher sense of worth which will allow you to charge the prices you deserve for the value you provide. Clients will respect you more and will understand that what you do is much more than just an expense for them. It’s an investment.

Don’t worry about the designers on Fiverr or similar platforms or the ones in your community that are charging less than you. Your prices are not intended to be competitive; they’re meant to reflect where you are in your career and the value you provide to your clients.

Your goal is to distinguish yourself by showing the uniqueness you can bring by showcasing a positive track record of successful projects. Use your portfolio and case studies and let them speak for themselves. They will prove that the value you provide is worth every penny.

Niche Down

Niches are a perfect avenue for value-based pricing. Whenever you serve a niche, you are automatically established as an expert and can charge much higher prices for your work.

When your business is new, you need to diversify your services to have many sources of design income and to build your portfolio. You may design logos, websites, business cards, posters, you name it. The object is to build up a portfolio that will gain trust from your audience and eventually allow you to work with the clients you want.

By taking on all these projects and doing them well, you will allow your reputation, your professionalism to grow organically over time. Eventually, you may want concentrate on a niche.

Niching down can be scary because doing it correctly means turning down potentially good clients outside of your niche. But if you look at the bigger picture, I’m sure you’ll agree, that one $15,000 project in your chosen niche more than makes up for several $1000 projects you turn down from clients outside your niche.

What usually holds designers back is the fear that those $15,000+ projects are far out of reach. How can a solo designer, working from home charge those kinds of fees? You can once you've built up a reputation of someone who provides value beyond the design.

If you concentrate on building your business the right way and don’t compromise on design projects, you can reach that level.

High paying clients are looking for you

You are not a factory worker on a production line, so don’t run your design business like you are.

I read a great line in an old article by Dina Rodreguez that I’m going to steal.

What would happen if you hired a doctor and then told them how to operate on you?

As a designer, you’re no different. You are a professional in your field, and you should be treated like one. Clients should not be telling you what to do, you should be telling them what they need. Be the problem solver.

Be confident in your skills and your work. Price yourself accordingly based on the value of the work you provide. If you do this, you will notice over time that less and less of those thrifty “shopping around” clients will be contacting you, and more and more big-budget clients will be knocking at your door.

Remember, Don’t base your prices on what those around you or online are charging. Recognize your true potential and realize the value you bring to your clients. Then pursue your passion without hesitation. Price yourself as a professional, not a commodity.

What are your thoughts on Value-Based Pricing?

Let me know your goals 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 Rich

I’m curious about if you use something like WHMCS (Web Host Manager Complete Solution) management software for invoicing and do your clients have sandboxed account logins or do you manage all your client’s within your hosting account?

I was thinking about starting out managing client sites from within my unlimited site shared hosting account and moving to the full “reseller” account as demand increases. It sounds like a WHMCS managed reseller account might be vital for automating invoicing, service tickets and other account related actions.

Thanks again, your content has been so helpful.

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

Resource of the week iThemes Security

This week's resource is the WordPress plugin iThemes Security, specifically the plugin's feature that allows you to change the URL of a site's WordPress login page from /wp-login.php or /wp-admin to anything you want. This makes it harder for bots and hackers to gain access to the site since they don't know what the login URL is. Simply click on the iThemes Security advanced settings, chose Hide Backend and change the URL slug to anything you want.

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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

Feb 22, 2018

How much thought do you give client loyalty?

When it comes to your business, everything you do and everything you don’t do tells your clients how they should feel about you and your business. Being a great designer isn’t enough to garner client loyalty. There are plenty of great designers out there. So why should someone choose you over any of them?

It’s even more difficult in today's market with all the inexpensive crowdsourced or contest oriented design options available to clients these days. Not only do you need to prove you’re a good designer, but you also need to show you are worth the money you're charging for your services. You need to do everything you can to prove to your clients that their money is better spent with you.

When you achieve that, you’ll be rewarded with a client that is loyal to you and your design business. So how do you accomplish this?

Here are seven tips to help you build client loyalty.

1) Do What You Say You’ll Do

The ability to follow through on your commitments is extremely valuable when it comes to client loyalty. When you tell a client you’re going to do something, follow through and do it. Clients hear your comments as promises. So if you don’t do what you said you would do, it’s like you broke a promise with them and they will lose trust in you.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been working with a client, or how much trust you’ve built up. Failing to follow through on something you said you would, will ruin all the goodwill and client loyalty you’ve been building up. It’s very hard to recover once someone loses trust in you.

If for some reason you are not able to follow through on something you told your client you would do, give your clients ample notice. Most clients will understand if you let them know in advance that you can't hold to your word. Apologizing after the fact is too late.

Remember, actions speak louder than words. Follow through on what you say you’ll do.

2) Share your discoveries.

In your line of work, you get to talk to a lot of different people in various fields. Some of the conversations you have or the news you hear may not be of interest to you, but it may be of interest to your clients.

Whenever you hear something you think one of your clients might be interested in, pass it along. Merely passing on information is a great way to stay in touch with your clients and it shows them that you care about them. This will go a long way towards building client loyalty.

3) Get to know your clients

Building client loyalty is all about building relationships, the cornerstone of any great partnership. Designer and client included. It’s so important that I’ve talked about client relationships on over 25 episodes of the podcast.

To build a client relationship you need to learn things about your client. Find out when their birthday is. Learn who their family members are and what they do. Discover what hobbies and interests your client has.

Later, when talking to your client, bring up some of this information in the conversation. Ask about their daughter's recital. Inquire how a family member is doing since they had surgery. Find out how their son's team is doing.

Just by discussing things that are related to your client’s personal life, you too, become part of their personal life.

This shows your client that you care about them more than just on a working basis and it will make them think twice before every hiring a different designer.

4) Provide added Value

Go above and beyond if you can. Tip #1 I was about keeping promises. What if you promise to deliver something by Friday and you give it to your client two days early on Wednesday? To your clients, this is an added value they will appreciate, and it didn’t cost you anything.

Another thing you can do is provide little extras that other designers don’t.

Create short instruction videos using software like Screenflow to show your clients how to use their newly launched website. Teach them how to log in, how to create or edit posts, how to upload media files, etc. Not only does this go above and beyond to provide added value to your clients. It also lessens your workload because your client won't be contacting you asking “how do I do that again?”

If you design a logo for a client, include a PDF explaining all the different file formats you are providing them. List each one and explain when and why each format should be used. This could be the same PDF you share with all your clients. To them, it's an added value.

Anything you do to create added value goes a long way to strengthen client loyalty.

5) Engage your clients and give them a reason to come back

Once a project is over, it doesn’t mean your communications with your client should be over as well. Keep in touch with them. Let them know of new or improved services you offer. Are you getting into the Facebook advertising game? Let your clients know about it. Have you discovered a new supplier that provides some new and innovative marketing dohickey? Mention to your clients how they might benefit from using it in their promotional campaign. Did a client ask you to design something you’ve never done before? Show it off to your other clients and offer to do the same for them.

By letting your clients know about the new and exciting happenings with your company you build momentum with them, and it makes them somehow feel involved and builds loyalty towards you.

6) Get Feedback from your clients

A great way to build client loyalty is to ask them for their opinion on your business and services. Were they happy with their most recent dealings with you? Did the service you provide meet their expectations? Ask them if there is anything you could have done to make the experience better.

Asking your clients for their opinion is a great way to show you care about what they think and that you are listening to their concerns.

7) Show your appreciation.

As a child, your parents taught you to say Thank You whenever someone gives you something. Your clients are giving you work they could have taken elsewhere. Once a project is over show your client you're grateful for it by saying thank you for the business.

This simple gesture is something rarely seen in the service industry, and your clients will take note and remember you for it, increasing their loyalty towards you.

If you follow these seven tips to increase client loyalty towards you and your business, not only will you be ensuring a long-lasting relationship with your clients, but you will be growing your business as well. Because loyal clients are more apt to talk about you and spread the word about the great work and excellent service you provide.

What do you do to build client loyalty?

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 Miranda

Hi Mark, I was wondering if you ever worked in a small design agency, and if you had any tips for a Graphic Designer with about a year of professional experience. I’ve worked in a big agency and small design businesses. I’d love your feedback on how to get a small design agency better quality work.

My boss is kind of old school so some of the work is not branding our clients it’s more production work. We have branded clients and have some great clients we’ve branded. But I wanted your take on how to get better clients and how to navigate them to understanding how important their brand is.

Thanks so much! Would love to hear from you!

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

Resource of the week Running SEO

This week's resource is Running SEO, a website that offers free instant website reviews and SEO audits. With their in-depth website analysis, you can learn how to improve your website rankings & online visibility through SEO, social media, usability and much more. Running SEO doesn't just tell you what's wrong with your site, it says you how to fix it. Their competitive analysis function gives you a side-by-side comparison between your site and your competitor. Find out what they are doing better on their site and implement it on your site. Running SEO is also great for landing new clients. Run an analysis before meeting a new client to show them what needs improving on their website.

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Send me feedback

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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

Feb 15, 2018

Are you looking to become a freelance designer?

At one point or another, every designer wonders what it would be like to become a freelance designer.

Maybe you’re a student dreaming of tackling the world after graduation. Perhaps you’re an in-house designer tired of working 9-5 designing similar things for the same company year after year. Maybe you work for a design agency as part of a larger team of experienced designers, and you feel like you are not being used to your full potential.

Regardless of where you are in your design career, the thought of becoming a freelance designer, to run your own business from home, to be your own boss, might be something going through your head.

I’m a big advocate of freelancers. I’ve focused Resourceful Designer specifically on helping home-based designers. But I’m also the first person to say that not every designer is suited to freelancer life. That’s why I put together this list of 5 things you should consider before deciding to become a freelance designer.

Why do you want to become a freelance designer?

The first thing you need to ask yourself before handing in your resignation letter is why do you want to become a freelance designer?

Is it for the flexible schedule? Is it for the ability to choose your clients and projects? Is it for the tax write-offs? Is it for the ability to work in your pyjamas at any hour of the day? Is it simply to be your own boss?

Whatever your reasons, make sure they are good ones before you make the leap and start your design business.

Here are five things to consider before deciding to become a freelance designer.

1) How will you deal with the isolation of working from home?

Working from home can get lonely. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons designers give up the freelance life and go back to a 9-5 job. It’s a big enough issue that there's an entire episode of Resourceful Designer where I talk about coping with isolation when working from home.

Ask any home-based designer, and they will tell you that isolation is a real issue. If you are someone who enjoys talking face to face with colleagues throughout the day, it's something to keep in mind.

Before you decide to become a freelance designer make sure you can handle the loneliness that comes with being by yourself most of the time.

2) How good are you at time management?

When you are an employee, chances are someone is telling you, or at least directing you in what you need to do on a daily basis.

