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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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Resourceful Designer - Resources to help streamline your graphic design and web design business.
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Now displaying: June, 2017
Jun 30, 2017

Have you ever heard of upselling?

Upselling is the process of getting someone to upgrade their purchase or getting them to add things to their order at the time of sale. Most predominant in the fast food industry where you will often be asked if you would like to increase the size of your drink or if you would like fries with your order. Upselling is a great way for a business to increase revenue. 

Many people believe "upselling" is a dirty word. A way of manipulating clients into spending more money. But upselling can actually help clients get more value from their purchase and in turn, help your business get more loyalty and revenue from the client.

When done correctly, upselling can help build deeper client relationships. Don't view it as a sales tactic, view it as a client happiness tactic because of the extra value you are providing them.

In this episode of the Resourceful Designer podcast, I discuss ways you can use upselling to your advantage. Be sure to listen to the episode for the full story.

How upselling applies to your design business.

Every time a client discusses a new design project with you, it opens a window of opportunity for upselling other services and products you can offer them.

For example, while discussing a new web design project you can offer additional services such as hosting, website security, backup, upkeep and more. You could also offer to design their social media profiles so they match the new website.

These are things the client may not think of. By upselling them on these services you are providing them with added value while also increasing your revenue.

Designing a logo for a new company is the perfect time to upsell them on stationery, signage, vehicle wraps, social media branding and so much more.

Even something as simple as offering stickers with their logo on them is an added value for the client.

Do you offer print brokering?

Print brokering is a perfect opportunity for upselling. Clients often don't realize that printing costs decrease exponentially as quantities increase. So a print order that costs $200 for 1000 items might only cost $275 for 2000 items. Paying an extra $75 to double their order may be worth it for the client. You are providing them with an extra value while also increasing your profit margin on the print order.

Do you work on retainer?

Not only do retainer agreements provide you with a guaranteed steady income, they can provide immense value to your client. A retainer agreement in itself is a valuable upsell for your client that uses your services on a regular basis. Especially if you offer them a discount on your rates in exchange for the guaranteed income.

Give it a try

Upselling to design clients has been happening since the inception of the design industry so why not take advantage of it to provide extra value to your clients while also increasing your revenue?

It's very easy to do. Simply offer the client more than they expected while discussing design projects with them. Not only will they appreciate the added value, but it will make them more loyal to you and strengthen the important client relationship you are building. Both parties win and there's nothing dirty about that.

Upselling, give it a try.

What examples of upselling have you used?

I would love to know how you use upselling to increase your design revenue. 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

Hello Mark! I've listened to a lot of your podcasts, and while at this moment I'm not looking to make a leap just yet into becoming a solopreneur, I am very much inclined to doing so. In multiple podcasts, Mark, you mention that although we are alone, we do not need to go about conducting business alone; it's OKAY to have help. I have over a decade of experience with Print media, shirts, signs, etc., but what if, instead of only contracting out specific things, I contracted, say, ALL the work out and focused on maintaining relationships with the customers and designers and all the marketing aspects? Does it seem like too much to not have a handle on? I would really love to hear your thoughts on this. Thank you and keep up the great work on all your podcasts!

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

Resource of the week Missinglettr

Missinglettr creates strategic, automatic social media campaigns that drive traffic for an entire year. Leaving you to focus on writing your next blog post. I've been using Missinglettr for several months now and am very pleased with the results I'm getting. Missinglettr is a simple way to create social engagement without taking up too much of your time. If you have, or you know someone who has a blog, Missinglettr might be the solution to help spread it to the masses.

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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

Jun 22, 2017

Who do you have on your Design Team?

Have you ever heard the term it takes a village to raise a child? Basically what it means is that a person is a sum of the people around them. Those people around them mould and form them into the person they become.

The same can be said of you as a designer. You are the child in the village. As such, you require a team to make you the most well-rounded designer your clients can hire. That team needs to be made up of people that can help your business succeed.

In this week's episode of the Resourceful Designer podcast, I discuss who should be on your team and how to find them. Be sure to listen to the episode for the full story. Here's a brief outline of what I talked about on the show.

Who should make up your team?

Your team should be made up of people with skills to complement the services you offer. People with skills you either don't have yourself, skills you are not that good at, or skills you simply don't want to do.

People to consider adding to your team.

  • Photographers
  • Illustrators
  • Copywriters
  • Programmers
  • Translators
  • Print designers
  • web designers
  • Developers
  • Facebook ad expert
  • Email marketing expert
  • Sales funnel specialists
  • SEO Experts
  • etc.

There are much more people you can have on your team but you get the idea.

Where do you find team members?

Good places to find team members are on websites like toptal.com, upwork.com or even fiverr.com. But don't limit yourself to these resources. People to include on your team can be found everywhere if you keep and eye out. Pick up business cards whenever you can. Write down names you hear on podcasts or read on blog posts. Take note of people mentioned in magazine articles, people you see on social media, people you meet at conventions and gatherings. People referred to you by family, friends and peers.

