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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: January, 2021
Jan 25, 2021

Would you like to get more design clients?

For your graphic or web design business to succeed, you need to find clients willing to work with you. Without clients, it’s a given that your business will fail. But with so many designers to choose from. How do you get clients to pick you over the competition?

If you’re a long time listener of the podcast, you’ve heard me say before, “Clients prefer work with a good designer they like than an amazing designer they don’t like.” That’s what it comes down to. If a client likes you, they’ll be more inclined to hire you.>

But how do you get someone to like you? Especially if you only have a few short minutes to make an impression?

My father was an amazing salesperson. He worked for several companies in the electrical supply industry before retiring, and he made a great impression on every one of them. In fact, he won numerous salesman of the year awards and then several managers of the year awards when he was promoted to sales manager. 

Every company my father worked for credited him for their increased sales and growth. He had a natural gift for landing new clients. Even the competition had high praise for my father. They may not have liked him because he kept landing clients they wanted, but they respected him and, as far as I know, never talked ill of him. And that’s because everyone liked and trusted my dad.

I didn’t understand that while growing up. Or more like I didn’t pay much attention to it. My dad had an uncanny ability to run into people he knew. It seemed that everywhere we went, someone would recognize him, and he obviously made enough of an impression for them to go out of their way to come say hi. And it didn’t matter if we were in a restaurant or mall downtown or halfway across the country. There was bound to be someone there my dad knew.

I remember taking a summer road trip with my parents when I was young. We were driving through the State of Maine in the USA when my dad pulled into a gas station. While filling up, another car pulled in. And when the driver got out, he turned to my father with a big smile and greeted him by name. It turned out to be someone my dad had met at an electrical convention several years prior. They had only talked for a few minutes, but my dad had made enough of an impression on the man that he never forgot him.

The first time my family and I visited Vancouver, British Columbia, which for those who don’t know, is on the other side of Canada, some 4700 KM away from where I live. My dad ran into not one, not two, but three different people he knew while we were there.

My mom and I would just shake our head dumbfounded. Not only at how many people my dad knew, but how happy they always seemed to see him. This seemingly magical skill my father possessed always amazed me. It wasn’t until I was older and starting my career at the print shop that my dad let me in on his “little secret.”

One day, shortly after graduation from college, I was sitting down with my father, and he told me the following.

He said "Mark if you want to do well in business, you have to work hard. Never complain unless it’s absolutely necessary. And most importantly, you need people to like you. You see, the more people who like you, the easier it will be for you to succeed in whatever venture you set out to do."

And then he told me his trick. And although my father didn’t break them down into steps, for the benefit of the podcast, I will.

Step 1) Always smile when you greet someone.

A smile is a natural diffuser. 

When you smile as you greet someone, it shows that you accept them and are genuinely interested in talking with them. It makes them feel welcome. A smile creates positive energy and sets people at ease. Making it easier for them to open up to you. 

It’s a lot easier to trust someone who smiles than someone who doesn’t

Step 2) Always say hello with a firm handshake as you look them in the eye.

A handshake tells a lot about a person. A week handshake gives the impression of doubt and lack of confidence. A strong, bone-crushing handshake gives the impression of overconfident and trying to assert authority or dominance. 

You want to be in the middle, offering a firm handshake that instills a sense of confidence, as well as respect for the person you’re shaking hands with.

On a side note. I know with the World Wide pandemic still going on. A handshake is frowned upon right now. I’m confident that once all of this is behind us, the handshake will make its return. And you should be ready to start offering them again.

A handshake is something my father was never stingy in offering. In fact, I remember my friends in high school telling me how much they liked my dad. Every time they came over, he would get up, smile and shake their hands and ask them how they were doing. Unlike the other kid’s fathers, who never paid much attention to us, mine always made my friends feel welcome.

I also remember my father getting down on one knee to shake young children’s hands whenever someone he knew introduced their kids. It made a big impression on the kids as well as their parents.