Once you become a freelance designer, you won’t have someone telling you what to do anymore. Some people see this as a benefit, but you need to make sure you are disciplined enough to not only create a work schedule for yourself but to stick to it.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Not having a boss looking over your shoulder and keeping you in check can lead you astray.

Without someone making sure you’re working on what you are supposed to be working on when you're supposed to be working on it makes it very easy to get caught up on tangents. Before you know it, you’re spending way too much time on YouTube or Facebook, or succumbing to the temptation of that brand new season of your favourite show that just dropped on Netflix.

Make sure you know how to manage your time and make sure you know how to stick to a schedule, even one you made for yourself.

3) Can you plan for the future?

Running your own design business is not about the here and now. It’s about the future. When you are an employee, chances are there’s someone else worrying about the future of the business where you work. But when that business is your own, it’s your responsibility to ensure for your future.

No matter how good your clients are, or how big the projects your working on become, there is no guarantee they will still be around in a few months.

You need to be able to look ahead and prepare for slow times by continuingly looking for new projects and new clients to sustain your business.

A home-based designer’s life is full of ups and downs when it comes to projects. The trick is to minimize those downward curves by preparing ahead for them.

4) Can you be your own boss?

When you become a freelance designer, you don’t give up a boss. You become the boss. But are you boss material?

Are you able to keep yourself accountable to not only get the design work done but to handle the other day to day activities that running a business requires?

Designers thinking about freelancing don't often think about everything involved. Running your own design business is much more than just designing.

If you want to know what else is involved in running a home-based design business, listen to episode 38 of Resourceful Designer: The Many Hats Of A Home Based Graphic Designer.

5) How good are you at finances?

One of the many hats you will need to wear after you become a freelance designer is that of an accountant. Freelancing is not a financially stable profession. You don’t get a steady paycheck every week. Some months lots of money may come in and other months barely a cent. Especially when you first start off.

You need to be able to handle your income in a way that is sustainable for you. That means making sure that not only are you covering your bills but that you have enough saved up for those times when work is slow.

Is the freelance life for you?

Many designers think that life would be so much easier if they started their own design business. The truth of the matter is that freelancing is very difficult and requires a particular type of person to succeed at it. You might be that type of person. But ask yourself these five questions before you quit your job to become a freelance designer.

Do you have what it takes to become a freelance designer?

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 Shenai

I know some universities have classes that cover some of the legal issues with designing but mine did not offer this. If you have advise on when you should trademark designs, or other ideas of design protection - I would love to hear that episode! In a time where everyone is marketing themselves on social media, I have a huge fear of being ripped off and really don't know at what lengths to go to cover my bases.

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

Resource of the week Coolors.co

This week's resource is the website Coolors.co. Coolors.co is a super fast and super easy way to create, save and share colour pallets for all your projects. Choose from a gallery of readily made pallets or create your own from scratch or based on some pre-selected colours.

Subscribe to the podcast

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Contact me

Send me feedback

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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.

Feb 8, 2018

If you want more design clients you need to follow-up.

It requires many hats to run a successful home-based design business. Beyond being a designer, you need to wear the hat of a bookkeeper, a receptionist, a marketer, a salesperson and many more. Often it's the salesperson hat that scares people away, but it's one of the most important ones you will have to wear.

To have a successful design business, you need to be a competent salesperson. You don’t have to be great. You don't even have to be that good at it. Just being competent is all you need to succeed.

I know that being a salesperson has a certain stigma to it. Salespeople are often depicted on TV and the big screen as annoying, slimy people. But the fact of the matter is, everyone is a salesperson in one way or another. If you've ever convinced your spouse to go out for Italian food when they were in the mood for Mexican, you're a salesperson. If you've ever told your kids they can get a dessert if they eat all their vegetables, you're a salesperson. If you've ever sold your design services to a client, you're a salesperson.

Being a salesperson

One thing all good salespeople have in common is persistence. Without persistence, they would never make a sale. As the salesperson for your design business, you have to be persistent when searching for new clients. That persistence requires you to follow-up with someone after your first contact with them.

All salespeople know that the majority of successful sales happen during the follow-up. The same applies when you are pitching new clients. Rarely will a potential client hire you the first time you meet them. But if you are persistent and follow-up with them, you drastically improve your chances of winning them over.

When to follow-up

You need to follow up any time you meet a potential client for the first time. Some of these situations may include;

  • Cold calling (email, phone or in person)
  • Client presentations (When a client ask you to meet them for the first time)
  • Pitches (When you are one of many designers pitching a proposal to a client)
  • Request For Proposals (Either RFPs you've been asked to submit or those you've discovered yourself)

If you don’t follow up, you are leaving things open for someone else to sweep in and use your initial effort as traction to win over your potential client.

Your follow-ups should continue until you establish a conversation with the client or they decline your requests for further communication. More on that last part later.

How to follow-up

There are many ways to follow-up with someone, and there are different stages to the follow-up to which you should adhere. Work your way through the follow-up stages until you establish a communication with the client. Here are a few things you can try.

After your first in-person meeting or phone conversation.

  1. Within two days of the meeting, you should thank them for taking the time to talk to you. Nothing more.
  2. One to two weeks after the meeting, Send them a message asking if they have had a chance to think about what you had discussed.
  3. If you do not get a response after your second follow-up, you could send them a message saying you understand they may not be ready to proceed with anything now, but you can follow up again with you in a few months.
  4. Mark your calendar and follow-up again after the time you specified in step 3.

After sending a first contact email or voicemail.

Usually, this falls under the scope of cold calling. You send a potential client an email or leave them a voicemail message introducing yourself. Don't worry if you don't immediately hear back from them. Follow these steps for more engagement.

  1. After a few days, call or email them again and ask if they received your first message.
  2. After one or two weeks contact them again and politely tell them you have not heard back from them and you were just wondering if your messages were getting to them.
  3. If they still don’t respond, you can follow-up by saying you understand they are busy so you will reach out to them again in a few months.
  4. Mark your calendar and follow-up again after the time you specified in step 3.

Keep following up until you hear "no."

Remember that the trick to being a good salesperson is to remain persistent until you either get the sale, or you're offer is rejected. Most people, even if they are interested in your services, won't respond to the first contact. It takes several tries before they are ready to commit. If you are not following up you are missing out on a lot of opportunities in gaining new clients.

That’s why following up is essential. You will get a higher number of people responding to your second and third contact request. By showing them your persistence, you are proving your value and dedication, both useful traits in someone worth hiring.

Keep trying until they tell you they are not interested or have no need for your services. Until they decline, you should continue to treat them as potential clients.

Pick another fish

If you are trying to land a large corporation as a client and you don't hear back from the person you are trying to reach. Try reaching out to somebody else in the company. Sometimes someone won't respond to you because what you are offering isn't part of their job description. After several failed attempts try moving on to someone else in the company.

It's a waiting game

To many people, this tactic feels intrusive and bothersome but’s it’s all part of the selling game. Since the dawn of time salespeople have been earning a living through persistence and following up. The tactics are no different for your design business. Keep at it, and you will land those clients you thought were out of reach.

You can be the best designer in the world, but if you don’t practice your skills as a salesperson, you’re going to have a tough time growing your design business.

How often do you follow-up with potential clients?

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.

I don't have a question this week, but I look forward to answering yours in the future.

Clarification of the week.

This week instead of a resource or tip I want to clarify something I've been noticing lately. Many people have been messaging me about episode 11 of the podcast about pricing strategies. These people are confused between Project-Based Pricing and Fixed/Flat Rate Pricing.

Project Based Pricing is when you look at the scope of a project and give the client a quote based on the work involved to complete that project. With Project-Based Pricing, every job is priced according to its scope. For example; You might quote $150 for a logo for a local charity run and $800 for a logo for a new law firm. Both are logos, but one will probably require more work.

Fixed/Flat Rate Pricing is when you advertise a certain price to do a specific task regardless of the scope of the job. For example; you promote that you design logos for $250. It doesn't matter if it's for a charity run or a law firm. All logos are $250.

I did not talk about Fixed/Flat Rate Pricing in episode 11 because I don't feel it's a viable method of pricing. Unless your fixed prices are very high, there's a good chance you will lose money on the majority projectsn.

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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

Feb 2, 2018

Make a little progress every day to reach the next level.

Building a successful design business isn’t easy. It takes skill, it takes time, and it takes effort, a lot of effort. Think of your design business’s success as a journey. One where you strive every day to make progress towards that next level of success.

Every business starts off new, with all the potential in the world. To grow your business, you need to have a destination in mind of what next level you want to reach. Then you get to work and make progress towards that goal.

Maybe that destination is to land that first paying design client. Maybe it’s to see something you designed in print. Maybe it’s hearing from your client that they’ve made their first sale on a website you built for them. Whatever your destination is, you need to work hard until you reach it.

Of course, reaching that destination is not the end. It's a new beginning. Once you've reached that destination and achieved that goal, the next step is to progress to the next level. You do that by setting a new destination for yourself and setting off on that path.

Maybe your new destination is to get your second client. Maybe it's to design something portfolio worthy. Maybe it's to see your design on store shelves.

Whatever your goals are, or whatever path you take, you get there by putting one foot in front of the other until your next destination is reached.

Overcoming doubt.

Like any journey, there will be bumps along the way that may cause you to doubt yourself.

Am I a good enough a designer to be doing this?

Why would someone hire me instead of one of the other talented and more experienced designers offering similar work?

Can I create a design that truly reflects who the client is?

Am I charging too much or too little for my work?

These are all normal questions to be thinking. Some designers don’t even realize they doubt themselves by asking them. But it's ok; all designers do it. And you know what? Doubting yourself is healthy. If you didn't doubt yourself, there would be nothing to keep you in check. Nothing to cause you to stop and think is this the best idea or direction. Nothing stopping you from taking a wrong path that leads you away from the destination you set for yourself.

The trick is to use that doubt to help you navigate to that next level. This goes for whether you’re just starting out in your design business or you’ve been doing this for many years. The next level is still the next level. It’s the place you haven’t been before with your business. Another step on the road to success.

One of the big challenges of reaching those next levels is self-doubt, the uncertainty and the lack of clarity about how to get there.

We all experience it. There have been several times over the years when I wasn’t sure about what I should do next, or how I should proceed with my business either. I doubted myself.

When I switched from hourly billing to fixed and value-based billing, I wondered if it was the right move. When I went from charging hundreds of dollars for a website to charging thousands of dollars I was worried that nobody would hire me anymore. When I decided to give up hand coding websites and focus solely on building Wordpress websites I was worried that I wasn't being true to my design roots.

Heck, when I was thinking of starting the Resourceful Designer podcast I had doubts. I didn’t know how the show would be received. Would people like you enjoy it? Would you find the topics I talk about interesting and informative? Would you even bother listening to someone like me who isn't a big name in the design world?

