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Get Back To Design: Design Business | Designer | Creative Business

Get Back To Design: Design Business | Designer | Creative Business

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Episodes

036: Outsourcing In Your Design Business
30:55
2017-12-12 00:37:34 UTC 30:55
036: Outsourcing In Your Design Business

Today we'll chat about outsourcing in  your design business, including random tasks and your design work, as a way to make more time for client work.

At some point we all run into the situation where we don’t have the capacity to take on any more work. Sometimes this is temporary and we just happened to get a ton of clients at once, but sometimes it’s not and we’re really booked that far in advance for the long-run.

When this happens, it’s time to decide if you’re going to start turning clients away or find a way to make time for more work. Today we’ll chat about outsourcing in  your design business, including random tasks and your design work, as a way to make more time for client work.

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How to know it’s time to outsource

Realizing when it’s time to outsource is a big step. Many fear that they’re not “good enough”, need to be at a certain income level, or just aren’t ready for any variety of reasons.

But really, there’s no right time to start outsourcing. It could be when you want more free time, when you realize you hate a specific task, or when you need to be able to take on more clients.

Really, when you’re starting to feel drawn to outsourcing, give it a try for a few hours per month. You can always cancel if you don’t end up liking it, but you might find that it makes your life a whole lot easier.

Decide what to outsource

Deciding what to outsource depends on your goal for outsourcing.

For example, if you need more time for clients it might make sense to outsource things like blog posts, social media, or emails. Think of things that take you a lot of time that aren’t directly making you any money.

On the other hand, maybe it’s time to get rid of some tasks you dislike doing. To identify these tasks, keep a notepad beside you and take note of any tasks you’re doing throughout the day that you don’t love.

And last, if your goal is to take on more clients it’s likely time to start outsourcing your actual design work. That way, you can have a full client load and have other people working with additional clients for you.

Outsourcing your design work

Finding the right people

Finding the right people to outsource your design work to is a huge and intimidating step. This is the main thing you do to make money and involves a very creative process.

First, the people you outsource to need to charge less than you. Otherwise you’ll be losing money between having to pay them all your profits while you are still using up extra time to manage the project. Look for someone who charges at least 25% less than you.

The challenge with finding people who charge less than you is that they still need to be good at what they do. So you need to make sure they’re experienced in the part you want them to take over. If you’re willing to do more teaching you might not have to be worried about that, but if you’re outsourcing to give yourself more time to take on clients, you’re likely not going to want to take that extra time to teach.

And as designers, there’s an extra challenge. And that is that you need someone who can match your design aesthetic. Your clients come to you because they like your work so the people doing work for you need to have a similar look and feel.

Last, look for someone who is good with communication. If you’ve never outsourced before, it will likely surprise you to see just how much communication is involved. In looking for someone to outsource your design work to, look for someone who understands they way you pass on requirements, isn’t afraid to ask questions, and will take (and apply) feedback well.

Legal aspects

We are not lawyers and this is not official legal guidance, but it’s important to have contracts for your contractors. There are different rules for each state that separate contractors from employees and, along with that, you need to make sure both you and your subcontractors are expected in each project.

Downsides for outsourcing your design work

The first downside of outsourcing your design work is the time it actually takes to outsource. You will be blown away by the amount of time it takes to outsource even small tasks – especially at first. There tends to be a lot of time going back-and-forth between subcontractors and clients, making sure everyone is on the same page and understands.

Along with that, you’ll end up with a lot more clients to manage. So if that’s something you already tend to dislike, outsourcing will give you a whole lot more of that because you have more clients to worry about.

There’s also a lot of back-and-forth in general. It can be stressful and confusing for everyone. Even steps like quoting a project will take longer because you’ve got to understand the requirements, get a quote from your subcontractor, add in your own fees, present that to the client, and hope they don’t have any changes that start the process over.

Another downside is that you’re responsible when mistakes are made or if going above-and-beyond is necessary. If your client doesn’t like the work that’s done, they want extra revisions that you want to include, or the work just isn’t done correctly in the first place you’ll find yourself either having to pay your subcontractor more or jumping in to complete the task yourself.

Last, clients might be upset if they find out that you’re not doing the work. If you’re not clear about it on your website and your client didn’t expect it, it won’t come as a pleasant surprise. To avoid this, make sure it’s obvious on your website and in your welcome materials that you’ll be the creative director and not the actual designer.

Finding the right people to outsource general tasks to

The best place to start when looking for someone to outsource to is to get recommendations from people you trust. That way, you know that someone else has had a good experience with anyone you consider.

But regardless of how you find people, don’t look for the cheapest option out there. You don’t want to end up redoing work or worrying about tasks being completed correctly. For the most part, when it comes to outsourcing you’re going to get what you pay for. However, if you’re okay with doing a little extra teaching, starting out with a cheaper option may work out for you.

You can also take a look at someone’s website to find out what to expect. For a lot of us, blogging and running websites is a huge part of what they do so it makes sense that you’d look for someone with similar values and experience. You can also tell by a website how much someone values their work.

And last, always be sure to try someone out for a month before signing on to a long-term contract. No matter how amazing someone seems like they’ll be, you don’t want to get stuck in a contract that you’re not happy in. Even if they’re amazing at their work, you may find that outsourcing isn’t for you, the two of you don’t communicate well, or it’s not working out for a variety of reasons. Trying things out for a month is a great way to learn what to expect.

What to expect when you start outsourcing

Whether it’s design work or other tasks, there are a few things to expect when it comes to outsourcing.

First, know that you’re going to have to do some training. Everyone runs their business differently so it’s important that the person you outsource to understands your specific expectations and past process. It’s really helpful to have your processes documented before bringing anyone on so you have everything ready ahead of time.

Also, be ready to answer questions. Even if you have great processes documented, the people you outsource to will likely have questions their first couple times completing a task.

Next, know when it’s time to course-correct and do a little teaching when mistakes are made. Sometimes it’s tempting to let little mistakes go or correct them yourself, but if you do things this way the people you’re outsourcing to will never be able to improve and make your life easier like they’re supposed to.

Last, if you’re outsourcing your design work, be prepared for a lot more client management and communication between you, your clients, and the person you’re outsourcing to.

Action Steps

  1. This week, take note of the tasks you don’t enjoy doing
  2. Identify the top 3 that take up the most of your time or that you really just dislike
  3. When you’re ready, begin your search for someone to outsource these 3 tasks to

Resources

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The post 036: Outsourcing In Your Design Business appeared first on Get Back To Design.

035: One Logo Solution + Working With a Team of Designers With Jamie Starcevich
27:54
2017-12-12 00:37:34 UTC 27:54
035: One Logo Solution + Working With a Team of Designers With Jamie Starcevich

We have gotten a lot of questions in the Facebook group about working with a team or outsourcing some of your work, so we thought it would be great to bring Jamie from Spruce Road onto the podcast to talk a little more about that and her unique approach to branding.

One thing that can really make your design business stand out even more is when a part or all of your process is really unique in comparison to that of other designers out there. Presenting one logo solution to your clients certainly falls into that unique category, and Jamie Starcevich of Spruce Road is the first person (and one of the few) that I’ve seen do this exact thing.

Aside from owning this unique approach to branding, Jamie also has a lot of experiencing with working with a team of designers to outsource work to, which we know a lot of our listeners are curious about as they work to grow their business. So, today we thought it would be perfect to get Jamie on the podcast to share all of her secrets on both the one logo solution as well as working with a team!


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Why Jamie started presenting just one logo concept

Her experience as a designer and at the studio she worked at led her to believe that there should be a better way to approach branding. Beforehand, she would send 2-3 options and would often experience her client wanting to mash up the different options, and while she felt she knew what was best she began to realize that this wasn’t the best way to go about the process with clients. Jamie also pointed out that there is some psychology that goes into decision making, and when you have too many options it’s just too difficult to make a decision.

The first time she tried this approach out was with her very first client she took through Spruce Road. She made things a lot more casual by not making a big deal about it to her client and instead just noting that it was a part of her process. The awesome outcome was that her client loved it, so she’s kept going since then.

The differences in her process this unique approach creates

She said there’s a lot less friction with her clients in taking the one logo solution approach. As a designer, you always want to do the best work, use the best supplies, and sometimes when the client comes back with a different choice there’s often a bit of a let down. Since she uses the one logo solution, Jamie feels the friction is totally gone, and that the process is a lot more enjoyable in the long run.

Her advice for those of you wanting to try this one solution approach

Jamie recommends to have confidence in yourself, especially if you’re feeling scared to try it. A lot of designers doubt that it’ll work, but she’s seen it work for a lot of her students, so she highly recommends to start there. Even if it doesn’t work out, it’s important to remember that it’s not that big of a deal. You can always go back to the drawing board and tweak the designs for your client.

Another thing to keep in mind is how you’re presenting the solution you’ve created. Take the time to schedule a call with your client, and then send them a link during the call to walk through it. Jamie shares that she actually doesn’t ask for any feedback during the call but instead focuses on explaining the rationale behind the design, which gives the client more time to get excited about what they’re seeing.

How Jamie knew it was the right time to start working with a team

She started Spruce Road in one January, and by September / October she had started outsourcing. Jamie shared that she actually got the idea from her accountant, as odd as that sounds, as he was suggesting that she spend more money through her business so she could get more of a tax write-off. Even though she wasn’t making a huge amount of money, she knew that she wanted to work with other designers through Spruce Road anyway, so she took the leap before she was ready.

Passing off design work to her team while keeping a hand in her project

Jamie said this is one of the biggest hesitancies she sees other designers have when it comes to outsourcing. The biggest takeaway she had for us here, though, is that she tries to hire designers that she doesn’t have to do a lot of overseeing for. While there’s nothing wrong with hiring a junior designer, she reached out to other designers that she admired to see if they wanted to work with her. Jamie shared that the designers she brings on are people she’d trust with her own rebrand, so she totally trusts them with the work they’re doing for her clients.

Her advice for those wanting to outsource their work

Her biggest tip would be to keep it as simple as possible. She’s found that’s easier to work with them on a per project basis instead of a lump sum of hours or an ongoing basis, especially if you’re just starting out. You may find that with a virtual assistant, for example, that you eventually have them working for you with a lump sum of hours. However, when you’re working with a fellow designer, try it out just for one project at a time to get used to doing the project management and just outsourcing your work, in general.

Action Items

  • If you’re going to test out the one logo solution, focus on the presentation. Schedule a call so you can really explain your decision making and remember to focus on feeling confident in your work.
  • If you’re interested in working with a team, start with one person you admire on a per project basis. Don’t feel like you have to jump in head first with a full ongoing contract the very first time.

Learn more about Jamie

I’m Jamie, founder + creative director at Spruce Rd., and creator of the Share-worthy Design course for freelancers. I’m also mom to a little one, hiking enthusiast (walking around the park counts, right?!), and will never say no to cookies, tacos, or a Wes Anderson film.

I love coming alongside fellow freelance designers, and revealing my journey in freelancing and designing standout brands for our lovely clients.

Website | Share-Worthy Design Course | Free Branding Questionnaire

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The post 035: One Logo Solution + Working With a Team of Designers With Jamie Starcevich appeared first on Get Back To Design.

034: How to Set and Keep Boundaries With Clients
30:36
2017-12-12 00:37:34 UTC 30:36
034: How to Set and Keep Boundaries With Clients

One thing that causes a lot of frustration with design clients is the lack of boundaries. Either the designer hasn't set or maintained them or the client just doesn't respect them. In today's episode we're covering how you can set and keep boundaries with clients.

One thing that causes a lot of frustration with design clients is the lack of boundaries. Either the designer hasn’t set or maintained them or the client just doesn’t respect them. As hard as it is to do, you have to remember that you are the one in charge of setting boundaries and then making sure your clients stick to them during the project.

Kory here! We’ve both experienced a lot of frustration in past projects due to us still learning what our boundaries are or not sticking to them even though we knew we should be. We don’t want you to go through those same struggles, so in today’s episode we’re covering how you can set and keep boundaries with clients.

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Make your boundaries known before the project

The first and most important step here is to make your boundaries known to even potential clients. This is because even though it’s not impossible, it’s still really difficult to try to go back and set them after you’ve already started the project. A great way you can let potential clients know about your boundaries is by including them in your onboarding materials.

Make sure you’re listing things like your office hours and how long it’ll take to respond to emails on your Contact page and in your Intro packet. This gives you a chance to refer back to these places if your client is ignoring your boundaries.

An example of this

If you don’t respond to emails on the weekend, don’t be surprised if some clients aren’t used to that. Instead of just leaving them hanging, make sure they know that you’ll get back to them first thing on Monday or Tuesday at the latest. This will also help keep your clients from emailing you multiple times or checking in on social media if they don’t hear from you right away.

Stick to your guns during the project

This is where pretty much all designers go wrong with their projects. While we set our boundaries for a good reason, most people don’t want to seem mean or like they don’t truly care about the client or the project while they’re working together.

However, I have some tough love for you: if you ignore your boundaries during the project, your client will as well. Not only that, but you’re setting yourself up for you to be the one that’s getting stressed out over those crossed lines.

An example of this

If you have strict project guidelines, like Krista, it’s important that you stick to them the very first time a client is going off track. If you bend and let your client get a payment or content to you late just one time, you can almost guarantee they’ll do it again. This can lead you to being behind in the project, which is only going to stress and frustrate you. Your client may not know or care about what being behind will do to you and your schedule.

Know the line you absolutely will not cross

There will always be those clients that ignore your boundaries and just normal boundaries, in general. This may be because the client is impatient or they’re not used to working with people who have strict boundaries in place. With these types of clients, it’s vital that you know the line you won’t cross with your boundaries and what you’ll do if the client oversteps.

Two examples of this

My first good example is that I won’t cross the line of discussing projects via social media. This may seem silly, especially since so many people are finding and booking projects via social media. However I’ve found that I don’t want to be on the hook for checking all of my platforms all of the time so I will not cross that line. By avoiding that, I can keep communication in one place and not worry about having to be plugged in at all times. If someone crosses this line, I simply remind them to let me know their thoughts in email or Asana. I also include a note about this in my contract.

Another great example would be having work invade your personal space, and by that I mean giving out your personal phone number. Some people do this to book a call or because they think it makes them look better to be so available, but it ends up being really frustrating if / when the client crosses the line and starts texting or calling you at random hours of the day all days of the week. Instead, make sure your client knows that extra calls require additional billing and if nothing else, let them know you’ll respond to their texts or calls during business hours.

Action Items

  • Decide what boundaries you want in place
  • Outline them in onboarding materials and your contract
  • Stick to them (as hard as it may be) during projects

Resources

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The post 034: How to Set and Keep Boundaries With Clients appeared first on Get Back To Design.

033: How To Work A Developer’s Pricing Into Your Design Packages
27:10
2017-12-12 00:37:34 UTC 27:10
033: How To Work A Developer’s Pricing Into Your Design Packages

We’ve chatted a lot about collaborating with a developer and know it’s something that more designers are beginning to explore. But a part of the process a lot of designers are intimidated by is the pricing.

Do I just list my design prices on my website and quote separately for development? Do I list the whole package? How does it all work?

Today, we’ll answer your pricing questions by going over how to work a developer’s pricing into your design packages.

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Why a developer’s price needs to be included in yours

It’s common for designers to start by just including their own prices on their websites and including a note that says development isn’t included. Doing it this way is tempting, but it’s not the best approach.

When you have development quoted separately, there are a few problems that will come up:

  1. Your potential clients don’t understand the difference between design and development, so it won’t make sense to them that the two are separate prices.
  2. People with budgets similar to the prices listed on your website will reach out to you and go MIA once they realize that development increases the price by so much.

Instead, when you include it all as one package it’s much easier for your potential clients to make sense of and you know they won’t be surprised by a higher total price.

