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Resourceful Designer: Strategies for running a graphic 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: Strategies for running a graphic design business
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Now displaying: Page 1
Jun 3, 2024

In this episode of Resourceful Designer, I share a cautionary tale about losing generational clients and the critical lesson I've learned from my mistakes.

Whether you're dealing with family-run businesses or companies with long-standing leadership, you'll discover the importance of building relationships with the next generation to ensure client loyalty.

Listen as I recount personal stories and offer valuable insights to help you avoid falling into the same trap.

Don't miss this crucial episode that could save your client base in the years to come!

May 27, 2024

In this episode of Resourceful Designer, I delve into the crucial aspect of redefining your introductory hook to capture clients effectively.

I discuss the significance of crafting a compelling introduction on your website and other marketing materials that resonates with your target audience's "What's in it for me?" mindset. 

By analyzing examples of website hooks, I emphasize the importance of conveying the value you offer to potential clients right from the start.

Join me as I explore the power of a well-crafted hook in attracting and retaining clients, helping you grow and succeed in your design business.

Find the episode and shownotes on the website at https://resourcefuldesigner.com/episode342

Apr 22, 2024

Welcome back to another insightful episode of Resourceful Designer, where today's message is all about the art of engagement over trivial chatter. I'm your host, Mark Des Cotes, and in episode 341 we dive deep into the importance of engaging more and talking less. We explore how the wisdom of an elementary school teacher, who emphasizes understanding her students to truly elevate their learning, can be a powerful lesson for us as graphic designers in our own client interactions.

I'll share with you how critical it is to connect with clients on a level that goes beyond flaunting our design skills. We discuss why it's paramount to focus on bringing a client's vision to life, rather than overwhelming them with our technical prowess. In this episode, we'll delve into the pitfalls of design platforms like Fiverr, where lack of communication often leads to less-than-ideal results.

We also talk about the golden moments of design that come from a genuine exchange of ideas, the transition from transactional to transformational conversations, and the art of using strategic silence to uncover a client's real needs, adopting techniques used by great salespeople and interviewers like David Letterman.

So before you speed ahead to your next client meeting ready to showcase your portfolio, remember to pause and truly listen. The insights you gain may very well unlock the potential for your greatest design work yet. Stay tuned as we navigate together the journey of growing and running a successful design business with community, creativity, and a keen ear for our clients' stories.

Join the Resourceful Designer Community as we support each other in our goal to prosper, all this and more for just $15 a month.

Let's dive into the episode!

Apr 8, 2024

Welcome to episode 340 of Resourceful Designer. Today we're diving into an intriguing question: Are your design clients time or money minded? We'll unpack the significance of understanding whether your clients value their time over their money or vice versa. I'll share some personal anecdotes, like the time I decided to replace my wife's car backup camera myself to save money, and on another occasion, when purchasing a course on Facebook ads, valued my time more.

We'll explore how this distinction applies to your design business, how it affects the way you position your services, and ultimately, whom you attract as clients. Do your clients often haggle over prices or seek discounts? Or do they prefer paying more to ensure quality and save time? By delving into these differences, I'll help you understand the importance of marketing yourself effectively to attract the right kind of clients for your business. Are you ready to shift your perspective and potentially the trajectory of your design business? Stay tuned as we discuss how being a problem solver for your clients goes beyond just design work—it's about addressing their deeper concerns with money and time. Let's get started.

Mar 18, 2024

In this episode of Resourceful Designer, I delve into the topic of accepting credit card payments from clients. I received an email from Phil, thanking me for the podcast's impact on his transition from working for an employer to running his own business. Phil's client asked to pay by credit card, and he was unsure how to proceed. I share the simplicity and speed of credit card payments and elaborate on the various options available, from PayPal to Stripe and other accounting software. I discuss the fees involved and the ways to incorporate them into pricing strategies, emphasizing the convenience and tax deductibility. Join me as I break down the process of accepting credit card payments and provide insights for design business owners looking to streamline their invoicing and payment processes.