All of these were next levels in my design career that I chose as destinations to reach. And I reached them by getting over my self-doubt.

Maybe you don’t have your own design business yet. Maybe you’ve recently started one and are in the process of growing it. Maybe you are running a part-time freelance business while working a full-time job. Or Maybe you’ve been at this a long time and already feel successful.

Regardless of where you are in your career, there will always be a next level to reach.

Reaching the next level.

If you want your design business to progress towards a next level, you have to be clear on what that next level is. Then do whatever you can to avoid distractions as you work towards it. Remember, How you get to the next level isn’t as important as what that next level is.

If your goal is to build $20k websites, maybe you decide to give up everything besides designing websites. You give up designing logos, posters, brochures, trade show booths, mobile apps, etc. and focus just on websites. You spend all your time working on one website after another, going from one client to another building up your skill and reputation until you land that big fish, the $20k website.

Or, maybe you decide to take it in smaller steps by building long-term relationships with your clients. You spend time helping them develop their brand and grow their business over months and years until they are big enough to pay you $20k for their next website.

There’s no right or wrong way to do it because how you get there isn’t as important as what your next level is.

Making progress

Once you know your destination, that next level, the trick is to make consistent incremental progress towards reaching it and being completely dissatisfied when you’re not making progress.

In other words, make progress every day. It should be your standard method of operation. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a little progress, like learning a new trick or shortcut to make something easier for you. As long as you make progress every day.

Can a brand new unproven web design business charge $20k for a website? There's nothing stopping them. However, they may find it difficult without any experience to show potential clients. Especially clients with deep pockets.

But a new unproven web design business with a focused goal in mind of one day designing $20k website, which spends its time working towards that goal every day. Month after month, year after year. There's nothing stopping them from eventually reaching that goal.

Remember that progress builds up over time. If you make a little progress every day, with a clear idea of where you’re going, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to stay focused and reach your goal.

Don't quit.

The final thing I want to say is, never quit.

Most designers, whether they are running their business as a side gig or as a full-time business, most of the ones that end up failing, they do so because they quit too soon. They set up their business thinking they would simply run it one day at a time and see what happens.

Those designers didn’t have a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve, and they didn’t know how to progress towards those next levels to reach their goals.

Yes, times may get tough. You may decide that putting food on the table is more important than trying to land that big fish client. Sometimes life’s situations may force you to seek other forms of income. And that’s OK. But that’s not a reason to give up on your goals.

Remember, a successful design business is a journey. And journeys take time and patience.

I know it’s easy to become discouraged when things are not working out. But you need to look beyond that. Maybe that discouragement you may be feeling can be overcome with some good advice about how to tweak what you’re doing and get back on track.

Maybe that discouragement is coming from your self-doubt of what you are capable of doing.

Find a business coach or mentor program to help guide you. Find places like the Facebook groups with people willing to listen and help. The answers are out there if you take the time to look for them. We all have these doubts from time to time that we need to overcome before progressing along our journey.

If you’re feeling discouraged or you doubt yourself, you need to figure out why that is and address it.

There are limitless opportunities out there for you to grow a successful design business. Don't let anything stop you.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

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 Anees

Hi Mark!

I hope you are doing well preparing more content for us :). Well my question may be not new but I want to hear from you.

What's the difference between good and great design.

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

Resource of the week Front-End Checklist

This week's resource is a website called frontendchecklist.io. Front-End Checklist is perfect for modern websites and meticulous developers! This site shows you all the different aspects of a website build with items divided into low, medium and high priority and allows you to check them off as you complete them. Filter the checklist into sections such as SEO, security, accessibility, performance, CSS, Javascript and more. If you develop websites, I think you will like this resource.

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Contact me

Send me feedback

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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

Jan 26, 2018

Do you worry about isolation while working from home?

Isolation is one of the major concerns when running a home-based design business. Spending day after day, week after week having minimal contact with other people can take its toll on some people. That's why working from home is not for everyone.

When asked about working from home most people will give one of two responses.

  1. I wish I could do that. Be my own boss, work my own hours with nobody looking over your shoulder.
  2. I don't think I could do that. It would drive me crazy being by myself all the time.

The type of person you are will determine if isolating yourself to run a home-based design business is right for you. After all, to live a healthy and fulfilling life you need to have close, interpersonal relationships. Which isn't always easy for home-based designers.

Before I go any further, let me just state that I am not a qualified therapist or health professional. If you are feeling the effects of isolation to the point where you are feeling lonely or depressed, please seek professional help.

Ways to cope with isolation when working from home.

Create a happy work environment

A key factor to a pleasant work at home experience is working in a space you enjoy. If at all possible, have a dedicated room in your home for your workspace. If your living arrangements don't allow for this try dedicating a corner of a room with a desk and other things you need to run your business.

Liven up your workspace with artwork and mementoes that make you feel good. Work with music if that's something you like, or if you find music too distracting you can try soothing sounds of nature. And make sure you have good lighting. Natural light from a window is best, but a good daylight lamp will suffice if need be.

If you like your working environment, chances are you will feel less isolated when you spend time in it.

Get out for a bit

Whenever you start to feel isolated, it may be a good time to take a break and get out. Go for a walk in a park or spend some time at a mall. Just being around other people, even if you don't interact with them will help alleviate some of your feelings of isolation.

Move your workspace

If you work on a laptop or tablet why not take it to a coffee shop or some other place with wifi. You could also try a shared workspace. Many cities now offer short-term office space rentals. Think about renting a space for a couple of hours once per week. Shared office paces give you the opportunity to work on your business while still being around others. Simply being around other people can have a therapeutic effect when you're struggling with isolation.

Become part of a community

Try joining groups or clubs in your area. Joining a group or club is a great way to meet new people and give you a chance to interact outside of a work environment. Check your local community centre for recreational sports leagues or other social gatherings.

For a quick fix from feeling isolated don't discount the power of social media. Being part of an online community can help take the stress out of your busy work life.

Mastermind and networking groups are another great way to interact with like-minded people. See if there are any in your area you could join.

Sometimes, all it takes to get over that feeling of isolation is to share your thoughts and experiences with other people.

Get a pet

This might not be for everyone, but having a pet in your house can help you feel less alone. Pets are very therapeutic and have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Dogs are great listeners and give you their undivided attention when you need it, and cats have a way of knowing when you need a little affection.

If cats or dogs are not an option, perhaps you may want to try a fish or some other less demanding animal. Simply having another living being in your house can help curb that feeling of isolation.

Talk to yourself

I know, it sounds crazy. But when you're in a pinch talking to yourself can be a way of feeling less alone. Simply hearing a voice, even if it's your own can relieve stress and soothe you. After all, who better to discuss your design and business issues with than the person who knows you best, you.

There are far worse things you can do than have a conversation with yourself when you are feeling isolated.

Working from home can be a wonderful experience. It does take discipline and willpower, but if you can get over the isolation, you shouldn't have any problems.

How do you cope with isolation?

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 Shenai

I'm listening to episode 93 and you just hit on a problem that I've been struggling with. Having a main business and then a separate brand for a niche.

I have been struggling back and forth with the idea of using my own name or a business name that I already have picked out. I would like to keep it personal with my local clients but also have my own designs and plans of printed materials that I would rather have a business name attached to. (for marketing and also privacy) Should I do both? Or just pick a route and stick to it? How would you recommend setting up banking and such for these different brands to keep it less confusing?

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

Resource of the week Fontreach.com

This week's resource is fontreach.com. A fun site that shows the popularity of various fonts being used by the top one million websites. Want to know how many of them use Arial, or Helvetica Neue? Simply type in a font, and the site will tell you. Or you can view a list of the top fonts being used. As I said, this is a fun site that you may want to check out the next time you're deciding on fonts for a web project.

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Contact me

Send me feedback

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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

Jan 19, 2018

Are you failing on your To-Do list?

One of the biggest mistakes people make on To-Do lists is mixing projects with tasks. A To-Do list should only contain tasks, items that require you to do only one thing to complete them. Projects, on the other hand, should be on a completely separate list. By separating the tasks from the projects, you make it much easier to organize, and your To-Do list will seem much less daunting.

I talked about To-Do Lists, Tasks and Projects in episode 66 of the podcast titled "Tackle Your To-Do List With Tasks and Projects". If you haven't listened to that episode yet, I suggest you do before continuing with this one.

The Project List

Your project list is where you keep track of the various routines, responsibilities and of course, projects on your schedule. These items may be one time projects or recurring routines and responsibilities you don't want to forget about.

Example of Projects

  • Design new website for Good Sole Shoe Company
  • Create a Facebook Ad campaign for Pump-R-Up Fitness and Spa.
  • Update brochure for Sullivan and Sullivan Law Office with the new location and new partner bios.
  • Design T-Shirt for the Heart & Stroke Foundation charity marathon.

Examples of Routines and Responsibilities

  • Send out weekly invoices and statements
  • Check client websites and update themes and plugins
  • Write weekly blog post for website
  • Attend bi-weekly networking meeting

The purpose of a Project List is to have one place that lists everything you need to do or work on. As new projects, routines and responsibilities arrive you add them to the list.

The Project list should be checked at least once per day if only so you can decide what tasks to add from it to your To-Do list.

The To-Do List

Your to-do list is where you keep track of the individual tasks that need to be done to wrap up the items on your Project List. You should be referring to this list every time you complete a task to know what needs to be done next. Each task on the list should require only one action to complete. That action may take only a couple of minutes or it could take several hours to complete but it is still only one action.

Examples of a Task on a To-Do list.

  • Chose possible fonts for Heart & Stroke Foundation T-Shirt
  • Choose number of colours for the T-Shirt design
  • Decide what type of image to use in the T-Shirt design
  • Decide size of design to go on T-Shirt
  • Iron clothes for networking meeting
  • Choose topic for blog post
  • Touch up and crop photos of Sullivan and Sullivan Law Office new partners.

Each one of these items requires only one thing to do on your part before you can check them off the list.

To help prioritize, you can divide your To-Do list into things that need to be done today, tomorrow, this week, or whenever.

Having a well-organized system composed of a Project List and a To-Do list will make you a more productive designer as well as a more productive business person.

As a more productive person, you will find that you waste less time trying to figure out what needs to be done next. Which translates into more tasks being completed, which means more projects finished, which means more money coming in for you.

So take control of your Project list and To-Do list and get back to work.

How do you organize and keep track of your workload?

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 Jax

I’m considering an occupation change to graphic design. But I’m a beginner. Like just leaning the basics on Adobe Illustarator beginner. I’ve always been very artistic and I love creating so I think over time I’ll be able to make the occupational transition. My question is, what steps should I take and what suggestions do you have for a newbie? What are things I should be working on and how to I start building a portfolio?

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

Tip of the week Highlight sections that need editing?

