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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: August, 2017
Aug 31, 2017

How do you handle criticism?

As a designer, you will receive criticism on your work. How you deal with that criticism will determine what kind of designer you are.

In this episode of Resourceful Designer, I discuss why criticism is essential to your growth as a designer. Listen to the podcast for the full story.

One of the advantages of attending a design school is the opportunity to experience criticism from your teachers and classmates. It's not fun, but it does prepare you for the real world where clients don't hold back their feelings about your work.

We all have blind spots we can't see. Through criticism, you learn to identify those blind spots and improve on them, which moulds you into a better designer.

Perfection is unattainable

My brother was an artist. After watching him sign his name to a painting he just completed I asked him how he knew it was done? He replied to me that it wasn't done and it never would be done. He signed his name to it not because the painting was done, but because he was done with the painting.

The same goes for design. At some point, you simply have to say the design is complete and move on.

Remember, the design you create is not for yourself, it's for your client. They are the ones that will see and use it on a regular basis. They are the ones that have to be happy with the design. So listen to the criticism they give you. Impart your design knowledge upon them if you find their suggestions don't align with your idea but ultimately, they must be satisfied with what you give them.

After a time, you will come to know your client's likes and dislikes. As your relationship grows, you will receive less and less criticism from them. When that happens, you will know you have become a better designer.

In the meantime, embrace all the criticism directed your way and use it to grow as a designer and as a person.

What's your experience with handling criticism?

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 Antony

I am just starting off graphic and web design here in Kenya and have been thinking of doing this as a business. Most of my questions have been addressed in the podcasts I have listened to but there is one area on which I would like advice on. What are the best terms of payment when doing graphic design work? What works for many service businesses over here is asking for a deposit and the rest paid after the work is delivered. What is your take on this and what has worked for you?

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

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. Simply 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.

If you are currently using CrashPlan as your backup solution you may want to consider switching to Backblaze. CrashPlan announced that they will no longer provide consumer backup services.

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

Aug 24, 2017

Turn all clients into repeat clients.

Your goal as a designer is to turn all your clients into repeat clients. But you can't do that unless you build a relationship with them.

Many new designers worry too much about the designs they create than they do about the relationships they build with their clients.

Don't get me wrong, good design skills are a key element in building a strong graphic design business. But they're only one part of the equation. You could even say that your ability to build client relationships is more important than being a great designer.

After all, clients would much rather deal with a good designer they like, than a great designer they don't like.

I cover this topic in greater detail in the podcast so be sure to listen. Here is some of what I talked about.

What's the big deal about repeat clients?

You may be thinking "what's the big deal? If a client likes what I do they'll come back." Unfortunately, that isn't always the case.

Clients don't want to work with someone they don’t like no matter how talented you are. And if they do end up working with you and discovering they don't like you, the chances of them becoming repeat clients once that first project is done are very slim.

However, if they enjoyed working with you, they are much more likely to come back to you instead of looking for a new designer. After all, time is money and if they don't have to spend time looking for a new designer then you saved them money.

After all, time is money and if they don't have to spend time looking for a new designer then you saved them money.

What are the benefits of repeat clients?

Once you build relationships with your clients it becomes much easier to pitch new ideas to them. They become much more receptive to your ideas and directions.

Trust is another key factor. If your clients don't have to explain their business to you before every job, they are more likely to give you more freedom in your design choices.

Not to mention the money. Would you prefer work on a $5k job for a one-time client, or on a $1k job for a client that comes back with more work every few months?

In the long run, you’d be better off with the second client. That’s why you should be trying to get repeat clients. Your business success depends on it.

How do you turn clients into repeat clients?

The formula is quite simple really. If you do good design work and treat your clients well, there’s a very good chance they become repeat clients. It's that simple.

Think about any restaurant you've visited. If you enjoyed the food and had great service, wouldn’t you go back? On the other hand, if either the food or the service was subpar there's a good chance you would avoid that restaurant in the future.

