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Rank #103 in Design category

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Business
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Entrepreneurship

Resourceful Designer

Updated 7 days ago

Rank #103 in Design category

Arts
Business
Design
Entrepreneurship
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Wouldn't it be nice if you could spend more time designing and less time worrying about your design business? Resourceful Designer offers tips, tricks and resources for freelancers in order to help streamline your graphic design and web design business so you can get back to what you do best… Designing! Let me know what topics you would like me to cover by emailing feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

Read more

Wouldn't it be nice if you could spend more time designing and less time worrying about your design business? Resourceful Designer offers tips, tricks and resources for freelancers in order to help streamline your graphic design and web design business so you can get back to what you do best… Designing! Let me know what topics you would like me to cover by emailing feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

iTunes Ratings

93 Ratings
Average Ratings
90
2
0
0
1

Like Having a Mentor!

By MissRgray - Feb 27 2019
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Mark, thank you so much for this podcast. I just branched out on my own, full time, as a graphic designer. Your podcast has been invaluable in the information given, as well as being a motivating virtual “business meeting”! As a social person, getting motivated in the morning when I work for myself from home is difficult. Your podcast inspires me and gets me on the right track every day. I also love getting to learn from your experience so that I don’t have to learn as much from trial and error. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!

Amazing podcast!

By Jared Macias - Nov 11 2018
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I’ve learned so much with this great podcast always turn it on while I drive to work.

iTunes Ratings

93 Ratings
Average Ratings
90
2
0
0
1

Like Having a Mentor!

By MissRgray - Feb 27 2019
Read more
Mark, thank you so much for this podcast. I just branched out on my own, full time, as a graphic designer. Your podcast has been invaluable in the information given, as well as being a motivating virtual “business meeting”! As a social person, getting motivated in the morning when I work for myself from home is difficult. Your podcast inspires me and gets me on the right track every day. I also love getting to learn from your experience so that I don’t have to learn as much from trial and error. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!

Amazing podcast!

By Jared Macias - Nov 11 2018
Read more
I’ve learned so much with this great podcast always turn it on while I drive to work.
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Resourceful Designer

Latest release on Feb 17, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 7 days ago

Rank #1: Starting A Design Business From Scratch - RD149

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Here are nine steps I would follow if I were starting a design business from scratch today.

Since launching Resourceful Designer in 2015, one of the biggest struggles I’ve seen from my audience is starting a design business and finding clients. I realise that I've never actually said what I would do if I had to start a design business from scratch. Until now.

Over the past 148 podcast episodes and via countless conversations on Facebook, I've shared plenty of advice on growing and starting a design business. This is advice I’ve garnered through my own experiences and what I’ve learned from other’s who have gone through a similar journey. Every week I receive messages from listeners thanking me for that advice. They tell me how I’ve helped them start their own design business. Some even credit me with giving them the courage to leave their full-time job to pursue their dream.

I'm glad that they find my advice helpful, but I also know that I’m far removed from where these listeners are in their careers. I have a successful design business. I don’t need to go looking for clients; they come to me. I’m at a point where I can turn down projects and clients that don't interest me.

I don’t even have a website for my business. And yet, I’m prospering. That’s because I’m 14 years into this. Plus I have another 15 years before that working at a print shop. All these years have helped me build my brand, my reputation, and the client loyalty that I talk about so often on the podcast.

I know what I did to get to where I am today, and I share a lot of that with you. But I also know that I started at a time when "social media" wasn’t a common phrase. When most people hadn’t heard of Facebook. When YouTube was just getting off the ground and wouldn’t become mainstream for several years. And talking about podcasts would be met with blank stares. Things were different then.

When I decided to start a graphic design business I never dreamed that I would have clients all over Canada, the USA, some in Scottland, Australia, Hong Kong and more. Back then, I was just hoping to get a handful of good local clients to keep me busy. I built my business on that principle. 

But what about today?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently. What would I do if I had to start a design business from scratch today, without the benefit of 30 years experience? Here are the steps I would follow if I were starting a design business today.

Please keep in mind that I’m talking about starting a design business, not becoming a designer. In this scenario that I already know how to design.

Step 1: Build a website

The very first thing I would do while starting a design business is launch a website. I know it's ironic considering I don't have one for my current business. But a site is crucial to growing any business today. It’s the hub where people can find out about you and your business.

I’d Start small with just the basics and a small portfolio, and build upon it over time. But I would launch a website ASAP.

Step 2: Tell family and friends about your design business

The next thing I would do is start spreading the word that I’ve started a design business. I would tell my parents, siblings, aunts and uncles. I would reach out to cousins I haven’t seen since so and so’s wedding a decade ago and tell them that I've started a design business.

The purpose isn't to get business from them, although if I did it would be nice. I would reach out hoping they will spread the news. You never know when one of your relatives may know of or hear about someone who needs a designer.

I would then go through my email contact lists, my Facebook friends etc. and send them a message, even if I hadn’t spoken to them since high school. Again, I just want to spread the word. The more people who know I’m running a design business, the better the chances of me picking up clients.

I would say something like this.

Hi Lisa,

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I hope life is treating you well.

The reason I’m reaching out is to let you know that I’ve started a graphic and web design business. Here’s my website (URL).

If you or anyone you knows needs a graphic designer I would be grateful if you would pass on my name.

Thanks and take care,

Mark

Step 3: Join the Chamber of Commerce

After contacting family and friends, I would join my Chamber of Commerce. Not only would I join the Chamber, but I would set up a meeting with whoever the director is and get to know them. I would inquire if they have any events or projects coming up that may require my services.

Then I would go through the Chamber's membership directory and reach out to every person on the list, introducing myself to them, and once again. Asking them to pass on my name if they know anyone that needs a designer.

Step 4: Contact suppliers who may need design work done.

Once my business was set up, I would visit every printer, screen printer, design agency, sign company, trophy shop, promotional marketing supplier, embroidery shop, etc. and let them know who I am and what I do. These types businesses sometimes need a designer but not enough to have one on staff. I would try to get my name on their contact list for when they do.

Step 5: Contact the tourism bureau.

Next, I would reach out to my local tourism bureau. The purpose of a tourism bureau is to attract visitors to your area, specifically to the events and attractions of the tourism bureau's members.

I would ask the tourism bureau if they need any help in promoting the area. I would also ask them to pass on my name should any of their members need a designer.

I wouldn't stop there; I would look at the tourism bureau's calendar of upcoming events and contact those people directly to see how I could help them.

Step 6: Contact local theatre companies.

Almost every community has at least one theatre company who needs to attract spectators to their productions. I would contact whoever was in charge of my local theatre companies and offer them my services.

Step 7: Promote my services at networking events

This is a trick I actually did use when I started my business 14 years ago. I attended as many networking events, trade shows, get-togethers, or anywhere with a crowd of people and walked around with a T-Shirt that read "Hi, I’m a graphic designer, Let’s Talk".

It worked in 2006 and I know it still works because DaJaniere, one of my listeners sent me a photo of herself in her own “I’m a graphic designer, let’s talk” Tee and told me how she wore it to a women’s empowerment conference in Detroit, and people were going up to her and inquiring about her services. 

It works and I would do it again.

Step 8: Go door to door.

It's not the most glamorous option but it is tested. I would pick an area in my community, do a bit of research on the businesses there and then approach them asking if they need help improving their marketing material or website.

I would especially target any business with an unsecured website, those with an http:// instead of an https://. It's a great conversation starter. I would explain to them how Google is penalizing unsecured website and what it does to their search engine ranking. I would also make sure to offer my services as a solution.

Once I exhausted one area of my community, I would move on to another until I’ve gone door to door everywhere I wanted to.

Step 9: Leverage Linkedin.

A lot of designers swear by Instagram, and of course, there are the popular Twitter and Facebook. The problem with these social media platforms is most people visit them to get out of a business mindset. They’re there for the social connections and camaraderie.

Except for Linkedin that is. Linkedin is a very business-oriented social platform. Most people use it with business purposes in mind, and it's a great place to pick up new clients. 

I would start off by writing a few short articles about how design affects business decisions. Perhaps topics such as: How to use colour as a marketing strategy. How a rebrand can boost a businesses exposure. How most businesses fail when it comes to their brand.

Once I published these articles on LinkedIn I would start reaching out to people, probably people in my local area and once again, ask if they need design services. Those articles will act as social proof that I know what I'm talking about when they view my profile.

It’s all about the Ask,

Do you see the pattern here? Ask family and friends to refer you. Ask the Chamber and Chamber members if they need your services. Ask printers, agencies, supply shops if they need any help. Ask the tourism bureau. Ask theatre companies. Attend networking events wearing a T-shirt asking if people need a designer. Go door to door asking businesses if you can help them. Finally, reach out to people on LinkedIn asking if you can help. It all comes down to the ask.

When you are starting a design business, you can’t simply sit back and wait for clients to come. That may happen later but not in the early stages. No, you have to persistently ask people if they, or if they know anyone who could use your services. It may seem daunting, but that’s how you grow. 

Keep in mind that all these steps are geared toward landing your first clients. You don't need many clients when you are starting a design business. In 2006 when I quit my job at the print shop and went full-time on my own, I had less than 10 regular clients. Those few clients were enough to help me get started and grow to where I am today.

So there you have it. What I would do if I were starting a design business from scratch in today’s market. I hope if you are still new to running a design business that this episode gave you some motivation and some ideas that you could try right now in order to grow your business. If you stick with it, I’m sure you’ll do fine.

What strategies would you use if you were starting a design business from scratch today?

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 Steve

Hi Mark, you often refer to your "Virtual Assistant" who helps manage your websites on a monthly basis. Can you tell us more about using a "virtual Assistant" and where we should look to hire one?

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

Resource of the week Trim View in Adobe Illustrator

A feature in Adobe Illustrator that many have been asking for for years, is finally available. Trim View (View>Trim View) hides the part of any item or element that hangs off the artboard in Illustrator. Anything that touches the grey area around the artboard is hidden from view when Trim View is turned on. This allows you to view only the "active" part of your design. No more making masks or special layers to hide those items.

Thank you Adobe for finally implementing this long sought after feature.

Listen to the podcast on the go.

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Spotify Listen on Android Listen on Stitcher Listen on iHeartRadio

Contact me

I would love to hear from you. You can send me questions and feedback using my feedback form.

Follow me on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

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

Jan 21 2019

41mins

Play

Rank #2: Design Hacks To Increase Productivity - RD195

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Speed up production with these design hacks.

[sc name="pod_ad"]If you spend a long time in the design profession, you tend to pick up a few tricks here and there. Methods that help make your job easier. Design hacks to increase productivity.

Here are some design hacks I’ve learnt over the years. Perhaps you can put some of them to use and become a more productive designer. Be sure to listen to the podcast episode where I share stories on how you can put these design hacks to use.

Design Hack #1: Get the files you require.

Clients are often confused as to what files you require in order to work on their projects. Stop wasting time explaining filetypes and resolutions to them. Instead, contact their head office and ask to speak to the marketing department. Chances are the people there will understand and be able to provide what you need.

If your client doesn't have a head office, you can try acquiring the assets you need by extracting them from PDF files the client already has. This is an excellent design hack for finding good quality vector files for logos and graphics.