This week I want to share a tip. This is something I've been doing for years that has helped me get jobs done more quickly and make sure I don't miss anything. Whenever I create a template for a job, or I use a previous version of a project for a job, the first thing I do is change the colour of the text in all the sections that will need editing. In my case, I usually change the colour to magenta. This way, whenever I open the document, I can immediately see what parts of it require new information and what parts I don't have to bother with.

This method works great with my design contact. There are parts of the contract that remain the same regardless of who the client is or what the project is. Not having to read or verify those sections is a time saver when writing a contract for a new project. All I have to do is make changes to the sections where the font is magenta, and I know it's done.

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Contact me

Send me feedback

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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

Jan 11, 2018

Are you looking for opportunities to grow your business?

[sc name="pod_ad"]It's a given, you want your design business to succeed. To accomplish that, you need to find opportunities to grow. Some of those opportunities take time and money and are well worth the effort. But some opportunities to grow are so small and simple that they are often overlooked. On this episode of the podcast, I share five such opportunities you can implement today to help grow your design business. Be sure to listen to the podcast for the full story, but here's a sample of what I discussed.

5 Overlooked Opportunities To Grow Your Design Business

1) Your Email Signature

Most people's email signature consists of their name, title, perhaps their business name and contact information. If this sounds like your email signature, you are missing out on an opportunity to grow your design business.

Include a short sentence or a bullet list mentioning the services you offer. Be specific. Go beyond simple print and web design and mentions things like trade show displays, T-shirt designs, Facebook and Google Ads, vehicle wraps, signage and anything else you may offer.

You never know when someone might see it and think "I didn't know they did that. I should contact them about it".

2) Your About Page

The About Page on a website is something many people get wrong. Don't be one of them.

An About Page is not there for people to learn about you, it's there to help people decide if you are someone they want to work with on their next project.

If your about page isn't formatted correctly, you are missing out on a HUGE opportunity to grow your business.

To learn more about the proper way to construct an about page listen to episode 52 of the podcast titled How A Great About Page Can Attract Design Clients.

3) The Back Of Your Business Cards

Why do people leave the back of their business cards blank? It's such a waste of valuable real estate and a lost opportunity to help grow their business.

Face it, most of your clients don't know what you do for a living. They hired you for one thing, and as far as they know, that's the only thing you do.

The back of your business card should be used to list your services so naive clients can see everything you offer and perhaps give you more work.

Whenever you hand out a business card, make sure you mention your list of services on the back. You never know who will end up with one of your cards and contact you because of a service you list on your card. Don't miss out on this opportunity to grow your business.

 4) Your Social Media Profiles

Just like your email signature and the back of your business cards, you are missing a huge opportunity if you don't list your services on your social media profiles.

Every social media platform allows you to write a description of yourself. Simply saying you are a graphic and/or web designer isn't good enough because it doesn't mean anything to a lot of people. Use this space to list your services.

Your social media posts should speak for themselves. But if the person viewing them wants to know more about you, don't make them jump through hoops.

A link to your website or portfolio is a must in your profile but listing your services is an even better way to attract people's attention. Many designers find new clients via social media so don't neglect this opportunity to grow your business.

5) Your Out Of Office Reply

A typical out of office reply looks something like this;

Hi, thank you for your message.

I’m out of the office and will not be replying to emails until my return. If a reply is required I will get back to you the week of [week of return]

Thanks,

If this is the type of out of office reply you are using you are missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your business. Use this space to interact with the person emailing you and start a conversation you can continue upon your return. Something like this;

Hi, thank you for your message. I can’t wait to talk to you about ways to improve your website’s search engine rankings.

Unfortunately I’m out of the office right now and won’t be replying to emails until my return.

I’m back the week of [week of return] and I’ll get back to you then and we can discuss your website or anything else you want to talk about.

Thanks,

I recently used this as my out of office reply with amazing results. 75% of the people who received this message asked me about search engine rankings upon my return. 25% of them converted into new website projects. Best of all, none of the people who received my out of office reply was contacting me about their websites.

It just goes to show you that there are opportunities to grow your design business where you least expect them.

What overlooked opportunities to grow are you using?

Let us know what small and simple things are growing your business 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 Ismael

I am a full-time Government employee in the U.S and currently attending Full Sail University pursuing my Graphic Design degree. I am only 5 months in. The reason I am reaching out is because I am a bit nervous. I have never been very good at drawing and being creative. As you progressed through your education how did you feel? I am 35 years old, not very young. I plan to eventually start my design business on the side while I continue to work in my current profession until hopefully I just have to dedicate more time to it. Some general life advice as to how you became self employed with a family may be useful. Thanks again. You are doing us all a great service by providing this content.

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

Resource of the week Battery Life App

This week's resource is a smartphone app that helps you monitor the condition of your phone's battery. Smartphone batteries deteriorate over time and with each charge. The longer you own your phone, the faster you'll see your battery charge deplete. That's because your battery doesn’t hold as much of a charge as it used to. Using a Battery Life App allows you to keep track of the life expectancy of your battery, so you know if it's worth replacing or not.

Some of these apps also give you insight into what installed Apps and Services use the most energy on your phone causing your battery to discharge faster.

There are many such apps to be found in the Apple, Google and Windows App stores. Simply search for Battery Life and download the one you like the best.

Subscribe to the podcast

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Contact me

Send me feedback

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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

Jan 4, 2018

How do you retain your design clients?

As a designer, you know how much work goes into acquiring new design clients. However, you also need to put some effort into retaining your existing design clients, or they may be taken away from you.

The design industry is not like the retail market where people walk into a store, browse around and then decide if they want to make a purchase.

Nor are we like other service businesses such as plumbers or auto mechanics. In those businesses, their clients call upon them whenever they have a problem that needs fixing like a leaky toilet or a car that won't start.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the design industry, things are not so cut and dry. There are many businesses that would benefit from working with a designer, but they don’t because they don’t see the value in hiring a professional like you. They don't understand how a professional designer can help boost their business.

Even worse, they do know the value of good design, but they are either misled to believe that cheep crowd designed alternatives are just as good as working one on one with a professional designer. Or they think their branding and marketing material is something they can handle themselves.

I wish there was an easy way to show these businesses the benefits professional designers bring to the table and how hiring you could help their bottom line. But, there isn’t.

That’s why it’s so important that when you start working with a new client, you do everything you can to retain that client once the project is over.

In this episode of the Resourceful Designer podcast, I share tips and tricks to increase your chances of retaining those design clients. Here's an overview of what I talk about but for the full story be sure to listen to the episode. Better yet, subscribe to the podcast and never miss a single episode.

Retaining your design clients requires effort.

Just like any business It takes a bit of marketing to ensure your existing clients remain your clients. In essence, you need to stay in contact with your clients even when you are not working on projects for them. Because if you are not staying in touch, you are opening the door for someone else to step in and sway those design clients away from you.

Think of it this way… Do you always bring your car to the same place for service? Most people do. They find a service shop they like, and they stick with it. They go there for minor things like oil changes and tire rotations as well as bigger things like transmission problems and engine issues.

But what if another shop offers you a more convenient option for oil changes? Maybe they are less expensive. Maybe they offer a faster turnaround; Maybe they don't require an appointment so you can go whenever you have 30 minutes to spare as opposed to your current garage that tells you when it's convenient for them to take you. Would any of these options entice you to go to this new place? It's only an oil change after all. You can still get your other services done at your normal garage.

What has your garage done AFTER you've left their establishment to maintain your loyalty? Chances are they haven't done anything. They just expect you to keep coming back time after time because you always have. But without their even realizing it, you've found a new place to have your car's oil changed. And now that you've made that first step it will be much easier for you to go elsewhere when another shop offers you a convenient option for a different service.

The same can happen with your design business. Just because you’ve done multiple jobs for a client doesn’t necessarily mean they will bring their next job to you. You have to stay in touch and keep working on retaining those clients if you want them to keep coming back to you.

How to retain your existing design clients.

Open communication

Encourage open communication with your clients by requesting feedback and suggestions from them. Reach out to them after each project and ask them what they thought. Ask them if there were any steps in the process that could have been handled better?

Establishing a communication like this will make the client feel closer to you and make it harder for them to leave you for someone new.

Send follow-up notes

Shortly after a project is finished you should reach out to your client with an email or better yet, a handwritten thank you note thanking them for allowing you to work on their job.

Be sure to mention what you liked about working on that project and with them. If you learned a new skill along the way be sure to mention it. Clients love knowing how they helped contribute to you and your businesses growth.

Don't forget to take this opportunity to offer related services you could do for them. Mention a few other things they could get from you or services you offer that they might not know about. Trust me; most clients don't know all the services you can offer them.

Feature your clients

Did you design something really good for a client? Make sure you share it on your social media and be sure to tag your client in the post. There's a really good chance the client will see it and either respond and/or repost it themselves. This creates great social proof of what you are capable of doing and could lead to even more clients in the future.

You could also share any client testimonials you receive or any success stories your client has that comes from something you designed for them.

Reach out on special occasions.

If you know your clients birthday, their work anniversary or the month their business was established, send them a note or greeting card congratulating them. This is such a simple thing to do, but it is huge when it comes to building relationships with your clients.

Add any special dates to your calendar and set reminders a few weeks ahead of time, so you know when to mail things out.

Create a newsletter

You're probably thinking "who has time to send out newsletters?". The real question is who can afford not to send out newsletters. You, that's who. A newsletter is a very simple way to stay in contact with your clients. Even if they don't take the time to read it, the fact that you are reaching out to them will keep you front of mind when they next need a designer.

Newsletters don't have to be complicated. Yes, they are a great way to showcase your design skills, but even a plain and simple divided email will suffice.

In your newsletter, you should include a "useful news you can use" section with tips and tricks to make your client's life easier. Perhaps advice on how to create better social media posts or a unique way to promote their website.

You should also pick one or two recent projects to showcase. Talk about what you did for a client and the results. The client being showcased will appreciate the exposure and your other clients may get ideas from it and contact you with more work.

Don't forget also to mention services you offer such as trade show banners or Facebook ads. Remember what I said earlier, there's a good chance your clients have no idea what you do other than what they hired you for. So mention unique things that may interest them.

Start a retainer program

Working with a business on retainer is almost a guaranteed way of retaining them as a client. Why would they shop around for design services if they are already paying you up front?

A great way to get clients to sign up for a retainer is to offer them a discount on their first-time sign-up. You can then keep enticing them by offering a similar discount if they renew the agreement before the current one expires. I talk more about retainer agreements in episode 32 of the podcast.

Socialize with your clients

I'm not saying you should take your design clients out for drinks, although it wouldn't hurt. What I'm suggesting is for you to attend trade shows and events where your clients are, Just by being there you are showing your client that you care about them.

Follow and interact with your client on social media

Social media is a great way to build relationships with your clients. Commenting on and sharing their posts is sure to be noticed and appreciated by your client. They will be less likely to use someone else's design services if they see you interacting with them online.