But treating your clients well goes beyond simply doing what they ask of you. In episode 84 of the podcast, I talked about being more than a "Yes Man or Woman" and becoming a problem solver for your clients.

You need to become more than just someone your clients like. You need to become someone they value. If you do it right, you may even become someone they can’t imagine not working with.

The best way to turn clients into repeat clients is to let them know what other services you can offer them. You need to make suggestions for things they haven’t thought about. Be a Problem Solver. The best problem solvers find solutions to problems the clients didn’t know they had. If you can do that, you’ve won yourself a repeat client for life.

What's your strategy for getting repeat 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 question comes from Barbie

When is the best time to ask your clients for testimonials and what is the best way to ask them?

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

Resource of the week: Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode

This week's resource is a Wordpress plugin I install on each and every website I build. It's called Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd. This plugin has two functions. The first allows you to display a customized "Coming Soon" page on a domain while the site is being built. The second allows you to create a custom "Maintenance Mode" page to display any time you are doing work on a live site.

I always design these custom pages with the site company's logo and contact information so that even with the website down visitors are still able to get a hold of the company. It's also very handy for blocking out curious eyes while a site is under construction. When it's time to show your client something you simply turn it off and allow them to look. You can then turn it back on again to continue working in private.

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

Aug 17, 2017

Have you ever heard the term "Yes Man" or "Yes Woman"?

A Yes Man or Woman is someone who follows orders without questioning them. Whatever is asked of them is what they do. A good designer can't be a Yes Man or Woman.

As a designer, you are also a problem solver. Your job is not to do what the client asks without question, but to question what the client asks.

Your job is not to do what the client asks without question, but to question what the client asks.

When a client presents you with a brief for a new project you need to be able to examine the outline and explain to them why something will or won't work. And if something won't work, you need to be able to provide alternative solutions. You need to solve the problem.

Some clients have no idea what it is they want or need. That's why they come to you. As the problem solver, they are trusting you to have the solutions.

If you can provide those solutions you become much more than just their designer. You become a valuable asset to their business. And that translates into a loyal client for life.

For a more in depth discussion on this topic please listen to episode 84 of the podcast.

How have you been a problem solver for your clients?

Let me know what problems you have solved for your clients be 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 Joseph

How do I introduce a design that I feel like a company really needs?

Details

I went to a vegan restaurant and noticed their menus are homemade or crafted by Fiverr’s finest. I really want to give them the menu they deserve and maybe need. I’m a designer who’s still in college pursing my design degree. The problem is this will be my first time pitching. I usually just get a referral for work so this is new to me. I'm not shy or nervous with people but some tips for the approach would be great.

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

Resource of the week 21 Stock Image Sites Every Designer Should Know About

Love 'em or hate 'em, stock image sites are the backbone of any graphic design business. As such, every graphic designer should have a repertoire of good quality stock image sites in their toolbox for when the need arises. I've gathered 21 such stock image sites that I believe every designer should know about. Some are premium sites, some offer inexpensive stock photos and images and some are completely free. All offer quality stock images that can be used for commercial use by your graphic design business.

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

Aug 10, 2017

What's your hourly design rate?

What you should charge as your hourly design rate is an often debated topic amongst designers. Everybody seems to have their own opinion as to how to calculate what you should charge. I guess I'm no different because on this episode of the Resourceful Designer podcast I do just that. I give you my opinion of how you may want to choose your hourly design rate.

One of the biggest issues I see is designers undercharging for their services. They're either not confident enough in their skills and abilities and are afraid to charge a high enough fee. Or they feel they can't charge higher fees because they're only designing part time.

Regardless of how long you've been designing or the amount of time you currently spend designing you're probably not charging enough for your services, but that's the topic for another day.

Today I want to share why you need an hourly design rate and ways to determine the rate that's best for you.

Why you need an hourly design rate.