Basically, anyone with a skill you may end up needing some day should be added to your team.

They don't need to know they're on your team.

Building your team is mostly a one-way streak. It's great if you can get to know someone before adding them to your team but it's not necessary. All that is necessary is that you know what they can provide to you and your business. Team members don't even have to know they're on your team. In fact, they don't even have to know who you are to be part of your team!

If you hear of a great architectural photographer in your area you could add them to your team of photographers to call upon should the need arise. When the time comes and you need architectural photography you'll already know someone to contact. That's the reason to build a team.

Plus, when a client asks if you can take photos of their building you can say yes, knowing you have a great photographer you could hire for the job.

Team members to make your life easier.

Besides people with design related skills, you may need you should also have team members to help you run your business.

  • Bookkeeper
  • Lawyer
  • Accountant
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Business Coach
  • Mentor
  • Networking groups
  • Your Peers

And don't forget to include your family and friends. You need their support more than anyone's if you are going to succeed in your business.

Who do you have on your team?

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 Mrs. Flowerpot

How do you politely decline clients who requests part of your intellectual property. ie. suppliers details, how I created a particular graphic and more specific questions about my practice that has taken me years to gather the knowledge for. These incidences have happened to me in the past and in trying to be helpful, I have in fact allowed them to take work and fees from me. Am I holding my knowledge too tight? How much should we share? How do we decline their questions without the conversation becoming awkward?

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

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

Jun 15, 2017

Have you made the transition yet from employee to entrepreneur?

This week's podcast episode is a bit different. Instead of answering a listener's question at the end of the episode like I normally do, I chose to create an entire podcast episode to answer a great question I received.

Here is the question I received from Dave.

I work full-time as a graphic designer/prepress operator and have wanted to start my own freelance business for some time. I have also been learning web development to broaden my skills, which I usually try and work on at weekends along with juggling life as a new dad with a 5 month old son.

I am at the stage where I want to take on small design jobs to build my client base before eventually being a home based designer full-time.

So my question is how did you approach the transition of moving from the print shop to working for yourself? how long did it take? and do you have any insights for someone who is very time poor that wants to make the leap into self employment?

Thanks again for everything you do through the podcast, it has answered so many questions for me already. keep it up!!!

kindest regards,

Dave

I thought this question merited more than just a couple of minutes at the end of the show.

My Story

To fully answer Dave's question I need to tell my story of how I made the transition from employee to entrepreneur. I'm not going to go into everything here. If you want to know my full transition story you'll need to listen to the podcast.

The short version is when the print shop I worked at decided web site design was a service they no longer wanted to offer I took my skills and knowledge home with me and started a part-time business in the evenings.

It didn't take long for web clients to start asking me to design things that were a direct conflict of interest with my day job. After discussing it with my wife I made the decision to start working towards the day I could leave the print shop and work full-time for myself.

One year later I handed in my resignation and never regretted the decision.

Of course, there's a lot more to the story so be sure to listen to the podcast.

My advice for those getting ready to transition from employee to entrepreneur.

Create a business

Freelancing on the side doing the odd job here and there is great. But if you are planning to someday work for yourself full-time you should start a business now. By registering an official business you will have a much easier time in setting things up when it comes to dealing with banks, credit, suppliers, and so on. Not to mention all the tax write-offs you can claim through a business.

Create a buffer

Unfortunately, some people are thrust into the transition situation without warning through business closures, downsizing or any other number of reasons. But if you have the time to set things up I suggest you create a cash buffer to get you buy the slow times, because there will be slow times, especially at the beginning. Saving up six months worth of salary is usually a good buffer.

Build up a client list

If at all possible, try to form relationships with the clients you work with at your present job before transitioning. If you're lucky they may follow you when you leave. Or they may refer new clients your way if they know you're a trustworthy and skilful person.

Tell your employer

The first thing you should do is make sure you don't have any agreements with your current employer saying you cannot start a business on the side. If no such agreements are in place then you should let your employer know what you are doing. They don't need to know you eventually want to leave, but they should be aware of what type of business you are running after hours. They may even encourage and help you out. The last thing you want is for your employer to discover your side business through some third party.

Don't burn bridges

When the time finally comes to part ways from your current job, do so in an amicable way. No matter what you thought of your boss or the company you should part on good terms. You never know when you might require their services in the future or whether or not they may refer clients your way.

Being an entrepreneur is a wonderful thing

I love working for myself from home. I could never see myself working for someone else again. However, self-employment isn't for everyone. It takes a certain type of individual to have the drive and discipline to make it work. If you think running your own graphic design business is something you want to do I highly encourage you to start setting the pieces in place today for your transition. Mark your calendar and get working towards the day you make the leap from employee to entrepreneur.

Best of luck on your transition.

How did your transition go?

I would love to hear how your transition from employee to entrepreneur went. Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Resource of the week Udemy

As graphic designers, we need to keep our skills and knowledge in peak form. Udemy is one of the best places to learn new skills or brush up on rusty ones. Udemy offers a wide variety of courses for all stages of your career. I've personally bought courses on SEO, Google Analytics, Facebook Ads and more. Have a look today and see what you're going to learn next.