It's all about the relationship

Retaining your design clients is all part of building relationships with them. The closer they feel to you, the less likely they are to wander off and find a new designer.

In my example above, the auto repair shop could have retained their client if they had just put a bit of effort to make that client feel important to them.

I want you to make an extra effort this year to keep in touch with your design clients and build relationships with them. They’ll thank you for it by remaining loyal to you.

What do you do to retain your design clients?

There are so many more ways to build client relationships and ensure client loyalty. What methods do you use? Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Questions of the Week

I don't have a question this week, but I would love to answer one of yours in an upcoming episode of the podcast. You can submit one by visiting the feedback page and then keeping an ear out for my answer.

Tip of the week Set a goal for your design business.

It's January as I write this, so it's the perfect time of the year to set goals. I'm not talking about losing those extra pounds you need to get rid of, I'm talking about goals for your design business. Ways to help you grow and prosper. Without goals, there's no way to measure your achievements. In episode 55 of the podcast I talked about setting goals for your design business, you may want to go back and listen to that one. But the simple matter is if you want to succeed you should be setting goals.

  • Are you in the "I'm thinking of it" stage of starting a design business? Set a goal to have something up and running by a certain date.
  • Are you a new and growing design business? Set a goal to gain X number of clients by a certain date.
  • Are you an established design business? Set a goal to expand into new markets and start working towards achieving it.
  • Are you losing focus? Fine a niche you are passionate about and focus on it.

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Send me feedback

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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

Dec 22, 2017

Do you have the 3Cs required to run a successful design business?

There’s a lot more to running a successful design business than just being a good designer.

In fact, being a good designer may be the least important thing for your design business.

Don't get me wrong. If you're a bad designer chances are your business won't succeed. However, I know many great designers who don’t have what it takes to run a successful design business either.

There’s nothing wrong with working for an employer throughout your design career. Just like are some chefs are destined to run their own restaurants while other chefs are content working in someone else's kitchen.

But if you are a designer who wants to run your own design business, it will take skill, determination and perseverance. Plus a little thing I like to call the 3 Cs. Be sure to listen to the podcast where I go into more detail on each of the following.

Curiosity.

As a designer, you need to be curious.

Curiosity is what will keep you growing as designers.

Curiosity is what helps you to keep up with trends or learn from the past.

Curiosity is what keeps you in the know on new software, apps and gadgets to help you in your work.

It’s your curiosity that ensures you don’t get left behind.

Competence.

You have to have a level of competence if you want to succeed as a designer and as a business person. It's not necessary that you be a great designer to run a successful design business, but it sure helps.

Competence is what helps you grow and master your craft. You may be good at what you do, but imagine how much better you can be if you continue to pursue it and get better at it. That takes competence.

Confidence.

If you have unwavering confidence in yourself, chances are you are going to succeed.

Having confidence means that even when you fail you succeed because you have the confidence to learn from your failure and become better for it.

Look at Thomas Edison, the man who said he failed himself to success. In his quest to invent the light bulb he had many failures before succeeding. In fact, there’s a famous quote by Edison that goes.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work."

Seeing failure as an opportunity to learn takes confidence.

The same goes if you want to run a successful design business. When a client doesn’t like a design or a direction you are taking. Don’t see it as a failure. See it as a learning opportunity and grow from it.

Even the greatest designers in the world get it wrong more often than they get it right. But when they do get it right, it’s great.

It’s all part of the process. Having confidence in yourself and your abilities will go a long way in ensuring your business’s success.

The 3Cs

There you have it. The 3 Cs to a successful design business.

  • Curiosity
  • Competence
  • Confidence

When you have all three, your road to success will be almost guaranteed.

How are you with the 3Cs?

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 Rich

I am starting a website design and media company and I want to offer reseller hosting. It seems like I have heard you say that you offer hosting to your clients but I haven't heard any specifics. Do you have any specific/detailed advice for getting started with reseller hosting?

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

Resource of the week BackupBuddy

I've shared BackupBuddy as a resource before. The reason I'm doing so again is that iThemes just released an update to this great WordPress plugin that makes it even easier for web designers to work between staging sites and live sites.

The new and improved Push & Pull features means never having to make changes on a live site again, potentially breaking it. With BackupBuddy you simply pull the most recent live site to your testing server. Make and test the changes, and then push them out to the live site. It's that easy.

Episode Sponsors

Thank you to this week's sponsors.

Save on Millions of stock photos, vectors and more with an exclusive deal for Resourceful Designer listeners by visiting http://storyblocks.com/resourcefuldesigner.

Take control of your band with Brandfolder, the solution for digital brand assets. Get a 90-day free trial by visiting http://brandfolder.com/resourcefuldesigner

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
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Contact me

Send me feedback

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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

 
Dec 14, 2017

Celebrating 100 episodes of Resourceful Designer.

[sc name="pod_ad"]To celebrate this 100 episodes milestone, I want to do something a bit different and share with you what being a graphic designer means to me. Please listen to the episode to get the full story.

But before I do that, I want to take a quick moment to thank everyone who has helped Resourceful Designer become what it is. Wayne Henderson for his great podcast intro clips. Justin for the amazing job he does editing my shows. And of course, you, for being a loyal listener. Without you, there would be no Resourceful Designer.

In case you don't know my history you can read it here. But the short version is, I didn't always want to be a graphic designer. I fell into this profession by accident and never looked back.

My life as a graphic designer

Graphic designers look at the world differently than everyone else. Most people see a billboard on the side of the road and either acknowledge the message or don't. However, being a graphic designer allows me to look at the world differently. Whenever I see a billboard, I examine the font to see if it's easy to read. I do a word count to see if I can get the full message in the short time the billboard is visible to me. I look at the overall message being presented and try to determine if it's effective. And so much more. Who else but a graphic designer would look at a billboard that way?

The same goes for junk mail. Most people simply throw it out. I do the same, but not before examining the layouts, colour usage, font choices, etc. It's still junk mail, but even junk mail has a design beauty worth admiring.

Whenever I go to a restaurant, I can't help but examine the menu. Not just for the food choices, but for the design choices. A well-designed menu can tell you a lot about a restaurant.

Chalk sidewalk signs are another thing. I don't have the skill to create those beautiful attractions myself, but as a designer, I can appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into each stroke of a letter, the precision layout to make everything fit on the board and the creativity involved.

Everywhere I look my designer's eye sees things to admire, examine, break apart and learn from.

So many opportunities to learn

As a designer, there are so many opportunities to learn new skills, techniques and ideas all around me. From examining ads in old waiting room magazines to the window dressings in shopping malls. Everywhere I look there is something to admire and learn from. Things that non-designers don't appreciate.

I look at these things with a distinctive designer's eye. I examine layouts and learn from them. I examine font usage and pick up tricks. I examine background imagery and wonder how the designer made it and try to figure out how I would go about recreating it.

Walking through a bookstore opens up a cornucopia of designs for me to look at. I love browsing the aisles at a bookstore examining the different cover designs, title treatments, colour choices and type pairings.

Almost everywhere I look there is something that was thought up by a designer. Magazines on the rack, graphic t-shirts on the people around me, greeting cards handed out on special occasions, the products on grocery store shelves. All of these can be admired and learned from.

There are some drawbacks to being a designer

Of course being a designer isn't all unicorns and rainbows. There's the frustration when a client doesn't see the vision in an amazing design I create for them.

There's also the way seeing a bad design choice can affect me more than it does non-designers. Something like bad kerning will stand out like a sore thumb to me when others won't even notice it.

There are the time losses I experience while emersed in a design project. Before I know it it's dinner time, and I realize that I never even had lunch.

How many other professions experience any of these?

There are other drawbacks, but never enough to unbalance my love of being a graphic designer.

I share even more reason of why I love being a designer on the podcast so be sure to listen to this episode.

We're lucky to be designers

We’re lucky. There are not a lot of professions out there that allow someone to make a living from their creativity. Whether it’s designing for clients or doing something like designing and selling T-Shirts to make money on the side.

We have options. And no matter how advanced technology becomes and how easy it is to push pixels across a screen. There will always be a need for designers to make things look good.

It takes more than just talent to succeed in this business. It takes a passion for design which I know you have. Because you’re taking the time to read this, and hopefully to listen to the podcast as well. Why else would you be doing that unless you too are passionate about your career path?

So once again thank you for being part of Resourceful Designer, Thank you for reaching out and sharing your journey with me. And thank you for giving me the motivation to continue with mine.

Until next time, I’m Mark Des Cotes wishing you all the best with your design business.

And as always, reminding you to Stay Creative.

What does being a graphic designer mean to you?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

100th episode contest.

I shared a contest in episode 100 of the podcast. If you think you know the answer please leave a comment for this episode with your guess. I will announce it here as soon as a winner is determined. Good luck.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
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Contact me

Send me feedback

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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

 
Dec 7, 2017

Does your community promote "Shop Local"?

A "Shop Local" campaign is quite common in smaller communities. Especially those near large metropolitan areas. The purpose of these campaigns is to encourage people to support local businesses by shopping in their hometown.

The city of Cornwall Ontario where I’m from is 1 hour from Ottawa Ontario, Canada’s capital, and 1 hour from Montreal Quebec, one of the largest cities in North America.

With both of these metropolises so close, Cornwall is constantly encouraging its citizens to "Shop Local". Their marketing campaigns explain things like:

  • The convenience shopping locally offers.
  • Getting to know the people you deal with on a first name basis.
  • Developing a sense of pride in supporting your community.

Sure, these "Shop Local" campaigns are more geared towards retail stores, encouraging people to buy their groceries, clothing, and household items nearby.

But these same principles are also adopted by many local businesses.

It’s inevitable that as a designer, whether you do print design, web design or any other type of design, you will be approached by local people wanting to hire you because they want to shop locally.

This creates a great opportunity for you if you live in a small community where you don’t have a lot of competition. You can become the go-to person for anything design related.

However, there is a problem when a client takes the whole shop local thing a bit too far. That's when they want you to deal locally as well.

That’s what I really wanted to talk about today. When "Shop Local" tethers your ability to do your job. I’m talking about clients that insist any help you get or any products you source are acquired locally.

Maybe you offer print brokering as part of your business. In my business, I have a few local printers available to me. However, I get much better prices from printers that are not in my local area. The same goes for things like T-Shirts. Sure I can get them printed locally but at almost double the cost of my non-local supplier.

So what can you do when your client insists you shop locally?

You have two options. Use the local talent and charge your clients accordingly. Or, you can explain to your clients that they have nothing to worry about because by dealing with you, they are shopping locally.

Just like a local caterer is not required to source their food locally, you shouldn't be required to source your products locally either. Where the people on your team are located or where you get your supplies from shouldn’t matter to your client.