My dad never missed the opportunity to shake someone’s hand. And I’m proud to say it’s a trait I picked up from him. And I look forward to the day when I can start doing it again.

Step 3) Try to use the person’s name in conversation as much as possible.

From birth, we’re conditioned to the sound of our own name. We react to it in a way we don’t react to anything else. Our name is one of the most precious sounds in the world to us.

I know personally, I pay special attention whenever a character in a book, tv show or movie is named Mark. I remember feeling extra special as a kid when I found out the actor that played Luke Skywalker had the same first name as me.

Whenever you use someone’s name in conversation, you’re telling them you care about them. That you find them important and that you respect them enough to use their name.

Now, this can be tricky. Especially if you’re not good with names. I know I’m not nearly as good as my dad. But I try my best. And something to remember, you should never be ashamed to tell someone you forgot their name. In fact, by saying you don’t remember and asking them to repeat it, you’re telling the person you care enough about them to want to know their name. Just don’t make a habit of forgetting their name, or it will backfire on you.

I know that any time I answer the phone, the first thing I do is write down the name of the person calling. That way, I can refer back to it while talking to them. And if they don’t offer their name, it’s one of the first questions I ask before continuing the conversation. And then I make sure to use it.

After all, what do you think sounds more personable.

“I’d love to work with you on this project. I’ll send you a quote by the end of the day.”

or

“I’d love to work with you on this, Sarah. I’ll send you a quote by the end of the day.”

Most good salespeople use this tactic because it works. And so can you when talking to clients.

Step 4) Show interest in the person you’re talking to.

Ask any dating expert, and they’ll tell you that one of the most attractive features in a date is someone who shows more interest in you than in sharing about themselves.

Now chances are you’re not seeking any romantic relations with your clients. But the principles are the same. The more you talk about and express interest in the client, the more inclined they’ll be to like, trust and want to work with you.

The easiest way to accomplish this is by asking questions. 

Most conversations involve two or more people, each sharing their own views. This is why questions are great attention-grabbers. Questions disrupt the normal flow of a conversation by focusing what you say on the other party.

According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the best type of question to ask is a follow-up question. Not only does a follow-up question refocus the conversation on the client. But it shows them that you were paying attention and that you were interested enough to want to know more about what they were saying.

And questions don’t have to be specific about the topic of the conversation. In fact, the best questions are unexpected ones. If the client says, they got an idea while out camping. Ask them about the camping trip. It’s basic human nature. We like to feel important, to feel special. And by asking questions, especially follow-up questions, you make the client feel special. And when you make someone feel special, they’ll be much more inclined to like, trust and want to work with you.

Now, of course, I expanded on what my father originally told me. But these four steps are the cornerstones of sales success.

  1. Always smile when you greet someone.
  2. Always say hello with a firm handshake as you look them in the eye. 
  3. Try to use the person’s name in conversation as much as possible. 
  4. Show interest in the person you’re talking to.

When put together, they create a powerful impression on the person or people you’re dealing with.

Imagine you walk into a car dealership, and the salesperson sees you and calls out from across the showroom floor.

"Hi, Can I help you with anything?"

"Yes, I’d like to see the newest model SUVs you have."

"Sounds good. Follow me over here, and I’ll show them to you."

Compared that to a salesperson who responds this way.

You walk into the car dealership, and the salesperson gets up from behind their desk and approaches you with their hand held out.

"Hi, I’m Chris." And he shakes your hand as he waits for you to reply.

"Hi Chris, I’m Mark."

"Nice to meet you, Mark. What can I help you with today?"

"I’d like to see the newest model SUVs you have."

"Sound good. Tell me, Mark, have you ever owned an SUV before?" he asks as he leads me to where the SUVs are.

I don’t know about you. But even though It’s such a small difference, that second guy leaves a much better first impression. And if I had to go on just that initial greeting. I’d chose him to deal with over the first guy.

The same things apply to clients. Remember, they would prefer to work with a good designer they like than with an amazing designer they don’t like. But their ideal choice is working with an amazing designer they also happen to like. And that’s where you come in.

