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Resourceful Designer - Resources to help streamline your graphic design and web design business.

Offering resources to help streamline your home based graphic design and web design business so you can get back to what you do best… Designing!
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Now displaying: March, 2016
Mar 30, 2016
Are Graphic Design Awards Important For Your Business - RD029

Proud of your graphic design awards? Great, pat yourself on the back and get back to work.

There's always a good feeling that comes with winning awards. Wether it's recognition from your peers at some formal gala, or a gold star from your third grade teacher. Awards represent achievement, prestige, and of course give you some bragging rights. But when it comes to our business, do graphic design awards translate to better and more work?

Now I realize that this is my own personal opinion. I didn't look up any studies, nor did I conduct any surveys. But if you ask me, I would have to say NO. Entering in graphic design competitions and winning graphic design awards don't really do anything for your graphic design business. Disagree? Have a story to prove me wrong? Leave your opinion in a comment below.

Types of Graphic Design Awards

There are a ton of graphic design competitions that offer a variety of graphic design awards. That's not what I want to talk about. I'm referring to the different "categories" of graphic design awards available to you.

Graphic Design Awards For Students.

There are probably more graphic design competitions aimed at students than there are aimed at professionals. And that's OK. In fact, graphic design students are the ones that can benefit the most form winning graphic design awards. They look great on resumes and could be the deciding factor in an employer choosing one young designer over another.

Unfortunately graphic design awards won while you're a student have short life spans. They look good for the first few years of your career but after a while the loose their wow factor. It's kind of like the local theatre awards some Hollywood A Lister won before they made it big. They were great at the time, and may have helped them land their first acting part, but nobody cares about those awards now.

Professional Graphic Design Awards

If you do covet graphic design awards these are the ones to go after. I wont name any names here but there are some very prestigious graphic design competitions in our industry. Unfortunately most of these competitions require you to pay a fee in order to submit a piece of work. Some of those fees can be expensive. Without a guarantee that your piece will make it on the final ballot the price involved with these graphic design competitions is just too much for most graphic designers, especially those running their own business.

Don't get me wrong. I fully understand why these graphic design competitions charge hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars just to submit your work for consideration. If they didn't they would be flooded with thousands of submissions from every wannabe designer looking for a leg up. The problem however is that only those who can afford the entry fee are recognized. Meaning they may not necessarily be the best graphic designers, they are simply the ones with money to spend.

Niche Graphic Design Awards.

Niche graphic design awards are fun to win, but don't really mean much. A niche design award is usually offered by some industry or group to recognize achievement within their ranks. For example, a fire department my win an award for having the best department crest out of all fire departments in the state. Or a book publisher may offer an award for the best book cover design out of all the books they published in the past year.

Most of the time it's your client that is the one being recognized and not you the designer. In the examples above, the fire department and the book author would win the award. However, by proxy you can claim some recognition for having designed the winning piece and have every right to brag about it any way you like.

Graphic Design Inclusions.

Not so much an award since there are no graphic design competitions involved. Inclusions is when your work is recognized in some compilation of work. This is when a logo you designed appears in a book of "Best Logo Designs" or if a website you built appears in a list of the "top 100 websites". You haven't actually won any awards for your design but you can still brag about it's inclusion nonetheless.

Do Graphic Design Awards help your business?

My short answer is NO. Graphic design awards look great on a resume when you're applying for a job. But as far as your own business goes, they're nothing but fluff.

Continuing with comparisons to the film industry, a film director or producer my benefit from having an Oscar winner starring in their movie, but how that translates to the viewing audience depends on how good the movie is. After all there have been many box office bombs that starred previous Oscar winners.

The same goes for the graphic design industry. Having an award on your resume may be coveted by the employers you're interviewing with. But when it comes to running your own business, your clients are much more concerned with what you can provide them, not some award you won for something you did for someone else.

Should You Bother Listing Your Graphic Design Awards?

Of course you should. You won them after all so why not brag about them. Just don't expect your list of awards to translate into more business or better clients. Unless you payed some big bucks to enter your project in some prestigious graphic design contest that is. In that case let me know how it goes for you because I have absolutely no experience with that.

One Last Thing About Your Graphic Design Awards.

If you do decide to list your awards somewhere, like I just told you you should. I have one suggestion for you. Leave off the dates. If you won the "John Smith Award For Outstanding Achievement In Graphic Design" back in 2012. Don't list that you won it in 2012. You're only opening it up for the question "what happened since then? Why haven't you won anything since?".