Simply by dealing with you, they are shopping locally and reinvesting in their community. After all, your business is part of their community.

If you explain it to your clients this way and show them how you can possibly save them money along the way, you should be able to convince them that hiring your local business is in their best interest.

Have you ever had issues with clients wanting you to shop locally?

Let me know how it worked out for you 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 Elly

I've been having some problems with meeting new design clients in a neutral location. If we've only spoken on the phone or by email, they don't recognise me and walk right past! I often intercept clients speaking to other people in a café asking if they're me, and it's embarassing, let alone not creating a proffessional first impression to the client. I'm young and prehaps I don't look like the clients' idea of a graphic designer. How can I get clients to recognise me when I'm meeting them?

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

Resource of the week WhatTheFont Mobile App

The new WhatTheFont Mobile App version 2.0 is a game changer in font identification. Made by myfonts.com and available on both IOS and Android, this new version of the app makes identifying fonts as easy as point and click. To know more about this new App you can read the article I wrote about it.

Episode Sponsors

Thank you to this week's sponsors.

Save on Millions of stock photos, vectors and more with an exclusive deal for Resourceful Designer listeners by visiting http://storyblocks.com/resourcefuldesigner.

Take control of your band with Brandfolder, the solution for digital brand assets. Get a 90-day free trial by visiting http://brandfolder.com/resourcefuldesigner

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe on Stitcher
Subscribe on Android
Subscribe on Google Play Music

Contact me

Send me feedback

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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

 
Nov 30, 2017

How good are your Touchpoints?

You know the saying you’re only as strong as your weakest link? When it comes to the success of your design business, you’re only As Strong As Your Weakest Touchpoint.

What is a touchpoint?

Touchpoints happen every time someone interacts directly with your brand. Touchpoints are the pivotal gateways when a potential client decides whether they want to take the next step towards working with you or to back away and look elsewhere. It doesn't matter how good a designer you are, if you have touchpoints that fail, you may be losing potential clients before they even get a chance to discover how great you are.

Take inventory of your touchpoints.

There are many touchpoints to ever business. They include everything from your website to business cards, flyers, any blog posts you write, and any advertising you do. They also include your voicemail message, your tradeshow presence, and the clothing you wear. Touchpoints include anything a potential client comes in “touch” with before, during and after they meet you.

Simply having touchpoints is not good enough. Each one of them must properly represent your brand because they are where potential clients will form opinions of you and your business.

In order to evaluate your touchpoints, it may help if you take a step back and look at your brand from an unbiased perspective. You are used to seeing your business from your side. But how does the world see you and your business?

All touchpoints matter.

When it comes to your business, every touchpoint matters. But if every touchpoint matters, then how do you manage each touchpoint so that it properly reflects your brand? The answer can be found in a three-step process.

  1. List
  2. Evaluate
  3. Take Action

Managing your touchpoints through this formula will make sure each touchpoint is optimized, satisfies its need, and is inviting to clients.

Step 1) List your touchpoints

Start off by listing all of the current touchpoints you can think of. The key word here is "all." Include things like;

  • your website
  • your emails address and email signatures
  • your marketing material including business cards and stationery
  • Any advertising you do
  • your voicemail and phone greeting
  • your vehicle
  • your office space
  • your personal appearance
  • any others you can think of

Once you’ve listed all your touchpoints, you then need to evaluate each one based on your brand.

Step 2) Evaluate your touchpoints

Once you have your list, you need to evaluate each touchpoint individually.

It might be easier if you have someone else do this for you because the goal is to find the weaknesses in your touchpoints. If you do it yourself you may tend to overlook any failures. The purpose of this discovery phase is to help you to find the opportunities so you can make improvements.

Remember, a touchpoint may not be bad, but it may have room to improve.

Step 3) Take Action

Once you've discovered which touchpoints are your weakest links, you can now take the necessary steps to improve them. Keep in mind that any deficits you found are actually opportunities to better your brand image. The smallest details can influence someone’s decision on whether or not they want to work with you.

Evaluating touchpoints is an ongoing task

Now that you have your list of touchpoints, set yourself reminders to revisit them on a regular basis to see if there are new ways to improve them. As technology changes, so will the effectiveness of each touchpoint.

Some helpful, powerful tools you can use are customer evaluations and site surveys. Ask your current clients for help evaluating your touchpoints. Remember that this is not about a single touchpoint, but about all of them. Take the time to evaluate them individually and as a group.

When it comes to marketing yourself and your design business, every touchpoint is an opportunity to attract new clients and grow your business.

When was the last time you evaluated your touchpoints?

Let me know your thoughts on this subject 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 Summer

When I am designing logos and need to purchase a font for it, do I buy the license for myself or do I buy it for the client the logo is for? I would not be giving the font to the client, only an outlined vector file of the final logo (plus jpeg, png and so forth). In these situations, who should own the license?

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

Resource of the week Peek by UserTesting

UserTesting.com provides qualitative research by real people when testing your website, app, prototypes, wireframes, email campaigns and more. You can even test your competitors’ sites.

Tests are performed by real people in the right target market and provide valuable insights on how people interact with your products. After the test, you get video, audio and written feedback that can help you spot inadequacies you wouldn't otherwise know about.

UserTesting has a free service called Peek that gives you a short 5 minutes sample of the power of UserTesting. Get your free 5-minute evaluation at peek.usertesting.com

Episode Sponsors

Thank you to this week's sponsors.

Save on Millions of stock photos, vectors and more with an exclusive deal for Resourceful Designer listeners by visiting http://storyblocks.com/resourcefuldesigner.

Take control of your band with Brandfolder, the solution for digital brand assets. Get a 90-day free trial by visiting http://brandfolder.com/resourcefuldesigner

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe on Stitcher
Subscribe on Android
Subscribe on Google Play Music

Contact me

Send me feedback

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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

 
Nov 24, 2017

Do your clients understand who their target markets are?

As a designer, you need to know what target markets you are going after if you want your design campaigns to succeed.

Every design campaign should have a type or group of people to target. Maybe you're designing for women between the ages of 25-35 with a toddler at home. Maybe it's balding men over the age of 50. It could be weekend warriors who like to surf. How about black businessmen between the ages of 22-35 who like driving fancy sports cars and jetting off for weekend parties in Las Vegas? All of these are target markets.

Whatever target markets you are designing for, it's your job to get into the heads of those people and design something that appeals to them.

But what happens when the marketing message your client wants you to create is more geared towards them than their target market?

In this episode of the Resourceful Designer podcast, I discuss your position as the designer and how it's your job to educate your clients on what will and what won't work for their marketing campaign. Be sure to listen to the podcast for the expanded story.

Some clients don't understand the difference.

Some clients have a hard time distinguishing between what interests them and what interests their target market. A new restaurant owner is probably very interested in what brand of pots and pans they use in their kitchen, whether they have a gas or electric stove, where they get their meats, produce, spices. All of these things contribute to a successful business.

Patrons of the restaurant, on the other hand, don't care about the pots and pans or where the spices came from. They're interested in a good tasting meal eaten in a good atmosphere.

Both sides are interested in the restaurant, but they are interested in different things about the restaurant.

It's your job as the designer to weed through the information provided to you by your clients and pick out those bits that are of interest to the target markets.

Changing the message but keeping the meaning.

Sometimes, the success of a marketing campaign all comes down to the wording used in the campaign. Hiring a copywriter or wordsmith can help focus the message, but budgets don't always allow for them.

Look at the information provided by your client and try to determine the impact it will have on its target market. Adjust the information if needed to appeal to the target markets you are going after.

A paint shop that advertises "We can match any colour with a 95% accuracy" isn't as appealing as a paint shop that advertises "Show us a colour and we can match it almost perfectly". Both messages mean the same thing, but to a customer wanting a special colour paint, the second one is more likely to get them to purchase their paint at that store.

Explaining it to your clients.

Some clients understand the concept of target markets naturally. But for those who don't, it may seem like a daunting task to explain it to them. You may be inclined to simply use the information they provide you and create their marketing campaign as is. If you do that, you will be doing your clients a disservice.

Point out the differences between what they think is important in their business and what their target market thinks is important. Use the restaurant analogy from above if it helps. If you can get them to understand, it will make it much easier working with them going forward.

If you point out the miscommunication between your client and their target markets you can improve the message they want to get out. Not only will you be creating better-focused marketing material, but you are also building a bond between you and your client that could last for many years. The next time that clients need something they will trust your judgement more.

Have you dealt with clients who didn't understand target markets?

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 Elly

My question for the podcast is about internships; would you take on an intern in your business as a home based designer? What would you look for in an intern? How importat do you think internships are in building a successful design career? I'd love your view on internsips both as a business owner and a former design student who has built a succeesful career.

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

Tip of the week Sales

Running a graphic design business can get expensive. Not only is the hardware required very pricey, but some software has recurring pricing which becomes a monthly or yearly expense. Taking advantage of special sales such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day sales can save you a lot of money. Even if your subscriptions are not due at that time of year, you can probably extend them by purchasing or upgrading during a sale. Pay now to save later. After all, every cent you don't have to spend means more money in your pocket.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe on Stitcher
Subscribe on Android
Subscribe on Google Play Music

Contact me

Send me feedback

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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

 
Nov 17, 2017

Are you leveraging trade shows to your advantage?

One of the most asked questions I receive here at Resourceful Designer is "how do I find design clients?" I want to share one way with you today and that's trade shows. Below is the general outline of the episode but I go into greater details in the podcast so be sure to listen.

For the purpose of this topic, I'm using "Trade Shows" as an all-encompassing term meaning any organized gathering where businesses get to showcase themselves to the masses, such as network events or convention. These gatherings may be niche specific or they may be more general, such as a spring or fall show. What they all have in common is a gathering of interested people looking for information.

Trade shows happen just about everywhere, small cities have them and so do large metropolises. If you're lucky there may be a venue close to where you live that specializes in trade shows and offers them on a regular basis.

Trade shows are a great place to drum up new clients. Those attending are there to either discover something new or to find ways to improve something to do with their current situation. That something could be you.

Attending Trade Shows

There are two ways you can leverage trade shows for your business. By attending as an exhibitor or by attending as a guest.

Attending as an Exhibitor

One of the bests things about exhibiting at a trade show is potential clients come to you. If someone is in need of your services they will stop by your booth and talk to you. Anyone who does is genuinely curious about your business and are good targets to become clients.

When someone stops by your booth you only have a minute or two to explain your value and why they should work with you. To make the most of this sparse time, pay attention to what they say and compose your comments and question towards them. If you show them you have answers to their problems It will go a long way to winning them over.

Drawbacks of being an exhibitor at trade shows

Trade shows are a great place to meet new clients. Unfortunately, having a booth at a trade show costs money, sometimes a lot of money. You need to make sure the cost justifies the results and that you can attract enough new clients to cover that cost.