The more you can get people to like, trust and want to work with you. The faster your design business will grow and succeed.

So smile, shake hands (once we can again, of course), look people in the eye. Use their name and ask questions, especially follow-up questions. If you do this, you’ll be on the road to landing more clients.

Do you follow these four steps?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Resource of the week Art Text

Create artistic text effects with Art Text 4. A Mac-based application for creating stunning headlines, logos and more.

Art Text lets you turn any text into a work of art. Create realistic looking metallic, wooden, gel, paint, even chocolate looking text. All of it is fully editable with unrestricted preset. The only limit is your creativity.

You can adjust the textures, surface maps, light spots and shadows, and other settings to come up with your own unique materials. And that’s not to mention the 3D modelling engine that helps convert any text, symbol or pictogram into 3D. There’s just too much to talk about in this little program.

I’ve been using Art Text since version 1. I thought it was great back then. Well, version 4 is so much better. It’s my secret weapon when it comes to creating amazing stylized text.

Imagine doing a poster for a coffee shop and writing the headline in coffee beans. Or a bakery with a headline that looks like a frosted donut. Or an autobody shop with text that looks like rusted metal. You get the idea.

At only $29.99 US Art Text pays for itself the first time you use it.

Jan 18, 2021

Are your indulgences impeding your productivity?

People often ask me how I can manage so many things at once, so many spinning plates, if you will, while only working 9 AM to 5 PM?

Ask most designers, and they’ll tell you of the many late nights or weekends they work to get the jobs done.

I, on the other hand, rarely work late and hardly ever on weekends. So how do I do it? How do I manage this podcast, my other television show podcast, two design businesses, the Resourceful Designer Community, and a few personal “work-related” projects I have on the go? All within a 40-hour workweek?

I don’t always. In fact, I’m recording this podcast episode on Saturday because I ran out of time during the week. But this is a rarity for me. Normally, I get all my work done between 9 AM and 5 PM, Monday to Friday.

So how do I do it?

I learned many years ago that my time is valuable. I only have so much of it, and I have to figure out the best use of that time for me. I constantly ask myself how can I get the best ROI for my time. And the biggest help was learning to cull my indulgences.

What do I mean by this?

First, let me tell you a story.

As you may or may not know. My wife and I have two kids, both of which are now in their 20s and no longer live with us. Since the kids moved out, Kim and I have had to adjust to the lives of being empty nesters. One of those adjustments is finding television shows we can watch together. Kim loves comedies, dramas and romantic shows. In comparison, I prefer science fiction, fantasy and action-adventure programs.

It wasn’t a problem when our daughter was still here. She and Kim enjoyed the same things, so they would put on one of their shows, and I would slip down to the basement to watch one of mine. But with the kids gone, Kim and I try to find shows to watch together.

A couple of months ago, we started watching a show on Netflix called The Order. It’s a young adult-oriented semi-romantic drama that includes witches, warlocks and werewolves. So it checked off both our interests.

Over the course of two weeks, we would watch an episode here and an episode there until we finished season 1. It wasn’t the best show we’d seen, but it was entertaining and enjoyable.

A few weeks later, season 2 came out, and we decided to start it. That first episode was kind of meh, so it was a few days before we decided to watch another one which didn’t turn out to be much better. When watching episodes 3 and 4, we were questioning if there was something else we wanted to watch instead.

After the fourth episode, we both decided the season wasn’t worth finishing. Our time was too valuable to waste on a program we were no longer enjoying.

Now, this may not be the best example, since the time we saved by not watching The Order, we still ended up spending on the couch watching something else. But the point I’m trying to convey is, your time has value. And it shouldn’t be wasted on things that don’t contribute to that value.

Let’s get back to how I manage my days and get everything done.

As I said earlier, I learned a while back that to be the most productive person I could be; I needed to cull my indulgences. What does that mean?

It means that whenever something catches my eye, whenever I come across something that might be a distraction, I ask myself this. “Would I be any worse off if I don’t indulge in this?