How to add a developer’s pricing to your packages

The first thing to do is figure out the exact packages you want listed on your website. For example, if you want a simple blog design option, a website option, and an e-commerce option, figure out exactly what each of those will include. Along with that, determine how much you want to make with your portion of the cost and how long your personal timeline will take. That way, you’re less likely to underprice or shorten your timeline after you chat with a developer.

From there, send your packages to your developer so they can give you their quote and timeline. You’ll probably even find that they’ll have a few things they can offer to add to your packages like SEO, support, and training.

Then, you can combine your developer’s information with your own and add it to your website as one complete package.

What to do if you’re concerned about the higher price

If you’re already charging what your development work is worth, this isn’t going to be a problem. You’ll just give that portion of the project cost to the developer.

However, 99% of designers severely undercharge themselves for development. Many don’t even consider development time within their design packages and it’s more of an afterthought instead.

With that being said, it makes sense for your prices to increase whether or not you decide to bring a developer on.

Create multiple packages

The first option if you’re not ready to boost all your prices is to have packages on  your website with and without custom development costs. For example, you could have three packages with the following development included:

  1. No development – instead, you’re using a template and doing the setup on your own
  2. Semi-custom – choose a template and have a developer do some customizations
  3. Custom – here’s where the full cost of the developer comes in and you’ll be able to design a fully custom site

With this approach you can do more of a gradual increase and don’t have to worry about scaring your current audience away.

Gradually increase your prices before working with a developer

If you know that a large price increase will happen when you bring on a developer, you can start gradually increasing your prices leading up to working with them. For example, figure out what your new prices will be and increase by 30% every 2 months to reach that new price after 6 months total.

With this, you might need to work on targeting slightly different clients, which we talked about in Episode 006!

Challenges to be aware of

Once you’ve got your packages ready and your developer’s prices are included on your website, you’re not quite done. There are still a few common challenges that seem to come up that you’ll want to be aware of.

A developer increasing their prices without telling you

When someone else’s packages are a part of yours, it’s important that you know when they raise their prices. You don’t want to go to someone with a client only to learn that their prices have increased and they’re not willing to honor the past ones they gave you.

To avoid this, set a reminder in your calendar every couple months to check-in with your developer to make sure their prices haven’t increased.

Matching up your availability

Good developers get booked up quickly, which can be a problem if you’re trying to schedule a project to start immediately.

To protect against losing clients because of your developer’s availability, have a backup plan. Whether that’s doing the coding yourself or working with a backup developer, know what action you’ll take before it happens the first time.

Working with multiple developers

Like we just went over, having multiple developers on hand can be helpful in making sure you always have someone available. However, this can be a little tricky since developers will have different prices.

You’ll likely find that developer’s with similar skill sets have similar prices, which makes this easier, but include the pricing of the more expensive developer on your website. That way, if you end up working with the lower-priced developer on your website you either have the option of lowering the price for your client (which always makes them happy) or keeping the extra profit for yourself.

Preparing a final quote

You’ve likely found that clients don’t tend to book the exact packages you have on your website. There’s always something that has to be added, removed, or tweaked.

If you don’t have a plan of attack for that, this can add days to the quoting process between you and your developer. To avoid this, ask your developer for what exact information they need to quote a custom project. Some will even have a form you can fill out for each project. That way, there’s one simple back-and-forth that needs to happen and you can get a quote out to your client more quickly.

Action Steps

  1. Figure out the exact packages you want to offer your clients
  2. Contact your current developer (or someone you’d like to work with) to get the final details sorted out

Resources

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The post 033: How To Work A Developer’s Pricing Into Your Design Packages appeared first on Get Back To Design.

032: 5 Awkward Client Situations + How to Handle Them
37:33
2017-12-12 00:37:34 UTC 37:33
032: 5 Awkward Client Situations + How to Handle Them

Regardless of what type of design work you offer and how much experience you have, you’re always subject to getting in sticky situations with clients. In today's episode, we're going to talk about the 5 most common awkward client situations and how to best handle them.

Regardless of what type of design work you offer and how much experience you have, you’re always subject to getting in sticky situations with clients. Most of the time you’re left feeling uncomfortable or flat out awkward when these happen, but at the end of the day, it’s all about how you handle them.

Kory here! I know I’ve had my fair share of awkward and just plain not fun situations with clients over the past five years of running my business, and I would have given anything to have someone else’s advice on how to handle each one of them while they were happening. So, in today’s episode, we’re going to talk about the 5 most common awkward client situations and how to best handle them.

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1. The client hasn’t paid their invoice

Without a doubt this is one situation that I think all designers will find themselves in at one point or another, even if the other ones we talk about never happen. In fact, as of recording this one of the ladies in our mastermind group brought up that she was dealing with this exact thing. It’s so frustrating when this is happening to you, especially when you really just want to get paid and move on.

How to handle this

Unless you’re interested in taking legal action, one of the only things you can do here is to simply follow up. I think it’s a great idea to start with this even if you do want to take legal action because often times it comes down to the client simply not having seen the invoice for one reason or another.

We both recommend reminding your client in the follow up email that the unpaid invoice is holding up the project (either you can’t get started or can’t send them their final files). When you send a second follow up email, mention the late fees that you have outlined in your contract. Then in your last follow up email, point out that you haven’t heard from them since X date, remind them that this is holding up the project, and mention when the late fees will kick in.

2. Client requests a refund, but you can’t grant it

I’d say it’s probably pretty obvious why this one is so awkward, right? Maybe you spent the money already or your contract mentions you don’t do refunds, but when a client requests it… boy, does that leave you feeling a little uneasy. Not only that, but this is a super sticky situation because it could lead to a whole new side of your client coming out. Krista has actually experienced a client disputing the charges with PayPal and their bank, and I’ve experienced a client threaten to take me to court over a refund.

How to handle this

As long as the project hasn’t totally gone south, it’s worthwhile to start by trying to get everything back on the right foot. Start by asking your client what’s causing the frustration and how you can correct things.

If you already delivered files or done work on the project, respectfully refer your client back to the contract that they signed. This where you’ll want to know that your contract is air tight legally because if you’ve just copied and pasted or made up your own terminology, your client might see through it. At some point, though, you have to consider if it’s really worth the fight. Sometimes it’s just easier to grant the refund and move on with your project.

3. You get feedback you don’t like or don’t agree with

If you haven’t dealt with this yet, consider yourself lucky. We had this happen to us on a project around the time of recording this episode, and while it was incredibly frustrating, we ultimately decided that it wasn’t worth the fight to try to get the client to see things our way.

How to handle this

The first thing you can try is to explain the strategy that went into your decisions. By educating your client a little bit on this, your experience, and reminding them of their goals, you’re much more likely to get them to come around and change their mind on how they want something on their site. However, remember to be open to what they’re saying to you. Nothing would be more frustrating to the client than you refusing to make changes based on feedback simply because you didn’t like it.

4. A potential client says you’re too expensive

We talked about this a little bit in EP 020, but we know that the initial reaction most designers have here is to feel frustrated and immediately want to start defending your prices. It’s hard not to automatically take a defensive stance here, but instead of doing that, it’s important to open the doors for communication and really try to see why they’re saying this.

How to handle this

If your client is saying you’re too expensive because they just don’t have the budget to work with you, remind yourself that they aren’t trying to be rude. Krista and I both have created custom packages with fewer pieces so that we can still help the client get what they need while on a budget. If you aren’t willing to do that or work for less, respond respectfully and refer them to a few other designers with lower price points.

However, if they just aren’t willing to pay what you’re worth, that’s a total bummer. There are a lot of people like this, and honestly, this is a huge red flag to us. If this is the vibe we’re getting from a potential client, we simply respond respectfully that we aren’t able to be flexible with our prices and refer them to other designers with lower price points.

5. Client wants more work, but you don’t want to continue your relationship

Similarly to the client requesting a refund, this situation is super awkward because it’s hard to figure out the right thing to say. It’s even more awkward because they obviously don’t feel the same about the project and relationship as you do. However, if you feel the project hasn’t gone smoothly, it’s totally normal to not want to continue the relationship with more work.

How to handle this

Whatever you do, don’t throw them or their project under the bus. It’s not okay to get defensive or aggressive here. Instead, you can respectfully let them know that you’re not available for more work. This is the best way to avoid telling a lie or letting them know that you thought they were awful to work with. Be sure to refer them to a few other designers that you trust with their project, and if you really didn’t like the client, you may give those designers a heads up on what’s coming their way.

Action Items:

  • Create a library of canned responses for the 5 situations we’ve covered today
  • If you get stuck in a different sticky situation:
    • Take a deep breath and give yourself time to cool down
    • Write your response with a level head
      • Consider getting a peer to check over your email
    • Let it go and move on

Resource:

  • Email Scripts for Designers – Know exactly what to say if your clients are late (get 15% off by using the code ‘podcast’ at checkout)

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The post 032: 5 Awkward Client Situations + How to Handle Them appeared first on Get Back To Design.

031: Creating a “Before Picture” for Your Web Design Projects
27:25
2017-12-12 00:37:34 UTC 27:25
031: Creating a “Before Picture” for Your Web Design Projects

We’ve chatted quite a bit about designing strategic websites for your clients, but something we haven’t touched on is a piece that’s vital for being able to show off the results you create.

Knowing what your client’s situation is like before you work together, which we’ll refer to as the “Before Picture”, gives you something to look at once your project is complete. This is the only way to accurately measure the difference you’ve made in someone’s business.

In this week’s episode we’ll dive into what a “Before Picture” includes, why it’s important, and how to create one for your next web design project.

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What is a “Before Picture”

A “Before Picture” is a look at your clients’s situation before they work with you. This includes things like their current website and branding, what’s going well in their current business, what they’re struggling with, their attitude towards their website, statistics, and more.

Why it’s important

A Before Picture is something that’s missed by a lot of designers, but it’s important if you’d like to show current and potential clients the real value of the work you do. Consider a potential client seeing on your website that you increased someone’s email opt-ins by 30%, but nothing like that on another designer’s site…they’re probably going to go with you!

When you get past clients good results, you’re also more likely to get strong referrals and powerful testimonials from those people when you may not have otherwise. Testimonials that include real results are much more powerful than testimonials that talk about how fun you were to work with.

All-in-all, being able to show off the results you get will keep the types of people you want to work with coming through the door.

Part 1: The Questionnaire

A questionnaire is the first (and most important) part of creating a before picture. There are 3 pieces you want to include in this questionnaire: expectations, feelings and statistics.

Expectations

Let’s start with expectations. Knowing what your clients expect in a project help you understand how to create a successful website in your client’s eyes. You might learn things you need to focus on that you would have missed otherwise or ways you could go above-and-beyond.  All of these things can work together to help you cut down on revisions and end up with a happier client overall!

A sample question to help you learn about expectations is, “What is the main factor that caused you to want a new website?” This will help you know what they’re struggling with and what they expect you to improve in your work together.

Feelings

Learning about your client’s feelings is great for comparing your clients thoughts before your project together versus after. With this information, you can remind them of the way they were feeling to amplify the excitement they’re experiencing about their new website, which is great for testimonials.

A great question to include to learn about your clients feelings is, “How is needing help with your website costing you time or money?” Nothing makes people talk about feelings more than lost time and money!

Statistics

Last come statistics. Getting stats is great for getting real numbers to show off after your project is complete. You then have something to compare improvements to after the project is complete. They can also help you see what you’re doing right versus what you could improve in your next design project.

This is where you’ll have the most questions added to your questionnaire, but you’ll want to ask about things like website traffic, email opt-in rates, and sales. Keep in mind that this section will need to be customized per client to make sure you’re not asking about irrelevant information.

How to send it all

The last thing clients need is yet another questionnaire sent. That’s why it’s a great option to include these questions with another design questionnaire you already send. Keep it short and sweet, including 1-2 questions for each of the pieces we talked about today. Also, if you can jump in and get your client’s statistics for them, offer to do that!

Part 2: Screenshots

Luckily, part two is a whole lot easier. All you have to do is take screenshots of your clients websites before you get started on your work together. Use tools like the Full Page Screen Capture extension for Google Chrome. To make sure you don’t forget, add a step to your process outline!

But what will you use these for? A lot of the time, you aren’t going to want to be talking about how awful your client’s last web design was.

Use these to help you and your client see the difference before and after. For example, if email opt-ins increase for a certain section of the new design, you can look back at the old design to analyze why there’s such a difference.

Action Steps

  1. Add the questions for your Before Picture questionnaire to another questionnaire you send at the beginning of a project
    • Don’t be limited by the example questions I gave, think about the people you usually work with
  2. Add screenshots to your process outline

Resources

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The post 031: Creating a “Before Picture” for Your Web Design Projects appeared first on Get Back To Design.

030: Collaborating With A Copywriter In Your Design Projects with Amanda Creek
39:37
2017-12-12 00:37:34 UTC 39:37
030: Collaborating With A Copywriter In Your Design Projects with Amanda Creek

Focusing on parts of your job you’re good at, while giving your clients the best possible experience and results is an important part of standing out in the design field. Sometimes that means going above and beyond in your design work, but sometimes it means teaming up with others to provide services that you can’t offer yourself.

That’s why we’re so excited to bring Amanda Creek on the podcast this week to talk about collaborating with a copywriter as part of her design services. We’ll touch on how the two of them make it work, the difference Amanda has seen for her clients, and how you can start incorporating a copywriter into your own services!

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How Amanda decided it was time to bring on a copywriter

Amanda found that getting her clients to provide good copy, especially on time, was the biggest struggle she was having. She constantly felt like things were being thrown together, just for the heck of it, and that’s not how she likes to do things.

Instead of allowing that to continue and having her clients see less powerful results, she decided that it was time to team up with her friend, Kris, to help clients get over the copy hurdle.

A lot of people can learn from Amanda’s mindset behind this decision. It’s easy to slap something together to get a project over with and see that final payment come through, but it’s so important for us to see things through and ensure everything is done correctly.

The difference in Amanda’s clients since working with a copywriter

Amanda has found that she has a lot more clients coming to her and saying that their businesses have completely transformed. With working with a copywriter and helping them craft their message right along with their website, her clients come out with a stronger outcome and transformation.

How working with a copywriter changes the design process

Amanda has found that this piece of things is always a work in progress and that it can be completely different from one pair of collaborators to another.

For them, it works best to have the clients start with a call with Kris, the copywriter, to see if they want to continue with additional work. If they do, then Amanda can adjust her start date, based on the package they book. Giving clients freedom like this allows more room for customization based on needs and budget.

However, some designers choose to include full copywriting packages in their design packages and make them non-negotiable. This choice totally depends on your preferences and the needs you tend to see from your clients.

How to make packages work with a copywriter included

Rather than trying to convince clients to hire a copywriter separately after agreeing to your costs, it’s beneficial to include prices of a copywriter right with yours.

That being said, Amanda still likes to give her clients options so she includes a single call with her copywriter in her two lower-tier packages and a full package in her top tier.

It’s also important to realize that things may not be perfect right away. It’s important to allow your copywriter and yourself time to figure out a smooth process.

The #1 thing to do to make a collaboration with a copywriter work

Amanda credits their friendship and how well their personalities go together for the success of their collaboration. She also worked with Kris, her copywriter, herself and knew that the process was something she wanted her clients to go through as well.

So for Amanda, the personal connection was really important, but it may not be that way for everybody.

How to find the right person to work with

Amanda highly suggests hiring copywriters you’re considering teaming up with for your own website. That way, you’ll get a good idea of the experience and results they can get your clients, as well as how reliable they will be for you.

Otherwise, start with simply referring clients to specific copywriters and if they come back happy, create a more formal partnership.