One option is to share booth space with someone else to cut down costs. Reach out to peers in a related field and split the booth with them.

Attending as a guest

Attending trade shows as a guest gives you more freedom to come and go as you please and move around freely talking to whoever you want. Conversations can go longer since there are no pressures to move on to the next person in line.

Find booths of companies you would like to work with and make your pitch to the owner or manager. If the owner or manager isn't there ask for their name and contact information and then take some time to learn a bit about the business. This knowledge will be valuable when you do talk to them. Be sure to leave your business card for them.

Another option is to talk to fellow attendees. If you can, listen to the conversations they have with exhibitors to learn a bit about them and then approach them if you think they may be a good fit as a client.

Drawbacks of being a guest at a trade show

In order to pick up clients as a guest attendee, you have to be proactive. This may be difficult for introverted designers. As an exhibitor, you have the convenience of people coming to you asking about design. As a guest, you have to make the effort to put yourself out there to be noticed.

Etiquette when attending trade shows

Whether you are attending a trade show as an exhibitor or as a guest there are certain things to be aware of when presenting yourself to potential clients.

  • Use approachable body language by standing at your booth, never sit. Make sure you smile, and keep your hands at your sides, not in your pockets or folded at your chest.
  • Stay attentive. Don’t look at your phone or laptop.
  • Don’t solicit guests in the aisles. Let them show interest by arriving at your booth.
  • Be prepared to answer basic questions but make sure you listen and offer solutions to any problems you detect.  Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” and offer to get back to them.
  • Don’t eat or drink at the booth. Hide food, trash, and supplies behind a backdrop or under a skirted table.
  • Dress appropriately, and avoid wearing too much or too little. There is nothing worse than freezing or sweating at a trade show. Dress in comfortable layers that you can easily add or remove as needed.
  • Be aware of your personal hygiene. Use mints or gum to keep your breath fresh and avoid overpowering fragrances.
  • Avoid gaudy jewellery and flashy clothing. You want to be remembered for your personality and conversation, not what you're wearing.

Trade shows are a great place to meet new clients. If you approach the day with these things in mind you may come out of it new and exciting design work.

What's your experience with Trade Shows?

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 Andrea

In an effort to get more local clients, how do you approach businesses with no prior relationship? how do you word your introduction/pitch?  Even with a strong elevator pitch, I always feel overly sales-y approaching businesses and asking if they need graphic design.

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

Resource of the week Pretty Links Pro

Pretty Links enables you to shorten links using your own domain name (as opposed to using tinyurl.com, bit.ly, or any other link shrinking service)! In addition to creating clean links, Pretty Link tracks each hit on your URL and provides a full, detailed report of where the hit came from, the browser, os and host. Pretty Link is a killer plugin for people who want to clean up their affiliate links, track clicks from emails, their links on Twitter to come from their own domain, or generally increase the reach of their website by spreading these links on forums or comments on other blogs.

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Send me feedback

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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

 
Nov 10, 2017

NDA and how it affects your design business

NDA stands for non-disclosure agreement, a legal contract between at least two parties outlining information that is shared between the parties that must remain confidential.

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) can also be called a confidentiality agreement (CA), confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA), or secrecy agreement (SA), Regardless of the term used, it is a contract through which parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement.

As a designer, you may be asked by your clients to sign an NDA before receiving information required to work on their design project. In this episode of the Resourceful Designer podcast, I discuss what goes into an NDA and how it affects your design business. I go into much more detail on the podcast so please listen to hear the full story.

When should you agree to sign an NDA?

There are many instances when you may be asked to sign an NDA, but the main one is when your client needs to share valuable information with you and wants to ensure you don't steal or use that information without their approval.

Here are some examples of when you may be asked to sign an NDA.

  • You are asked to design something that will be used to present to potential partners, investors or distributors.
  • You will be designing something that includes financial, marketing and other sensitive information that could hurt your client if that information got out.
  • You are asked to design something that is to be kept confidential until a certain date or a fixed amount of time passes.
  • You are asked to design something that will give you access to sensitive, confidential or proprietary information.

Mutual and Non-Mutual NDAs

There are two kinds of NDAs, mutual and non-mutual. As a designer, you will most likely be dealing with the non-mutual version. A Mutual NDA is used when both parties will be sharing confidential information with each other. A Non-Mutual NDA is used when only one of the parties will be sharing confidential information with the other party.

What are the key elements of an NDA?

An NDA doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, an NDA could be written in just a few paragraphs. Regardless of its length, an NDA should contain the following key elements.

Identification of all parties involved.

If you work with a team or any third parties will be involved with the project you will want to ensure that any NDA you sign allows for you to share the confidential information with them.

Definition of what is deemed to be confidential.

The NDA should state what information is deemed confidential. Your client may want all shared information to be included, but you should request clarification as to exactly what you are and are not allowed to divulge.

Stating your obligations are after signing the NDA.

You are responsible for making sure the information in your care doesn’t get out. This includes any information shared with your team since you are responsible for them under the NDA.

You are also obliged to refrain from using any information shared with you for your own ends.

What is excluded from the NDA

Information that is too broad or too burdensome for you to keep confidential should be excluded from the NDA. Also, any information that you already knew before taking on the project such as information that is public knowledge or information provided to you by a third party who is not under an NDA.

Any requests to obtain the confidential information presented to you through a legal process should supercede the NDA.

Terms of the agreement.

The terms of the agreement should state the duration of the NDA, and what you can do after the NDA ends. As a designer, this section is important as it should state if and when you may be able to use your designed pieces in your portfolio and whether or not you can claim a working relationship with the client.

An NDA is a contract

Since an NDA is a contract, it can be negotiated. Don't be afraid to question any parts of the NDA or to request changes if you find parts of the NDA are not in your best interest. An NDA offers protection for all involved parties so make sure your interests are covered.

Consequences of breaking an NDA

Because an NDA is a contract, breaking it can have severe consequences. Not only can you lose the project and the client if you break an NDA, but the damage to your reputation as a designer and business person could be irreparable.

More severe consequences can include a court-ordered cease and desist, being sued for damages by the client and even prosecution depending on the sensitivity of the information involved.

Issuing your own NDA

Up until this point, I've been talking about NDAs issued by your clients. However, as a designer and business owner you may find it necessary to issue your own NDA to contractors, team members, and third parties for certain projects you are working on. Everything discussed above still applies but from the point of view of the issuer instead of the recipient.

Protect yourself

An NDA is made to protect all parties involved. Signing one is not a scary ordeal. In fact, you should view it as an honour that your client trusts you enough to share sensitive information with you. It's one more step in building a solid client relationship.

Sample NDA

Want to see what an NDA looks like? You can download a sample NDA along with other business forms at https://www.allbusiness.com/forms-agreements

Have you ever had to sign an NDA?

Let me know your experiences with NDAs by leaving me 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 Emma

Adobe has a lot of software available, including a lot of new ones like Dimensions, Spark and Muse, but which would you advise learning to boost your design capabilities above the usual Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign? Alternatively, is there a software outside Adobe that you would recommend learning?

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

Resource of the week A Mailbox

This week's resource is a bit different. It's not an App or software to even a tool to help you with your designing. But it is a valuable resource for your design business. If you are a home-based designer, you may be tempted to share your home address with your clients. Let me share with you a couple of reasons why this may be a bad idea.

  1. Sharing your home address may put your family and loved ones at risk.
  2. Informing your clients that you will be away on holiday also informs them that your home will be vacant.
  3. If you ever move, you will need to update your address everywhere which could be burdensome.

A better idea is to get a mailbox at a local postal outlet or UPS Store. This has the added benefit of ensuring your mail is taken care of regardless of whether you are home or not. The UPS Store has the added benefit of calling their boxes "suites" instead of Post Office Boxes. Many companies will not ship to a P.O. Box but will ship to a "suite" at a UPS Store. Plus, employees at The UPS Store are available to sign for packages on your behalf, so you never miss a shipment. And don't forget, you can write off a mailbox as a business expense.

Episode Sponsor

Thank you to this week's sponsor, Storyblocks. Save on Millions of stock photos, vectors and more at Storyblocks.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe on Stitcher
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Subscribe on Google Play Music

Contact me

Send me feedback

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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

Nov 2, 2017

Do you practice Just In Time Learning?

I first talked about Just In Time Learning in episode 8 of the podcast. If you haven't heard that episode I suggest you listen to it before continuing with this one.

In case you’re not familiar with the term, Just In Time Learning essentially means you only learn things that you will need for your next task at hand. Learning things you don’t need right now is a waste of time.

There are only so many hours you can work in a day. No matter how good you are at time management, there will never be enough time to get everything done. That’s a fact.

In order to make the most of your time, you should be spending it on what makes you the most productive and what brings in money.

There are many things that take up your time during a typical workday. Things that are not considered productive or that don’t generate money for you. In this episode of the podcast, I talk about just one of them, learning. Whether you're learning something new or you're brushing up on a seldom used skill, learning can take up a lot of time. Often, it's time you don't need to spend learning. To get the full story from this episode I recommend you listen to the podcast where I go into more detail than what is written here.

Learning can be done in many ways.

  • You could read books, manuals and magazines
  • You could take a class at a learning institute
  • You could take a free or paid online course
  • You could watch a webinar
  • You could read blog posts
  • You could watch tutorial videos
  • You could learn from a mentor or peer.

And I’m sure there are many others I’m missing.

Learning can take up only a few minutes of your time, or it could take several hours, days even. The time you spend learning is time you are not spending running your design business and earning money.

Don’t get me wrong. You need to learn. Learning is what keeps you current. Learning helps you develop your skills. Learning helps you broaden yourself as a designer and as a person.

I’m not at all saying you shouldn’t be spending your time learning. What I’m saying, is you should be spending your learning time wisely.

That’s where Just In Time Learning comes in.

As I stated earlier. Just In Time Learning means you only learn the things that you need when you need them.

Let me give you an example to put this in perspective. 

You stumble upon a YouTube video teaching how to create a wonderful effect in Photoshop. You think to yourself, that looks cool, I'd love to know how they did that. So you spend the time watching the 20-minute video teaching you how to create that effect. Great.

Now here’s the issue. You don’t have any projects you’re currently working on that require that effect. In fact, you may never have a need for that effect at all. But you spent 20 minutes learning it and you’re happy. Chalk up one more thing you know how to do in Photoshop.

A year later you find yourself working on a client project that could use some sort of effect on it. You remember that video you watched and think that effect would be perfect. The problem is, you don't remember how to do it. So you go back to YouTube and search for that video. If you’re lucky you’ll find the same one you watched, or perhaps another one teaching the same thing. You watch it again and complete the effect much to the delight of your client.

So in hindsight, what you did was spend 40 minutes learning something that should have only taken you 20 minutes to learn.