  • Would I be any worse off if I don’t listen to this podcast episode?
  • Would I be any worse off if I don’t watch this YouTube video?
  • Would I be any worse off if I don’t read this article?
  • Would I be any worse off if I don't learn this tutorial?

Don’t ask yourself if you would be better off if you indulge because the answer will often be a misleading yes. Misleading because knowledge, in general, makes you better, regardless of what that knowledge is. Listening to a podcast, watching a YouTube video, and reading an article will benefit you somehow, even if it’s minute.

But asking if you would be worse off by not indulging gives you a completely different perspective to judge by.

For example, if I come across an article reviewing new features in Adobe Illustrator. I ask myself, “would I be any worse off if I don’t indulge in reading this?” The answer is yes. I use Illustrator regularly. If there are new features that can speed up my workflow and make what I do easier, and I don’t lean them. I’ll be worse off.

However, if I come across an article titled “The top 10 design trends to avoid in 2021.” The answer would be no. I might gain some knowledge and benefit from reading the article. But I’m not going to be any worse off if I don’t read it. I tend to do my own thing and not follow trends anyway. So why waste my valuable time reading that article. No matter how curious I am.

Now in some cases, putting off instead of dismissing is an option.

And article titled "The 10 most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe." Oh, this one hits me at my geeky core. As a huge Marvel fan, I want to know if this list coincides with the one I have in my head. But would I be any worse off if I read it and found out? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. I would be. Not because of the knowledge I would gain. But because reading the article would take up valuable time when I should be working. So the smart thing to do is not indulge.

However, the geek in me really wants to know. I mean, who do they have at number 1. Is it the Hulk? Thor? Captain Marvel? Someone, I’m not thinking of? I think it’s Captain Marvel. It has to be Captain Marvel, right? In this case, instead of dismissing the article altogether. I put it aside to look at when I’m not working.

You see, Outside of the hours of 9 to 5, the value I associate with my time diminishes drastically. When I’m not in my office, I allow myself to indulge in these things. I mean, you have to enjoy life, right?

But during working hours. I try to use my time most productively.

In some cases, I encounter an indulgence that I would be worse off if I didn’t read or watch it. However, I wouldn’t be worse off right now.

For example. I like the Divi Blog Extra module by Divi Extended. But I only need it for a couple of websites. In most cases, the default Blog module that comes with Divi is good for the sites I build.

So if an update for Divi Blog Extra is released with new features, not only would I benefit from knowing about them, but I might also be worse off by not knowing about them. However, as I said, I only use Divi Blog Extra on a couple of websites, and they’re working fine as is. Whatever new features the module has is of no consequence to me in regards to those sites. And If I’m not currently working on any new sites that require the module, there’s no reason for me to learn about the new features now.

This goes back to one of the first episodes of the podcast titled Just In Time Learning.

Just In Time Learning is a mindset that makes you more productive. The theory behind Just In Time Learning is there’s no point learning something now if you are not going to use it now. Because chances are, by the time you do need to use it, you’ll have forgotten most of it and have to refresh yourself anyway, doubling the time you spent learning it.

Instead, you put it aside, make a note, and go back to it when you need to learn it.

Just In Time Learning became a huge time saver for me. I have tons of tutorials and articles put aside. I use Evernote to keep track of all of them. They're all there, easily searchable for the day I might need to review them. They’re all cases of things that I may need to know. But I’m not worse off by not knowing them now.

So in Divi Blog Extra's case, until I need to use it on another website, there’s no use learning about the new features. My time can be used for better things right now.

Earlier I mentioned coming across an article listing new features in Adobe Illustrator and how, because of my use of Illustrator, I would be worse off if I didn’t read it. However, I can apply this same principle within an article. As I skim the article, I ask myself, “Would I be any worse off if I don’t know about this particular feature?” If it has to do with things such as the Pathfinder tools or the Appearance panel, then yes, because those are things I use all the time. But I can pass on the part about embedding cloud documents from Photoshop because I have no use for that feature. So I wouldn’t be any worse off if I don’t read that part.