Design Hack #2: Search websites for PDF files.

The easiest way of finding PDF files (other than your client supplying them) is to find them on your client's website. To find PDF files (or any file for that matter), you can use this search query. In the Google search bar type:

site:nameofsite.com filetype:pdf 

The search results will only display the PDF files found on the domain you entered.

NOTE: You can search for other file types as well, such as jpg, png, doc, etc.

Design Hack #3: Remove unwanted formatting from text.

Copying text from word processing software such as Microsoft Word for use on websites can sometimes produce unwanted results. The reason being, the formatting the text received in the word processing software can often remain.

There are many tools to eliminate unwanted text formatting, but a quick and easy method is to create a new blank email message and convert the message to "Plain Text." Now, all text pasted into that email message will be stripped of all formatting. You can then copy it back again for use on a website.

Design Hack #4: Creating autoflow documents for print.

Autoflow documents are an easy way to add sequential numbering to tickets or names to certificates. After setting up your master page, all you do is take your list of numbers or names and paste them into the first ticket or certificate. The software will automatically create additional pages until the list runs out.

Here's an example of how to do this in InDesign.

Design Hack #5: Use Find and Replace to remove poor formatting.

If a client ever gives you poorly formatted text for a design job, you can use Find and Replace to remove the poor formatting.

Easily remove cases of tab, tab, tab, tab, or worse space, space, space, space, space, by searching for the multiple infringements and replacing them with your desired results.

For example: Find all cases of "tab, tab" and replace them with a single tab. Keep running the search until there are no more double tabs.

Do the same for double spaces, excessive carriage returns or any other formatting you want to fix.

Design Hack #6: Find inspirations from a colour palette.

An easy way to find ideas and inspiration for a project is by uploading the project's colour palette to a Google Reverse Image Search. In the search results, click on the "Visually similar images" link and see hundreds of ideas that use the same colour palette you uploaded.

Design Hack #7: Find the flaws in your designs.

One of the easiest ways to find any flaws in your design is to look at them upsidedown. By changing the perspective, your eye stops focusing on familiar things such as photos and text copy and instead sees the overall design. This allows you to spot inconsistencies or areas of your project that need attention.

Looking at large bodies of text upside down can help you spot typography faux-pas such as rivers in the text.

What design hacks do you use?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Resource of the week Clockify

Clockifyis a free tool for creating timesheets and tracking the time you spend on projects and tasks. Clockify allows you to create separate timers for every part of your work. Track your time with a handy timer, log your time in a timesheet, categorize your time by project and mark your time as billable or not.

Clockify also allows you to create shareable reports breaking down your time.

Clockify works across all devices, both desktop and mobile so you can track your time from anywhere, and it's all synced online.

Did I mention that it's FREE? Visit clockify.me to learn more.

Dec 16 2019

32mins

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Rank #3: Clarifying Your Brand Message - RD186

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How do you answer the question, "What do you do for a living?"

Does this sound familiar? You meet someone for the first time, and they ask, "What do you do for a living?" and you reply that you’re a graphic designer or a web designer or a UX Designer or whatever form of designer you identify as. Then one of two things happen. The person you’re talking to replies with “that’s great” and then immediately changes the subject. Or, they show a mild interest and ask you to explain more. Perked up by the inquiry, you stumble through your repertoire that you design logos and websites and posters and brochures and t-shirts and tradeshow booths, etc. etc. etc.

Pretty soon, the person you’re conversing with is smiling and nodding with a glassy-eyed expression that indicates they regret asking you for more details.

That’s the problem with our industry. Most people have heard of designers, but unless they’ve dealt with one of us before, they have no idea what it is we do. And when they do find out, they quickly realize they don’t care.

Saying you’re a graphic designer is not the same as saying you’re a firefighter, or an electrician, or a dentist, or an accountant. All these professions have a distinct image in people’s minds. Sure, there are many different types of accountants, but regardless of what branch of accounting someone works in, most people understand that an accountant spends their day working with numbers. That's the acknowledged impression of who an accountant is.

But when it comes to designers. Most people don’t know what you do on a day to day basis, nor do they care. And the reason most people don't care is that most designers are not clarifying their brand message when it comes to presenting themselves.

The proper way to respond when someone asks you, "What do you do for a living?" is not to talk about yourself; instead, you should be talking about your ideal client and how you solve problems for them.

The idea for this topic came to me after reading an article on Medium titled Stop Calling Yourself A Freelancer, written by Andrew Holliday of Special Sauce Branding. If you’ve been following Resourceful Designer for a while, you’ll know that I don’t like the term freelancer, I find it demeans what we do as designers. The connotation behind the term freelancer is someone who is flighty and doesn’t take what they do seriously. I've never called myself a freelancer. I’m an entrepreneur, a business owner. And the business I chose is design.

While reading Andrew's article, I found myself agreeing with his statements, especially on how people perceive freelancers as interchangeable commodities. Then one part of his article jumped out at me. A section titled “Clarify Your Message.”

In his article, Andrew states that the easiest way to clarify your brand message, one that connects with your ideal client and doesn’t just sound like spewed blabber about yourself, is to write a brand script and memorize it.

And it’s so easy to write a branding script. All you have to do is complete these four sentences.

  1. My client is...
  2. They struggle with...
  3. I help them by...
  4. The one thing that makes me different is...

That’s all there is to it.

By completing these four simple sentences, you’ll have a script that provides structure for your business, your brand, AND all your marketing for your design business. It identifies your ideal client, it defines their problem, it solidifies your solution, and it states why you are the perfect design partner for them.

Now, maybe you’re thinking, “I'm not going to say all of that when someone asks me, "What do you do for a living?” and you’d be right not to. It’s overkill. This script is meant to clarify your brand message for YOU.

When it comes to the “What do you do for a living?” question, you need to simplify your script to a single sentence. As Andrew put it, it’s your brand one-liner.

Your brand one-liner is something you’ll be able to use on your website, your social media accounts, your marketing material, AND in every conversation you have where you talk about what you do. Especially when asked, “What do you do for a living?”

Here's how you shorten your script down to a single one-line sentence. You take what you composed for your four-line script and break it down to this.

I help __ to __.

For example, I help small businesses to grow their customer base with a strong brand image. Or, if you want to be a bit more creative, I help small businesses to clobber their competition with comprehensive sales funnels that drive sales through the roof.

Now those are conversation starters that are sure to peak interest, especially if the person you're talking to is a small business owner.

Once you have your brand one-liner figured out and memorized, you won’t be stumbling over an answer the next time someone asks you, “What do you do for a living?”

If you are interested, Andrew, who wrote the Medium article inspiring today's topic, has a worksheet to help you craft your brand script.

What's your brand one-liner?

Do you already have a brand one-liner, or are you now planning on writing one? Please share it in the comments 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 Pauline

How do you manage holidays/vacations, both in terms of responding to initial inquiries, and/or making progress on current projects?

To find out what I told Pauline, 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. Just set it up and forget about it. Backblaze works in the background and automatically backs up new and modified files.

With their Version History feature, Backblaze allows you to quickly revert to a previously saved version of files you have backed up. 30-days of Version History is available on all plans. For a small monthly fee, Version History can go back as far as 1-year or more.

The Map Your Computer feature allows you to track your computer via an IP address or even the ISP it's using. Perfect in the event your computer is misplaced or stolen. Coordinate with the police and get your hardware back.

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 starts at just $55/year.

Oct 14 2019

25mins

Play

Rank #4: 10 Money Saving Tips For Freelancers - RD143

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10 Money Saving Tips For Freelancers

Freelance designers rarely know when they'll get their next paycheque. That's why it's wise for us to hold on to the money we do have for those times when income slows down. To help you, I have 10 money saving tips for freelancers you should consider adopting.

Have you ever heard the saying a penny saved is a penny earned? It means that any money you save by not spending it is similar to the money you earn. I know there can be various debates about that, but you can't argue that any money you don’t spend on something is money in your pocket that you can put to use somewhere else.

Chances are you didn’t become a designer because you wanted to become rich. You chose to become a designer because of your creativity and a love of designing. 

Sure, there are designers out there living the good life racking in significant dollars for their services. But for the majority of us. We’re happy earning a decent, comfortable living doing something we love. If this latter one describes you, then money is probably not something you have to throw around. And since money is one of the gages used to determine success. It makes sense to avoid unnecessary spending and keep as much of your hard earned money for yourself.

And for the record. I use every one of these 10 money saving tips for freelancers in my business to keep as much of my own hard earned money as I can.

Freelancer money saving tips 1. Cancel recurring expenses you don't use

Take an audit of all your subscriptions, memberships, software, services, plug-ins, etc. that incur an ongoing regular monthly or yearly payment and cancel any that you seldom use or don't get your full money's worth.

2. Buy Refurbished

Save money by purchasing refurbished products whenever possible. Refurbished products are just as good as new ones, including coming with warranties. They can save you a lot of money on a product you were going to buy anyway.

3. Hire an accountant

Accountants are like magicians with numbers. They know all the tricks that can save you money during tax season. Letting an accountant handle your books and taxes can save you more money than the cost of hiring the accountant. Every freelancer should have one.

4. Ask for discounts from suppliers

You can't get something if you don't ask for it. Contact your internet, cable, phone, etc. suppliers and ask them if there's any way they can offer you a discount or do something to reduce your expense. You would be surprised how often they will compromise with you and save you money.

5. Use reward-based credit cards

You're probably using a credit card to pay for some of your business expenses. Take advantage of reward-based credit cards like those that offer cash back or those that let you collect points for travel or other rewards. 

6. Get a low-interest line of credit

Banks and credit unions provide lines of credit at much lower interest rates than credit cards. Use your line of credit to pay off high-interest credit cards whenever you can't pay them off that month. Don't be penalised by carrying over unpaid balances.

7. Save on heating/cooling

Stop heating/cooling your entire home while you're working. Adjust your thermostat to save you money and use a fan or heater to adjust the temperature in your office space. Warm sweaters can also help during the cold season.

8. Use coupons or discount codes

Before making an online purchase, do a quick Google search to see if there are any coupons or discount codes available for the product/service you're buying. Many companies will offer coupons or discount codes to certain groups which are also usable by the rest of us if we take the time to find them.

9. Shop around for better prices

When shopping for fonts, stock images or design resources be sure to check multiple websites before making your purchase. Prices on identical products can vary drastically depending on the source selling them.

10. Wait for sales

Whenever possible wait for a holiday or special deals to make your purchases. Black Friday, Boxing Day, Amazon Prime Day and similar occasions offer amazing discounts if you can wait for them.

A penny saved is a penny earned

You work hard for your money. Don't spend any of it unnecessarily if you can avoid it. Use these 10 money saving tips for freelancers to keep as much of your income in your pockets as you can.

Do you have any money saving tips for freelancers you would like to share?

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 Kevin

I've been running my web design business for almost half a year now. My current problem is reaching out to new potential clients. What is your take on cold emailing and how would you go about it?

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

Dec 03 2018

42mins

Play

Rank #5: Client Onboarding: Part 1 - The Process - RD160

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What is Client Onboarding?

Client onboarding is the process of turning potential clients into paying clients. It’s the process of introducing them to your business, addressing their questions and concerns, and ensuring they understand the services you offer and your processes while providing those services.