Mar 4, 2024

Have you ever been in a sticky situation where a client has asked for your working files?

In this episode of Resourceful Designer, I delve deep into the topic of whether or not to hand over working files.

Join me as I share personal experiences and insights to help you navigate this common dilemma in the design industry.

From legal considerations to negotiating with clients, I offer practical advice to help you make informed decisions and protect your creative assets.

Tune in to discover the nuances of sharing final files and gain valuable tips on handling such requests in your design business.

Feb 26, 2024

On this episode of Resourceful Designer, I delve into the critical topic of backups. Through two poignant real-life stories, I stress the importance of not solely relying on web hosts for backups.

I share a scenario where a client's website was lost due to an overlooked credit card update and the absence of off-site backups.

I emphasize the significance of using plugins like Solid Backups for WordPress or services like Backblaze for complete cloud-based backups.

I underscore the need to protect valuable data, whether for personal memories or business assets. Join me to understand the pivotal role of backups in safeguarding your design business and creative work.

Feb 19, 2024

Hey there, it's Mark, and in this episode, "Persistence Will Pay Off," I want to talk to you about the challenges of running a design business. Whether you're just starting out or have been in the industry for years, finding clients can be tough.

I've been there myself, going through long stretches without new projects coming in and questioning if my business was sustainable. But I made it through, and so can you.

I'm here to share some words of encouragement and actionable tips to help you stay motivated and push through the tough times.

From staying persistent and believing in your talent to refining your portfolio, exploring new niches, expanding your skills, and never stopping networking, I've got you covered. So, let's dive in and navigate the ins and outs of running a design business with a positive mindset and a focus on success. Let's get started!

Feb 12, 2024

In this episode of Resourceful Designer, I discuss a common mistake designers make when presenting their work to clients.

Drawing from my own experience, I delve into the significance of presentation and its impact on a design business.

Sharing insights from my college days to my current approach, I highlight the practice of presenting designs to clients with crucial information included. I explain how this method not only enhances professionalism but also leverages client sharing to attract potential leads.

Join me as I reveal how this simple adjustment in presentation can make a substantial difference in your design business' growth. 

Feb 5, 2024

In this episode of Resourceful Designer, I share my journey as an entrepreneur and the pivotal role delegation has played in shaping the success of my business.

From initially shouldering every responsibility solo to embracing the power of collaboration, I delve into the transformative impact of outsourcing tasks beyond my expertise.

By strategically investing in external help, whether through hiring specialists or utilizing online platforms, I've been able to optimize productivity and focus on growth-oriented activities.

Through examples from my own experience, I highlight the importance of recognizing the value of time and leveraging it effectively to propel business growth.

Whether it's mastering the art of delegation or making strategic investments, this episode offers insights into empowering your business through collaboration and outsourcing.

Jan 29, 2024

Exploring Design Trends: A Dive into FreePik's 2024 Trend Report

Click here to see the trend report: https://www.freepik.com/visual-trends-2024

Join me as I delve into Freepik.com's 2024 trend report, highlighting key design trends predicted for the year. Freepic.com, a platform known for offering high-quality design resources for free, reached out to discuss its latest trend report, sparking my interest in exploring the upcoming trends.

With full transparency, it's noted that while Freepik.com approached me for the discussion, there was no compensation involved.

I begin the episode with a reflection on the reliability of future trend reports, drawing a comparison to Logo Lounge's trend reports backed by substantial data. However, skepticism arises concerning Freepik.com's ability to predict upcoming trends without disclosing their methodology or data sources.

I then proceed to dissect the 15 trends outlined in Freepik.com's report, offering insights and personal reflections on each.

Trends range from floral and botanical motifs to futuristic holographic shapes, 3D fonts, vibrant colour schemes, and vintage-inspired engraving styles. Some trends, like grainy gradients and glass morphism, are recognized as existing techniques while others, such as "Neo Brutalism," are met with skepticism.