Even if you normally use project based or value based pricing you still need to know how much you are worth per hour. Even if it's just to know whether or not you are under or over charging on your projects.

You also need to know how much you're worth if someone asks you for your time. Perhaps as a design consultant. Without knowing your hourly rate how will you know what to charge for your time?

What determines your hourly design rate.

Your hourly design rate depends on many factors and differs for each designer. Where you live, what sort of clients you're going after, your experience, your skill all play factors in determining what you should charge.

Specializing in a niche can also play a factor. A designer who specializes in a certain industry should command higher prices than a designer not familiar with it.

All of these things should be taken into considering when determining what your hourly design rate will be.

Determining your hourly design rate.

Ok, here's the nitty gritty of it. Ways for you to determine exactly what you should charge per hour. You will need to decide which method, if any, is best suited to your situation.

Guess

It sounds crazy but guessing is actually a pretty popular method used by many designers. I'm not saying it's a good method, just that it's a popular one. Some designers simply pick a number out of thin air and use it as their hourly design rate. Most of the time the number they choose is much lower than they should be charging but guessing is a viable option for choosing.

Spy on your competition

Tried and true for generations, spying on your competition is an easy way to judge what the going market is for designers in your area. Simply call them up, or have a friend do it for you, and request quotes. Use those quotes to determine what they are charging and to set a baseline for your own pricing. Adjust as needed for experience and skill and then start hunting for clients.

Research industry averages

There are many organizations that compile design salaries around the globe. The AIGA and RGD are great resources in North America. Research what designer in your area are making and base your hourly rate to match.

Calculate your hourly rate

Probably the most accurate way to determine your hourly design rate is to calculate it yourself.

Add up all your expenses including general expenses and labour expenses, savings, etc.. Then estimate the number of billable hours you expect to work each week. Divide the first number by the second number to determine your hourly design rate.

For example:

Your monthly expenses including mortgage, utilities, car payment, fuel, groceries, medication, etc. = $4000/month
A spending allowance for things like movies, restaurants, treats, etc. = $400/month
Money you put aside in savings = $400/month
Total $4800/month

Billable hours you want to charge per month = 80 (20/week)
Remember that billable hours and working hours are two different things. You will only be able to bill for some of the hours you spend working each month.

Divide your monthly expenses by the number of billable hours to determine your hourly design rate.

$4800 ÷ 80 hours = $60 per hour.

In this example, the designer needs to charge $60 per hour and work a minimum of 20 billable hours per week in order to cover their expenses and savings.

Keep in mind that this is just a base and is intended to give you an idea of where to start. You do not need to use this number as your hourly design rate.

Your personal situation will also factor into this equation. If you're a student living with your parents you may not have as many expenses as someone renting or paying a mortgage.

What should you do?

I can't tell you which method is best for you. Only you can decide that. I can tell you that establishing an hourly design rate will help you regardless of whether or not you bill by the hour.

If you don't have one yet, I highly encourage you to determine your hourly rate as soon as possible.

How did you determine your hourly design rate?

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 Jonathan

I am looking to start a web design business while I am a full time employee. I've been doing a lot of research and wondering your thoughts on a sole proprietorship vs. llc. I feel like the business side of the business is preventing me from starting the business before it's even been made. I'm not completely sure its worth setting up an llc if I am starting a business on my free time. (ex: quarterly taxes) Any help you may have is greatly appreciated.

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

Resource of the week Screenflow

This week’s resource is something I've shared before, ScreenFlow screen recording software. It has helped me streamline my graphic design business so much that I have to share it again. Using ScreenFlow has saved me so much time and headaches. Instead of teaching clients how to use their new websites and then helping them again a month or so later when they’ve forgotten, now I just record a short instructions video showing them what to do. If they need a refresher or need to train someone new, they have access to the video and they don’t have to interrupt me for help. For that reason alone I highly recommend ScreenFlow.

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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