Onboarding is all the steps from the initial contact with the client until you start working on their design project. It’s your chance to explain to a client;

  • What they should expect from you.
  • What their part is in the relationship.
  • How communication between you should happen.
  • When and how you are to be paid.
  • And more

Over the next few episodes of the podcast, I’m going to dive into specific parts of the client onboarding process, but for today, I’m going to talk about the process as a whole.

Why is Client Onboarding important?

Let’s look at the process from two angles.

From the client's point of view:

The Onboarding process plays a vital part in building and nurturing the relationship between you and your client. It’s a way of ensuring you’re all on the same page when it comes to working together.

Clients don’t often know how partnering with a designer works. It’s nervewracking for them to trust you, someone they may not know, with this vital part of their business's future. With proper Client Onboarding, you give the client a glimpse of what it will be like working together and hopefully leave them feeling confident that they’ve made the right choice in hiring you.

For your point of view:

The Onboarding process is a way for you to grasp the scope of the project the client is presenting you with, as well as a chance to get to know the client. You learn their communication style which allows you to address any concerns you may have right at the start, so they don’t become problems later on. And it allows you to show the client your "plan of attack" for tackling their project, letting them know what you expect of them.

The onboarding process is also a great way to weed out potential bad clients. At this point, you have not agreed to anything with the client. Use this time to determine if they are someone with whom you want to work.

Finally, the onboarding process is a great opportunity for you to show the client just how awesome it will be to work with you, hopefully putting them at ease and solidifying in their mind that they’ve chosen the right designer.

To sum it up, Client Onboarding is all about keeping the client happy, because a happy client will come back for more. That’s how vital the onboarding process is.

Ignoring the process.

Client Onboarding is a process. As a process, it has a structure that over time you will become intimately familiar with and comfortable using. Once you get used to an onboarding process, you will find it much easier to land clients.

If you receive inquiries from potential clients but with very few of them converting into paying clients, then you need to evaluate your client onboarding process.

Whenever you meet a potential new client, you can’t just start throwing random information at them and expect them to come on board immediately. It’s overwhelming for them. And yet, that’s precisely the strategy many designers take. They give as much information as they can without taking the client’s point of view in mind, which is probably why they find client acquisition difficult.

Onboarding involves not only informing the potential client of what they need to know but listening to them and answering their questions and concerns. It’s about making the experience of hiring a designer as smooth as possible for them. If you don’t do it right, you’ll leave the client with the wrong impression, and the chances of them hiring you or coming back are slim. However, If you do it right, the client will come to believe that there is nobody else they want to work with but you.

Part of running a design business is being a salesperson. And as all good salespeople know, having a good onboarding process in place is half the battle to winning over clients.

When should Client Onboarding start?

The onboarding process should start as soon as a client reaches out to you. There are various steps to the onboarding process that I’ll cover in the next few episodes of the podcast. But just know that Client Onboarding is ongoing from the first contact until project start, and sometimes beyond.

Client Onboarding gives you direction.

Any time you start working with a client, both sides usually have a sense of enthusiasm towards the new project. Ideas go back and forward, people get excited and before you know it, decisions have been made without any form of direction.

Client Onboarding gives you that direction.

Part of the process is to create a schedule and a plan for the project. This allows you to set out roles by determining who will be doing what and when. How long the process should take and what is expected from all parties. This way nothing is left up in the air and there are no surprises. Design projects go so much smoother when everyone involved knows what to expect.

Managing client expectations.

I mentioned earlier how a lot of clients don’t know how partnering with a designer works. Onboarding can help alleviate this by managing client expectations.

Part of the Onboarding Process is to make sure clients know what they can expect, and also what not to expect from you when it comes to your processes and how you work. Take scope creep for example. It’s the bane of many designers. However, Most clients don’t realise the problem when they ask you to do “just one more thing.”

To prevent scope creep, outline your policies in the onboarding process and let clients know by;

  • Defining exactly what is involved with their project.
  • Explaining what is allowed and what isn’t allowed within that definition.
  • Letting them know the costs involved with additional work.
  • Making sure the client knows what they are paying for.

Setting them straight on the way you work and the processes you use is a key ingredient to a successful project and a long and prosperous relationship.

Show your clients why choosing you was the right choice.

Client Onboarding isn’t just about preventing potential problems. It’s also about showcasing what it is you can do and how much value you can bring them. This is important because, as I mentioned earlier, at this stage the client is excited to get their project started. That excitement lends well to you introducing other creative ideas and services to them. While they are most receptive take the opportunity to bring up other creative ideas or services you offer.

The results of good Client Onboarding.

When you’re successful with your client onboarding, you will not only increase the percentage of potential clients that convert to paid clients. But those clients will:

  • Stay with you longer and be more loyal.
  • Order more products and services from you.
  • Become ambassadors and advocate for your company and services. Spreading the word and helping you grow your design business.

And that’s why you should have a client onboarding process for your design business.

Do you have a client onboarding process in place?

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 Fanis

My name is Fanis, and I am from Greece.

By reading about Graphic Design process, I always turn out to the same issue. What if I live in an island and most of my projects are about tourism, like hotel brochures, maps, rental brochures etc.? How can I define my client goals and who may be my client competition?

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

Resource of the week 4-Week Marketing Boost

The Four Week Marketing Boost! is a free guide I created that will help you strengthen your marketing position, boost your brand’s awareness & social presence and ultimately ensure you are in tip-top shape to offer a best first impression to potential new clients.

This guide is divided into 20 short actions that comfortably fit into your regular day and are designed to take as little time away from your client work as possible. Although you can complete these exercises quickly, it is recommended you tackle only one per day, spending no more than 30 minutes per task. After completing this four-week plan you will be in a better position to present yourself to, and win over new clients.

You can download the Four Week Marketing Boost for free by visiting marketingboost.net. Or, if you are in the U.S.A., you can text the word MARKETINGBOOST to 44222.

Improve your business' image and create the best first impression possible to attract more clients.

Apr 15 2019

30mins

Play

Rank #6: 7 Business Plan Mistakes Designers Make – RD153

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Do you have a business plan for your design business?

Did you make a business plan when you started your design business? If you did, then you are in the minority. Most designers who freelance or run their own design business don’t bother creating a business plan unless they are required to do so by a bank or such.

I’m lucky; my bank asked for one when I first approached them for a business account. At the time I thought it was a nuisance, but in hindsight, I’m glad they made me do it. It gave me direction and made me think about what I wanted to accomplish with my design business.

So if you don’t already have a business plan, even if you’ve been in business for a while, you may want to take some time to come up with one.

Here are seven common business plan mistakes to avoid. 1) Putting off writing a business plan.

Most designers don’t bother with a business plan unless they’re asked to create one. Once their business is up and running most think they don’t need one, or that they are too busy running their business to make a plan for how to run it. That’s a big mistake. The busier you are, the more you need a plan.

Have you heard the term “work on your business, not in your business”? A business plan will help you accomplish that by helping you focus on the things you need to do to work on your business.

2) Fearing the business plan.

The thought of writing a business plan is much scarier than actually creating one. A business plan is not a thesis paper or a novel. It’s a simple guide for you to follow that will help your business to succeed.

There are plenty of great resources online and in your local municipality, such as small business development centres, libraries, banks etc. that can help you with your business plan.

3) Ignoring cash flow.

Most designers think in terms of profits and not cash. Profits are your sales minus your costs and expenses. Unfortunately, you don’t spend profits; you spend cash. And that’s where a business plan can help you.

When you are running a home-based design business, there are plenty of things that require payments that go beyond the business — things like utilities, property taxes, home maintenance, and so much more.

An essential part of a business plan involves creating a cash flow table showing you exactly how much of your profits get converted into spendable cash.

4) Establishing vague goals.

A business plan is not about the dreams you have. You don’t write “I want to be the best designer in my area” in your plan. That stuff is all hype. The objective of a business plan is to generate results for your business. And for results, you need to be able to track and follow up.

S.M.A.R.T. goals are a great way to look at a business plan. Your plan should contain specific dates, the responsibilities you need to take on, and the budget you are allotting to those responsibilities. Then set milestones so you can follow up and check your progress against your business plan.

No matter how well written your business plan is, it’s meaningless if it doesn’t produce results.

5) Copying someone else's plan.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to business plans. The resources I mentioned above can help direct you in writing your plan, but it has to be tailored to your specific business and needs. Remember, a business plan is a sales plan, a detailed action plan, a financial plan, a marketing plan and even a professional growth plan.

A business plan is essential for starting a new design business, but it’s also useful for running and growing your business.

You can bet that big design agencies such as Pentagram or Landor not only have a business plan but regularly review and revise it as their business grows.

6) Diluted priorities.

A business plan is meant to be a focused strategy for your design business. Therefore you need to focus on the priorities in your plan. A plan with 20+ items to keep track of is not very focused and will be much harder to adhere to. Each section of your business plan should have only three or four essential items you are working towards.

Remember, the more items you are focusing on, the less importance and less attention you can devote to each one. A short, precise business plan has a much higher chance of success than a long diluted one.

7) Not reviewing your plan.

Hopefully, you're convinced of the importance of having a business plan, no matter how small or large your design business. But having a business plan isn’t very helpful if you don’t review it on a regular basis.

Set annual reminders to review your plan and make amendments to it to help your design business grow. Doing so will help keep you focused and show you the direction to take to achieve to achieve success.

Do you have a business plan for your design business?

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 Rosey

How do you balance multiple priorities? It causes me a great deal of anxiety to leave things unfinished. In a perfect world, for me, I would only have one thing to do at a time and could just work from beginning to end, but that never happens. If you're working on 4 things at the same time, and none of them are finished (that's me right now). How do you know when is the right time to stop working on one thing, and pick up working on another?

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

Tip of the week resource name

I received a concise email from my copywriter this week. It went like this.

Hi Mark,

Here is the brochure copy. Let me know if there are any changes you would like me to make.

Pam

It’s that second line that gave me pause. “Let me know if there are any changes you would like me to make.

In a way, she was encouraging me to make changes to what she wrote. I opened the attached Word document with the thought in my head to look for things to change. I didn’t find any, the copy was perfect, but the idea was there.

This got me thinking about all the conversations I hear, where designers are complaining about the number of revisions clients ask for. The usual solution I hear is to limit the number of revisions you offer. Or Charge for revisions beyond X number.

Maybe the problem is these designers are inviting their clients to make revisions by asking them if there are any changes they would like the designer to make.

Instead, the designer should be asking their client what they like and don't like about the design. If the client wants something changed they will ask without being prompted, so what’s the point of encouraging them to look for things to change?

If you are guilty of this, maybe you should alter your wording and see if it somehow reduces the number of revisions you’re asked to do.

It’s just a thought.

Listen to the podcast on the go.

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Spotify Listen on Android Listen on Stitcher Listen on iHeartRadio

Contact me

I would love to hear from you. You can send me questions and feedback using my feedback form.

Follow me on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

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

Feb 18 2019

33mins

Play

Rank #7: Raise Your Prices To Get Better Graphic Design Work - RD026

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

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

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

Pros and Cons if you raise your prices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do pricing strategies matter?

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

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

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

Do you tell your clients when you raise your prices?