Learning what instead of how

The trick with Just In Time Learning is not to learn how to do things when you find the instructions, but to learn what can be done and file it away to learn when the time comes and you do need it.

In other words. You didn't need to learn how to create that effect in Photoshop a year ago. At the time all you needed to learn was that that effect is achievable in Photoshop. Then, if or when you ever need to achieve that effect that's when you learn how to do it.

Just In Time Learning, it’s that simple.

A library of future knowledge

What do you do when you come across an amazing course or tutorial for something you think may be useful but isn't something you need to know right now? You add it to your library of future knowledge.

A library of future knowledge is a place where you keep track of all the tutorials, manuals, courses, instructional videos and links to useful material that you may need to know someday.

I use Evernote for this but I'm sure there are other programs or Apps you could use. Every time I come across a blog post, an online course, a YouTube video or anything that I think contains useful knowledge, I tag it and add it to Evernote for the day I may need it. That day may never come, but if it does I'll be ready.

Evernote allows you to create Notebooks for storing information. I have Notebooks for Photoshop, Illustrator, WordPress, CSS, Divi and many other programs and areas I may need to learn more about.

Every time I come across an interesting link on how to do something I add it to the appropriate Notebook. I make sure to tag the link with any appropriate tags which will make it easier to search for in the future. Then, should the time ever come, I can quickly look in Evernote to find the tutorial or course I need for the task at hand.

There are other ways you could do this. Creating a bookmark hierarchy in your browser. That's how I used to do it before Evernote. You could also create a folder hierarchy on your computer and include links to all the sites you want to keep.

Whichever way you choose, you should have some way of organizing them for the future.

Picking and choosing from within

Not every tutorial or course needs to be put off for the day you may need it. Sometimes you simply want to take a course, watch a tutorial or read a book in order to learn something new so you can gain general knowledge or add a service to your business. Maybe you read books in your off hours in order to become a better business person or simply to be inspired. The information may not be immediately usable by you right now, but knowing it will improve your chances of getting better work in the future.

Even in these circumstances, you could take a hint from Just In Time Learning. A book on starting a business may be a great read if you are considering opening up your own design business. But if you plan on working by yourself from home, there's no need to read the chapter on hiring employees. Gain knowledge from the areas you need and skip those that don't apply to you. If one day your design business grows to the point where you need to hire people that will be the time to gain that knowledge, not now.

You get the idea

I hope you get the idea. There’s so much involved with running a successful design business, and there never seems to be enough time to do it all. So why waste your time on courses and tutorials that don’t help you right now. Instead, make note of them in something like Evernote and should the need ever arise for you to know those things, that's when you take the time to learn them.

Do you follow the Just In Time Learning method?

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 Randy

I have a question regarding opening up a personal or business account. As a sole proprietor, should I open a personal account or a business account (Backblaze, Paypal, CashApp, etc.)

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

Resource of the week Evernote

Evernote is, in my opinion, one of the best organization and note taking applications there is. I use it on a daily basis to keep track of everything from podcast and blog topics, to business contacts, websites I need to revisit, and so much more. Evernote's ability to sync across all my devices means I can access it no matter where I am. It's become one of the most invaluable tools in my arsenal. If Evernote sounds like something you could use sign up for their free plan and give it a try.

Episode Sponsor

Thank you to this week's sponsor, Storyblocks. Save on Millions of stock photos, vectors and more at Storyblocks.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe on Stitcher
Subscribe on Android
Subscribe on Google Play Music

Contact me

Send me feedback

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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

Oct 27, 2017

Do you service a design niche?

According to Lynda Falkenstein, author of Nichecraft: Using Your Specialness to Focus Your Business, Corner Your Market and Make Customers Seek You Out. “Many people talk about ‘finding’ a niche as if it were something under a rock or at the end of the rainbow, ready-made. That's nonsense,” she says “Good niches don't just fall into your lap; they must be carefully crafted.” 

Back in episode 54 of the Resourceful Designer podcast, I talked about what a design niche is and the benefits of working in one. If you haven't listened to that episode yet I suggest you do before continuing. But just to elaborate a bit more on the subject, a design niche and a field are not the same things.

If you specialize in designing for the medical industry you are targetting a field. However, If you specialize in designing websites for dentists, you are targetting a niche within the medical field.

There’s nothing wrong with focusing on a field instead of a design niche. I just want you to know the difference.

And remember, you can do both. Even if you specialize in designing websites for dentists, there is nothing stopping you from taking on a chiropractor as a client. It's ok to have more than one niche or to branch out and take clients outside your niche. It’s your business after all. All of this is discussed in greater detail on this episode of the podcast. Please listen to get the full story.

Now you may be wondering, "If I can work with anyone even though I'm targeting a niche, what’s the point of even having a niche?"

I discussed this in episode 54 but here are the main points of why you may want to have a niche.

  1. It’s easier to identify potential clients.
  2. You become a sought out expert in the niche
  3. You get better referrals within the niche
  4. There will be less competition in the niche
  5. You can have more focused marketing material
  6. Increased chance of repeat business

So how do you choose a design niche to target?

Determining your niche.

What type of client do you want to design for? Be very specific. Identify things like geographic areas, the types of businesses or customers you want to target. If you are not sure whom you want to work with, it will be a lot harder to make contact with them.

The smaller and more focused the design niche is the better your chance of succeeding within it.

Targeting Startup companies may be too broad a niche. But aiming at startup companies that create green, eco-friendly products out of bamboo is a better goal.

Keep in mind that it’s always best to find a niche that you are familiar with and possibly have a passion for. Look at your interests and hobbies. Maybe there’s something there you could target.

Marketing to your niche.

Marketing to a specific design niche is easier than marketing to a non-niche. All of your marketing material, be it your website, brochures, Facebook ads, business cards, can be designed specifically to appeal to that niche, which will make them easier to spot by people within that niche.

Look to see what type of visuals and wording is already being used in your target design niche and structure your marketing material to follow suit.

Present relevant work in your portfolio.

The best way to win over a client is to showcase work that appeals to them.

If your target niche is yoga studios, you don’t want your portfolio to showcase the website and poster you designed for a monster truck show.

If you're going after a niche within the design space such as Logo Design, then you better have some good logo designs to show off. And perhaps remove any unrelated projects such as car wraps and websites from your portfolio. Anything that distracts from your skills at logo design should be minimized.

Remember, you can have more than one design niche, so save that other work for a different portfolio on your website, or better yet, on a completely different website.

You’ll have a much better chance of being hired if you showcase projects that are similar to the niche market you want to work in.

Start promoting yourself.

Now that your marketing material is in line with the design niche you’re targetting it’s time to start promoting yourself.

This is the grunt work that will lead to your success.

Create social media accounts that are consistent with the niche you are targetting. Drop by and introduce yourself to related businesses in your area. Do some research, Invest in some stamps, and mail out brochures, postcards, business cards, to anyone who may be a potential client. This is a great opportunity to use a virtual assistant as I explain in Episode 62 of the podcast: How to use a virtual assistant for your graphic design business.

Find out where people in your target niche meet up and go see them face to face. Imagine a convention for restauranteurs. Everyone there owns a restaurant and is there to learn ways to grow and improve their own restaurant. They may be interested in other attendees but there's little they can actually gain from them. Now imagine you introduce yourself as a graphic or web designer who specializes in marketing for restaurants. That might just garner a bit of attention for you. Especially if your marketing material follows suit.

Start hunting for clients.

There are potential design clients everywhere. In your hometown, across your state or province, and across the globe. All you need to do is look for them.

Find businesses in your targetted design niche that are in need of a rebrand or a new website and approach them. Drop by in person if you can or introduce yourself by phone or email. Explain how you found them, who you are and suggest some ways you could work together to benefit their business.

Don’t alienate them. Focus on what you think is working well with their current material and then suggest ways to improve upon it.

If you start off by critiquing what they are currently using you may turn them off before giving yourself a chance. Especially if they are very attached to their current designs.

Show your interest in your chosen design niche.

To succeed in the niche game, you have to have the knowledge and a general interest in your chosen niche. If you don’t, it will quickly become transparent to your clients.

Remember that one of the benefits of choosing a design niche is to be viewed as an expert in that niche. To be viewed as an expert you need to be able to show your knowledge to potential clients. That’s why choosing a niche you are already familiar with is often your best choice.

Clients would much rather pay premium prices for a specialized designer that already understands their business, their hurdles, their competition, and their target market, instead of having to educate a different designer on all of that.

By showing potential clients how much you know about their industry, you automatically start to align yourself with the company, and they will immediately start viewing you as a valuable asset they want to work with.

Be patient but persistent.

You know the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” well neither will your portfolio of dream clients. It will take time an effort on your part. But if you persevere you will have a much better chance of success.

Just because a client turns you down doesn’t mean it’s the end with them. Some companies, especially very large ones are always changing and developing new strategies and ideas. Keep reaching out to them every few months by showing them projects you’ve done for other clients and asking if they have any projects they would like to discuss with you.

You never know. The time may come when they decide your services are just what they need.

Niche marketing is a constant flux.

Niche marketing is not a fixed approach. There are many different ways to go about finding those dream clients.

Stay flexible for opportunities and listen to client feedback, and then fine tune to discover more and more about what you are passionate about and the best at.

One last thing...

If you are a new designer or a recent design school grad, don't’ worry about it. Create some sample designs within your target design niche that show off your creative skills. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t specifically designed anything in that niche before. As long as you're passionate about it it will show through in your designs.

Do be honest however and indicate that you are showcasing sample projects to show your skills, then replace your sample projects with real ones as you produce them.

How do you market to your design niche?

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 Florida-Boy

Thank you for all that you share. It helps encourage us that are looking to forward our own business's growth. I'm personally looking to venture into my own business.

I was wondering, you mentioned in a previous podcast that you use a virtual assistant, and they can be used for whatever kinds of tasks you may need them to do...To what extent do you think a lone designer/business owner should be answering the phone or using the virtual assistant to take your calls and/or messages?

Also, how do you balance working/designing with marketing yourself to new clients and taking care of business paperwork all when you are the only person to do everything?

Thank you so much for your response!

To find out what I told Florida-Boy you’ll have to listen to the podcast.

Resource of the week Four Week Marketing Boost.

I put this guide together in the hopes to encourage you to look at your own brand and image. The daily tasks in my guide require only 15-30 minute of your time and focus on the parts of your marketing material that are often overlooked or neglected.  After completing this four-week plan you will be in a better position to present yourself to, and win over new clients.

You can download the Four Week Marketing Boost by visiting marketingboost.net. Or, if you are in the U.S.A. you can text the word MARKETINGBOOST to 44222.

Improve your business' image and create the best first impression possible to attract more clients.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe on Stitcher
Subscribe on Android
Subscribe on Google Play Music

Contact me

Send me feedback

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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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