Simply list that you are the "Winner of..." or "Recipient of.." and then list the award. Nobody needs to know when you won it. Same goes if you won multiple awards. Instead of saying you won the award in 2010, 2011 and 2012, simply say "Three Time Winner of..."

In conclusion, don't let the success of winning a graphic design award define you. Concentrate on your portfolio. Strive to do your best on every project regardless on it's worthiness for graphic design competitions. After all, the loyalty of a good client is worth way more than any award.

What do you think?

Do you agree with my take on graphic design competitions and graphic design awards? Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Questions of the Week

I have another Question Of The Week to answer. If you would like me to answer your question in a future episode please visit my feedback page.

This week’s question comes from Norman,

Hey Mark, hope all is well, I had another quick question for you. Now you mentioned in a previous podcast episode that you were lucky enough to have a majority of your previous clients from referrals from another local designer so you may not have much hands on with this topic, But my question is about cold calling potential clients, and if you have any experience with this over the years how did you over come the potential anxiety associated with picking up the phone and calling these people? Thanks again Mark! Keep up the awesome work.

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

Resource of the week is Evernote Essentials

You've heard me talk before about the application Evernote. I use Evernote to organize my business, my podcasts and my daily life. I started using Evernote a few years ago but didn't become serious about it until I discovered Evernote Essentials, the guide written by Brett Kelly. Evernote Essentials is the user's guide that should come with Evernote.

When I first started using Evernote I found it a bit complicated and only used it for a few basic functions. Evernote Essentials taught me how to use this robust program to it's full potential and now I rely on it daily to keep by business, and life running smoothly.

Wether you already use Evernote or are thinking of trying it out. I highly recommend getting this guide. You wont regret it.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe on Stitcher
Subscribe on 
Android

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 24, 2016
Secrets You Should Keep From Your Graphic Design Clients - RD028

Shhh, They're secrets. Don't tell your clients.

Every good business person knows that there are certain things you share with your clients and others that are secrets. As a graphic designer running your own home based graphic design business you should be no different. There are some things you should share and others that should be secrets you keep from your design clients.

What kind of things merit being secrets?

There are many things you may not want to divulge to your clients. The fact that you sometimes design in your underwear, or that you spend time each day looking at cat videos. Just like the parts of your personal life that you don't share with others, your graphic design business has it's share of secrets you don't want known as well. But that's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about secrets that help you run your business and that could harm it if they became known.

9 Secrets you should keep from your graphic design clients.

1) Your Home Phone Number: I believe your home phone number is one of the secrets you should keep from your clients. If you are running a serious business you should have a special phone number associated with it. Why? To keep your personal and business life separate. It may not be that big a deal if you live alone but if you have a family, the last thing you want is your four year old answering the phone when a potential client calls.

Contact your phone company to see what options they offer, or use a service like eVoice.com, the service Wes McDowell of The Deep End Design recommended when I interviewed him in episode 14 of the podcast. Regardless of what method you choose your home phone number is a secret you should only share with friends and family.

2) Your Home Address: Running your business from home offers a lot of freedom. But one of those freedoms shouldn't be clients coming and going as they please. Your home address is another one of the secrets I strongly recommend you keep from your clients. In this day and age it's possible to never meet a client face to face. And if you do need to, you could always meet them at their office or at some other meeting place such as a coffee shop.

I personally have a mailbox at my local UPS Store that I use as by business address. This not only allows me to ship and receive mail there, but it gives my clients a place to drop things off for me without me needing to be there. Not to mention the anonymity of my clients not knowing where I work from. Why is this important? Maybe you live in an area with a bylaw preventing you from running a business from home. These bylaws don't prevent you from working from home, they just prevent you from seeing clients at your home. There's also your insurance. It may not cover any liabilities should a client be injured on your property if they were there on business purposes.

And don't forget security. If you are single and living alone you may not want your clients to know where you live. Especially if a client mistakes your friendly nature as flirtatious. If at all possible, keep your home address a secret from your clients.

3) Vacation Time: We all need to take vacations to unwind, destress, and recharge our creative juices. I look forward every year to the time I take off with my family. Although you may be tempted to spread the word about the amazing trip you are about to take. Your vacation time is one of the secrets that is a good idea to keep from your clients. Why? Because when you run a home based graphic design business and you announce that you will be away on vacation, You are telling everyone that your house will be vacant with all your expensive equipment ripe for the picking.