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

What do you think?

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

Questions of the Week

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

This week’s question comes from Norman,

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

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

Resource of the week is HostGator

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

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunesSubscribe on Stitcher Subscribe on Android

Contact me

Send me feedback

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

I want to help you.

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

Mar 11 2016

45mins

Play

Rank #8: Naming Your Graphic Design Business - RD041

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Trouble naming your graphic design business?

Forget colours, forget logos, forget layouts, one of the hardest things you will face when starting out on your own, is naming your graphic design business.

Colours can be changed, logos can be updated, layouts can be tweaked, but your business name is something that will endure for the life of your business.

That's why it's so important to get it right the first time.

In this episode of the Resourceful Designer podcast I go over the PROs and CONs of working under your own name vs. coming up with a unique business name. I talk about a lot of different considerations and problems that could arise when naming your graphic design business. I hope you find this episode helpful.

Here are a few of the things I covered in the podcast. Naming your graphic design business with your own name PROs
  • It makes you look more affordable
  • It makes you feel more transparent and approachable
  • People remember you and not a business
  • Your name is recognisable to people who know you
  • No worries about trademarks
CONs
  • Makes you seem less experienced
  • Can make you seem too approachable
  • Companies may treat you like an employee instead of a business contractor
  • Harder to grow or sell your business.
Naming your graphic design business with a business name PROs
  • People are willing to accept higher prices from a business
  • It makes you seem more established
  • Allows for easier future growth
  • Easier to sell your business.
CONs
  • Less personal than using your own name
  • People automatically think you're more expensive
  • People don't remember your name
  • Can run into trademark or other legal issues.
Problems that could arise

Besides the PROs and CONs of naming your graphic design business with your name or a business name, there are other problems to consider.

  • Names that are hard to spell or pronounce
  • Common names; if they're too common you may get lost in the crowd.
  • Famous names; people may not take you seriously
  • Maiden names; may confuse people
  • Names with alternate meanings such as Wood, Steel, Silk.
  • Be wary of abbreviations and confusing acronyms
Inventing words when naming your graphic design business
  • Invented names don't mean anything so they are harder to remember.
  • Combining partner names may cause problems should the partnership ever end.
Other considerations when naming your graphic design business
  • Are there multiple ways to spell the name which could confuse people?
  • Are there silent letters that people might not notice?
  • Does the name or pronunciation have other meanings internationally?
  • Is the name future proof? (will it still be a good name 20 years from now?)
  • Is the name regional and will it impact clients decisions?
More things to consider
  • Is the name available? Do a registry and trademark search.
  • Are domain names and social media names available to match the business name?
Finally...

This is more my personal preference so take it as you will. But trying to get cute by changing the spelling of real words isn't always a good idea. Adding "Grafix" or something similar to your business name will just confuse people.

Don't forget...

There's nothing wrong with having a business registered under a business name and also running a side business under your own name. Some designers create multiple businesses in various niches to target certain clients.

Flaunt My Design has a fun questionnaire to help you determine what type of name to choose when naming your graphic design business.

Did I anything?

Did I miss anything when it comes to naming your graphic design business? If so please leave me a comment for this episode.

Questions of the Week

The podcast was a bit long this week so I didn't answer any questions. If you have something you would like to ask please submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.

Resource of the week namechk.com

Use Namechk.com to see if your desired username or vanity url is still available at dozens of popular Social Networking and Social Bookmarking websites. Promote your brand consistently by registering a username that is still available on the majority of the most popular sites. Find the best username with Namechk.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunesSubscribe on StitcherSubscribe on AndroidSubscribe 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

Jul 29 2016

54mins

Play

Rank #9: 50 Questions To Ask Before Every New Design Project - RD015

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50 Questions To Ask Before Every New Design Project

What makes you stand out as a graphic designer amongst the many "contest" sites that are springing up, is your ability to converse in detail and ask questions of your clients before every new design project. By asking questions you not only show that you are a professional, you also inspire confidence in your client. Questions put them at ease and let them know that you are viewing their design project seriously. By putting your clients at ease and bestowing the confidence in them that they've chosen the right person for the job, you also show them that you are worth every cent you are charging them.

In this week's Resourceful Designer I'm covering 50 questions you can ask whenever you're faced with a new design project.

I don't expect you to ask all of these questions. But pick and choose the ones right for your design project, and in the process come up with questions of your own.

Remember, no design project ever failed because the designer knew too much about the company that's hiring them.

I've decided the questions into five sections.

  1. Questions about the company hiring you for a design project
  2. Questions about the company's target audience
  3. Questions about the company's brand
  4. Questions about the company's design preferences
  5. Questions about the design project's scale, timeframe and budget

To facilitate the conversation I'm using "company" as a global replacement for the client. The same questions can be asked of individuals, service clubs, organizations, charities, events, etc.

Questions about the company hiring you for a design project.
  1. What is the name of your company?
  2. Can you describe what your company does?
  3. What services or products do your company produce?
  4. How long have you been in business?
  5. Why was this company started?
  6. How big is the company?
  7. Are you a local, national or international company?
  8. Who is your competition?
  9. How are you different from your competition?
  10. How are your competitors marketing themselves?
  11. What are the long term goals of your company?
  12. Can you describe your company's strengths?
  13. Can you describe your company's weaknesses?
Questions about the company's target audience
  1. Can you identify and describe your target audience? (Age, gender, social class, location)
  2. Are you focusing just on this market or are you trying to hit other markets as well?
  3. How do you think your target audience describes your company?
  4. How does your target audience currently discover your company?
  5. How do you connect with your target audience?
Questions about the company's brand
  1. Does your company use a specific colour palette?
  2. Are there any design elements associated with your company? (fonts, icons, images, etc.)
  3. Does your company have a mission statement?
  4. What current and pass marketing material have you used?
  5. What did you like or dislike about your past marketing material?
  6. Why are you looking for something new?
  7. Do you have a company slogan?
  8. What feedback have you received on your past marketing material?
  9. Do you consider your brand material to be more traditional or modern?
  10. Is your brand associated with high end or cost-effective products and services?
  11. What would you like your target audience to think of when they see your marketing material?
Questions about the company's design preferences
  1. What colour palettes do you prefer?
  2. Will this project be used in print, on the web, etc.
  3. Is there anything from your past marketing material that you want incorporated into the new project?
  4. Are there any restrictions or limitations to consider when designing this project?
  5. Are there any new design elements you would like to try in this project?
  6. Are there any design styles you do not like?
Questions about the design project's scale, timeframe and budget
  1. Do you have a budget for this project?
  2. How many different concepts would you like to see?
  3. What material will you be providing me for this project?
  4. Are there any deadlines associated with this design project? (Are these preferable or firm deadlines?)
  5. Who will be my primary contact on this project?
  6. Who is involved in the approval process?
  7. Are there any third parties involved in this design project?
  8. Who will be dealing with involved third parties?
  9. What services are you expecting from me?
  10. What do you expect from me regarding this design project?
  11. What material do you require from me at the completion of this design project?
  12. Is there anything else you would like to discuss that we haven't already covered?
Bonus Questions
  1. Are there any other design projects I can help you with?
  2. Is there anything I asked you about that you need help with?
  3. Do you know anyone else that may require my services?
And finally...

The last questions you should always ask, When do you want me to get started on this design project?

Four Week Marketing Boost - FREE GUIDE

Download my FREE guide, the Four Week Marketing Boost to help improve your business' image and create the best first impression possible to attract more clients.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunesSubscribe on Stitcher Subscribe on Android

Contact me

Send me feedback

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Design Resource

This week's resource is PDFpen. A Mac only software used to sign, fill out, correct, complete, edit and alter PDF files. I've been using PDFPen for several months now and it has quickly become my go to software whenever I need to work with PDFs. Keep and eye out as PDFpen is often included in software bundles or at a reduced price on it's own.

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

Dec 17 2015

51mins

Play

Rank #10: 12 Random Graphic Design Tips - RD061

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Here are 12 random graphic design tips to improve your business.

I'm trying a different approach to this week's podcast. Instead of talking about a single subject related to running your home-based graphic design business, I'm going to share 12 random graphic design tips with you. Even if you already know these tips, I'm hoping that talking about them will jog your memory and get you thinking about them again.

Here is an outline of the graphic design tips I cover on this episode. For the full discussion be sure to listen to the podcast.

Tip 1: Find the real deadline

When a client tells you there's a deadline to submit artwork to a third party, you should contact that third party to find out how strict their deadline is. In most cases, those deadlines have been padded to accommodate potential problems with artwork submitted by non-designers. Since you are a professional designer they may allow you to submit the artwork at a later date.

Tip 2: Get the proper file you need

In last week's podcast episode I mentioned how to find and extract logos from PDF files from specific websites using Google's Advanced Search. This tip is simply to contact a company's head office for the files you need. It's much faster for you to talk to them than getting your client to do it.

If your client doesn't have a head office you could instead contact the sign company they used to make their storefront or to put their logo on their vehicle.

Tip 3: Get a client's honest opinion of a design

If you want a client's honest opinion on a design, show it to them in black and white. Showing it to them in colour could influence their opinion one way or another. Showing the design in black and while will allow them to look at the design itself. Once they are satisfied with the design you can move on to colourizing it.

Tip 4: Stop explaining things over and over

If you find yourself having to explain to clients over and over how to do things on their website's CMS you should think about recording short videos of the tasks. This way you only have to do it once and if the client forgets they can simply re-watch the video. To do this I use software on my Mac called ScreenFlow.

Tip 5: Deal with only one contact person

Keep a strict chain of command. When dealing with clients that are made up of a committee or a board, insist you deal with only one person from the group. If anyone else contacts you for any reason simply redirect them back to the contact person.

Tip 6: Set your own meeting schedule

Don't allow your clients to set the times for meetings. Instead, you should give them a few time options to choose from. A client will be less likely to cancel a meeting if it was set to your schedule. Plus, by setting the schedule you are letting your client know that you are in charge of this project, not them.

Tip 7: Get a leg up when meeting a new client

If you ever meet a client at a bar or restaurant to discuss work, insist on buying their drink and food. This will subconsciously put them in your debt and could help in their decision making regarding you and their project.

Tip 8: Quickly remove formatting from text

Sometimes when you copy text from a word processor into another program you may end up with some strange characters or coding. To eliminate this problem, open a plain-text email, paste the copied text into the email, then select and copy it again. All the strange characters or coding will now be removed.

Tip 9: Use Find/Replace to your full advantage

Find and Replace is an often overlooked powerhouse when it comes to formatting text. Learn the advanced techniques for this tool and you could save hours of mundane text formatting on future page layout projects.

Tip 10: Cover all bases with domain names

Suggest to clients that they register multiple variations of their domain name as well as multiple domain extensions and redirect them all to the one main domain they plan on using. For example; The Ant & Aardvark Club may use the domain antandaardvarkclub.com as their primary domain. But they should also register variations such as theantandaardvarkclub.com, antaardvarkclub.com, antandaardvark.com, antaardvark.com, etc. Good practice would be to also register the .net, .org. .ca and any other pertinent extensions for all variations of the domain.

Tip 11: Hijack competitors with variations of their domain names.