Action Steps

If you’re interested in working with a copywriter, Amanda has a few tips for you to get started:

  1. Get names of people who others you know have had a good experience with.
  2. Go to the websites of those copywriters and see if you like their copy. That will be a good indicator of how well they’ll do for your clients.
  3. Contact them to see if they have open availability and to learn about their workflow.

Learn More About Amanda

Amanda Creek is a photographer and web designer with a background in Fine Art, Marketing, and Design. She helps women entrepreneurs build websites that express their own unique creative genius. To her, an abundant and fulfilled life is the result of living from your joy, passion, and creativity, daily. She believes that everything should have a dash of fun, and spends her free time dancing in the Florida sun with her hubby and two puppies.
Instagram | Blog | YouTube

You can also learn more about her lovely copywriter, Kris, here.

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The post 030: Collaborating With A Copywriter In Your Design Projects with Amanda Creek appeared first on Get Back To Design.

029: 4 Ways to Keep Your Clients Coming Back For More
24:49
2017-12-12 00:37:34 UTC 24:49
029: 4 Ways to Keep Your Clients Coming Back For More

A lot of designers focus heavily on getting new clients when things are getting quiet. The problem with that is that it takes a lot more work to book new clients than it does to generate more work from previous clients. Instead of spending so much time and effort trying to constantly find new clients, today we're going to talk about how you can keep your existing clients coming back each time they need more work.

A lot of designers focus heavily on getting new clients when things are getting quiet. The problem with that is that it takes a lot more work to book new clients than it does to generate more work from previous clients. You have to continually be working to build trust with new potential clients as well as market yourself consistently to keep bringing in the new clients.

Kory here! Instead of spending so much time and effort trying to constantly find new clients, it’s so much easier to focus on getting you past clients to come back when they need more work from you. So, today we’re going to talk about how you can keep your existing clients coming back each time they need more work.

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Create a great experience during your first project

The first time you work with someone is the only chance you get to really wow them. If you’re disorganized or late during your first project, your client isn’t going to have a good experience. If they’re not enjoying the first project, the client is going to be much less likely to return when they need more work done both because they won’t enjoy the project and they may worry about whether or not you’ll actually complete the job.

To make sure you’re giving your clients a great experience, consider doing a process audit in between projects. You’ll want to go through your entire client process from start to finish to see what can be better. Bettering your process doesn’t mean you’re inexperienced or a bad designer, it’s what everyone should do to make sure they’re staying on top of things. In fact, when we recorded this episode, I had just signed up for a course that I was hoping would help me better my client experience, and I’ve been a designer for five years.

Really listen to what they want and over-deliver

Have you ever been talking to someone and they start responding to what you’ve just said, only what they’re saying is sort of random? It’s like they weren’t actually listening to what you said to them and they’re just saying what they think you want to hear. Sometimes people do this with their clients as well, as crazy as it may sound. It can be because they didn’t pay attention to their clients needs or they think the client should have something different for their own reasons.

Instead of skimming over your client’s emails or just giving them the minimum amount of work that you can, make sure you’re actually paying attention to them and try to over-deliver on what they’re asking for. To make sure that you’re actually paying attention to their needs, take your own notes based on their questionnaire responses. You can over-deliver by making sure you’re client experience is amazing, and also going above and beyond, like we talked about in EP 004.

Follow up with them consistently

This is where most designers go wrong, myself included, and it’s the key reason most of us miss out on getting our clients to return when they need more work done. It’s not necessarily that our clients are forgetting about us after the project is over, but instead, they either get too busy to actually reach out when they need something or don’t think to ask you to do certain things for them.

To avoid missing out on your clients coming back for more work, make sure you create a plan for following up regularly after the project is over. We recommend your follow up plan happen after:

  • 1 month
  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 1 year

You can automate this step by creating a special email list with a sequence that will send your follow up emails after each time frame. This is a great idea if you aren’t great at remembering to follow up (like me), but you still have to remember to add them to the email list.

Special note: Because I’ve taught about email marketing in the past, it’s really important for me to say that if you do decide to create a special email list and sequence for your past client follow up emails, you have to make sure this is the only list you’re adding your past clients to. If you also add them to your regular email list without their permission, you’re violating the CAN-SPAM act, which can put you at risk of owing thousands (and thousands) of dollars in fines. So, if you go the email list and sequence route, make sure you’re only sending the follow up emails!

Thank them for working with you

Last but not least, the most basic way you can encourage your past clients to come back when they need more work is to actually take the time to thank your clients. This is really important to do because remember this: your client could have chosen any number of designers to work on whatever project you just completed for them, so thanking them for trusting you with their project is really meaningful.

The good news is that this doesn’t have to be some huge thing that you do. You can really easily create a canned response that thanks them for trusting you with their project and let’s them know you’re available if they ever need more work and send that at the end of the project. If you want to do a little more than that, you can take it a step further and send them a handwritten thank you note or a gift. We talked about this in EP 004, but I do want to reiterate that even if you just send a short handwritten note on a postcard, it’ll make your client feel special and want to return.

Action Steps

  • Take a look at your overall experience and see if there’s anything you can improve
  • Create thank you cards and add to the end of your project to do list to send a short note

Resources

  • Dubsado for client management – use this link to get 20% off when you sign up

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The post 029: 4 Ways to Keep Your Clients Coming Back For More appeared first on Get Back To Design.

028: Make Sure Your Developer Collaboration Goes Smoothly
25:34
2017-12-12 00:37:34 UTC 25:34
028: Make Sure Your Developer Collaboration Goes Smoothly

Getting ready for your first collaboration can take a lot of work and preparation. Here are some tips to make your developer collaboration go smoothly.

As our businesses grow, it’s important to focus on tasks we really enjoy doing and less on the tasks that just seem to get in the way. As a designer, working with a developer is a great way to free up a ton of time for design.

But getting ready for your first collaboration can take a lot of work and preparation. It can even be a little intimidating! In this weeks’s episode, we’re going to go over some tips to make sure your first (or next) developer collaboration goes nice and smoothly.

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Set clear expectations

The first thing you want to do when working with a developer is to set clear expectations. Some things that might come to mind are things like when the project should be completed and the fact that the website should look like your mockups, but there are a few other things to note.

Response time

How quickly do you want your developer to respond throughout the project? This pertains both to answering questions you have and updating you on their progress, when necessary.

Similarly, how quickly are you going to respond to your developer if they have a question? Sometimes, waiting on answers can leave your developer at a total standstill, causing the project to fall behind schedule.

Talk about response time before starting the project, as well as deciding where communication will take place to keep things nice and organized.

Expectations about client communication

You’ll also need to decide who will communicate with your client through different phases of your project. Will you communicate with your client throughout the entire project or will your developer take over once your work is done? Some developers want you in charge throughout the whole project, so keep that in mind when deciding who you’re going to partner with.

Also decide how you’ll transfer information back and forth between your client and developer to keep things organized without losing information.

Training + maintenance

Last, be clear about who will be responsible for training and maintenance once the website is complete. Do you expect your developer to provide training videos? What about offering a support period?

You don’t want to get to the end of a project and learn that things aren’t going to work quite how you expected, so be sure to chat with your developer about this before your next project starts.

Know what’s being delivered and when

Having a smooth transition from design to development can be the main deciding factor of whether or not a project stays on track. Delivering the right content to your developer on time and in the correct format will make a huge difference.

For mockups, start by thinking about how your mockups are delivered. This plays a huge part in how closely the finished website will match your vision. You want to deliver mockups that look exactly like the final website you want, not just wireframes. Remember, your developer does coding because they don’t specialize in design. Also pay attention to what software you’re using to deliver mockups. You don’t want to finish everything in Illustrator and then find out that your developer doesn’t use it.

Also consider the client’s actual content. If you don’t require content for design, you can guarantee your developer will need it to avoid having to redo work once they’re done.

Have a plan for communication

Communication is another big thing that will decide how smoothly a collaborative project goes.

First, it’s important to be as clear as possible both in your mockups and in the way you explain things. Be sure absolutely every piece of important information is passed on to your developer. That way, you can avoid the client saying they told you something and the developer claiming they knew nothing about it.

To make communication go nice and smoothly, consider having a Google doc with important notes from your client. You can also do things like having a Slack channel where you can keep a running list of notes or even copy your developer onto emails with your clients (if it’s okay with them). Exactly what you do will depend on the preferences of you and your developer, but experiment to find what will work best for both of you.

Understand how websites work

This next one might seem obvious, but it’s important that you know how websites work. Web is far different than print, so a basic understanding of the differences will ensure that your designs translate to web without performance, display, and responsiveness issues.

If you run into questions or consider designing something a little out of the ordinary, check with your developer to make sure it’s doable.

Get approval from your developer before showing your client

When you get a quote for a project from a developer, they have certain features in mind. For example, a lot of standard quotes won’t include things like e-commerce, sliders, or image galleries because they take extra time to complete.

If you show your client a mockup, have them approve it, and then go to your developer with something that wasn’t originally included, it will lead to a less-than-ideal situation. At that point, you’ll either need to charge your client more than quoted, remove something they were excited about, or cover the additional costs yourself.

You can avoid this by showing your developer your mockups before showing your clients. That way, anything not included can be removed before your client gets excited.

Action Steps

  1. If you’ve worked with a developer before, think back and take note of what things could have gone more smoothly
  2. Plan a process for the next (or first) time you work with a developer including communication, setting expectations, and delivering content

Resources

 

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The post 028: Make Sure Your Developer Collaboration Goes Smoothly appeared first on Get Back To Design.

027: How to Stand Out + Get More Clients in Facebook Groups
29:41
2017-12-12 00:37:34 UTC 29:41
027: How to Stand Out + Get More Clients in Facebook Groups

Over the past couple of years it's been easy to get clients in Facebook groups, but now a days it's harder because there are so many Facebook groups and so many other designers fighting to get the same work we are. Instead of just dropping your link and getting the job, you really have to focus on standing out so you can get the clients. In today's episode, we're covering how to do exactly that!

A few weeks ago we talked to Nesha about marketing your design business, and one of the great tips she had for us was about utilizing Facebook groups to get clients. We both loved her ideas because we’ve been really lucky to get a good deal of clients from the groups that we’ve been in.

Kory here! It used to be pretty easy to get clients in Facebook groups, but the problem now is that there are so many other designers trying to get those same clients. Where you used to be able to just drop your link in a few threads and go away, now you have to focus on standing out to increase your likelihood in booking those same clients. So, today we’re going to talk about how you can stand out and get more clients in the Facebook groups you’re in!

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Find groups with your ideal clients

A normal instinct when joining Facebook groups is that we want to be in groups with like-minded people. For most of us that means we’re in groups with other business owners, fellow designers, and the like. It’s definitely beneficial to be in groups with your peers, but you want to be in other groups as well because it’s not likely that your peers are your ideal clients unless you do design work for other designers.

In addition to the groups with your peers, look for Facebook groups that have your ideal clients in them. For example, if you like working with online shop owners, The Shop Social would be a great group for you to market yourself in. If you like working with bloggers, then get in groups that have bloggers.

It’s important to note here that it might take some trial and error. Don’t be afraid to check out different groups, see if people are active, and if the group has people you really want to work with.

Be genuinely helpful

Once you join groups with your ideal clients, it’s all about what you do. You can’t just simply drop your link in every thread of someone looking for a designer and then disappear until you need more work. You really want to focus on being genuinely helpful in addition to sharing your link when you can.

A lot of people utilize Facebook groups to ask questions about their blog, business, shop, marketing, etc. If you know the answer or know someone who might, don’t be afraid to comment or tag the expert you know to help out the original poster. This is a great way to make a really good impression on the other members of the group because you’re showing people that you honestly care about the success of your peers. Also, don’t forget to respond to questions that relate to someone getting design work or your specific design expertise.

Show up consistently

Absolutely everything in business is all about consistency, and getting clients in Facebook groups are no different. You can’t just show up whenever it’s convenient for you and expect to regularly get clients from the groups you’re in. If you’re trying to build your expertise and increase your likelihood of booking more clients, you have to show up in the groups you’re in regularly.

Obviously you can post when you have questions or comment on things when you need work, but you want to make sure that you schedule some time to show up throughout the week. Pick one or two groups and check in for 10-15 minutes at a time throughout the day or twice a day to answer questions, refer your peers, and pitch your services when you can.

Get referred

One of the things we all do is drop our own link in threads, and there’s usually a lot of other people doing this as well. This makes it hard for you to stand out because let’s be honest: the original poster is likely too overwhelmed to know where to begin. This is why I think it’s a great idea to try to get referred in these threads just as much as you’re sharing your own link.

When you can get referred, it helps you stand out because someone is likely referring you with more than just your link. Instead, they’re likely sharing some really nice things about what it was like working with you. If I were looking to hire someone, I would check out those with referrals in the thread before looking at the sites where people are just dropping their own links.

If you don’t have clients or peers referring you, start by taking some time to refer your friends and peers when you can. This is a simple way to increase your chance of having those people refer you back, especially if they’re getting a lot of work from your kind words.

Make sure your website is linked in your profile

When people start seeing you show up more often in the groups, they’re going to want to head over and check out your site. If you’re dropping links to your services or blog posts, then it’s easy to find your home on the web. However, if you’re just commenting or answering questions, then you still want to have a way for people to find your site.

This is why it’s so important to make sure you have your website somewhere in your profile. Most people do this by having a Facebook Page for your business, but this isn’t actually required. In fact, I have a Facebook Page for my business, but I never post anything on there. If you’re like me or don’t have a Page at all, it’s okay to have a link in the intro section of your profile with a sentence about what you do and who you do it for.

Action Steps

  • Find 1-2 groups with your ideal clients
  • Create a plan for showing up consistently and being helpful

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The post 027: How to Stand Out + Get More Clients in Facebook Groups appeared first on Get Back To Design.

026: Boost Conversions For Your Design Clients
24:06
2017-12-12 00:37:34 UTC 24:06
026: Boost Conversions For Your Design Clients

Designing websites that get good conversions for your design clients isn't always easy. Here are 5 ways you can boost conversions in your projects.

We all want to help our clients get better results and improve their businesses. After all, once we turn our passions into businesses, it can’t be just about us anymore.

In reality, happy clients are more fun to work with and have a better chance of leading to more business for you down the road through referrals, testimonials, and them happily shouting about you from the rooftops.

But unfortunately, designing websites that get good conversions for our clients isn’t quite as easy as we’d like. So today we’ll go over 5 ways you can boost conversions in your web design projects.

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Something to consider before getting started

Before you even start thinking about designing a strategic website, it’s important to know that the “right kinds” of conversions are going to be different for each of your clients. This is especially true if you tend to work with clients in different types of industries.

So before you start a project, start by figuring out what kinds of conversions are important for that specific client.

Keep their goals in mind throughout the project

Once you get started with a project, keep your goals in mind for every decision you make. Each page on their website should be entirely focused on a specific goal.

For example, for a client who is trying to sell services, they might have goals like building trust with their audience, growing their email list, and having people read their blog posts, but you want to make sure that each page is as focused on one of those specific things as possible.

So if one page is focused on email opt-ins, you don’t want to be distracting from that with a bunch of other calls-to-action.

Make sure each page ends with a call-to-action

This is one of the biggest mistakes I see on websites today. If someone scrolls to the end of your client’s About page and there’s nothing specific for them to do, what do you think will happen? More likely than not, they’ll leave the website.

For example, the About page can lead to an email opt-in or a link to products and services, whichever makes more sense for your clients.

Also consider how you can keep people moving around after reading a blog post. I like to add related posts so their readers always have somewhere to go afterwards.

Don’t ask for the sale too soon

Once you see that each page has a call-to-action, go back through them all and make sure your client isn’t asking for the sale too soon.