Am I getting my point across?

You’d be amazed at how much time you spend throughout your day or week, indulging in things that are not pertinent to your business, or at least not now when your time could be spent on things pertinent to your business.

So ask yourself, “Would I be any worse off if I don’t indulge in this?” and see how much time you get back. And use it on everything: articles, tutorials, YouTube Videos, even podcasts.

I may be shooting myself in the foot by saying this. But if I put out a podcast episode and you would be no worse off by not listening to it, then don’t. If it doesn’t apply or is of no use to you. Don’t bother.

I’m subscribed to over 60 different podcasts. Do you think I listen to every episode? Of course not. I judge each episode and decide if it’s something I need to listen to. If it isn’t, I delete it. Now I’m hoping you don’t do that with Resourceful Designer. But I’m also hoping I’m not causing you to waste time you could be spending growing your design business.

Now I’m not saying this idea is foolproof. I still get sucked down the rabbit hole now and again. That’s just life. Sometimes, curiosity or that shiny object gets the better of us. But the more disciplined you are, and the more time you can free up from these indulgences, the more time you’ll have to invest in running and growing your design business.

That’s how I can do two podcasts, run two design businesses, partake in the Resourceful Designer Community, and manage all my personal “work-related” projects and more. All while sticking to a 9-5 schedule.

And you can too.

Just ask yourself, “Would I be any worse off if I don’t indulge in this?”

Resource of the week Dynalist.io

Dynalist.io is a great organizational tool for mind mapping that you can access from any platform. Think of it as an organization or a bullet list on steroids and so much more.

For example. If you’re laying out the structure for a new website project. You can create a list with all your main menus, then their sub-pages, then categories, then perhaps tags. And so forth. It sounds pretty basic. It’s one of those things you have to try in order to truly appreciate what it can do.

Working on a social media campaign? Dynalist will help make sure nothing gets overlooked.

I love its easy move feature. No cumbersome copy, find the right place and paste. Moving an item is as simple as selecting the item and then telling it where to move to.

As I said, you have to see it to appreciate it.

Dynalist does have a $7.99 monthly plan. But I don’t think you’ll need that. I use their free plan and it does everything I need it to do.

So if you’re looking for a great free resource to help keep you organized. Check out Dynalist.io.

Jan 11, 2021

Are you ready to grow your design business by letting go of what's holding you back?

Let me start with a story.

A young boy is visiting his grandparents' house with his mom and dad.

As young boys will do when in an environment not meant for young boys, they explore and sometimes get into trouble.

Well, this young boy just so happened to be walking around with an antique vase, a precious family heirloom. When his mother spotted him, she immediately told him to put the vase down before breaking it. But the boy replied that he couldn’t, his hand was stuck inside.

A little frustrated, the mother takes the vase and tells the boy, “If you were able to get your hand in the vase, you could surely get it out.” But as she pulls on it, there’s no give.

Hearing the commotion, the father comes in to help. He, too, tugs on the vase, but the boy's hand is firmly stuck. He tugs and tugs until the boy says it’s hurting him.

The grandmother, in her wise old ways, suggests using butter to help the hand slide out. But alas, it has no effect.

Completely perplexed, with the mother still tugging on the vase, the father throws his hands up in the air, stating, “I’d give 50 dollars just to get your hand out of that vase right now.”

The young boy's eyes opened wide with excitement. “Really?” he exclaims. Suddenly, they hear a clinking sound, and the boy’s hand slides out of the vase. In disbelief, the mother looks into the vase then upturns it, and a quarter falls into her hand.

The young boy explains that it’s the quarter grandpa gave him when they arrived. He had put it in the vase, but when he reached in to grab it, his hand got stuck.

But when his dad said he’d give him $50 if he got his hand out of the vase, he let go of the quarter.

Now I’m sure you’ve heard this or a variation of this story before. So you probably knew the outcome before I ever reached it. But I wanted to tell it anyway as a kind of analogy to your design business.