Similar to Tip 10: Look at competitor's domain names and register the variations yourself and point them towards your own website. If anyone types in one of the variations they end up on your site instead of your competition. Do the same for your client's sites.

Tip 12: Order extras or tag on orders for yourself.

If you are ordering anything for your client that you may find useful, order extra for yourself. For example, if your client ordered t-shirts printed ask the company to send you a couple of extra shirts without any printing.

You could also tag on personal orders with client orders to save yourself some money. If you design a postcard for a client, design a second one for yourself and order them together. Some printers will charge less when multiple orders are combined. Charge your client the regular price and use the discount for yourself.

Do you have any tips you would like to share?

Let me know your tips 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 Crystal

How do you schedule clients who are in different time zones? I have clients all over the United States and Canada, and none of them are in the same time zone as me. I find myself working late just to accommodate my clients who are 4.5 hours behind me. Is there a functional way that I can schedule my clients so I don't have to work until midnight?

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

Resource of the week Awwwards.com

Awwwards.com is an inspirational site I use to see what innovations people are doing in web design. Awwwards.com states they're a meeting point, where digital design professionals from across the globe find inspiration, impart knowledge and experience, connect, and share constructive, respectful critiques. Give them a look the next time you want ideas for your next web project.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunesSubscribe on StitcherSubscribe on AndroidSubscribe 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

Feb 23 2017

1hr 6mins

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Rank #11: Things To Do Before Starting A Home Based Graphic Design Business - RD048

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Before starting your home based graphic design business.

It sounds easy, doesn't it? You have your skills and a computer, so why not start a graphic design business from your home? Go for it I say. However, there are certain things you need to do before starting on your new journey.

In this episode of the Resourceful Designer podcast, I go into detail on what you should do before starting your own home based graphic design business. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode.

Required research before starting your business.

The first thing you need to do before starting your home based graphic design business is research. Being prepared for what's to come is the key to success. Here are a few things you should look into.

Choose your type of business

You have the options of operating as a sole proprietor, a partnership with someone, or one of the many forms of corporations. Choosing your business structure lays the groundwork for what you will do next.

Study up on tax laws

It's a good idea to learn what you can about the tax laws where you live. What can or can't you claim as business expenses? What tax loopholes can you take advantage of? Do you need to collect taxes from your clients when you invoice them?

Be aware of zoning laws

Zoning laws differ depending on where you live. Check with your city or county to see what affects you. Depending on where you live you may be limited to how you can run your graphic design business.

Size up your competitions

It's always a good idea to know who you're up against. Find out who is offering similar services in your area and figure out how you plan on carving out your own corner of the market.

What you need to get before starting your business. Write a business plan

A business plan will help you stay focused and keep you on track to succeeding as a business owner. Not to mention they are a requirement if you plan on incorporating your business.

Register your business name

Find out the requirements in your area and register your business name. This will protect you in the future should someone else try to operate under the same name as you.

Obtain a business permit

Even home-based businesses require a business permit to operate legally. Contact your municipal government for instructions on obtaining your business permit.

Get business insurance

Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you're covered. Homeowner's insurance doesn't cover your business. Contact your insurance company to find out what options are available to you.

Get help before starting your business. Where to look

Search your local or nearby communities and contact the Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Board and the Business Education Centre. These organisations often offer free advice to help you start your business.

Look for business incubators in your area. They may offer classes and/or resources to help start your business.

Visit your local library. Most libraries offer resources to help small business owners.

Find professional help

Hire a business lawyer to help with things like contracts and incorporating your business.

Hire an accountant for financial advice and to help with your bookkeeping and tax returns.

Visit your bank manager to discuss your best options for a business account and other ways the bank can help you.

Additional help

Take business courses or workshops at a local college to improve your business knowledge.

Contact your local college or university for interns to assist you with writing your business plan.

Visit the US Small Business Administration website for podcasts, webinars, and basic information about starting and growing a business.

 

Are you ready to start your graphic design business?

What research and prep work are you doing before starting your business? 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 Daniele

I have a recurring issue that I need to solve as I do not want to face it anymore.

The issue is how to properly store bookmarks of helpful websites, web aps, articles and so on. We spend most of our time online and we use some great resources. We need to keep a track of them and store safely for a later use. I have hundreds of bookmarks on Google chrome divided in folders, whilst Chrome does a good job on offering a search bar for a quick lookup, I have found myself looking for an extended length of time as I would not remember how I called that folder or link.

So, I wonder if there is a better way than just saving bookmarks on Chrome?

To find out what I told Daniele you’ll have to listen to the podcast. But I'll give you a hint. I recommended she get the book Evernote Essentials.

Resource of the week is Have i been pwned?

Have i been pwned? is a free resource for anyone to quickly assess if they may have been put at risk due to an online account of theirs having been compromised or "pwned" in a data breach. A "breach" is an incident where a hacker illegally obtains data from a vulnerable system, usually by exploiting weaknesses in the software. All the data in the site comes from website breaches which have been made publicly available.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunesSubscribe on StitcherSubscribe on AndroidSubscribe 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

Oct 18 2016

46mins

Play

Rank #12: Building The Perfect Design Portfolio - RD060

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What exactly is a design portfolio?

If you want to get super technical, a design portfolio is a flat case, preferably made of leather, that is used for carrying, drawings, artwork, photographs and other designs.

At some point in history, the paper contents of these flat cases took on the verbiage of the container and they too became know as an artist’s portfolio.

Nowadays, with the advent of online galleries and such, a design portfolio is simply a collection or a sampling of an artist’s work, regardless of the means or medium used to present them.

What is the purpose of a design portfolio?

Taking it down to it’s most fundamental level, a design portfolio is simply a way to say “look at me, see how great I am, you should hire me”.

A design portfolio is a way to showcase what you are capable of doing in the hopes of impressing potential clients to want to work with you.

Let’s face it. You may want to deny it, but deep down we all know, we designers are a conceded bunch. And that’s OK. If we didn’t think we were good enough we wouldn’t be in this profession. Nobody says “I don’t think I’m a good designer but I’m going to start a design business anyway” No! We’re all doing this because we believe we’re good at what we do, and we like having people confirm that assumption. Why else would we showcase our work for everyone to see? And what better confirmation than having a client hire us for a job.

We’re no different than the proud peacock displaying his plumage in the hopes of attracting a mate. We just do it to attract work.

That’s it, really, there are no other reasons to have a portfolio.

Do you need a design portfolio to be successful?

The short answer is no, you don’t. I use myself as an example. My own business website has been “Coming Soon” for several years now. During all that time I have not had a visible portfolio, and yet I’m running a very busy and successful design business mostly through word of mouth referrals.

In fact, during the past year, I can count on one hand how many times I was asked to provide samples of my work before a client hired me.

Could I attract more work with a visible portfolio? I’m sure I could. But I just want to point out that a design portfolio is not the be all and end all of your marketing efforts. It’s a great tool to have, but it’s only one of the many in your toolbox.

What goes into the perfect design portfolio?

I hear this question a lot. Especially from newer designers just entering the field. And it’s a valid question. Even if a portfolio isn’t a requirement to be successful, it sure does help to establish yourself, especially at the start of your career. And it can help you attract clients.

Whether you have a physical or a digital portfolio, and if you want my recommendation you should have both, the contents within should represent your best work. The culmination of your skills and talents.

But where does that work come from if you're new and don’t have any clients yet?

This answer is simple. It comes from anywhere and everywhere you can get it.

Remember when I said that a portfolio is a way of saying “look at me, see how great I am, you should hire me”? That means your design portfolio should contain things that showcase how good you are.

A portfolio shouldn’t be a showcase of “look who I’ve done work for”. Although there’s nothing wrong with name dropping well-known clients, providing the work is actually worth showcasing.

What potential clients are looking for when they look at your portfolio is whether or not you have the ability to help them. They’ll be able to judge that regardless if the samples you show are for real or fictional companies.

You see, the work within your design portfolio should display your diversity as a designer. It should demonstrate the skills you possess. It should show your knowledge of good layout, colour theory, and design technique.

It doesn’t matter if the work you’re showing was something you did for a client, something you made in school, something you did for fun for yourself, or something you designed specifically to go into your portfolio. As long as it demonstrates what you have to offer, it’s good.

And yes, you can showcase work you did while working for a previous employer as long as you don't have an agreement with them stating otherwise.

Showcase what you have, when you have it.

As your career progresses and you design newer and better things, you simply replace the older pieces in your portfolio with new ones. or in some cases age isn’t what matters, you replace your previous good designs with your newer great designs. It’s as easy as that.

Don’t go overboard with your design portfolio

The best design portfolios I see are the ones that are sparse in what they show.

When building your portfolio. Show only a handful of your best work in each category. Be confident in the few you display and keep a few more aside in case a client asks for them.

The worse thing you could do is to show too many samples. Showing a few samples invites the viewer to admire what you have to offer. Showing a large number of samples invites the viewer to criticise your work and find flaws in what you have to offer.

Keep it simple. I the client wants to see more let them ask for it and then tailor the extra samples specifically to their needs.

What to leave out of your design portfolio

Simply, don’t display anything you don’t want to do! If you don’t enjoy designing logos, then don’t include logos in your portfolio. If you’re not into web design then don’t display any websites you’ve created.

This should go without saying, but unfortunately, I see this all the time with new designers who include almost every school project in their portfolio regardless of their lack of desire to do many of them.

If you’re an artist who draws robots and science fiction scenes.  Don’t include the cutesy teddy bear drawing your mother guilted you into doing for your cousin Millie’s baby announcement. Because if you do, it’s almost guaranteed that’s the kind of work you’ll be asked to do.

What’s in your portfolio?

When was the last time you looked at your portfolio? Could it use updating? Have you designed anything really good lately that should be included? Why not take some time this week to go over it? It might just help land the next client that looks at it.

What are your thoughts on design portfolios? I’d love to hear about it. 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 Marselo

Can I Buy Adobe Photoshop outright? I want the Adobe software but honestly I am a bit lost with all the monthly payment options and extras that are offered. So what is the "common practice"? or what are most freelancers doing in general?

At the moment I am using Photoshop, Illustrator and Premier Pro but I ideally would like to buy all of them as you know we are continuously expanding and experimenting with new things as we never know what the future holds.

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

Tip of the week Google Advance Search

This is a simple little trick that has helped me out fo a jam many times over the years. If you find yourself in need of a certain company's logo and don't want to jump through hoops trying to get it. Use this trick. In the Google Search Bar type "site:companywebsite.com" followed by "filetype:pdf". What this does is return search results displaying all PDF files at that particular domain. Open the PDFs one at a time until you find one with a good looking logo (you can usually tell by zooming in). Download the PDF and open it in a program such as Adobe Illustrator. If you're lucky you will have a perfect vector logo you can use.

You can also accomplish this by visiting Google's Advance Search page, but I find simply typing the paramaters into the regular search bar is much faster.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunesSubscribe on StitcherSubscribe on AndroidSubscribe 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

Feb 16 2017

34mins

Play

Rank #13: Be So Good... A Graphic Designer's Guide to Success - RD033

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Be So Good... That Nothing Else Matters!