As designers and developers, most of us know that our clients aren’t likely to book us from a call-to-action in the header of our website, but our clients might not realize this. So if they’re asking for calls-to-action that are too much too soon, take the time to explain why it’s not the best choice, but what could work better and get them some good conversions.

For more information on that, check out Episode 016 on how your website is losing you clients. You can apply points from that episode to your client sites as well!

This is also a great way to go above-and-beyond for your clients, like we talked about in Episode 004. Make your clients a PDF with information on funnels and getting more conversions for their products and service. It’s something you can make once and use again and again.

Include pictures on more than the About page

Next is a nice and easy one. To help your client get more conversions, make sure there are pictures of them on more than just the About page.

Today, personal connections are so important for small businesses – especially service-based. Knowing what someone looks like builds a lot of trust quickly, so it’s a great way to give your clients’ conversions a little boost.

I like to include headshots on the homepage, sidebar, and blog posts, in addition to the About page. However, make sure it’s not getting overdone. For example, if your client has a headshot in their sidebar, they don’t necessarily need one after their blog posts as well.

Show off testimonials

And last, to help your client boost conversions, make sure you’re helping to show off their testimonials. It’s very common for people to completely bury their testimonials deep in their portfolio, but that’s not doing anyone any good. It’s better to build trust right from the beginning.

I like to see the best testimonials pulled out and featured on the homepage to grab attention right away. It’s not meant to get instant conversions for a product or service, but to build that first layer of trust.

Action Steps

  1. Go back to the last website you designed (or your own website) and take note of what you could have done better as far as conversions go
  2. Pay attention to those specific things next time you do a web design project

Resources

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The post 026: Boost Conversions For Your Design Clients appeared first on Get Back To Design.

025: How to Market Your Business + Manage Clients with Nesha Woolery
31:11
2017-12-12 00:37:35 UTC 31:11
025: How to Market Your Business + Manage Clients with Nesha Woolery

There's such a huge market of designers, which means marketing your business well is even more important than it used to be. So today, we're talking to Nesha Woolery about how to market your business and then manage the clients you book.

When you run your own business, you have to wear a lot of different hats. That means some days you’re doing design work for your clients, some days you’re focused on just managing your clients, and other days you have to market your design business. There’s such a huge market of designers, which means marketing your business well is even more important than it used to be.

We know that a lot of designers get stuck trying to figure out the best way to market their business, so today, we’re talking to Nesha Woolery about how to market your business and then manage all of the new clients you book.

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Nesha’s experience with booking 6 months in advance

For a long time, Nesha relied solely on referrals from other designers and past clients, but at one point she went traveling and came back only to start freaking out that she had absolutely no work lined up for herself. She was so worried about how she’d pay her bills and be able to go traveling again since she had nothing scheduled.

At that point she started working on figuring out how to market her business so she didn’t have to rely on just referrals that way she could avoid putting all of her eggs in one basket and being in the same situation again in the future.

She started by analyzing where her previous clients had been coming from, which as it turned out was through referrals and social media. While she believes that most designers get stuck with the one thing that works for them (referrals for Nesha), she instead decided to put her focus on referrals, Facebook, and Twitter to help her start getting booked out.

Her top tip for Facebook

Nesha recommends finding a Facebook group that’s filled with potential clients and then dedicating 30 minutes a day to networking and helping people. She says you should focus on providing value and becoming the go-to person because that’ll encourage people to go straight to you when they need design services.

Common mistakes she sees designers making when marketing their business

One of the big mistakes designers make is relying on referrals for the only way you get clients. This is a big one because Nesha points out that when you do this you’re not in control of your revenue or your business. She said it’s a dangerous place to put your business because even though they’re a great way to get clients, they may start drying up. You’re much better off trying a few different things so you still have other ways of finding clients.

The other mistake she sees designers making is just being scared of marketing, in general. She says she thinks a lot of designers see marketing as boring or daunting and often times don’t know where to start because of all of the sleazy marketing we’ve all experienced. However, Nesha points out that it can be a lot of fun if you find the right ways that work for you.

Nesha’s best advice on how to market your business

With the design market so crowded, she thinks that choosing a niche for your business you will stand out so much more when people are looking for a designer. She had a great example of a collaborator she recently worked with found a designer with a super unique process that no one else had, which made the collaborator want to hire the designer right away regardless of price.

So Nesha says if you can find a niche with the services you provide, your process, or who you serve, then you’ll stand a much higher chance of getting hired.

How to start attracting clients with bigger budgets

Nesha says she hears this problem from a lot of designers, but the first thing she thinks people should do would just believe in your higher prices and that there are clients out there who will pay your prices. She sees a lot of designer self sabotaging and not being confident in their higher prices, and that tends to make them talking their price down for a client on consult calls. When designers act this way with their clients, their client sees it as the designer offering to take less money for the same or similar amount of work.

She also pointed out something that we all often forget: there are clients out there for every price point of design. There will be people out there who will pay you more, so if you think it’s the right time to raise your prices then definitely do so.

Another thing she said you can do is to create a killer client experience. Remember, clients are paying you not just for your designers but for a great client experience. If a client has come through working with you and the experience was all over the place, they’re not going to refer you to other clients with higher price points. So Nesha said start by working on your money mindset but also take a look at your client experience and make sure it’s really awesome.

Her top tips on how to effectively manage clients

Use a project management system. Nesha says stop managing clients through your emails. She said you usually find yourself sending too many emails, stressing because you can’t find feedback, clients can’t find certain files, and you can cut all of that out if you keep all of your project inside of a project management tool. She said it saves your sanity because it allows you to handle more than just 1-2 clients per month.

As for when you start booking lots of clients, Nesha highly recommends investing in growing your team or even just hiring a virtual assistant. She sees a lot of designers keep running their business on their own even when they’re growing their business and getting overwhelmed by all of the work. So when your business starts picking up, consider getting a virtual assistant for even just 5 hours or just to manage your inbox or project management.

How Nesha believes a project management tool can keep projects on track

The biggest issue she sees a lot of designers have is all about how clients won’t want to use a project management tool, but what she says is that it’s so worth it to use a project management tool and you’ll never want to go back to email. She also points out that she’s never had a client refuse to use Asana, her chosen project management tool, for their project. She recommends explaining how the tool will help the client get the best experience from you and also how to actually use it.

Action Steps

If you need help marketing your business and managing your clients, Nesha has a few action steps for you:

  1. Start by working on your money mindset: believe that there are clients that will pay your higher prices
  2. Find a more specific niche for your business than “creative business owners” or “female business owners”
  3. Get your business on a project management tool (Asana is our favorite!)

Learn more about Nesha

Nesha teaches business strategy to freelance designers so they can build businesses that aren’t just creative, but profitable. Being a successful designer doesn’t just come down to having great skills and a beautiful portfolio. You also need business smarts. That’s where she comes in! Nesha has now taught hundreds of designers how to start, grow and streamline their businesses.

Website | Blog | Free course on managing clients

 

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024: 4 Must-Have Terms to Cover in Your Contract to Protect You + Your Client
29:48
2017-12-12 00:37:35 UTC 29:48
024: 4 Must-Have Terms to Cover in Your Contract to Protect You + Your Client

If you’re a creative and you work directly with people, then you need a contract. Even if you’re just covering yourself and making sure that you get paid for those all of those hours that you put into that project. Today we're cover the 4 most important terms to have in your contract to protect you and your clients.

If you’re a creative and you work directly with people, then you need a contract. Even if you’re just covering yourself and making sure that you get paid for those all of those hours that you put into that project. If you’ve ever had a nightmare client or had to chase down a late payment, then you already know how important your contract is to your business.

Kory here! A few years ago I had a total nightmare experience with a client. Things went off track, and before I knew it there were PayPal disputes and threats to take me to court. Although I ultimately bent to wrap things up, I actually had several terms in my contract that protected me from the situation. To help others avoid a similar situation, today we’re cover the 4 most important terms to have in your contract to protect you and your clients.

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Payments and Refunds

The first and probably most obvious thing you’ll want to cover is payments and refunds. Specifically, how you accept payments. Some people prefer checks, others are fine with being paid online. This needs to be in your contract because sometimes clients will expect one thing, but you work another way.

More importantly, though, is when the payments will be due. Most designers take half of the project cost up front and the other before the end of the project. You want to make sure you’re clear about this, especially if you take additional payments, so your clients know what to expect.

Going right along with payments would be refunds. You may not think you’d ever be in a situation to worry about refunds, but it’s still important to cover just in case. You want to include whether or not you include refunds, as well as at what point you won’t offer a refund anymore.

Term and Termination

With so many designers offering ongoing work for their clients, it’s definitely worth mentioning how long the contract will be in effect. If you’re just doing the one project, then mention that the contract terms will expire when the project is over. However, if you’re going to be doing monthly work for your client, you’ll want to include how many months the contract is in effect.

Another thing you’ll want to cover is what happens if the project is terminated. I’ve had to cancel with a few clients, and Krista has as well, so we know just how important it is to cover this. One part of this is obviously the refund, but what happens to any work that was created? Will you turn anything over to them? What will you do with their content? As much as we don’t want to think about a project ending badly, you still have to cover these things in your contract.

Rights

This one seems tricky for some small business owners, but rights are vital to cover when you’re a designer. Most people want to retain all of the rights when they’re just getting started, but I’ve found it’s a lot easier to turn over most of the rights to my clients. However, it’s still important to make sure they know if the rights are limited. For example, if you don’t want your clients to manipulate your designs or use them in certain ways, you have to mention this in your contract.

Another thing to think about is what rights, if any, you’ll retain. I always retain the right to show off my work and use it for promotional materials, but we have heard of clients requesting designers to not show the work in their portfolio. This is why it’s important to make sure it’s clear right in your contract whether or not you want to be able to retain those rights.

The Legal Stuff

At the end of your contract, you’ll want to include the big deal lawyer stuff. It’s okay to get this part from a template or a peer, but you want to make sure that it’s actually going to protect you if you ever did have to go to court.

One thing I have in this area in my contract is what happens if we need to go to court and where that would take place. If you’re a website designer, it’s also really important to mention if you’ll be held liable if something goes wrong on their site. I’ve had so many clients install random plugins on their site after our project is over, for example, and I definitely don’t want to be held liable if they get hacked because if a plugin they installed.

Action Steps

  • Go through your contract and make sure these things are included
  • Consider buying a contract template from a lawyer to really cover yourself or working with someone through Legal Zoom to get things in order

Resources

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023: Choosing The Right Platform For Your Web Design Clients
24:14
2017-12-12 00:37:35 UTC 24:14
023: Choosing The Right Platform For Your Web Design Clients

This week, we're going to chat about how to choose the right platform for each specific client and what to do if a client isn't the best fit for the platform you're the most comfortable with.

It’s always been a big pet peeve of mine when designers and developers don’t pay attention to what platform is the best for their clients. It’s always easy to choose your favorite platform, but it’s not going to be the right answer for every client.

This week, we’re going to chat about how to choose the right platform for each specific client and what to do if a client isn’t the best fit for the platform you’re the most comfortable with.

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The worst thing you can do for your clients

The worst thing you can do for your clients is to force them onto your favorite platform, no matter what. Doing this is actually bad for both you and the client.

First, your client won’t be happy if they wanted something super simple and you gave them something really complicated. On the other hand, if they wanted room to grow in a lot of different ways and the platform you chose doesn’t allow for it, that’s going to come back in the way they view your work together.

When you should use Squarespace

Squarespace pros

Squarespace is perfect for the more tech challenged clients out there. If they want nothing to do with the internet and computers, a simple platform is definitely something they’d appreciate.

There are also a lot of really gorgeous templates that don’t need any sort of customizations. These templates are built and supported by Squarespace and clients can get set up super quickly without much hassle.

The drag-and-drop feature on Squarespace is also extremely useful for a lot of clients. The websites you create will be nice and easy for them to customize and it’s nice and visual.

And last, Squarespace has really amazing customer support. Their support team is there to answer questions, which can also save you sometime!

Squarespace cons

The first downside of Squarespace is that it has limited advanced features. While they are adding new features often, it can be very limiting to certain clients for things like course and membership sites, advanced ecommerce platforms, and anything custom.

Squarespace also doesn’t have any plugins. What you see is what you get unless and outside tool allows you to embed their functionality.

Next, it can be hard to create a totally custom look, leading to a lot of cookie-cutter looking websites. It’s totally possible, but there aren’t many people out there who know how to make a completely custom site.

And last, Squarespace has a few SEO limitations. It’s totally possible to have good SEO on Squarespace, but there aren’t helpful SEO plugins like you’re going to find on WordPress. And for the more tech-challenged people, having a tool that makes SEO easier would be a helpful thing to have.

Who Squarespace is great for

Let’s talk about a few clients who Squarespace is great for:

  • The total beginners who want something easy without all the bells-and-whistles
  • Clients who will need hand-holding and your help with everything

Who Squarespace is not-so-great for

On the other hand, there are a few types of clients who might not be the best fit for Squarespace:

  • People who want lots of flexibility and choices
  • Clients who need the freedom to have special features now or in the future
  • Someone who wants a totally custom look

When you should use WordPress

WordPress pros

Now let’s move into more information about WordPress, starting with the things that are great about the platform.

First, you can do just about anything you want. I’ve never had someone ask me for a feature that wasn’t possible. There are a lot of developers out there who can custom code functionalities and there are currently over 50k plugins available to allow you to easily add extra functionalities to your client sites.

WordPress is also great for getting a completely custom look easily. There are thousands and thousands of premade templates available and there are also a lot more developers out there who know how to custom code for WordPress versus Squarespace.

WordPress cons

Now for the cons of WordPress. First, it can be complicated if you make it that way. If you shove a whole bunch of plugins onto a client site or add HTML and CSS right into a page, of course it’s going to be hard for your clients to get the hang of – it’s unreasonable to expect anything different. It’s all about the way you make the site, your coding experience, and the tools you use.

Next, another downside is that security is totally up to your client. They need to have a good webhost, strong passwords, security plugin, do their updates, and have regular backups taken. While it’s easy once it’s set up, it can be a lot for some people to handle.

Who WordPress is great for

WordPress is great for a lot of people, including the ones who:

  • Need certain advanced features
  • Want freedom and room to grow in the future
  • Are comfortable with technology, in general

Who WordPress is not-so-great for

And of course, there are some people who WordPress isn’t the best choice for:

  • People who want to be totally hands-off after their websites are created and also are unwilling to pay someone else to manage it
  • If they hate all things technology related
  • If they’re total beginners and don’t need any extra features (or don’t think they will in the future)

What to do if a client isn’t a good fit for “your” platform

Now, if you’re willing to start realizing that your platform of choice isn’t the best fit for all of your clients, you’re bound to come across a situation where you run into a client who is a better fit for a different platform. Now what?

The first option is to find a friend who offers services with the other platform and refer platforms back-and-forth to each other. That way, the clients can be best served and it’s a mutually beneficial relationship between you and the person you team up with.

The second option is to work with a developer. That way, you can take care of the design and hand all the tech and coding off to someone else without having to refer any clients away. Check out episode 013 for more information on working with a developer.

Action Steps

  1. Take a few minutes to decide if you’ll refer people to another designer or work with a developer if you come across a client who is a better fit for a platform you’re not comfortable with
  2. If you decide you’ll refer clients to another designer, choose who that designer will be and start a conversation with them about referring clients back-and-forth
  3. If you decide to start working with a developer, listen to episode 013 and start looking for who you want to partner with

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The post 023: Choosing The Right Platform For Your Web Design Clients appeared first on Get Back To Design.