I encourage you to explore the report yourself and share their thoughts on the predicted trends. 

Jan 22, 2024

Welcome to this episode of Resourceful Designer, where I explore the topic of thick skin in the world of design.

Reflecting on my 30+ years as a designer, I share the often unspoken truth about needing a resilient attitude to thrive in this industry.

I draw from personal experiences, offering valuable insights on handling criticism, difficult clients, and managing expectations, particularly when running your own design business.

Join me for a candid conversation about the realities of being a designer and the resilience required to navigate the challenges of this creative profession. 

Jan 15, 2024

Welcome to Resourceful Designer, the podcast where I explore the ins and outs of running a successful design business.

In today's episode, titled "6 Pricing Hacks To Land Hesitant Clients," I share valuable strategies to influence clients into accepting pricing offers.

I delve into 6 pricing hacks. From eliminating commas in large pricing to offering three-tier pricing options,

I provide actionable tips to make your pricing more appealing and increase the likelihood of client agreement.

Tune in as I discusses real-life examples and practical strategies to help you land those hesitant clients and grow your design business.

Jan 8, 2024

Welcome to episode 330 of Resourceful Designer, where I explores the concept of reclaiming lost time through a "time audit." J

Listen as I delve into the benefits of identifying and eliminating time-wasting activities to make room for more meaningful endeavors.

In this episode, you'll discover practical strategies for optimizing your schedule, from setting time limits on client meetings to evaluating networking commitments.

Learn how to conduct your own time audit, gain insight into the Eisenhower Matrix method of analyzing your time, and find inspiration to prioritize self-improvement in the new year.

Stay tuned to discover how to regain control of your time and make 2024 your most productive year yet.

Dec 18, 2023

A look back at 2023 and a look ahead to 2024.

Thank you for your continued interest in what I do at Resourceful Designer. I appreciate you more than you know. Many great resources are available for learning and growing as a designer, and I’m humbled that you chose to spend a bit of your valuable time with me.

I am continuing my annual tradition. This last podcast episode of the year is my Look Back, Look Ahead edition. It’s where I reflect and share my year as a design business owner. Then, I’ll look ahead at what I want to accomplish in 2024.

Dec 4, 2023

In this episode of Resourceful Designer, I explore the concept of pitch work as a powerful tool for growing your design business.

I explain the difference between pitch work and spec work, detailing how pitch work involves presenting work to a client they didn't ask for, potentially for free or at a discount. 

Through personal experiences and anecdotes, I outline how pitch work has helped me grow my design businesses, including entering a new niche and building my portfolio. 

I present various scenarios where pitch work can be beneficial, from offering discounted services to approaching potential clients with innovative design ideas.

My practical insights and real-world examples make this episode a must-listen for designers looking to leverage pitch work for business growth.

Nov 20, 2023

Welcome back to Resourceful Designer!

In today's episode, titled "10 Steps Toward Design Business Success," I have an incredible lineup of tips and strategies to share with you.

Whether you're just starting in the design industry or looking to take your established business to new heights, there are ten critical factors you need to consider. I will dive into each step.

These steps are crucial in ensuring the growth and success of your design business. So, grab your notebook and get ready to take your business to the next level!

Let's dive right in.

 
Nov 13, 2023

Welcome to episode 326 of Resourceful Designer. In this episode, I highlight the importance of informing your clients about your full range of services.

Drawing from my own experiences, I emphasize how clients may not be fully aware of everything you are capable of. By sharing my own revelations and successful strategies for informing clients, I shed light on opportunities for designers to expand their businesses and nurture existing client relationships.

Join me as I revisit the valuable insights from episode 2 and explore the impact of effectively communicating your capabilities to your clients.

Nov 6, 2023

Welcome back to another episode of Resourceful Designer!

In today's episode, I welcomes a special guest, Michael Bruny-Groth, the creator of Logo Package Express, Logo Package Portal, and the newest addition to the Logo Package family, Logo Package Swatch.