Running a graphic design business isn't an easy task. There's a lot more than just being a good graphic designer involved. You need to build relationships with your clients, find the best suppliers for your business, seek out help for the tasks you can't handle. Not to mention the day to day tasks that go into running any business. Invoicing, bookkeeping, banking, paying bills etc.

So how is a single graphic designer, running his or her own business expected to compete with every other graphic design company out there? Simple, be so good that nothing else matters.

This week's podcast is a little different than my past episodes. It's more on the motivational side than the norman educational pieces I've put out. Leave me a comment letting me know what you think of this one.

Be So Good...

With everything required of you and your business, it's hard to be the best person out there for clients to choose from. But maybe being the best is aiming too high. I'm not saying you shouldn't strive to be the best. What I'm saying is whoever the "best" is can be subjective. How do you even determine who the best is? You can't really, and neither can your clients. So instead you should strive to be so good that it doesn't matter who is best.

In the eyes of your clients

Be so good... that they know you care about them and their business. Be so good... that they think of you as a friend and confidant. Be so good... that they trust your opinion and follow your lead. Be so good... that they measure other designers by you. Be so good... that they treasure your work, your experience and your expertise. Be so good... that they feel fortunate to have met you. Be so good... that they don't question your prices. Be so good... that they're willing to pay more, pay extra and in advance for your services. Be so good... that they're willing to wait for you when your busy. Be so good... that they seek your opinion in non graphic design matters. Be so good... that you are the first person they think of when needing business advice. Be so good... that they bring up your name in conversations with their collegues. Be so good... that they refer you, even when nobody asked them for a referral. Be so good... that they know you're there for them when they need you. Be so good... that they can't imagine running their business without you.

In the eyes of your Competitors

Be so good... that they try to copy or even steal what you do. Be so good... that they come to you seeking advice. Be so good... that they refer their clients to you when they can can't service them. Be so good... that they want to partner with you.

In the eyes of your Critics

Be so good... they criticize your work because they can't compete with it. Be so good... that your critics just strengthen your resolve and your drive to do even better. Be so good... that their criticism doesn't bother you. Be so good... that others come to your defence and stand up for you.

In conclusion

Be so good... that your customers revere you for making their lives so great, your competitors become your collaborators and your critics, well, who cares about the critics. You're so good that you don't need to worry about them.

What do you think?

I would love to know what you thought of this episode? Let me know by leaving me a comment.

Questions of the Week

If you would like me to answer your question in a future episode please visit my feedback page.

This week’s question comes from Norman,

How do you handle working with clients from out of town or city? How often would you go to meet these clients in person, before or after the project has started?

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

Resource of the week is CushyCMS

CushyCMS is a truly simple content management system that allows your clients to safely edit their own website, and allows you to pick and choose what parts of the website that have access to. CushyCMS is extremely easy to use. There's no software to install and only takes a few minutes to setup. Simply add a special class tag to the sections of the website you want your clients to be able to edit and give them access. It's that easy. Your client makes their desired changes and CushyCMS updates the website. And it's all standards compliant and search engine friendly.

CushyCMS is free to use for up to 5 websites. You could also pay a monthly fee for additional sites and options, and for the ability to use your own branding on the site.

If you build websites and want to allow your clients to edit only certain areas of the site, CushyCMS is for you.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunesSubscribe on StitcherSubscribe on AndroidSubscribe 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

May 06 2016

25mins

Play

Rank #14: 12 Ways To Earn Extra Income As A Graphic Designer-RD009

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12 Ways To Earn Extra Income As A Graphic Designer.

No matter how good a graphic designer you are there will be times when work is slow and you find yourself with some extra time on your hands. These times are perfect opportunities to put your design skills to work and earn extra income.

Methods to earn extra income discussed in this episode

  1. Become a print broker
  2. Become a media host
  3. Create designs to sell on merchandise
  4. Create and sell website themes.
  5. Sell your design leftovers.
  6. Create and sell designs to stock image sites.
  7. Design a font/typeface.
  8. Create and sell a Photoshop action or Illustrator Style.
  9. Manage a client's social media accounts
  10. Teach a workshop/course locally or online
  11. Build and monetize a niche website
  12. Write a book/ebook

There are many more ways for a graphic designer to use their skills to earn extra income. Those I talk about in this episode are the ones I have experience with and am comfortable talking about.

Links mentioned in this episode.

List of sites you can use to earn extra income as a graphic designer.

  Four Week Marketing Boost - FREE GUIDE

Download my FREE guide, the Four Week Marketing Boost to help improve your business' image and create the best first impression possible to attract more clients.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunesSubscribe on StitcherSubscribe on Android

Contact me

Send me feedback

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Design Resource

If you are looking for a web host for yourself or your clients I suggest you visit resourcefuldesigner.com/hosting and check out Hostgator. I've been using them for several years now and have been very pleased with their service. If you decide to sign up you can use the discount code "RESOURCEFUL25" to get a 25% discount on your purchase of a hosting package.

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

Nov 04 2015

36mins

Play

Rank #15: 5 Things To Consider Before You Become a Freelance Designer - RD108

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Are you looking to become a freelance designer?

At one point or another, every designer wonders what it would be like to become a freelance designer.

Maybe you’re a student dreaming of tackling the world after graduation. Perhaps you’re an in-house designer tired of working 9-5 designing similar things for the same company year after year. Maybe you work for a design agency as part of a larger team of experienced designers, and you feel like you are not being used to your full potential.

Regardless of where you are in your design career, the thought of becoming a freelance designer, to run your own business from home, to be your own boss, might be something going through your head.

I’m a big advocate of freelancers. I’ve focused Resourceful Designer specifically on helping home-based designers. But I’m also the first person to say that not every designer is suited to freelancer life. That’s why I put together this list of 5 things you should consider before deciding to become a freelance designer.

Why do you want to become a freelance designer?

The first thing you need to ask yourself before handing in your resignation letter is why do you want to become a freelance designer?

Is it for the flexible schedule? Is it for the ability to choose your clients and projects? Is it for the tax write-offs? Is it for the ability to work in your pyjamas at any hour of the day? Is it simply to be your own boss?

Whatever your reasons, make sure they are good ones before you make the leap and start your design business.

Here are five things to consider before deciding to become a freelance designer. 1) How will you deal with the isolation of working from home?

Working from home can get lonely. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons designers give up the freelance life and go back to a 9-5 job. It’s a big enough issue that there's an entire episode of Resourceful Designer where I talk about coping with isolation when working from home.

Ask any home-based designer, and they will tell you that isolation is a real issue. If you are someone who enjoys talking face to face with colleagues throughout the day, it's something to keep in mind.

Before you decide to become a freelance designer make sure you can handle the loneliness that comes with being by yourself most of the time.

2) How good are you at time management?

When you are an employee, chances are someone is telling you, or at least directing you in what you need to do on a daily basis.

Once you become a freelance designer, you won’t have someone telling you what to do anymore. Some people see this as a benefit, but you need to make sure you are disciplined enough to not only create a work schedule for yourself but to stick to it.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Not having a boss looking over your shoulder and keeping you in check can lead you astray.

Without someone making sure you’re working on what you are supposed to be working on when you're supposed to be working on it makes it very easy to get caught up on tangents. Before you know it, you’re spending way too much time on YouTube or Facebook, or succumbing to the temptation of that brand new season of your favourite show that just dropped on Netflix.

Make sure you know how to manage your time and make sure you know how to stick to a schedule, even one you made for yourself.

3) Can you plan for the future?

Running your own design business is not about the here and now. It’s about the future. When you are an employee, chances are there’s someone else worrying about the future of the business where you work. But when that business is your own, it’s your responsibility to ensure for your future.

No matter how good your clients are, or how big the projects your working on become, there is no guarantee they will still be around in a few months.

You need to be able to look ahead and prepare for slow times by continuingly looking for new projects and new clients to sustain your business.

A home-based designer’s life is full of ups and downs when it comes to projects. The trick is to minimize those downward curves by preparing ahead for them.

4) Can you be your own boss?

When you become a freelance designer, you don’t give up a boss. You become the boss. But are you boss material?

Are you able to keep yourself accountable to not only get the design work done but to handle the other day to day activities that running a business requires?

Designers thinking about freelancing don't often think about everything involved. Running your own design business is much more than just designing.

If you want to know what else is involved in running a home-based design business, listen to episode 38 of Resourceful Designer: The Many Hats Of A Home Based Graphic Designer.

5) How good are you at finances?

One of the many hats you will need to wear after you become a freelance designer is that of an accountant. Freelancing is not a financially stable profession. You don’t get a steady paycheck every week. Some months lots of money may come in and other months barely a cent. Especially when you first start off.

You need to be able to handle your income in a way that is sustainable for you. That means making sure that not only are you covering your bills but that you have enough saved up for those times when work is slow.

Is the freelance life for you?

Many designers think that life would be so much easier if they started their own design business. The truth of the matter is that freelancing is very difficult and requires a particular type of person to succeed at it. You might be that type of person. But ask yourself these five questions before you quit your job to become a freelance designer.

Do you have what it takes to become a freelance designer?

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 Shenai

I know some universities have classes that cover some of the legal issues with designing but mine did not offer this. If you have advise on when you should trademark designs, or other ideas of design protection - I would love to hear that episode! In a time where everyone is marketing themselves on social media, I have a huge fear of being ripped off and really don't know at what lengths to go to cover my bases.

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

Resource of the week Coolors.co

This week's resource is the website Coolors.co. Coolors.co is a super fast and super easy way to create, save and share colour pallets for all your projects. Choose from a gallery of readily made pallets or create your own from scratch or based on some pre-selected colours.

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.

Feb 15 2018

21mins

Play

Rank #16: Choosing A Name For Your Design Business - RD187

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Are you having trouble choosing a name for your design business?

[sc name="pod_ad"]How much trouble are you having choosing a name for your design business? Do you already have a name picked out or are you wracking your brain thinking up and then discarding dozens of names hoping to find one that suits you?

One of the hardest decisions entrepreneurs face is choosing a name for their business.

In a previous episode of Resourceful Designer, I talked about the pros and cons of using your name as your business name compared to using a unique made-up name. Consider this episode a sequel to that one.

Why choosing the right business name is important.

Why is the name you choose for your design business so important? It’s important because word of mouth is and always will be a design company’s most lucrative avenue for acquiring new clients. Ask any home-based or freelance designer, and they’ll tell you that the bulk of their work comes from word of mouth referrals.

Therefore, choosing a good, memorable name could help propel your company by making it easier for clients to spread the word about your services. Whereas, if you choose a poor, hard to remember name, you could impede your company’s growth.

Imagine someone asking a friend about web design.

– "Do you know where I can get a website made?"

– "Yes, I heard of this place called 'The Web Design Studio,' you could try there."

OR

– "Do you know where I can get a website made?"

– "Yes, I heard of this place called... 'Stellarific Web Design'? or maybe it was 'Synergific Web Design'? 'Stunningific'... I don’t know, it started with an S and had 'ific' at the end of the name. Sorry I can't be more helpful."

Yes, your business name matters.

A process for choosing a name for your design business

Make the process of choosing a name for your design business easy on you by starting with a procedure you should be familiar with.

Chances are every design project you start begins with a design brief. It might be a multi-page document with a detailed analysis of what the design project needs to accomplish. Or it might be a 5-minute conversation where a client briefly explains what they are looking for. Either way, you have a brief to work from to create your designs.