You may be thinking "I trust my clients so I'm not worried" and that's great. But you have no control over who your clients may inadvertently inform of your departure. So don't take the chance. If you are taking a vacation inform your clients that your office will be closed but don't give them reasons why. Saying the office will be closed leaves the possibility that you are home but just not working. It's much better than saying I'm away for a few days, come on in.

4) Your Political or Religious standing: What are the two most common catalysts for conflict? You guessed it, politics and religion. Unless your are designing for a political candidate or are working on a project for a church group, there is no reason for your clients to know how you stand politically or your religious beliefs. Who you voted for in the last ballot has absolutely no bering on your abilities as a graphic designer. Nor does your faith. In fact you could potentially loose more business by divulging how you stand, than by keeping these two secrets. Don't give a potential client a reason to not work with you before they know what you can do for them.

5) Your Working Schedule: Being a home based graphic designer means you have the freedom to work any hour of the day you choose. If you have young children, being able to put in a few hours after they go to bed may be the only way to keep your business afloat. However, regardless of what time of day you work, you should still keep regular business hours for your clients and keep your actual working hours a secret. Why? Design agencies and marketing firms operate under standard business hours. Most commonly 9am - 5pm. You should run your graphic design business the same way. Correspond with your clients during this time regardless of when you actually work. If your client finds out that you worked on their job at 10pm on night, they may expect it from you the next time they have a rush job for you. As long as you get the job done, it's no business of your client what time of day you worked on it.

6) Your Associates: Every good designer has a team of associate they call on for special tasks. Be it illustrators, developers, copywriters, etc. Who you get to help you on a project should not be important where your client is concerned. They are hiring you to get their project done and as long as you complete it they should be happy. How you complete it isn't important.

You may be wondering why your associates should be secrets to keep from your clients? In some cases a client may hire you because they have a strong tie to the community and you are a local business. Knowing that some of their project may be worked on by someone outside the community may cause them to hire someone else. In other cases, a client may decide to bypass you, whom they see as the middle man, and deal directly with your associates on future projects. So unless absolutely necessary, keep your associates secret.

7) Your Suppliers: Similar to your associates, your suppliers are more secrets to keep from your clients. If you find a really good supplier for printing, web hosting, specialty products, or whatever, you want to keep that to yourself. As long as you can supply good quality products at a good price to your clients, it doesn’t matter where you get them from. Plus, if you don't divulge these secrets, there's no chance your competition can get wind of it and start using the same supplier.

8) Your markup and costs: This one should be a no brainer. There is no reason for you to share these secrets with your clients. How much you are marking up a job or what something costs you is none of their business. Nor should you tell them if you are getting a discount somewhere. I use various printers depending on what the project is. Take business cards for example. The printer I use for business cards will sometimes have a sale. Since I charge a standard fee to my clients for business card printing, I don't tell them when there is a sale on. The discounted price works to increase my profit on the job.

9) Your Other Clients: This one is a bit different. After all most of us proudly display our work in our portfolio so who we work for are not necessarily secrets. However, there are some circumstances where you don't want one client to know you're working for another client. There is nothing wrong with working for two competing clients. A good designer will find a way to create compelling material for each of them. However if your clients knew it could cause some tension. Especially if they thought you were devoting more time and energy to the other one. This could lead to one or possibly both clients taking their work elsewhere. So in situations like this it's best to keep who you work for a secret.

What do you think?

So there you have it. 9 secrets you should keep from your graphic design clients. Is there anything I forgot? Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Resource of the week is Adobe Color CC.

Adobe Color CC offers an easy way to make custom pallets to keep track of the colours you use on client projects. Every new project I begin starts with a visit to this site where I choose the colours I will use on the project.

Adobe Color CC offers several colour rules to choose from. Analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary, compound and shades. Each colour rule allows you to select the perfect colours that work together. Once you have your colours selected the page gives you the values in CMYK, RGB, LAB, HSB, or HEX.

If you have a Creative Cloud account you can save the template for future reference, making it easy to keep track of a client's colours for all future projects.

If you are not already using Adobe Color CC I highly recommend you give it a try.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe on Stitcher
Subscribe on 
Android

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 17, 2016
Taking Time Off From Your Graphic Design Business - RD027

The best remedy for stress is taking time off.

Being a graphic designer can be a very stressful profession. Especially if you run your own home based graphic design business. Not only do you have the demands of being creative, you also have to deal with the day to day tasks involved with running a successful business. There will inevitably come a time when the stress will start getting to you and the best thing you can do it take some time off. Luckily, if you run your own graphic design business it means you are your own boss and you can take time off whenever you want.