022: How to Curate Your Portfolio to Get More of the Projects You Want
28:20
2017-12-12 00:37:35 UTC 28:20
022: How to Curate Your Portfolio to Get More of the Projects You Want

This week we're talking about portfolios and answering your questions on how to diversify your work once you've gotten yourself established in a niche that you don't necessarily want to be stuck in anymore so you can start booking more of the projects you really want instead.

We recently got a really great survey response that read, “I’ve fallen into a niche and can’t get out. Actually I love the niche I’m in, but I want to diversify. I believe I have potential clients who pick another designers because they don’t see their websites represented in my portfolio.”

Kory here! I can definitely relate to this struggle. For the longest time, my portfolio featured a lot really feminine projects aka ones with lots of pinks and script fonts, and I longed to do design work that was more modern and “sophisticated” (whatever that means). The problem was that my portfolio kept attracting more people who wanted similar feminine designs. Luckily, I’ve been able to slowly diversify the aesthetic of the work I create, so today, I wanted to share a few things you can do to when curating your portfolio so you can get more of the types of projects you actually want.

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Share only your best work

This should be totally obvious to everyone, but your portfolio should only have work that you are really proud of and show off your best projects. Don’t show off work that you aren’t 100% proud of because it’ll attract clients who want that type of work, which you probably won’t enjoy doing. I’d much rather see a portfolio with 3-4 really stellar projects than 10-15 so-so projects.

You know what’s your best work, but if you don’t, don’t hesitate to reach out to a peer to get help curating what you should keep and what you should get rid of. You’re welcome to ask for a portfolio buddy in our Facebook group where both of you can help give feedback on your projects so you’re only showing your best stuff.

Include project details

This might be surprising, but a lot of designers make the mistake of not showing any project details. In fact, I’ve been to so many websites where the designer only shows off this little tiny graphic of a logo or website mockup and nothing else. If I’m looking at that, how am I supposed to know exactly what you did for that project?

Instead of just sharing those tiny graphics, link to a project page where you share things like:

  • What the client was looking for
  • Who their target market is
  • What you did for them
  • The tangible results your design has gotten for them
  • A testimonial

That may seem like a lot, but remember, people are only going to bother reading if they’re considering hiring you. However, if it’s feeling like the content is getting a little long, split up some of it into a whole case study that you can link to on the project page.

Diversity in your work depends on where you are

A lot of designers are curious about how much diversity they should have in the projects they include in their portfolio, and it really depends. There are two different approaches: you can add all of the different types of projects you do (logos, websites, editorial, packaging, etc) or you can only show of a few types of projects (logos and websites only).

The approach you take here really depends on where you are in your career. If you’re just getting started, it’s better to keep things diverse. This will help show off your expertise in design, and it’ll give you a better chance to land a variety of projects. However, if you’ve been designing for several years and have a few things you know you enjoy doing, consider only adding one or two types of projects. This will keep you from getting inquiries for things you don’t care about doing, and it’ll help you become known for your specific type(s) of design projects.

Update it regularly

We talked about this in EP 012, but so many designers have issues with their portfolio simply because they aren’t updating it with new work regularly. Just take a second and look at your own portfolio. See that most recent project? How recently was it completed?

I’m definitely guilty of this too, but it’s important to add this task to your schedule. Krista likes to add new projects soon after they wrap up so she knows exactly what she wants to say and share in the project details. However, if you’re too busy for that, at least make it a point to check your portfolio every other month to add new work and get rid of anything that isn’t the best representation of what you want to be doing

Bonus tips

  • Share large images not just small computer mockups so we can actually see your beautiful design work
  • If you do web design, link to the live site.. as long as your client is actually still using your design
  • Don’t make people hunt for your portfolio because they just aren’t going to, which means you may lose clients

Action Steps

  • Upload your most recent projects to your portfolio
  • Get rid of any work that isn’t your best and doesn’t represent the work you want to be doing more of
  • Add a recurring task to your calendar to keep your portfolio updated

Resources

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037: Developing Your Design Process with Clients
27:01
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 27:01
037: Developing Your Design Process with Clients

We recently got a great survey question about how to come up with a good design process and the different steps that one should include. It's really all about figuring out what works best for you and your clients. However, in today's episode, we're going to cover the 4 main parts of a design process and how you can audit yours.

We recently got a great survey question about how to come up with a good design process and the different steps that one should include. It’s really all about figuring out what works best for you and your clients. Some designers have a lot more steps and some don’t do the popular steps that other designers do.

Kory here! A great example of that is I don’t do sketches even though I know a lot of my peers do. It takes time to figure out what you want your design process to look like, but in today’s episode, we’re going to cover the 4 main parts of a design process and how you can audit yours to make sure it’s working as great as it can be.

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4 main parts of a design process

The key way to make sure you have a good design process is to start by ensuring that you have the following 4 parts, regardless of what they look like.

Research

First and foremost it’s always a good idea to start with research. I know that a lot of people groan at the idea of doing this sort of work, but keep in mind that there are a variety of ways you could look at doing research for your client:

  • Looking for visual inspiration
  • Getting to know your client’s brand
  • Learning about your client’s competitors

Taking the time to do research in whatever way works best for you can obviously help you understand the best visual aesthetic that’s appropriate for the project. Sometimes we and our clients are way off in what we think the final design should look like. It’ll also allow you to create a design that will work best for your client’s audience, which is who you’re creating the new brand or website design for.

Design

Obviously this is where you finally get to get to the fun part. How much you do during this phase of the project is truly up to you and what you feel is necessary for the project. The survey question we got asked about wireframes and if they were a required part of the process, but this is where you get to decide that. While I see value in them, I don’t actually take the time to do wireframes for my projects.

This phase also depends on how many concepts you want to present. In EP 035 where we talked to Jamie about the one logo solution, we learned a little about how this makes her process more unique than that of someone who make present 3-4 concepts.

Refining

Without fail, you will always want to refine the work you create for your clients. This would be improving on the concepts before you present them or making tweaks if the client has asked for revisions. Similar to the design phase, though, this step in the process depends on the way you work and how much you’re willing to do for your client.

The survey question also asked about how many revisions to offer, and that’s totally up to each designer individually. I’ve known designers who offered unlimited revisions to help make sure they get the best final product, but for me I stick to 2 revisions for each main part of the project.

Delivering

Finally, you’ll be delivering your work to the client. Obviously how you do this depends on the work you’ve done and how you want to deliver your final files. I’ve been testing out WeTransfer more often with clients, but in the past I’ve sent a Dropbox folder or just emailed the final files.

How to audit your process

Now if you read through those main steps and it got you thinking about how you can improve upon your process, let’s dive into the best way to audit your process.

List out every single step you take

Even though this seems over the top, I always recommend this because it’s all too easy to forget exactly what steps you take or want to take during your process when most of the time you’re going through it on autopilot. This step will help you visually see what you’re doing for your client, and it actually might surprise you how many steps you take or how many things you want to change.

Ask why you do this + how it helps your client

The most important thing you should do when auditing your process is get really honest with yourself about why you’re taking the steps that you take. A lot of times designers do things with clients simply because other designers do them as well. If you don’t know why you’re doing something and it’s not benefiting your clients, it might be okay to remove that step entirely.

Tweak steps that you feel aren’t working well

If you’re looking at your process and you can’t figure out how it helps you or your client during the project, it’s time to tweak or remove that step altogether. A great example of this would be to offer fewer logo concepts to your clients if you find that giving them 4-6 to look at usually just makes them take way too long to make a decision.

Make notes if something isn’t right so you can change it with the next client

Last but not least, don’t forget to pay attention to what’s not working during your projects. I have had several projects where something didn’t work or I wanted to tweak it for the next project, but I totally forgot by the time I got started with the next project because I didn’t make a note of it. This will help you continue to better your process so you’re creating the best work possible for your clients.

Action Items

  • The next time you have time in between clients, do an audit for your process using the tips we’ve outlined in this episode
  • If something doesn’t feel right during a project, make a note to change things up with your next project

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036: Outsourcing In Your Design Business
30:55
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 30:55
036: Outsourcing In Your Design Business

Today we'll chat about outsourcing in  your design business, including random tasks and your design work, as a way to make more time for client work.

At some point we all run into the situation where we don’t have the capacity to take on any more work. Sometimes this is temporary and we just happened to get a ton of clients at once, but sometimes it’s not and we’re really booked that far in advance for the long-run.

When this happens, it’s time to decide if you’re going to start turning clients away or find a way to make time for more work. Today we’ll chat about outsourcing in  your design business, including random tasks and your design work, as a way to make more time for client work.

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How to know it’s time to outsource

Realizing when it’s time to outsource is a big step. Many fear that they’re not “good enough”, need to be at a certain income level, or just aren’t ready for any variety of reasons.

But really, there’s no right time to start outsourcing. It could be when you want more free time, when you realize you hate a specific task, or when you need to be able to take on more clients.

Really, when you’re starting to feel drawn to outsourcing, give it a try for a few hours per month. You can always cancel if you don’t end up liking it, but you might find that it makes your life a whole lot easier.

Decide what to outsource

Deciding what to outsource depends on your goal for outsourcing.

For example, if you need more time for clients it might make sense to outsource things like blog posts, social media, or emails. Think of things that take you a lot of time that aren’t directly making you any money.

On the other hand, maybe it’s time to get rid of some tasks you dislike doing. To identify these tasks, keep a notepad beside you and take note of any tasks you’re doing throughout the day that you don’t love.

And last, if your goal is to take on more clients it’s likely time to start outsourcing your actual design work. That way, you can have a full client load and have other people working with additional clients for you.

Outsourcing your design work

Finding the right people

Finding the right people to outsource your design work to is a huge and intimidating step. This is the main thing you do to make money and involves a very creative process.

First, the people you outsource to need to charge less than you. Otherwise you’ll be losing money between having to pay them all your profits while you are still using up extra time to manage the project. Look for someone who charges at least 25% less than you.

The challenge with finding people who charge less than you is that they still need to be good at what they do. So you need to make sure they’re experienced in the part you want them to take over. If you’re willing to do more teaching you might not have to be worried about that, but if you’re outsourcing to give yourself more time to take on clients, you’re likely not going to want to take that extra time to teach.

And as designers, there’s an extra challenge. And that is that you need someone who can match your design aesthetic. Your clients come to you because they like your work so the people doing work for you need to have a similar look and feel.

Last, look for someone who is good with communication. If you’ve never outsourced before, it will likely surprise you to see just how much communication is involved. In looking for someone to outsource your design work to, look for someone who understands they way you pass on requirements, isn’t afraid to ask questions, and will take (and apply) feedback well.

Legal aspects

We are not lawyers and this is not official legal guidance, but it’s important to have contracts for your contractors. There are different rules for each state that separate contractors from employees and, along with that, you need to make sure both you and your subcontractors are expected in each project.

Downsides for outsourcing your design work

The first downside of outsourcing your design work is the time it actually takes to outsource. You will be blown away by the amount of time it takes to outsource even small tasks – especially at first. There tends to be a lot of time going back-and-forth between subcontractors and clients, making sure everyone is on the same page and understands.

Along with that, you’ll end up with a lot more clients to manage. So if that’s something you already tend to dislike, outsourcing will give you a whole lot more of that because you have more clients to worry about.

There’s also a lot of back-and-forth in general. It can be stressful and confusing for everyone. Even steps like quoting a project will take longer because you’ve got to understand the requirements, get a quote from your subcontractor, add in your own fees, present that to the client, and hope they don’t have any changes that start the process over.

Another downside is that you’re responsible when mistakes are made or if going above-and-beyond is necessary. If your client doesn’t like the work that’s done, they want extra revisions that you want to include, or the work just isn’t done correctly in the first place you’ll find yourself either having to pay your subcontractor more or jumping in to complete the task yourself.

Last, clients might be upset if they find out that you’re not doing the work. If you’re not clear about it on your website and your client didn’t expect it, it won’t come as a pleasant surprise. To avoid this, make sure it’s obvious on your website and in your welcome materials that you’ll be the creative director and not the actual designer.

Finding the right people to outsource general tasks to

The best place to start when looking for someone to outsource to is to get recommendations from people you trust. That way, you know that someone else has had a good experience with anyone you consider.

But regardless of how you find people, don’t look for the cheapest option out there. You don’t want to end up redoing work or worrying about tasks being completed correctly. For the most part, when it comes to outsourcing you’re going to get what you pay for. However, if you’re okay with doing a little extra teaching, starting out with a cheaper option may work out for you.

You can also take a look at someone’s website to find out what to expect. For a lot of us, blogging and running websites is a huge part of what they do so it makes sense that you’d look for someone with similar values and experience. You can also tell by a website how much someone values their work.

And last, always be sure to try someone out for a month before signing on to a long-term contract. No matter how amazing someone seems like they’ll be, you don’t want to get stuck in a contract that you’re not happy in. Even if they’re amazing at their work, you may find that outsourcing isn’t for you, the two of you don’t communicate well, or it’s not working out for a variety of reasons. Trying things out for a month is a great way to learn what to expect.

What to expect when you start outsourcing

Whether it’s design work or other tasks, there are a few things to expect when it comes to outsourcing.

First, know that you’re going to have to do some training. Everyone runs their business differently so it’s important that the person you outsource to understands your specific expectations and past process. It’s really helpful to have your processes documented before bringing anyone on so you have everything ready ahead of time.

Also, be ready to answer questions. Even if you have great processes documented, the people you outsource to will likely have questions their first couple times completing a task.

Next, know when it’s time to course-correct and do a little teaching when mistakes are made. Sometimes it’s tempting to let little mistakes go or correct them yourself, but if you do things this way the people you’re outsourcing to will never be able to improve and make your life easier like they’re supposed to.

Last, if you’re outsourcing your design work, be prepared for a lot more client management and communication between you, your clients, and the person you’re outsourcing to.

Action Steps

  1. This week, take note of the tasks you don’t enjoy doing
  2. Identify the top 3 that take up the most of your time or that you really just dislike
  3. When you’re ready, begin your search for someone to outsource these 3 tasks to

Resources

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035: One Logo Solution + Working With a Team of Designers With Jamie Starcevich
27:54
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 27:54
035: One Logo Solution + Working With a Team of Designers With Jamie Starcevich

We have gotten a lot of questions in the Facebook group about working with a team or outsourcing some of your work, so we thought it would be great to bring Jamie from Spruce Road onto the podcast to talk a little more about that and her unique approach to branding.

One thing that can really make your design business stand out even more is when a part or all of your process is really unique in comparison to that of other designers out there. Presenting one logo solution to your clients certainly falls into that unique category, and Jamie Starcevich of Spruce Road is the first person (and one of the few) that I’ve seen do this exact thing.

Aside from owning this unique approach to branding, Jamie also has a lot of experiencing with working with a team of designers to outsource work to, which we know a lot of our listeners are curious about as they work to grow their business. So, today we thought it would be perfect to get Jamie on the podcast to share all of her secrets on both the one logo solution as well as working with a team!


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Why Jamie started presenting just one logo concept

Her experience as a designer and at the studio she worked at led her to believe that there should be a better way to approach branding. Beforehand, she would send 2-3 options and would often experience her client wanting to mash up the different options, and while she felt she knew what was best she began to realize that this wasn’t the best way to go about the process with clients. Jamie also pointed out that there is some psychology that goes into decision making, and when you have too many options it’s just too difficult to make a decision.

The first time she tried this approach out was with her very first client she took through Spruce Road. She made things a lot more casual by not making a big deal about it to her client and instead just noting that it was a part of her process. The awesome outcome was that her client loved it, so she’s kept going since then.

The differences in her process this unique approach creates

She said there’s a lot less friction with her clients in taking the one logo solution approach. As a designer, you always want to do the best work, use the best supplies, and sometimes when the client comes back with a different choice there’s often a bit of a let down. Since she uses the one logo solution, Jamie feels the friction is totally gone, and that the process is a lot more enjoyable in the long run.