We dive into the details of Logo Package Swatch, a powerful tool that helps designers organize and display color palettes for their clients.

We discuss its features, customization options, and how it can prevent mistakes in copying and typing color codes.

We also explore the benefits of Logo Package Swatch, including its integration with Adobe Illustrator and the ability to find the closest Pantone color matches.

Additionally, we discuss Logo Package Express and Logo Package Portal, two other products that streamline the logo export process and provide easy access for clients. 

So, whether you're a designer looking for better color organization or a client needing an efficient logo package management system, this episode has something for you.

Don't forget to use the exclusive discount code "RESOURCEFULDESIGNER" for a 20% discount on any Logo Package product (excluding Portal subscription)!

Sit back, relax, and enjoy this episode of Resourceful Designer. Let's dive in!

 
Oct 30, 2023

Welcome to episode 324 of Resourceful Designer, titled "You Are An Expert." In today's episode, I share a personal story that taught him a valuable lesson about business. It may not be a story about design or web development, but it's one that you should hear. Join me as I recounts being stopped at a police roadblock and the unexpected expert status I discovered. Stay tuned to learn how knowing just a little more than someone else can make you an expert in their eyes. Let's dive in!

 
Oct 23, 2023

Welcome back to Resourceful Designer! In today's episode titled "The Most Important Question You Can Ask Your Design Client," I reveal a simple question that can transform your design projects. The question that toddlers ask incessantly can unlock new possibilities and strengthen client relationships. Join me as I explain how asking "why" can clarify client needs, guide project direction, and save you time and money. Stay tuned to discover the power of this fundamental question in the design process. Let's dive in!

Oct 16, 2023

In this episode of Resourceful Designer, I delve into the world of modern marketing and share my insights from the influential book, Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing by Harry Beckwith.

Discover how the principles outlined in this book, originally written in 1997 but still applicable today, can revolutionize the way you run your graphic design business.

From the importance of showcasing your work and emphasizing value over features, to building trust and creating memorable experiences for your clients, I break down the key points in Beckwith's book and applies them specifically to the design industry. Tune in to this episode to gain valuable insights to help you succeed in your graphic design business.

 
Oct 9, 2023

On today's episode of Resourceful Designer, I discuss the pitfalls of hourly rates for designers. Inspired by a conversation in a design-related Facebook group, I explore the common practice of billing by the hour and the negative impact it can have on a designer's income.

Using personal anecdotes and insights, I explains how charging by the project or value-based pricing can lead to more successful and lucrative design work.

So, if you're a designer who is tired of being stuck in the hourly rate trap, or if you're curious about alternative pricing strategies, then this episode is a must-listen.

Get ready to go beyond the clock and discover a new way to earn what you're truly worth. Welcome to Resourceful Designer!

Oct 2, 2023

Hey, design enthusiasts! In this episode, we're diving into the world of pro bono design work for nonprofits and charities. We'll demystify the differences between nonprofits and charities, debunk the budget myth, and explore the pros and cons of offering your design skills for a good cause. I'll also share my personal criteria for selecting projects, including the "Three's the Magic Number" rule. Plus, I'll spill the beans on a clever tax receipt strategy that benefits you and the organization. Tune in for tips on making your pro bono endeavors a win-win for everyone involved!

Sep 25, 2023

In this episode, I'm diving deep into a topic that hits close to home for many of us in the design world: the Curse of Knowledge. I'm sharing personal experiences, like insider knowledge and navigating design jargon, to shed light on how it can lead to misunderstandings with clients. But don't worry, I've got your back! I'll be dishing out practical tips to help bridge that gap, ensuring every conversation is crystal clear. So, join me on this journey as we master the art of transparent communication and strengthen those all-important client relationships. You won't want to miss it!

Full show notes and a transcription of this episode can be found at https://resourcefuldesigner.com/episode319

 
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