When I say take some time off from your graphic design business I'm not talking about vacation. Yes, we all need vacation time in order to relax and unwind, but what I mean by "time off" is simply stepping away from your daily routine for a while. Be it a day or just a few hours. It's amazing how taking a little time off, some "me" time if you will, can recharge your mental and creative batteries and allow you to dive right back into work at 100% efficiency.

How do you take time off from graphic design?

Get out of the office.

There are various ways for you to take time off from designing. The simplest way is to get out of your office. Find some chores or house work that needs to be done and go do it. If that's not good enough for you, try getting out of the house. Go for a walk, run some errands, go visit a museum. This last one is especially good at getting your creative juices flowing.

Tackle often neglected office tasks.

If you can only take a couple of hours off and don't feel like leaving the house, consider tackling those often neglected tasks around your office. Clean your desk and your drawers. Update your computer's OS, software, RAM, hard drive. Run some maintenance programs to help speed up your computer.

You could also take some time to purge unwanted files and applications, or archive old client files that don't need to be taking space on your computer. Clean out your e-mail inbox or organize your fonts. My software of choice for this last task is Suitcase Fusion by Extensis.

Find other ways to be productive.

If you are feeling too guilty to take time off but are still feeling the stress, take some time for self improvement. Try experimenting with some of the less used applications on your computer. You know, the applications you purchased as part of some graphic design bundle. You may of bought the bundle for one or two specific programs but that's not to say the others couldn't be put to good use if you knew what they did. Destress by taking the time to learn those applications.

You could also improve yourself by watching webinars or taking courses. A great place to learn about design and business is through Lynda.com. Lynda offers a wide variety of professionally produced courses that could really help you and your graphic design business.

A way to get out of the office and still be productive is to go visit some clients. Just stop in to say hi and see how they're doing. What's great about this idea is sometimes by seeing you, the client will remember some project they were thinking of and ask you to take it on. I've walked away from several surprise client visits with new projects to add to my schedule.

Taking time off is all about improving your work.

I'm always dumbfounded when someone thinks graphic designers sit around all day drawing pretty things. People don't realize how stressful our lives can be. We potentially hold the success or failure of companies in our hands depending on the branding we create for them. That's a lot to place on an individual. It's no wonder the pressure sometimes gets to us. Luckily, graphic designers tend to have short reset times and simply taking some time off is all we need. Even if that time off is a single day, an afternoon, or just an hour, when we finally get back to our work stations, we're eager to dive right back in and get creative.

What do you think?

What do you do when you take some time off from your graphic design business? Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Questions of the Week

I have another Question Of The Week to answer. If you would like me to answer your question in a future episode please visit my feedback page.

This week’s question comes from Sean,

Should you ask a client for their budget in the initial project questionnaire?

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

Resource of the week is Photos For Life

Photosfor.life is a “charity photo bank” where all the stock photos are created by cancer patients and survivors and for other cancer patients. Each of the models you see in the images was personally affected by cancer in their own lives. “They love their lives and want to show it to the world!” the website says.

Prices range from $8 for non-commercial use up to $850 for use in an advertising package.

What makes Photos for Life different from other stock photo services is that 100% of the proceeds from the photo sales are used to finance therapies for other cancer patients.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe on Stitcher
Subscribe on 
Android

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 11, 2016
Raise Your Prices To Get Better Graphic Design Work - RD026

You need to to raise your prices if you want better work.

Sounds strange doesn’t it? The idea that if you raise your prices you'll get better graphic design work. It kind of goes agains the whole "undercut your competition" idea that is predominant in most industries. But when it comes to graphic design, charging more means better work for you.

I first covered this topic in a blog post titled It's Time To Raise Your Design Rates. In this episode of my graphic design podcast Resourceful Designer, I expand on the topic and tell you how I first discovered the connection between higher prices and better work and I explain how if you raise your prices you'll be better off as well. Make sure you listen to the podcast for the full story.

Pros and Cons if you raise your prices

Let's start off with the cons since there really aren't that many.

  • Con - Harder to land work.
  • Con - May loose clients

That's about it. These cons may be areas to concern yourself with but they are the only two cons, and chances are you won't have to worry about them. So let's move on to the pros.

  • Pro - More money for less work
  • Pro - Higher end clients with bigger budgets
  • Pro - Higher perceived value for your work
  • Pro - Clients who can afford your higher prices will probably have more work for you as well
  • Pro - You will be taken more seriously as a designer
  • Pro - The ability to compete with other high priced designers
  • Pro - More interesting projects to work on
  • Pro - Less one time clients and more recurring clients

As you can see, there are way more pros than there are cons, and I only listed some of the pros. As for cons, I Googled it and those were the only two I found.