Use the same method for choosing your business name. Create a naming brief. Ask yourself some standard brief questions to help guide you in choosing a name.

1) Who is your target audience?

If you are targeting a niche, it might make sense to choose a name for your business that fits in well with that niche.

If you are targetting small to medium size law offices, then a name such as Rock On Designs may not be suitable. However, if your target market is people in the music industry, then Rock On Designs may be a perfect fit. If you plan on targetting a niche, you may want to consider a name that suits that niche.

For example, Craig Burton's design company is called School Branding Matters. Can you guess who his target market is?

2) Descriptive or Abstract?

Do you want a descriptive name, something with meaning like Reliable Design Services? Or do you want something more abstract like Peacock Creative Agency?

3) Real or Made Up Words?

Do you want a business name that uses real words like Solid Core Creative? Or do you want to create a new word like Ryjo Design Services?

Rember that word of mouth is a key source of new design clients. If you create new words, make sure they’re short, easy to remember and easy to pronounce.

Be careful with the fad of dropping vowels from words. It may be cute and the "In thing," but it could also confuse your target market. How many times do you think Chris Do has to say, “That’s 'The Futur' without an “e” at the end.” I’m sure that can become tedious very fast.

There are no right or wrong names for your business. Names are subjective, just like designs are. What one person likes another won’t. Make sure you choose a name that feels right for you and the design market you are targetting.

Criteria for choosing a name.

Here are some criteria you can use to determine a name's effectiveness. Create a grid with potential names listed on the left and these criteria listed along the top. Then assign a score of 1 to 5 under each criteria for each of the names. Once done, add up the scores for each name, and the one with the highest score is probably the best choice for your design business.

Assign a score from 1 to 5 for each of the following criteria.

  • Distinctiveness (How distinct is the name? Ex. Joe’s Design Studio probably ranks a 1 or 2, whereas Joe’s Emporium of Creativity ranks a 4 or 5)
  • Emotional Impact (What emotional impression does it give clients? Joe's Design Studio doesn't enlist much of an emotional response, but Amazing Creations Design Studio does.)
  • Clarity (Do people know what the business does just by hearing the name?)
  • Pronounceable (Is the name hard for people to say?)
  • Memorable (Is the name easy to remember?)
  • Trademarkable (Can the name be trademarked?)
Do Your Research

Once you come up with a solid list of potential names for your design business, it’s time to do your research.

The problem with discovering the perfect name for your business is, if the name is that good, chances are someone thought of it before you.

Before you get too excited about a name, do some research to see if you can use the name. Start by Googling the name and see what comes up. Are there any other design businesses using it or a very similar name? Make sure you search broadly enough. There may not be another graphic or web designer around with the name you like. But what about interior designers, fashion designers, or even cake designers?

If you are in the USA, try searching through the U.S. Patent and Trademark website. It’s an excellent place to see if anyone has already registered the name you like.

Companies in different industries can sometimes have the same names providing there is no chance of mistaking one company for the other. For example, "Crowd Pleaser Creative Services" and "Crowd Pleaser Pool Installations."There is little chance a client will mix up these two companies.

Just because another design company has the same name as you doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t use the name. It all depends on where they registered the name. A name registered in the USA doesn't prevent someone from registering the same name elsewhere, such as in Canada or Australia.

Contact your local municipality's business resource center and get their advice on registering your business name. They’ll be glad to help.

I highly suggest you get a lawyer involved when it comes time to register your business name. It’s good for you to do your research, but a lawyer who specializes in business law will have more resources available to make sure the job is done correctly. Hire a lawyer to vet your name before you spend money trying to register it.

Simple names are not always the best names.

Something else to avoid is using common words or popular "keywords" when naming your business. Earlier I used an example of a web design business called The Web Design Studio. In reality, The Web Design Studio is not a very good name for a business because it will be almost impossible to rank for it in search engines since it's a term used by many web design businesses.

What it comes down to

The name you give your design business is one of the most critical touch points for anyone encountering your business. You can update logos and branding reasonably quickly, but not so much with a name. However, your business name, although important, is only one facet of your business. A great name won’t guarantee success, just like a less than ideal name doesn’t ensure failure.

It’s up to you to ensure that the business you are running creates a strong foundation for your business name to live up to. As long as the name you choose reflects your brand and values, you should be good.

How hard was it for you to come up with your business name?

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 Pauline

When you're brand new in business, should you price a little lower at first, or are you storing up trouble for later?

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

Oct 21 2019

30mins

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Rank #17: Using Social Media To Promote Your Design Business - RD178

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Are you promoting your design business through social media?

[sc name="pod_ad"]Many designers don't know how to use social media to attract design clients. They post their work hoping to attract business, but all they get is a following of fellow designers. Does this sound familiar?

I'm by no means an expert on social media. That's why I invited Andéa Jones of OnlineDrea to join me and help clear the confusion of attracting clients via social media. Andréa is a social media strategist who helps businesses build their online presence through targeted social media and content marketing solutions.

Andréa is also the founder of the Savvy Social School, where she shares her proven strategies for succeeding on social media. Savvy Social School helps businesses to stop wasting time on social media and finally get more attention, leads, and sales from their online community. Through the strategies she teaches, you learn to build a following of people who will hire you for your design services. As a Resourceful Designer listener, save $20 off the monthly membership fee.

Here are some of the topics you'll hear us discuss in this episode.
  • Building your social media presence.
  • Social media platforms should you use.
  • The Power of LinkedIn.
  • Narrow down or diversify your social media presence.
  • How much time to devote to social media.
  • Attracting and converting followers into clients.
  • Best times to post to social media.
  • What content works best for social media.
  • What language to use in your posts.
  • Using #hashtags.
  • Turning a sigle case study into multiple social media posts.
  • Are paid social media ads worth it.
  • And so much more.
Here are the tools Andréa recommends for managing social media. Are you successfully using social media to grow your design business?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Listen to the podcast on the go.

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Spotify Listen on Android Listen on Stitcher Listen on iHeartRadio

Contact me

I would love to hear from you. You can send me questions and feedback using my feedback form.

Follow me on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

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 19 2019

42mins

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Rank #18: Graphic Designing With A Retainer Agreement - RD032

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Is a retainer agreement part of your pricing strategy?

Back in episode 11 of Resourceful Designer I talked about pricing strategies for your graphic design business. In it I talked about how value based pricing is the Holy Grail of all the pricing methods. In that episode I didn't cover the retainer agreement because I don't really view it as a pricing strategy. It's more of a payment method. But if I was to include it in all the ways you can be paid I think it comes in a close second.

What is a retainer agreement?

Simply put, a retainer agreement is a way to be paid in advance for work you'll do in the future. It's an agreement between you and your client stating that for a fixed amount of money paid up front on a regular basis, you agree to provide a predetermined amount of work for that client.

Why should you use a retainer agreement?

There are several reasons why a retainer agreement will benefit your home based graphic design business. First and foremost it creates a steady stream of income. Anyone running a graphic design business knows that it's not a profession of absolutes. There are no steady paycheques to be collected every other week. Instead we live off the whim of our clients and their schedule for paying their bills. Having a client on retainer creates a small piece of dependability where you know for a fact that money is coming in. It's like receiving a paycheque on a regular basis.

Another benefit of using a retainer agreement is it allows you to plan your work in advance. Knowing that you have to work on a certain job every week, or that you have to devote a certain amount of time to a client each week allows you to set a schedule and be more productive with the remainder of your time.

Don't forget, when you have a client sign a retainer agreement with you, it's a guarantee that they will come to you for their work and not look elsewhere for a graphic designer.

What are the Pros and Cons of a retainer agreement? Pros

Steady Pay: As long as your client pays according to the agreement, you know when and how much income you can expect.

Better Clients: Entering into a retainer agreement is a big commitment. It takes a client with whom you have a good relationship with to agree to it. Since the relationship is already there, entering into a retainer agreement with them solidifies their loyalty to you.

Retainer Agreements Benefit the Client: There are many benefits to the client to sign with you. The client solidifies their relationship with a graphic designer and wont have to shop around each time they have a project to do. And the client knows in advance how much they are spending, allowing them to create more focused budgets.

Cons

Scheduling Conflicts: Although it's nice to know how much work you will be doing for the client each week. It may be hard to schedule other clients around this, especially if they have tight deadlines for their projects as well.

Dependence Issues: Relying solely on clients with retainer agreements may seem great as far as your income goes, but it can be dangerous if you don't diversify your work with non retainer clients. If a client with a retainer agreement decides to end the contract and leave you, there goes a good chunk of your income.

Potentially Less Pay: One of the things clients like about retainer agreements is the chance to acquire your services at a discounted rate. This, along with the scheduling conflicts I just mentioned could mean putting aside higher paid work in order to complete the work for the client under contract. You could potentially loose out on better paying jobs because your time is tied up due to the retainer agreement.

What type of work do you do under a retainer agreement?

The best type of work for a retainer agreement is anything that is done on a regular basis. Reoccurring work is perfectly suited for this scenario. Work such as website maintenance, newsletters, advertising, consulting, strategic planning.

Don't forget emergency issues. Some clients may want to pay you a small amount on a monthly basis just in case they need you for something.

Type of retainer agreements.

There are may ways you can set up your retainer agreement. This is something you and your client will need to work out. But here are some of the more popular options.

  • Paid to work a fixed amount of hours in a given time frame
  • Paid to work a fixed number of jobs in a given time frame
  • Paid a fixed amount of money you need to "work off". Usually within a given time frame.
  • Paid to be on call or to give the client preferential treatment.
Discussing a retainer agreement with your client.

When approaching a client about a potential retainer agreement you should keep the following in mind:

  • Remind the client how dependable you are.
  • Remind the client how much money they are regularly spending on you.
  • Discuss the benefits to BOTH of you if you enter a retainer agreement.
  • Discuss possible bonuses to the client.
What to include in a retainer agreement.
  • The amount of money you'll receive and the amount of work expected of you.
  • The date you are to be paid and how often
  • What type of work is expected of you.
  • How much notice will you be given for the work.
  • How much time will you have to complete the work.
  • What happens if you go beyond the agreed upon terms (do not offer discounts for additional work)
  • Who pays for expenses incurred while doing the work.
  • Specify that there is no carryover of unused time money at the end of the specified period.
  • What is required and how much time is required to end the retainer agreement.
  • Include an end date or a renegotiation date so you have a scheduled point when you can raise your rates if need be.

I want to include a special note about working beyond the specified time/amount of you retainer agreement. You may be inclined to offer a discount to your client should you go over the time/amount specified. I strongly advise against this. Consistently exceeding the agreement shows that the specifications were not realistic and gives you the opportunity to renegotiate the agreement. If you offer a discount for time spent beyond what is in the agreement the client will be less inclined to negotiate a new agreement.

Don't get complacent

It's nice to have a steady income you can rely on and that's exactly what a retainer agreement can offer you. But don't get complacent while working on retainer. You need to continue to grow your business and look for more work because you never know when or why a client will decide to end the agreement and leave you with a smaller income stream.

What do you think?

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

Questions of the Week

If you would like me to answer your question in a future episode please visit my feedback page.