Her advice for those of you wanting to try this one solution approach

Jamie recommends to have confidence in yourself, especially if you’re feeling scared to try it. A lot of designers doubt that it’ll work, but she’s seen it work for a lot of her students, so she highly recommends to start there. Even if it doesn’t work out, it’s important to remember that it’s not that big of a deal. You can always go back to the drawing board and tweak the designs for your client.

Another thing to keep in mind is how you’re presenting the solution you’ve created. Take the time to schedule a call with your client, and then send them a link during the call to walk through it. Jamie shares that she actually doesn’t ask for any feedback during the call but instead focuses on explaining the rationale behind the design, which gives the client more time to get excited about what they’re seeing.

How Jamie knew it was the right time to start working with a team

She started Spruce Road in one January, and by September / October she had started outsourcing. Jamie shared that she actually got the idea from her accountant, as odd as that sounds, as he was suggesting that she spend more money through her business so she could get more of a tax write-off. Even though she wasn’t making a huge amount of money, she knew that she wanted to work with other designers through Spruce Road anyway, so she took the leap before she was ready.

Passing off design work to her team while keeping a hand in her project

Jamie said this is one of the biggest hesitancies she sees other designers have when it comes to outsourcing. The biggest takeaway she had for us here, though, is that she tries to hire designers that she doesn’t have to do a lot of overseeing for. While there’s nothing wrong with hiring a junior designer, she reached out to other designers that she admired to see if they wanted to work with her. Jamie shared that the designers she brings on are people she’d trust with her own rebrand, so she totally trusts them with the work they’re doing for her clients.

Her advice for those wanting to outsource their work

Her biggest tip would be to keep it as simple as possible. She’s found that’s easier to work with them on a per project basis instead of a lump sum of hours or an ongoing basis, especially if you’re just starting out. You may find that with a virtual assistant, for example, that you eventually have them working for you with a lump sum of hours. However, when you’re working with a fellow designer, try it out just for one project at a time to get used to doing the project management and just outsourcing your work, in general.

Action Items

  • If you’re going to test out the one logo solution, focus on the presentation. Schedule a call so you can really explain your decision making and remember to focus on feeling confident in your work.
  • If you’re interested in working with a team, start with one person you admire on a per project basis. Don’t feel like you have to jump in head first with a full ongoing contract the very first time.

Learn more about Jamie

I’m Jamie, founder + creative director at Spruce Rd., and creator of the Share-worthy Design course for freelancers. I’m also mom to a little one, hiking enthusiast (walking around the park counts, right?!), and will never say no to cookies, tacos, or a Wes Anderson film.

I love coming alongside fellow freelance designers, and revealing my journey in freelancing and designing standout brands for our lovely clients.

Website | Share-Worthy Design Course | Free Branding Questionnaire

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034: How to Set and Keep Boundaries With Clients
30:36
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 30:36
034: How to Set and Keep Boundaries With Clients

One thing that causes a lot of frustration with design clients is the lack of boundaries. Either the designer hasn't set or maintained them or the client just doesn't respect them. In today's episode we're covering how you can set and keep boundaries with clients.

One thing that causes a lot of frustration with design clients is the lack of boundaries. Either the designer hasn’t set or maintained them or the client just doesn’t respect them. As hard as it is to do, you have to remember that you are the one in charge of setting boundaries and then making sure your clients stick to them during the project.

Kory here! We’ve both experienced a lot of frustration in past projects due to us still learning what our boundaries are or not sticking to them even though we knew we should be. We don’t want you to go through those same struggles, so in today’s episode we’re covering how you can set and keep boundaries with clients.

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Make your boundaries known before the project

The first and most important step here is to make your boundaries known to even potential clients. This is because even though it’s not impossible, it’s still really difficult to try to go back and set them after you’ve already started the project. A great way you can let potential clients know about your boundaries is by including them in your onboarding materials.

Make sure you’re listing things like your office hours and how long it’ll take to respond to emails on your Contact page and in your Intro packet. This gives you a chance to refer back to these places if your client is ignoring your boundaries.

An example of this

If you don’t respond to emails on the weekend, don’t be surprised if some clients aren’t used to that. Instead of just leaving them hanging, make sure they know that you’ll get back to them first thing on Monday or Tuesday at the latest. This will also help keep your clients from emailing you multiple times or checking in on social media if they don’t hear from you right away.

Stick to your guns during the project

This is where pretty much all designers go wrong with their projects. While we set our boundaries for a good reason, most people don’t want to seem mean or like they don’t truly care about the client or the project while they’re working together.

However, I have some tough love for you: if you ignore your boundaries during the project, your client will as well. Not only that, but you’re setting yourself up for you to be the one that’s getting stressed out over those crossed lines.

An example of this

If you have strict project guidelines, like Krista, it’s important that you stick to them the very first time a client is going off track. If you bend and let your client get a payment or content to you late just one time, you can almost guarantee they’ll do it again. This can lead you to being behind in the project, which is only going to stress and frustrate you. Your client may not know or care about what being behind will do to you and your schedule.

Know the line you absolutely will not cross

There will always be those clients that ignore your boundaries and just normal boundaries, in general. This may be because the client is impatient or they’re not used to working with people who have strict boundaries in place. With these types of clients, it’s vital that you know the line you won’t cross with your boundaries and what you’ll do if the client oversteps.

Two examples of this

My first good example is that I won’t cross the line of discussing projects via social media. This may seem silly, especially since so many people are finding and booking projects via social media. However I’ve found that I don’t want to be on the hook for checking all of my platforms all of the time so I will not cross that line. By avoiding that, I can keep communication in one place and not worry about having to be plugged in at all times. If someone crosses this line, I simply remind them to let me know their thoughts in email or Asana. I also include a note about this in my contract.

Another great example would be having work invade your personal space, and by that I mean giving out your personal phone number. Some people do this to book a call or because they think it makes them look better to be so available, but it ends up being really frustrating if / when the client crosses the line and starts texting or calling you at random hours of the day all days of the week. Instead, make sure your client knows that extra calls require additional billing and if nothing else, let them know you’ll respond to their texts or calls during business hours.

Action Items

  • Decide what boundaries you want in place
  • Outline them in onboarding materials and your contract
  • Stick to them (as hard as it may be) during projects

Resources

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The post 034: How to Set and Keep Boundaries With Clients appeared first on Get Back To Design.

033: How To Work A Developer’s Pricing Into Your Design Packages
27:10
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 27:10
033: How To Work A Developer’s Pricing Into Your Design Packages

We’ve chatted a lot about collaborating with a developer and know it’s something that more designers are beginning to explore. But a part of the process a lot of designers are intimidated by is the pricing.

Do I just list my design prices on my website and quote separately for development? Do I list the whole package? How does it all work?

Today, we’ll answer your pricing questions by going over how to work a developer’s pricing into your design packages.

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Why a developer’s price needs to be included in yours

It’s common for designers to start by just including their own prices on their websites and including a note that says development isn’t included. Doing it this way is tempting, but it’s not the best approach.

When you have development quoted separately, there are a few problems that will come up:

  1. Your potential clients don’t understand the difference between design and development, so it won’t make sense to them that the two are separate prices.
  2. People with budgets similar to the prices listed on your website will reach out to you and go MIA once they realize that development increases the price by so much.

Instead, when you include it all as one package it’s much easier for your potential clients to make sense of and you know they won’t be surprised by a higher total price.

How to add a developer’s pricing to your packages

The first thing to do is figure out the exact packages you want listed on your website. For example, if you want a simple blog design option, a website option, and an e-commerce option, figure out exactly what each of those will include. Along with that, determine how much you want to make with your portion of the cost and how long your personal timeline will take. That way, you’re less likely to underprice or shorten your timeline after you chat with a developer.

From there, send your packages to your developer so they can give you their quote and timeline. You’ll probably even find that they’ll have a few things they can offer to add to your packages like SEO, support, and training.

Then, you can combine your developer’s information with your own and add it to your website as one complete package.

What to do if you’re concerned about the higher price

If you’re already charging what your development work is worth, this isn’t going to be a problem. You’ll just give that portion of the project cost to the developer.

However, 99% of designers severely undercharge themselves for development. Many don’t even consider development time within their design packages and it’s more of an afterthought instead.

With that being said, it makes sense for your prices to increase whether or not you decide to bring a developer on.

Create multiple packages

The first option if you’re not ready to boost all your prices is to have packages on  your website with and without custom development costs. For example, you could have three packages with the following development included:

  1. No development – instead, you’re using a template and doing the setup on your own
  2. Semi-custom – choose a template and have a developer do some customizations
  3. Custom – here’s where the full cost of the developer comes in and you’ll be able to design a fully custom site

With this approach you can do more of a gradual increase and don’t have to worry about scaring your current audience away.

Gradually increase your prices before working with a developer

If you know that a large price increase will happen when you bring on a developer, you can start gradually increasing your prices leading up to working with them. For example, figure out what your new prices will be and increase by 30% every 2 months to reach that new price after 6 months total.

With this, you might need to work on targeting slightly different clients, which we talked about in Episode 006!

Challenges to be aware of

Once you’ve got your packages ready and your developer’s prices are included on your website, you’re not quite done. There are still a few common challenges that seem to come up that you’ll want to be aware of.

A developer increasing their prices without telling you

When someone else’s packages are a part of yours, it’s important that you know when they raise their prices. You don’t want to go to someone with a client only to learn that their prices have increased and they’re not willing to honor the past ones they gave you.

To avoid this, set a reminder in your calendar every couple months to check-in with your developer to make sure their prices haven’t increased.

Matching up your availability

Good developers get booked up quickly, which can be a problem if you’re trying to schedule a project to start immediately.

To protect against losing clients because of your developer’s availability, have a backup plan. Whether that’s doing the coding yourself or working with a backup developer, know what action you’ll take before it happens the first time.

Working with multiple developers

Like we just went over, having multiple developers on hand can be helpful in making sure you always have someone available. However, this can be a little tricky since developers will have different prices.

You’ll likely find that developer’s with similar skill sets have similar prices, which makes this easier, but include the pricing of the more expensive developer on your website. That way, if you end up working with the lower-priced developer on your website you either have the option of lowering the price for your client (which always makes them happy) or keeping the extra profit for yourself.

Preparing a final quote

You’ve likely found that clients don’t tend to book the exact packages you have on your website. There’s always something that has to be added, removed, or tweaked.

If you don’t have a plan of attack for that, this can add days to the quoting process between you and your developer. To avoid this, ask your developer for what exact information they need to quote a custom project. Some will even have a form you can fill out for each project. That way, there’s one simple back-and-forth that needs to happen and you can get a quote out to your client more quickly.

Action Steps

  1. Figure out the exact packages you want to offer your clients
  2. Contact your current developer (or someone you’d like to work with) to get the final details sorted out

Resources

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The post 033: How To Work A Developer’s Pricing Into Your Design Packages appeared first on Get Back To Design.

032: 5 Awkward Client Situations + How to Handle Them
37:33
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 37:33
032: 5 Awkward Client Situations + How to Handle Them

Regardless of what type of design work you offer and how much experience you have, you’re always subject to getting in sticky situations with clients. In today's episode, we're going to talk about the 5 most common awkward client situations and how to best handle them.

Regardless of what type of design work you offer and how much experience you have, you’re always subject to getting in sticky situations with clients. Most of the time you’re left feeling uncomfortable or flat out awkward when these happen, but at the end of the day, it’s all about how you handle them.

Kory here! I know I’ve had my fair share of awkward and just plain not fun situations with clients over the past five years of running my business, and I would have given anything to have someone else’s advice on how to handle each one of them while they were happening. So, in today’s episode, we’re going to talk about the 5 most common awkward client situations and how to best handle them.

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1. The client hasn’t paid their invoice

Without a doubt this is one situation that I think all designers will find themselves in at one point or another, even if the other ones we talk about never happen. In fact, as of recording this one of the ladies in our mastermind group brought up that she was dealing with this exact thing. It’s so frustrating when this is happening to you, especially when you really just want to get paid and move on.

How to handle this

Unless you’re interested in taking legal action, one of the only things you can do here is to simply follow up. I think it’s a great idea to start with this even if you do want to take legal action because often times it comes down to the client simply not having seen the invoice for one reason or another.

We both recommend reminding your client in the follow up email that the unpaid invoice is holding up the project (either you can’t get started or can’t send them their final files). When you send a second follow up email, mention the late fees that you have outlined in your contract. Then in your last follow up email, point out that you haven’t heard from them since X date, remind them that this is holding up the project, and mention when the late fees will kick in.

2. Client requests a refund, but you can’t grant it

I’d say it’s probably pretty obvious why this one is so awkward, right? Maybe you spent the money already or your contract mentions you don’t do refunds, but when a client requests it… boy, does that leave you feeling a little uneasy. Not only that, but this is a super sticky situation because it could lead to a whole new side of your client coming out. Krista has actually experienced a client disputing the charges with PayPal and their bank, and I’ve experienced a client threaten to take me to court over a refund.

How to handle this

As long as the project hasn’t totally gone south, it’s worthwhile to start by trying to get everything back on the right foot. Start by asking your client what’s causing the frustration and how you can correct things.

If you already delivered files or done work on the project, respectfully refer your client back to the contract that they signed. This where you’ll want to know that your contract is air tight legally because if you’ve just copied and pasted or made up your own terminology, your client might see through it. At some point, though, you have to consider if it’s really worth the fight. Sometimes it’s just easier to grant the refund and move on with your project.

3. You get feedback you don’t like or don’t agree with

If you haven’t dealt with this yet, consider yourself lucky. We had this happen to us on a project around the time of recording this episode, and while it was incredibly frustrating, we ultimately decided that it wasn’t worth the fight to try to get the client to see things our way.

How to handle this

The first thing you can try is to explain the strategy that went into your decisions. By educating your client a little bit on this, your experience, and reminding them of their goals, you’re much more likely to get them to come around and change their mind on how they want something on their site. However, remember to be open to what they’re saying to you. Nothing would be more frustrating to the client than you refusing to make changes based on feedback simply because you didn’t like it.

4. A potential client says you’re too expensive

We talked about this a little bit in EP 020, but we know that the initial reaction most designers have here is to feel frustrated and immediately want to start defending your prices. It’s hard not to automatically take a defensive stance here, but instead of doing that, it’s important to open the doors for communication and really try to see why they’re saying this.

How to handle this

If your client is saying you’re too expensive because they just don’t have the budget to work with you, remind yourself that they aren’t trying to be rude. Krista and I both have created custom packages with fewer pieces so that we can still help the client get what they need while on a budget. If you aren’t willing to do that or work for less, respond respectfully and refer them to a few other designers with lower price points.

However, if they just aren’t willing to pay what you’re worth, that’s a total bummer. There are a lot of people like this, and honestly, this is a huge red flag to us. If this is the vibe we’re getting from a potential client, we simply respond respectfully that we aren’t able to be flexible with our prices and refer them to other designers with lower price points.

5. Client wants more work, but you don’t want to continue your relationship

Similarly to the client requesting a refund, this situation is super awkward because it’s hard to figure out the right thing to say. It’s even more awkward because they obviously don’t feel the same about the project and relationship as you do. However, if you feel the project hasn’t gone smoothly, it’s totally normal to not want to continue the relationship with more work.

How to handle this

Whatever you do, don’t throw them or their project under the bus. It’s not okay to get defensive or aggressive here. Instead, you can respectfully let them know that you’re not available for more work. This is the best way to avoid telling a lie or letting them know that you thought they were awful to work with. Be sure to refer them to a few other designers that you trust with their project, and if you really didn’t like the client, you may give those designers a heads up on what’s coming their way.