The fact is, after your raise your prices you will be in a better position to attract higher end clients with bigger budgets and recurring work. It all comes down to perceived value and people taking you seriously. A large corporation looking to rebrand will have more confidence in a graphic designer that changes them $8,000 than one that charges them $800. It's perceived value. Both designers may have identical skills, but the higher priced designer will be taken more seriously.

It's just like layers. Would you prefer have a high priced attorney represent you or the appointed public defender? The high priced attorney of course. Why? Because of the perceived value. The public defender may be just as competent as the high priced attorney but he/she will never be taken as seriously as the high priced layer. The same theory applies to graphic designer.

Do pricing strategies matter?

No. It doesn’t matter if you charge by the hour, the project, or by value. If you raise your prices you will project an image of having more value to your clients. And if it looks like you offer more value for your clients you will attract bigger and better clients.

Why do you think companies like Pepsi Cola pay so much when they create a new brand? It's not because the designers or agencies they hire spend tens of thousands of hours on the project. Nor is it because the designers or agencies are more talented and more creative than you are. It's because the designers or agencies have created a higher perceived value for themselves that make large companies trust them more and take them more seriously and in return large companies like Pepsi Cola are willing to pay a premium price for them.

You can accomplish this as well. Maybe not land a client like Pepsi Cola, although never say never. But you could land some very lucrative accounts and get the ball rolling. Because once you land one large client more tend to follow suit.

Do you tell your clients when you raise your prices?

This is entirely up to you. The few times I've raised my own prices I didn't tell my clients and they didn't question it when I sent them an invoice billed at my new higher rate. People are used to prices going up and wont be as surprised by an increase as you think they will. Now if you feel this is a little back handed then go ahead and inform your clients when you raise your prices. Chances are you wont hear anything negative from them. And if you do end up loosing a client because of the increase, they were not loyal clients to begin with and you are better off without them.

What do you think?

When was the last time you raised your prices? How did it work out for you. Let me know in the comments section for this episode.

Questions of the Week

I have another Question Of The Week to answer. If you would like me to answer your question in a future episode please visit my feedback page.

This week’s question comes from Norman,

Hi Mark,
Hey Mark I'm loving the podcast since my discovering it a few weeks ago. I've learn a ton! My question for you is how did you find/get your first leads and clients, aside from the obvious strategy of working within your current social group or doing work for family/friends, but the first time you had your eyes set on a client that you wanted to work with and how did you go about approaching them? Thanks a ton Mark for all the knowledge and help!

To find out what I told Norman you’ll have to listen to the podcast. But I'll give you a hint. In my answer I refer to my blog post on attracting new clients.

Resource of the week is HostGator

HostGator in my opinion, is one of the best website hosting companies out there. I have several of my own as well as my client's websites at HostGator. They offer easy 1-clickWordPress installation and allow multiple domains and website on one hosting package. And if you are already hosting your site elsewhere you can take advantage of their free migration tool to have your site moved from your old host to HostGator. If you want to see what HostGator has to offer please visit http://resourcefuldesigner.com/hosting and use the coupon code RESOURCEFUL25 to receive a 25% discount on your hosting plan purchase.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunes
Subscribe on Stitcher
Subscribe on 
Android

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 4, 2016
Selling Your Idea to Your Graphic Design Clients - RD025

The Client Isn't Always Right.

The idea for this episode's topic about selling your idea to your client came about because of a Facebook group I'm part of. Recently a graphic designer posted a logo she was working on for critique. The logo was an acronym, a single common word with each letter separated by a period. General consensus in the group was that she should loose the periods and the designer agreed. The hard part was convincing her client. After several days she posted a new refined logo saying she was able to convince her client that the periods were not working. Everybody loved the new logo.

A week or so later, the graphic designer let us know that the project was finished and the client had once again changed her mind and ignoring the designer's suggestion, decided to go with the period version as the final logo.

This is not an isolated case. Every graphic designer that has been around for a while has dealt with clients who wouldn't heed their advice. Unfortunately it's part of our profession. We may have the skills, the knowledge, the expertise and experience but convincing a client to go against their own vision is sometimes a loosing battle.

In this episode of my graphic design podcast Resourceful Designer, I share some past experiences of both failing and succeeding in selling my idea to my own clients. Make sure you listen to the podcast for the full story.