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

Jun 1, 2017

Does your design website have dedicated landing pages?

One of the most asked questions I get is how do I attract new design clients? I wrote a blog post a while back sharing 10 proven ways to do just that but today I decided to do a podcast episode on another way, landing pages.

Be warned, this isn't a quick way to attract new design clients. Landing pages are a slow burn meant to work over time but they do work. Below are some of the points I cover in the podcast. Be sure to listen to the episode for the full discussion.

What is a landing page?

Technically speaking, any web page someone lands on after clicking a link is a landing page. But when it comes to marketing the term "landing page" has taken on a new meaning.

A landing page is a webpage with only one marketing purpose in mind, to generate leads and sales for your business.

What makes a good landing page?

A good landing page should be a standalone page without any distractions except for its primary goal, getting visitors to click on your call-to-action.

The best landing pages have no sidebar, no footer and possibly no header or menu. The whole purpose of the page is to relay your message and allow your visitors only one option, to follow through on your CTA.

A good landing page should have a pleasant, flowing design including compelling copy, appropriate imagery and a very easy way for visitors to interact with it, either a button or simple form allowing them to contact you for more information.

At the bottom fo the landing page, almost as an afterthought, you should include a single line of text and a text link inviting visitors back to your website to learn more about you.

How to use landing pages for your design website.

Way back in episode 2 of the podcast I talked about how your design clients may not know everything you are capable of doing and how you should be informing them every chance you get. I also talk about this and how to get new work from existing clients in episode 72.

But when using landing pages to attract new design clients you need to flip that concept around and concentrate on only one service at a time.

I presume you already have a website for your design business and on that website you list all the services you offer. Things like logo design, business cards, trade show displays, posters, t-shirts, websites, social media profiles and so much more.

It's great that you list all those services but the problem is, so does ever other designer in your area.

That's where landing pages come in. You should be creating a landing page for every service you offer.

Logo design should have its own landing page, website design should have its own landing page, wedding invitations should have its own landing page, you get the idea.

Every one of those landing pages will focus on that specific service and nothing more. Not only that, but they should be composed in a way to entice visitors to want to work with you.

Think about it from a potential client's point of view. When they google "poster design [add city name]" the search results will display a bunch of designers in your area capable of designing posters. But what will be more impressive to the potential client, a design site simply mentioning they design posters, or a dedicated landing page specifically talking about posters?

Imagine them landing on a page with text something like this...

Are you in the [city name] area and looking to have a poster designed for your business or upcoming event? If so, you've come to the right place. Here at [company name], we've been designing business and event posters for over xx years and we would love the opportunity to design your next poster."

Again, what would be more impressive to the potential client looking for a poster design, a design site that mentions poster design amongst many other services or a simple landing page dedicated solely to poster design?

Now, imagine if your site had landing pages for poster design, T-shirt design, ticket-design, etc. etc. You get the idea.

Landing pages improve your design site's SEO

I've talked about the benefit of landing pages from a potential client's point of view, but don't overlook the benefits to your website's findability.

Adding dedicated landing pages to your site will improve its SEO ranking in Google, especially when it comes to Google's local search results. Google is much more likely to rank a page completely dedicated to logo design higher than a page that simply mentions logo design once on the page.

I just mentioned Google's local search which allows local pages to rank higher than non-local pages. Take advantage of this by specifically mentioning your city or area on your landing page.

You can also take advantage of other areas by creating multiple landing pages for each service by targeting different cities or areas. For example; build landing pages for wedding invitations in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, etc. Each landing page is a potential gateway to attract new clients.

Build it and they will come

As I mentioned at the beginning. This isn’t a strategy for getting new clients fast. It’s a long-term strategy. It may take months or maybe even years before it pays off.

But all it takes is one person to one day Google something like "event poster design" and your hometown and the effort will have paid off.

And you know what? As the concept of landing pages for online marketing becomes more and more popular others will be looking for landing pages for their own websites. So you can even build a landing page advertising that you build landing pages. How meta is that?

So go get building your own landing pages.

have you ever used landing pages before?

Let me if you've used landing pages before or if it's something you plan on implementing. Leave 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 Chloe

At what point should you start charging a client you started off doing volunteer work for. I offered to do a bunch of smaller design jobs for them to help out as my values and interests aligned with theirs. They are a smaller organisation without much money I wanted to offer some services for free as I really like their brand and would value having them as a client/for my portfolio. How do you bring this up without damaging the relationship and then how do you go about increasing your hourly rate over time as the workload increases and becomes more regular?

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

Resource of the week: LeadPages

Leadpages integrates with many popular platforms and services to give you the best landing pages and lead generation tools available. Their very simple creation tools have allowed everyone from Fortune 500 companies to first-time entrepreneurs, people in every industry to take control of their marketing and get better results.

Leadpages is what I use here on Resourceful Designer to deliver all my special content including my free 4 Week Marketing Boost guide.

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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