Many designers who run their own business tend to hold on to that metaphorical quarter when they should be letting go of it for bigger and better things.

This is the first episode of 2021. And I don’t have to tell you what kind of year 2020 was. You were there. But with all of that fiasco behind us and light of better things to come finally peeking through at the end of the tunnel. Now is the perfect time to take stock of your business and figure out what you need to do to help it grow and succeed. What are you going to do more of? And what, if anything, can you let go?

No business, design or otherwise can grow without making changes. Restaurants change their menus. Telecommunication companies change their phone plans. Governments elect new officials. Changes are a natural precursor to growth. And every successful business does it.

By grow, I don’t necessarily mean taking on more design work or more clients, although that may be the case, and it still counts as growth. What I mean by grow, is making progress, expanding while focusing on your goals. You do have goals, don’t you? Without them, how will you know if you’re making progress?

If we take 2020 out of the equation and compare this upcoming year, 2021, to your previous years, you should be striving to not only make more money but also to be more satisfied with yourself and your business than you’ve been in previous years. At the very least, you should aim to stay on par as in previous years.

What you don’t want is to step backward. If you make less money or aren’t as happy, you’re doing something wrong. And chances are, it’s because you’re holding on to that metaphorical quarter and not letting go.

Growing your business and making more money doesn’t necessarily mean doing more work, which, in turn, could increase your stress level. In fact, you can grow your design business and make more money by doing less but smarter work.

The easiest way to do this is to raise your rates. But to raise your rates, you have to let go of the notion that you’re not worth higher rates. Or that your clients won’t pay higher rates.

Thousands of designers have already debunked that theory when they started charging more money for their services, and their business didn’t fail. Myself included. I make more money today, putting in 10 hours of work than I did five years ago doing 30 or 40 hours of work. How? It’s because I let go of the notion that an hour of my time is worth X amount of dollars.

When I started charging clients based on what I thought their project was worth and not how much time it would take me to complete it, I started making a lot more money. And you know what? The only clients that objected to my price increase were the clients I didn’t really want to work with, to begin with.

Those clients who didn’t object were the clients who truly valued what I do for them. And you know what? When I raised my rates, they started bringing me bigger and better projects. They stopped sending me simple things to design and started sending me entire campaigns to work on.

It’s that perceived value I talked about a few weeks ago in episode 240 of the podcast. The same service I provided was perceived as much more valuable to these clients because I was charging more for it, and they are willing to pay me much more for those services and trust me with bigger jobs.

Want another way to look at it? Consider a Rolex watch and a Timex watch. Both timepieces fit nicely on your wrist. Both tell time. And both can make you look pretty darn good fashion-wise. And yet, the Rolex is worth so much more than the Timex.

Why is that? Is what they’re made of? There may be a price difference in the actual materials each watch is made of, but I doubt it’s enough of a difference to justify the huge difference in each timepiece's cost.

Is it craftsmanship? Both are precision instruments. They both need to be finely crafted to function.

Is it the mechanics? I don’t think so. As far as I know, watch mechanics haven't changed much since they were first invented.

So what is it? What’s the real difference between a Rolex and a Timex?

The true difference is not the watches themselves. It’s the companies behind the watches. They’re the ones who create the value. Rolex markets itself to the elite, the A-listers, and therefore has an elite price tag to match. Whereas Timex markets itself to the general populace, the everyday person, therefore, has a price to match.

Their value is exactly where they’ve set it for themselves. Both companies are very successful. However, and I’m just speculating here, but I bet Timex has to sell a whole lot more watches than Rolex does to stay in business.

You have a say in how your design business is perceived. Which, in turn, dictates how much clients are willing to pay for your services. Do you want to take on dozens and dozens of small paying projects? Or would you prefer to work on a few high paying projects? Are you a Timex, or are you a Rolex?

In my Podcast Branding business, for example. Time and time again, clients tell me they chose my business, one of the more expensive options in the podcast space, because I looked the most professional, and I instilled a sense of confidence in them that I know what I’m doing and they would get quality work from me. Because of that, they are willing to pay more for my services than for any of the less expensive options.