This week’s question comes from Caitlin,

I've been lucky enough to gain my first handful of web design clients, which is extremely exciting. But as each contract comes to a close, I'm always flooded with a variety of other services I know I could offer the client, such as content marketing designs or eBook designs. How would you recommend turning web design clients into retainer clients? Even if the retainer is simply website maintenance. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject, how you've handled this issue in the past and what services you tend to offer your clients on a long standing basis after the website design is complete.

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

Resource of the week is WhatTheFont

Whatthefont.com is a website I've been using for many years to help me identify fonts used on designed pieces by simply uploading an image of the font. The site uses OCR to identify the characters, allowing you the option to fix the selected character if it chose wrong. Then the site uses it's vast library of fonts to try to identify or provide you with fonts that closely match the one you provided.

This site has saved me countless hours over the years I would have spent scrolling through my font library looking for that elusive font.

Subscribe to the podcast

Subscribe on iTunesSubscribe on Stitcher Subscribe on Android

Contact me

Send me feedback

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

I want to help you.

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

Apr 29 2016

52mins

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Rank #19: 6 Mistakes Freelancers Make - RD144

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Avoid these common mistakes freelancers make.

To the uninitiated, running a design business sounds easy. You find clients, create designs for them, they pay you, repeat. Freelancers, however, know there is so much more to it than merely designing. And yet, even armed with that knowledge there are still several mistakes freelancers make when it comes to running their business.

1) Not using downtime productively 

One mistake freelancers make is not taking advantage of downtime. When things are slow, you should be using any spare time you have on something productive to advance your design business. 

Use downtime to:

  • Update your website
  • Attend networking events
  • Take a course/tutorial to learn a new skill
  • Experiment with your software

Use the time to grow your business and to make yourself a better designer. Just because you are not at a 9-5 job doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be putting in a full day worth of hours into your business.

2) Not building a team (copywriter, illustrator, VA)

In episode 77of the Resourceful Designer podcast, I talked about the importance of assembling a team around your business. To serve your clients, you should align yourself with people who have skills you don't or are more suited to performing specific skills than you are.

Your team can consist of:

  • Copywriters
  • Illustrators
  • Programmers
  • Developers
  • Translators
  • Social Media Experts
  • Photographers
  • Virtual Assistants
  • more

I made a mistake when I first started my business in thinking I needed to do everything myself. If I couldn’t do it, then I didn’t take on the project. I missed out on some great jobs and clients because the projects they presented me with were beyond my ability.

Then I learned that it’s ok to ask for help. Since then I’ve expanded my circle to include many talented people that allow me to offer services I couldn't provide if I were doing everything myself.

3) Not taking advantage of extra income opportunities

The bulk of a designers income should come from client design work. But many peripherals can earn you money as well. Things like:

  • Print brokering
  • Web hosting/maintenance
  • Selling design resources (Photoshop/Illustrator brushes, patterns, fonts, other design resources)
  • Merchandising (T-shirts, posters, etc.)
  • more

You’re a creative person. Put that creativity to work by looking around and finding innovative ways to supplement your income.

4) Not spending time working on your outreach when you're busy.

There are hills and valleys when it comes to running a design business. Some weeks you have barely anything to do, while other weeks you can’t believe how much work you have. To minimise this up, down, up, down effect you need to figure out how to fill in those valleys.

The problem is, most people wait until things start to get slow before trying to drum up new work. But the time to promote yourself is when you’re busy. When you're at the top of a "hill". If you do it right, you’ll drum up work while you’re busy that will fill in those valleys and even out the terrain for you, creating a much more balanced working life.

5) Not saving money

As a home-based designer, you probably don’t have a steady paycheque. Nor do you have any guarantees of how or when money will come in. If you do a good job on point number 4 and work on your outreach when you're busy you’ll minimise those slow times when money isn’t coming in, but that’s not a guarantee of income.

That’s why you should be putting aside a fixed percentage of all your income for those “just in case” or “What if” situation. You should be saving for those unexpected times when a "valley" stretches out longer than expected.

Start putting money aside for:

  • Slow Periods
  • Emergencies
  • Unexpected expenses
  • Known expenses (taxes, licences, etc.)
  • Time off (vacation, medical, etc.)
  • Retirement

There will come a time some day when you decide to stop, or you’re forced to stop working and then how will you provide for yourself?

6) Calling themselves Freelancer 

Long time listeners of the Resourceful Designer podcast know that I don't like the term Freelancer. Back in episode 17, I shared a story of a designer I know who missed out on a  job opportunity because she called herself a freelancer. The potential employer told me he was looking for someone who took the job more seriously than that.

He’s not alone. People often associate the term freelancer with temporary or in transition designers. Designers who are willing to work with you until something better comes along. You and I know that’s not the case. But that’s how many people in the business world, people who are your potential clients think about freelancers.

Consider this before deciding what to call yourself. A freelancer is a designer looking for a boss. If you imagine yourself working FOR your clients, then feel free to call yourself a freelancer. However, if you imagine yourself working WITH your clients, partnering with them to solve their design problems, then you are not a freelancer, you are a designer who runs your own design business. Don't sell yourself short.

Avoid these mistakes freelancers make

You already have enough on your plate. There's no need to cause yourself more stress. If you avoid these common mistakes freelancers make, and you'll be on your way to having a successful and fulfilling design business.

Are you guilty of making any of these mistakes?

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 Chris

Do you have any advice for those who are starting a business focused on 3D? Have you done much work with 3D artists? Do you know of any niches that a 3D graphic designer might pursue?

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

Link to the article I mentioned in my answer.

Resource of the week iThemes

iThemes makes some of my favourite WordPress plugins and add-ons. Including BackupBuddy for managing site migration and backups. iThemes Security for keeping nefarious individuals out of your website. And iThemes Sync for managing multiple WordPress websites from one easy dashboard.

Until the end of 2018 iThemes is offering 40% off all of their products. Here's my affiliate link if you plan on purchasing.

Listen to the podcast on the go.

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Spotify Listen on Android Listen on Stitcher Listen on iHeartRadio

Contact me

I would love to hear from you. You can send me questions and feedback using my feedback form.

Follow me on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

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

Dec 10 2018

32mins

Play

Rank #20: A Designer's Home Office Essentials - RD088

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What's in your home office?

A home office is essential if you plan on running your graphic design business for any length of time. Sure the kitchen table can make due in a pinch, but if you're serious about your business, you will want to carve out a bit of that home real estate and claim it as your own.

But once you've planted your flag and claimed the space in the name of your graphic design business what do you do with it? In this episode of the Resourceful Designer podcast, I go over some essentials to make your home office reflect you and your business. Be sure to listen to the episode for the full story. Better yet, subscribe and never miss an episode.

Essentials for your home office space A dedicated room

A dedicated room in your home devoted solely to your home office will solidify the feeling of running a business. Not to mention that having a dedicated home office makes it much easier come tax time for calculating deductions you can claim as a home based graphic design business.

A door

Sounds crazy but being able to close a door while you are working can establish not only your working space but your working hours. The rest of your family will quickly learn not to disturb you when the door is closed. A door also helps you focus by cutting you off from the rest of the household.

A good environment

Make sure the room you choose has proper ventilation and good lighting. You will be spending a lot of time in your home office, so it's essential to make it as comfortable as possible.

Essential equipment for your home office A good computer

This one is a given. As a graphic designer, your computer is your main tool when it comes to earning your living. Whether you choose a laptop or desktop, Mac or PC, be sure to choose a computer that will be powerful enough for the projects you will be working on and one durable enough, so you don't have to replace it too often.

A desk

Unless you're a fly-by-night freelancer who likes to sprawl out on the living room couch with your laptop, you're going to need a desk. A desk is a long term purchase so choose one that will fit your needs. Keep storage space in mind when shopping for your desk. There are some beautiful minimalistic styles out there, but they are not very practical for someone who will be using it every day.

An office chair

Do not skimp on your chair! Your chair could be one of the most important investments you make in your business. You will be sitting in your chair for hours on end, day after day so choose one that is comfortable for you. Spend some time trying out different styles and find the one that fits your body type.

A desk lamp

Face it, as a home-based designer you will probably find yourself working at all hours of the day. A good desk lamp is essential when burning the midnight oil. Choose one that is not too harsh, and that won't affect the way you see colours in your room.

Printer/Scanner

A printer/scanner is something every office should have. Depending on your needs, you may be able to get away with one of the less expensive models available.

Filing cabinet

I mentioned storage space earlier. A filing cabinet is a great way to keep track of papers and remove clutter from your room.

A paper shredder

Depending on your clients, you may come into possession of some sensitive documents. When it comes time to discard of them, a shredder is the only way short of burning them.

Essential home office supplies File Storage

Every office should have disposable storage devices such as DVDs or flash drives for giving files to clients. Do not always count on cloud based storage systems. Some clients will want something physical they can hold.

Spill proof mug

Staying hydrated is important for your health so expect to drink throughout the day. However, liquids and computer equipment don't get along very well. Invest in a spill proof mug or bottle and never worry about knocking it over.

Wire organizers

Face it, between your computer, external drives, phone wires, charging cables and who knows what other wires. The space behind your computer probably looks like a spider's web. Purchase inexpensive wire organizers and keep your wires nice and tidy.

Miscellaneous essentials

If you're like most home-based designers, you will spend more time in your home office than any other room in your house (awake that is). So it's essential that you make this space your own. Decorate it with things that inspire your creativity such as books, artwork, knick knacks, plants, etc. Anything and everything that makes you feel good. Having a happy environment will make you a more productive designer.

If you share your home with little ones, either children or pets, be sure to include a space for them so they can be close to you without getting in your way. A pet bed or a bean bag chair can go a long way to satisfy young hearts.

What essentials do you have in your home office?

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 Lora

I'm new to your podcasts and was introduced to you from the Print Brokering one. I look forward to listening again--interesting and rich in information. I am a graphic designer and design instructor. After teaching graphic design full-time for 15 years, I started Orangish design last year, and teaching design again, part time. It's proving to be a great balance, business is slowly picking up and could use the bonus cash from print brokering you talked about!

I've always thought about print brokering but was concerned, if I'm honest, afraid, of paying the printer up front. Your explanation makes perfect sense and you make it sound so easy--invoice the client, they pay you, then place the print order.

Here is My Question:

I use an online printer, Moo.com, and now plan to work with them as a print broker. When you say: "You can make a good income by adding a hefty markup to their prices.", how do you add that markup to online printer invoices, yet present the marked-up invoice legitimately to your clients? My clients always want to see quotes 1, 2 and 3. Clients are pretty darn savvy these days.

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

Resources of the week: Two Design Podcasts

This week I share two resources in the form of podcasts. I listen and enjoy both these shows, and I think you will too.

Logo Geek is a podcast produced by Ian Paget. Ian interviews influential designers to discuss all things logo related. If designing logos is part of your business this podcast is a must listen.

This Design Life is produced by Chris Green. Chris also interviews designers, but he focuses more on the life they live. Asking them questions like what inspires them and why they choose to become designers.

It's always fun to hear how other designers live and produce the wonderful works they do. Both of these podcasts offer small glimpses into the lives of talented people just like you. I encourage you to give them a try.

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

Sep 14 2017

48mins

Play