So what is the best way of selling your idea to your client?

It all comes down to confidence. The best way of selling your idea to your client is to show them how confident you are in those ideas.

You need to remember that your client hired you because you are an expert at design. You may not consider yourself and expert, but in their eyes you are, and  you need to live up to that mantle.

When selling your idea to your client you should present it in an affirming and non dismissive way. And word your proposal in a manner that makes the client think they're part of the idea.

Use phrases like "why don't we do this?" or "We should do this instead". Instead of phrases like "What do you think of this?" or "Maybe we should try this."

Don't make your idea proposal a question. If you say "Maybe we should try this" you are instilling some doubt about your idea and giving the client the opportunity to shoot it down.

By saying "We should do this" not only are you including your client in the process by saying "We" which makes them feel like they're part of the decision, you are also minimizing the chance of a negative response because it's not a question. You are the expert after all. If your client feels your confidence in the idea they may second guess any doubts they have with it and proceed with your vision.

Show your graphic design client why they hired you.

As a graphic designer you have a vast knowledge stored in your head of design principles, colour theory, font usage, layout techniques and so much more. Use that knowledge to affirm your client's belief that you are the expert they see you as.

When a client comes to you with what they think is a great idea. but you know otherwise, use your knowledge to explain to them why their idea isn't as good as they think. Explain design principles to them. Explain why ten different fonts on a flyer isn't a good idea, explain why bevels, gradients, and drop shadows on a logo limit it's ability to be reproduced. Reming them that you are the expert and you know what you're talking about.

Clients get ideas from things they see around them and want you to incorporate them into their designs. I had a website client many years ago that insisted that every line of type on his site either flash, blink, scroll, flip, rotate, you name it. He had seen all these things on various websites and thought that including them all on his site would create more "action" and make it more memorable to visitors. It took a lot of convincing on my part, to the point of threatening to tear up the contract before I convinced him that just because it can be done, doesn't mean it should be done.

Sometimes a little shovelling is needed when selling your idea.

Clients often question decisions you make. It's not to second guess your work, it's to affirm their decision in hiring you. They know you are the expert and they want to know why you chose to do what you did. Unfortunately some of your decisions they question may not have a good answer.

Sometimes the decisions you make are done on a whim. You chose the colour blue for no other reason than it's what you felt at the time. You chose a san-serif font because you just finished a logo for another client that used a serif font and you wanted to try something different. These are good enough reasons for you, but not good enough for your client.

You need to be able to explain your decisions in a way that will convince your client of them. And if this requires a little BS on your part, so be it. Now I'm not telling you to lie to your clients, I wouldn't condone that. But you should have enough design background and experience to explain your decision in a logical way that makes sense. Even if that's not why you did it in the first place.

Why did you choose a san-serif font? Because of it's modern look. Because of it's uniform line width. Because you liked the shape of the letter "e". All of these reason could be true and your client will understand them better than telling them you were tired of working with serif fonts. Remember, selling your idea means convincing your client, not yourself.

In the end, it's the client who pays the bill.

No matter how experienced you are, or how much design knowledge you've accumulated, sometimes there's just no way of selling your idea to your client. You shouldn't view this as a failure. Some clients have an idea in their head and there's nothing you can do to change it. All they want from you is someone with the skills to transfer their idea to paper or pixels. In cases like this you need to bite your tongue and do what the client wants. It may not end up in your portfolio but it will help pay the bills.

What do you think?

Do you have any stories of clients who's minds you've changed. Or stories of clients you just couldn't convince to go along with your ideas? I would love to hear them. Please leave your story in the comments section for this episode.

Resource of the week is BackupBuddy

BackupBuddy lets you move a WordPress site to another domain or host easily. This is a very popular feature for WordPress developers who build a custom site for a client on a temporary domain or locally (like a sandbox or playground site) and then want to move (or migrate the entire site with themes, plugins, content, styles and widgets over to a live client domain.

With Deployment, you can set up a staging site and connect it with your existing site using BackupBuddy so you can push or pull changes in as few as two clicks.

The restore function in BackupBuddy is quick and simple. Upload the ImportBuddy file and your backup zip, and it walks you through the steps to restore your site: your themes, plugins, widgets and everything else.

In your WordPress dashboard, you can also restore individual files from a backup instead of having to replace everything together. This is great for replacing an old stylesheet or a couple templates that you want to revert back to.

To learn more about BackupBuddy visit http://resourcefuldesigner.com/backupbuddy

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I want to help you.

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

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