So let go of the notion that you’re not good enough or not worth enough because it’s not true. Even the most inexperienced designer, a student fresh out of school, is worth more than they know.

I’ve been talking a lot about prices, but there are other ways you can let go to grow your design business. Look at the services you offer. Are there any that you’re just not that keen on doing? If so, why do you offer them?

Even a general, all-purpose graphic designer can set limits on what they do.

When I started my Podcast Branding business, I offered social media graphics but quickly realized I didn’t like doing them. So I eliminated the service. I still offer to create the branding for my client's social media platforms, but I no longer create graphics for their individual social media posts.

Just because every designer around you seems to be offering website design doesn’t mean you have to as well. If you don’t like designing websites, even if you know how, you don’t have to. Let it go and concentrate on the things you do, like designing. Not every designer enjoys designing logos. And not every designer is good at it either. If you don’t like it, stop offering logo design as a service. It’s OK to let these things go and concentrate on the things you are good at and enjoy doing.

In a way, it’s kind of like niching down. I’ve talked about the benefits of niching before on several episodes of the podcast. Culling your design services is a form of niching. In fact, it could set you apart from other designers and make you more desirable to clients.

Look at Ian Paget from Logo Geek. His entire business is focused on designing logos. The first thing you see when you visit his website is the phrase “I Design Logos.” If you know Ian, you’ll know that his background is in designing websites and yet nowhere on his current site does he mention that. Why? Because it’s not what he wants to do. Ian is passionate about logos, so that’s what he offers. He let go of everything else he knows how to design to focus on one thing. And now he’s killing it in the logo design space.

I’m not saying you have to go to that extreme, but it’s a great example of how letting go can help propel you forward.

One thing to note. Removing a service doesn’t have to mean never doing it. Ian, for example, still offers other design services to his clients besides logo design. He doesn’t advertise it because it’s not his passion.

In my case, If one of my clients asked me to create a social media post for them, I can say yes if I feel like it and do it for them. Nothing is stopping me from doing it. I don’t advertise it as a service anymore.

It’s OK to let things go in the name of progress. In fact, it’s somewhat necessary if you truly want to succeed. Ask any successful designer running their own business if they’re doing the same thing today as they were five years ago, and the majority, if not all of them, would answer no. You have to evolve if you want to survive in this industry. If you don’t, then you’ll lose when those around you do.

Don’t get your hand stuck in the vase grasping a quarter when there are much bigger things you could be going after.

That’s my 2 cents.

What are you going to let go of this year?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Resource of the week Chrome Browser Groups

In episode 239 of the podcast, I shared how to turn Chrome browser tabs into desktop apps. I got so many responses thanking me for that tip that I thought I’d share another Chrome tip.

If you have a bunch of related browser tabs open, for example, you may have several tabs open for different stock image sites. Or, if you’re a web designer, you may have tabs open for each of your client’s websites. An easy way to organize this tab chaos is with Tab Groups.

In Chrome, right-click on any tab and select “Add to New Group.” If you already have a tab group, the menu changes to “Add to Group” with a pop-out for you to choose an existing group or create a new one.

When creating a new group, you can name it whatever you want, such as Stock Images or Client Websites. You can also assign it a colour, which makes it very easy to navigate.

Once a Tab Group is created, simply right-click on any tab to add it to the group.

A Tab Group appears in your Tab bar like any other tab. The difference is you can open and collapse a tab group.

So if you have 10 client sites in a Tab Group, clicking it will expand to show you all 10 tabs, and each one will be underlined with the colour you assigned the group, making it very easy to see which tabs are part of the group.

When you’re done looking at the client sites, simply click on the Group Tab, and all 10 client website tabs collapse into the one Group Tab, freeing up your browser window and making it much easier to navigate.

This is a great solution for anyone who likes to keep dozens, if not more, tabs open at once.

One thing to note if you’re testing this out, you cannot collapse a tab group until you have a tab that is not part of the group.

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