Action Items:

  • Create a library of canned responses for the 5 situations we’ve covered today
  • If you get stuck in a different sticky situation:
    • Take a deep breath and give yourself time to cool down
    • Write your response with a level head
      • Consider getting a peer to check over your email
    • Let it go and move on

Resource:

  • Email Scripts for Designers – Know exactly what to say if your clients are late (get 15% off by using the code ‘podcast’ at checkout)

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The post 032: 5 Awkward Client Situations + How to Handle Them appeared first on Get Back To Design.

031: Creating a “Before Picture” for Your Web Design Projects
27:25
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 27:25
031: Creating a “Before Picture” for Your Web Design Projects

We’ve chatted quite a bit about designing strategic websites for your clients, but something we haven’t touched on is a piece that’s vital for being able to show off the results you create.

Knowing what your client’s situation is like before you work together, which we’ll refer to as the “Before Picture”, gives you something to look at once your project is complete. This is the only way to accurately measure the difference you’ve made in someone’s business.

In this week’s episode we’ll dive into what a “Before Picture” includes, why it’s important, and how to create one for your next web design project.

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What is a “Before Picture”

A “Before Picture” is a look at your clients’s situation before they work with you. This includes things like their current website and branding, what’s going well in their current business, what they’re struggling with, their attitude towards their website, statistics, and more.

Why it’s important

A Before Picture is something that’s missed by a lot of designers, but it’s important if you’d like to show current and potential clients the real value of the work you do. Consider a potential client seeing on your website that you increased someone’s email opt-ins by 30%, but nothing like that on another designer’s site…they’re probably going to go with you!

When you get past clients good results, you’re also more likely to get strong referrals and powerful testimonials from those people when you may not have otherwise. Testimonials that include real results are much more powerful than testimonials that talk about how fun you were to work with.

All-in-all, being able to show off the results you get will keep the types of people you want to work with coming through the door.

Part 1: The Questionnaire

A questionnaire is the first (and most important) part of creating a before picture. There are 3 pieces you want to include in this questionnaire: expectations, feelings and statistics.

Expectations

Let’s start with expectations. Knowing what your clients expect in a project help you understand how to create a successful website in your client’s eyes. You might learn things you need to focus on that you would have missed otherwise or ways you could go above-and-beyond.  All of these things can work together to help you cut down on revisions and end up with a happier client overall!

A sample question to help you learn about expectations is, “What is the main factor that caused you to want a new website?” This will help you know what they’re struggling with and what they expect you to improve in your work together.

Feelings

Learning about your client’s feelings is great for comparing your clients thoughts before your project together versus after. With this information, you can remind them of the way they were feeling to amplify the excitement they’re experiencing about their new website, which is great for testimonials.

A great question to include to learn about your clients feelings is, “How is needing help with your website costing you time or money?” Nothing makes people talk about feelings more than lost time and money!

Statistics

Last come statistics. Getting stats is great for getting real numbers to show off after your project is complete. You then have something to compare improvements to after the project is complete. They can also help you see what you’re doing right versus what you could improve in your next design project.

This is where you’ll have the most questions added to your questionnaire, but you’ll want to ask about things like website traffic, email opt-in rates, and sales. Keep in mind that this section will need to be customized per client to make sure you’re not asking about irrelevant information.

How to send it all

The last thing clients need is yet another questionnaire sent. That’s why it’s a great option to include these questions with another design questionnaire you already send. Keep it short and sweet, including 1-2 questions for each of the pieces we talked about today. Also, if you can jump in and get your client’s statistics for them, offer to do that!

Part 2: Screenshots

Luckily, part two is a whole lot easier. All you have to do is take screenshots of your clients websites before you get started on your work together. Use tools like the Full Page Screen Capture extension for Google Chrome. To make sure you don’t forget, add a step to your process outline!

But what will you use these for? A lot of the time, you aren’t going to want to be talking about how awful your client’s last web design was.

Use these to help you and your client see the difference before and after. For example, if email opt-ins increase for a certain section of the new design, you can look back at the old design to analyze why there’s such a difference.

Action Steps

  1. Add the questions for your Before Picture questionnaire to another questionnaire you send at the beginning of a project
    • Don’t be limited by the example questions I gave, think about the people you usually work with
  2. Add screenshots to your process outline

Resources

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The post 031: Creating a “Before Picture” for Your Web Design Projects appeared first on Get Back To Design.

030: Collaborating With A Copywriter In Your Design Projects with Amanda Creek
39:37
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 39:37
030: Collaborating With A Copywriter In Your Design Projects with Amanda Creek

Focusing on parts of your job you’re good at, while giving your clients the best possible experience and results is an important part of standing out in the design field. Sometimes that means going above and beyond in your design work, but sometimes it means teaming up with others to provide services that you can’t offer yourself.

That’s why we’re so excited to bring Amanda Creek on the podcast this week to talk about collaborating with a copywriter as part of her design services. We’ll touch on how the two of them make it work, the difference Amanda has seen for her clients, and how you can start incorporating a copywriter into your own services!

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How Amanda decided it was time to bring on a copywriter

Amanda found that getting her clients to provide good copy, especially on time, was the biggest struggle she was having. She constantly felt like things were being thrown together, just for the heck of it, and that’s not how she likes to do things.

Instead of allowing that to continue and having her clients see less powerful results, she decided that it was time to team up with her friend, Kris, to help clients get over the copy hurdle.

A lot of people can learn from Amanda’s mindset behind this decision. It’s easy to slap something together to get a project over with and see that final payment come through, but it’s so important for us to see things through and ensure everything is done correctly.

The difference in Amanda’s clients since working with a copywriter

Amanda has found that she has a lot more clients coming to her and saying that their businesses have completely transformed. With working with a copywriter and helping them craft their message right along with their website, her clients come out with a stronger outcome and transformation.

How working with a copywriter changes the design process

Amanda has found that this piece of things is always a work in progress and that it can be completely different from one pair of collaborators to another.

For them, it works best to have the clients start with a call with Kris, the copywriter, to see if they want to continue with additional work. If they do, then Amanda can adjust her start date, based on the package they book. Giving clients freedom like this allows more room for customization based on needs and budget.

However, some designers choose to include full copywriting packages in their design packages and make them non-negotiable. This choice totally depends on your preferences and the needs you tend to see from your clients.

How to make packages work with a copywriter included

Rather than trying to convince clients to hire a copywriter separately after agreeing to your costs, it’s beneficial to include prices of a copywriter right with yours.

That being said, Amanda still likes to give her clients options so she includes a single call with her copywriter in her two lower-tier packages and a full package in her top tier.

It’s also important to realize that things may not be perfect right away. It’s important to allow your copywriter and yourself time to figure out a smooth process.

The #1 thing to do to make a collaboration with a copywriter work

Amanda credits their friendship and how well their personalities go together for the success of their collaboration. She also worked with Kris, her copywriter, herself and knew that the process was something she wanted her clients to go through as well.

So for Amanda, the personal connection was really important, but it may not be that way for everybody.

How to find the right person to work with

Amanda highly suggests hiring copywriters you’re considering teaming up with for your own website. That way, you’ll get a good idea of the experience and results they can get your clients, as well as how reliable they will be for you.

Otherwise, start with simply referring clients to specific copywriters and if they come back happy, create a more formal partnership.

Action Steps

If you’re interested in working with a copywriter, Amanda has a few tips for you to get started:

  1. Get names of people who others you know have had a good experience with.
  2. Go to the websites of those copywriters and see if you like their copy. That will be a good indicator of how well they’ll do for your clients.
  3. Contact them to see if they have open availability and to learn about their workflow.

Learn More About Amanda

Amanda Creek is a photographer and web designer with a background in Fine Art, Marketing, and Design. She helps women entrepreneurs build websites that express their own unique creative genius. To her, an abundant and fulfilled life is the result of living from your joy, passion, and creativity, daily. She believes that everything should have a dash of fun, and spends her free time dancing in the Florida sun with her hubby and two puppies.
Instagram | Blog | YouTube

You can also learn more about her lovely copywriter, Kris, here.

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The post 030: Collaborating With A Copywriter In Your Design Projects with Amanda Creek appeared first on Get Back To Design.

029: 4 Ways to Keep Your Clients Coming Back For More
24:49
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 24:49
029: 4 Ways to Keep Your Clients Coming Back For More

A lot of designers focus heavily on getting new clients when things are getting quiet. The problem with that is that it takes a lot more work to book new clients than it does to generate more work from previous clients. Instead of spending so much time and effort trying to constantly find new clients, today we're going to talk about how you can keep your existing clients coming back each time they need more work.

A lot of designers focus heavily on getting new clients when things are getting quiet. The problem with that is that it takes a lot more work to book new clients than it does to generate more work from previous clients. You have to continually be working to build trust with new potential clients as well as market yourself consistently to keep bringing in the new clients.

Kory here! Instead of spending so much time and effort trying to constantly find new clients, it’s so much easier to focus on getting you past clients to come back when they need more work from you. So, today we’re going to talk about how you can keep your existing clients coming back each time they need more work.

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Create a great experience during your first project

The first time you work with someone is the only chance you get to really wow them. If you’re disorganized or late during your first project, your client isn’t going to have a good experience. If they’re not enjoying the first project, the client is going to be much less likely to return when they need more work done both because they won’t enjoy the project and they may worry about whether or not you’ll actually complete the job.

To make sure you’re giving your clients a great experience, consider doing a process audit in between projects. You’ll want to go through your entire client process from start to finish to see what can be better. Bettering your process doesn’t mean you’re inexperienced or a bad designer, it’s what everyone should do to make sure they’re staying on top of things. In fact, when we recorded this episode, I had just signed up for a course that I was hoping would help me better my client experience, and I’ve been a designer for five years.

Really listen to what they want and over-deliver

Have you ever been talking to someone and they start responding to what you’ve just said, only what they’re saying is sort of random? It’s like they weren’t actually listening to what you said to them and they’re just saying what they think you want to hear. Sometimes people do this with their clients as well, as crazy as it may sound. It can be because they didn’t pay attention to their clients needs or they think the client should have something different for their own reasons.

Instead of skimming over your client’s emails or just giving them the minimum amount of work that you can, make sure you’re actually paying attention to them and try to over-deliver on what they’re asking for. To make sure that you’re actually paying attention to their needs, take your own notes based on their questionnaire responses. You can over-deliver by making sure you’re client experience is amazing, and also going above and beyond, like we talked about in EP 004.

Follow up with them consistently

This is where most designers go wrong, myself included, and it’s the key reason most of us miss out on getting our clients to return when they need more work done. It’s not necessarily that our clients are forgetting about us after the project is over, but instead, they either get too busy to actually reach out when they need something or don’t think to ask you to do certain things for them.

To avoid missing out on your clients coming back for more work, make sure you create a plan for following up regularly after the project is over. We recommend your follow up plan happen after:

  • 1 month
  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 1 year

You can automate this step by creating a special email list with a sequence that will send your follow up emails after each time frame. This is a great idea if you aren’t great at remembering to follow up (like me), but you still have to remember to add them to the email list.

Special note: Because I’ve taught about email marketing in the past, it’s really important for me to say that if you do decide to create a special email list and sequence for your past client follow up emails, you have to make sure this is the only list you’re adding your past clients to. If you also add them to your regular email list without their permission, you’re violating the CAN-SPAM act, which can put you at risk of owing thousands (and thousands) of dollars in fines. So, if you go the email list and sequence route, make sure you’re only sending the follow up emails!

Thank them for working with you

Last but not least, the most basic way you can encourage your past clients to come back when they need more work is to actually take the time to thank your clients. This is really important to do because remember this: your client could have chosen any number of designers to work on whatever project you just completed for them, so thanking them for trusting you with their project is really meaningful.

The good news is that this doesn’t have to be some huge thing that you do. You can really easily create a canned response that thanks them for trusting you with their project and let’s them know you’re available if they ever need more work and send that at the end of the project. If you want to do a little more than that, you can take it a step further and send them a handwritten thank you note or a gift. We talked about this in EP 004, but I do want to reiterate that even if you just send a short handwritten note on a postcard, it’ll make your client feel special and want to return.

Action Steps

  • Take a look at your overall experience and see if there’s anything you can improve
  • Create thank you cards and add to the end of your project to do list to send a short note

Resources

  • Dubsado for client management – use this link to get 20% off when you sign up

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The post 029: 4 Ways to Keep Your Clients Coming Back For More appeared first on Get Back To Design.

028: Make Sure Your Developer Collaboration Goes Smoothly
25:34
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 25:34
028: Make Sure Your Developer Collaboration Goes Smoothly

Getting ready for your first collaboration can take a lot of work and preparation. Here are some tips to make your developer collaboration go smoothly.

As our businesses grow, it’s important to focus on tasks we really enjoy doing and less on the tasks that just seem to get in the way. As a designer, working with a developer is a great way to free up a ton of time for design.

But getting ready for your first collaboration can take a lot of work and preparation. It can even be a little intimidating! In this weeks’s episode, we’re going to go over some tips to make sure your first (or next) developer collaboration goes nice and smoothly.

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Set clear expectations

The first thing you want to do when working with a developer is to set clear expectations. Some things that might come to mind are things like when the project should be completed and the fact that the website should look like your mockups, but there are a few other things to note.

Response time

How quickly do you want your developer to respond throughout the project? This pertains both to answering questions you have and updating you on their progress, when necessary.

Similarly, how quickly are you going to respond to your developer if they have a question? Sometimes, waiting on answers can leave your developer at a total standstill, causing the project to fall behind schedule.

Talk about response time before starting the project, as well as deciding where communication will take place to keep things nice and organized.

Expectations about client communication

You’ll also need to decide who will communicate with your client through different phases of your project. Will you communicate with your client throughout the entire project or will your developer take over once your work is done? Some developers want you in charge throughout the whole project, so keep that in mind when deciding who you’re going to partner with.

Also decide how you’ll transfer information back and forth between your client and developer to keep things organized without losing information.

Training + maintenance

Last, be clear about who will be responsible for training and maintenance once the website is complete. Do you expect your developer to provide training videos? What about offering a support period?

You don’t want to get to the end of a project and learn that things aren’t going to work quite how you expected, so be sure to chat with your developer about this before your next project starts.

Know what’s being delivered and when

Having a smooth transition from design to development can be the main deciding factor of whether or not a project stays on track. Delivering the right content to your developer on time and in the correct format will make a huge difference.

For mockups, start by thinking about how your mockups are delivered. This plays a huge part in how closely the finished website will match your vision. You want to deliver mockups that look exactly like the final website you want, not just wireframes. Remember, your developer does coding because they don’t specialize in design. Also pay attention to what software you’re using to deliver mockups. You don’t want to finish everything in Illustrator and then find out that your developer doesn’t use it.

Also consider the client’s actual content. If you don’t require content for design, you can guarantee your developer will need it to avoid having to redo work once they’re done.

Have a plan for communication

Communication is another big thing that will decide how smoothly a collaborative project goes.

First, it’s important to be as clear as possible both in your mockups and in the way you explain things. Be sure absolutely every piece of important information is passed on to your developer. That way, you can avoid the client saying they told you something and the developer claiming they knew nothing about it.

To make communication go nice and smoothly, consider having a Google doc with important notes from your client. You can also do things like having a Slack channel where you can keep a running list of notes or even copy your developer onto emails with your clients (if it’s okay with them). Exactly what you do will depend on the preferences of you and your developer, but experiment to find what will work best for both of you.

Understand how websites work

This next one might seem obvious, but it’s important that you know how websites work. Web is far different than print, so a basic understanding of the differences will ensure that your designs translate to web without performance, display, and responsiveness issues.

If you run into questions or consider designing something a little out of the ordinary, check with your developer to make sure it’s doable.

Get approval from your developer before showing your client

When you get a quote for a project from a developer, they have certain features in mind. For example, a lot of standard quotes won’t include things like e-commerce, sliders, or image galleries because they take extra time to complete.

If you show your client a mockup, have them approve it, and then go to your developer with something that wasn’t originally included, it will lead to a less-than-ideal situation. At that point, you’ll either need to charge your client more than quoted, remove something they were excited about, or cover the additional costs yourself.

You can avoid this by showing your developer your mockups before showing your clients. That way, anything not included can be removed before your client gets excited.

Action Steps

  1. If you’ve worked with a developer before, think back and take note of what things could have gone more smoothly
  2. Plan a process for the next (or first) time you work with a developer including communication, setting expectations, and delivering content

Resources

 

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The post 028: Make Sure Your Developer Collaboration Goes Smoothly appeared first on Get Back To Design.

027: How to Stand Out + Get More Clients in Facebook Groups
29:41
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 29:41
027: How to Stand Out + Get More Clients in Facebook Groups

Over the past couple of years it's been easy to get clients in Facebook groups, but now a days it's harder because there are so many Facebook groups and so many other designers fighting to get the same work we are. Instead of just dropping your link and getting the job, you really have to focus on standing out so you can get the clients. In today's episode, we're covering how to do exactly that!

A few weeks ago we talked to Nesha about marketing your design business, and one of the great tips she had for us was about utilizing Facebook groups to get clients. We both loved her ideas because we’ve been really lucky to get a good deal of clients from the groups that we’ve been in.

Kory here! It used to be pretty easy to get clients in Facebook groups, but the problem now is that there are so many other designers trying to get those same clients. Where you used to be able to just drop your link in a few threads and go away, now you have to focus on standing out to increase your likelihood in booking those same clients. So, today we’re going to talk about how you can stand out and get more clients in the Facebook groups you’re in!

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Find groups with your ideal clients

A normal instinct when joining Facebook groups is that we want to be in groups with like-minded people. For most of us that means we’re in groups with other business owners, fellow designers, and the like. It’s definitely beneficial to be in groups with your peers, but you want to be in other groups as well because it’s not likely that your peers are your ideal clients unless you do design work for other designers.

In addition to the groups with your peers, look for Facebook groups that have your ideal clients in them. For example, if you like working with online shop owners, The Shop Social would be a great group for you to market yourself in. If you like working with bloggers, then get in groups that have bloggers.

It’s important to note here that it might take some trial and error. Don’t be afraid to check out different groups, see if people are active, and if the group has people you really want to work with.

Be genuinely helpful

Once you join groups with your ideal clients, it’s all about what you do. You can’t just simply drop your link in every thread of someone looking for a designer and then disappear until you need more work. You really want to focus on being genuinely helpful in addition to sharing your link when you can.

A lot of people utilize Facebook groups to ask questions about their blog, business, shop, marketing, etc. If you know the answer or know someone who might, don’t be afraid to comment or tag the expert you know to help out the original poster. This is a great way to make a really good impression on the other members of the group because you’re showing people that you honestly care about the success of your peers. Also, don’t forget to respond to questions that relate to someone getting design work or your specific design expertise.

Show up consistently

Absolutely everything in business is all about consistency, and getting clients in Facebook groups are no different. You can’t just show up whenever it’s convenient for you and expect to regularly get clients from the groups you’re in. If you’re trying to build your expertise and increase your likelihood of booking more clients, you have to show up in the groups you’re in regularly.

Obviously you can post when you have questions or comment on things when you need work, but you want to make sure that you schedule some time to show up throughout the week. Pick one or two groups and check in for 10-15 minutes at a time throughout the day or twice a day to answer questions, refer your peers, and pitch your services when you can.

Get referred

One of the things we all do is drop our own link in threads, and there’s usually a lot of other people doing this as well. This makes it hard for you to stand out because let’s be honest: the original poster is likely too overwhelmed to know where to begin. This is why I think it’s a great idea to try to get referred in these threads just as much as you’re sharing your own link.

When you can get referred, it helps you stand out because someone is likely referring you with more than just your link. Instead, they’re likely sharing some really nice things about what it was like working with you. If I were looking to hire someone, I would check out those with referrals in the thread before looking at the sites where people are just dropping their own links.

If you don’t have clients or peers referring you, start by taking some time to refer your friends and peers when you can. This is a simple way to increase your chance of having those people refer you back, especially if they’re getting a lot of work from your kind words.

Make sure your website is linked in your profile

When people start seeing you show up more often in the groups, they’re going to want to head over and check out your site. If you’re dropping links to your services or blog posts, then it’s easy to find your home on the web. However, if you’re just commenting or answering questions, then you still want to have a way for people to find your site.

This is why it’s so important to make sure you have your website somewhere in your profile. Most people do this by having a Facebook Page for your business, but this isn’t actually required. In fact, I have a Facebook Page for my business, but I never post anything on there. If you’re like me or don’t have a Page at all, it’s okay to have a link in the intro section of your profile with a sentence about what you do and who you do it for.

Action Steps

  • Find 1-2 groups with your ideal clients
  • Create a plan for showing up consistently and being helpful

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The post 027: How to Stand Out + Get More Clients in Facebook Groups appeared first on Get Back To Design.

026: Boost Conversions For Your Design Clients
24:06
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 24:06
026: Boost Conversions For Your Design Clients

Designing websites that get good conversions for your design clients isn't always easy. Here are 5 ways you can boost conversions in your projects.

We all want to help our clients get better results and improve their businesses. After all, once we turn our passions into businesses, it can’t be just about us anymore.

In reality, happy clients are more fun to work with and have a better chance of leading to more business for you down the road through referrals, testimonials, and them happily shouting about you from the rooftops.

But unfortunately, designing websites that get good conversions for our clients isn’t quite as easy as we’d like. So today we’ll go over 5 ways you can boost conversions in your web design projects.

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Something to consider before getting started

Before you even start thinking about designing a strategic website, it’s important to know that the “right kinds” of conversions are going to be different for each of your clients. This is especially true if you tend to work with clients in different types of industries.

So before you start a project, start by figuring out what kinds of conversions are important for that specific client.

Keep their goals in mind throughout the project

Once you get started with a project, keep your goals in mind for every decision you make. Each page on their website should be entirely focused on a specific goal.

For example, for a client who is trying to sell services, they might have goals like building trust with their audience, growing their email list, and having people read their blog posts, but you want to make sure that each page is as focused on one of those specific things as possible.

So if one page is focused on email opt-ins, you don’t want to be distracting from that with a bunch of other calls-to-action.

Make sure each page ends with a call-to-action

This is one of the biggest mistakes I see on websites today. If someone scrolls to the end of your client’s About page and there’s nothing specific for them to do, what do you think will happen? More likely than not, they’ll leave the website.

For example, the About page can lead to an email opt-in or a link to products and services, whichever makes more sense for your clients.

Also consider how you can keep people moving around after reading a blog post. I like to add related posts so their readers always have somewhere to go afterwards.

Don’t ask for the sale too soon

Once you see that each page has a call-to-action, go back through them all and make sure your client isn’t asking for the sale too soon.

As designers and developers, most of us know that our clients aren’t likely to book us from a call-to-action in the header of our website, but our clients might not realize this. So if they’re asking for calls-to-action that are too much too soon, take the time to explain why it’s not the best choice, but what could work better and get them some good conversions.

For more information on that, check out Episode 016 on how your website is losing you clients. You can apply points from that episode to your client sites as well!

This is also a great way to go above-and-beyond for your clients, like we talked about in Episode 004. Make your clients a PDF with information on funnels and getting more conversions for their products and service. It’s something you can make once and use again and again.

Include pictures on more than the About page

Next is a nice and easy one. To help your client get more conversions, make sure there are pictures of them on more than just the About page.

Today, personal connections are so important for small businesses – especially service-based. Knowing what someone looks like builds a lot of trust quickly, so it’s a great way to give your clients’ conversions a little boost.

I like to include headshots on the homepage, sidebar, and blog posts, in addition to the About page. However, make sure it’s not getting overdone. For example, if your client has a headshot in their sidebar, they don’t necessarily need one after their blog posts as well.

Show off testimonials

And last, to help your client boost conversions, make sure you’re helping to show off their testimonials. It’s very common for people to completely bury their testimonials deep in their portfolio, but that’s not doing anyone any good. It’s better to build trust right from the beginning.

I like to see the best testimonials pulled out and featured on the homepage to grab attention right away. It’s not meant to get instant conversions for a product or service, but to build that first layer of trust.

Action Steps

  1. Go back to the last website you designed (or your own website) and take note of what you could have done better as far as conversions go
  2. Pay attention to those specific things next time you do a web design project

Resources

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025: How to Market Your Business + Manage Clients with Nesha Woolery
31:11
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 31:11
025: How to Market Your Business + Manage Clients with Nesha Woolery

There's such a huge market of designers, which means marketing your business well is even more important than it used to be. So today, we're talking to Nesha Woolery about how to market your business and then manage the clients you book.

When you run your own business, you have to wear a lot of different hats. That means some days you’re doing design work for your clients, some days you’re focused on just managing your clients, and other days you have to market your design business. There’s such a huge market of designers, which means marketing your business well is even more important than it used to be.

We know that a lot of designers get stuck trying to figure out the best way to market their business, so today, we’re talking to Nesha Woolery about how to market your business and then manage all of the new clients you book.

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Nesha’s experience with booking 6 months in advance

For a long time, Nesha relied solely on referrals from other designers and past clients, but at one point she went traveling and came back only to start freaking out that she had absolutely no work lined up for herself. She was so worried about how she’d pay her bills and be able to go traveling again since she had nothing scheduled.

At that point she started working on figuring out how to market her business so she didn’t have to rely on just referrals that way she could avoid putting all of her eggs in one basket and being in the same situation again in the future.

She started by analyzing where her previous clients had been coming from, which as it turned out was through referrals and social media. While she believes that most designers get stuck with the one thing that works for them (referrals for Nesha), she instead decided to put her focus on referrals, Facebook, and Twitter to help her start getting booked out.

Her top tip for Facebook

Nesha recommends finding a Facebook group that’s filled with potential clients and then dedicating 30 minutes a day to networking and helping people. She says you should focus on providing value and becoming the go-to person because that’ll encourage people to go straight to you when they need design services.

Common mistakes she sees designers making when marketing their business

One of the big mistakes designers make is relying on referrals for the only way you get clients. This is a big one because Nesha points out that when you do this you’re not in control of your revenue or your business. She said it’s a dangerous place to put your business because even though they’re a great way to get clients, they may start drying up. You’re much better off trying a few different things so you still have other ways of finding clients.

The other mistake she sees designers making is just being scared of marketing, in general. She says she thinks a lot of designers see marketing as boring or daunting and often times don’t know where to start because of all of the sleazy marketing we’ve all experienced. However, Nesha points out that it can be a lot of fun if you find the right ways that work for you.

Nesha’s best advice on how to market your business

With the design market so crowded, she thinks that choosing a niche for your business you will stand out so much more when people are looking for a designer. She had a great example of a collaborator she recently worked with found a designer with a super unique process that no one else had, which made the collaborator want to hire the designer right away regardless of price.

So Nesha says if you can find a niche with the services you provide, your process, or who you serve, then you’ll stand a much higher chance of getting hired.

How to start attracting clients with bigger budgets

Nesha says she hears this problem from a lot of designers, but the first thing she thinks people should do would just believe in your higher prices and that there are clients out there who will pay your prices. She sees a lot of designer self sabotaging and not being confident in their higher prices, and that tends to make them talking their price down for a client on consult calls. When designers act this way with their clients, their client sees it as the designer offering to take less money for the same or similar amount of work.

She also pointed out something that we all often forget: there are clients out there for every price point of design. There will be people out there who will pay you more, so if you think it’s the right time to raise your prices then definitely do so.

Another thing she said you can do is to create a killer client experience. Remember, clients are paying you not just for your designers but for a great client experience. If a client has come through working with you and the experience was all over the place, they’re not going to refer you to other clients with higher price points. So Nesha said start by working on your money mindset but also take a look at your client experience and make sure it’s really awesome.

Her top tips on how to effectively manage clients

Use a project management system. Nesha says stop managing clients through your emails. She said you usually find yourself sending too many emails, stressing because you can’t find feedback, clients can’t find certain files, and you can cut all of that out if you keep all of your project inside of a project management tool. She said it saves your sanity because it allows you to handle more than just 1-2 clients per month.

As for when you start booking lots of clients, Nesha highly recommends investing in growing your team or even just hiring a virtual assistant. She sees a lot of designers keep running their business on their own even when they’re growing their business and getting overwhelmed by all of the work. So when your business starts picking up, consider getting a virtual assistant for even just 5 hours or just to manage your inbox or project management.

How Nesha believes a project management tool can keep projects on track

The biggest issue she sees a lot of designers have is all about how clients won’t want to use a project management tool, but what she says is that it’s so worth it to use a project management tool and you’ll never want to go back to email. She also points out that she’s never had a client refuse to use Asana, her chosen project management tool, for their project. She recommends explaining how the tool will help the client get the best experience from you and also how to actually use it.

Action Steps

If you need help marketing your business and managing your clients, Nesha has a few action steps for you:

  1. Start by working on your money mindset: believe that there are clients that will pay your higher prices
  2. Find a more specific niche for your business than “creative business owners” or “female business owners”
  3. Get your business on a project management tool (Asana is our favorite!)

Learn more about Nesha

Nesha teaches business strategy to freelance designers so they can build businesses that aren’t just creative, but profitable. Being a successful designer doesn’t just come down to having great skills and a beautiful portfolio. You also need business smarts. That’s where she comes in! Nesha has now taught hundreds of designers how to start, grow and streamline their businesses.

Website | Blog | Free course on managing clients

 

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024: 4 Must-Have Terms to Cover in Your Contract to Protect You + Your Client
29:48
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 29:48
024: 4 Must-Have Terms to Cover in Your Contract to Protect You + Your Client

If you’re a creative and you work directly with people, then you need a contract. Even if you’re just covering yourself and making sure that you get paid for those all of those hours that you put into that project. Today we're cover the 4 most important terms to have in your contract to protect you and your clients.

If you’re a creative and you work directly with people, then you need a contract. Even if you’re just covering yourself and making sure that you get paid for those all of those hours that you put into that project. If you’ve ever had a nightmare client or had to chase down a late payment, then you already know how important your contract is to your business.

Kory here! A few years ago I had a total nightmare experience with a client. Things went off track, and before I knew it there were PayPal disputes and threats to take me to court. Although I ultimately bent to wrap things up, I actually had several terms in my contract that protected me from the situation. To help others avoid a similar situation, today we’re cover the 4 most important terms to have in your contract to protect you and your clients.

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Payments and Refunds

The first and probably most obvious thing you’ll want to cover is payments and refunds. Specifically, how you accept payments. Some people prefer checks, others are fine with being paid online. This needs to be in your contract because sometimes clients will expect one thing, but you work another way.

More importantly, though, is when the payments will be due. Most designers take half of the project cost up front and the other before the end of the project. You want to make sure you’re clear about this, especially if you take additional payments, so your clients know what to expect.

Going right along with payments would be refunds. You may not think you’d ever be in a situation to worry about refunds, but it’s still important to cover just in case. You want to include whether or not you include refunds, as well as at what point you won’t offer a refund anymore.

Term and Termination

With so many designers offering ongoing work for their clients, it’s definitely worth mentioning how long the contract will be in effect. If you’re just doing the one project, then mention that the contract terms will expire when the project is over. However, if you’re going to be doing monthly work for your client, you’ll want to include how many months the contract is in effect.

Another thing you’ll want to cover is what happens if the project is terminated. I’ve had to cancel with a few clients, and Krista has as well, so we know just how important it is to cover this. One part of this is obviously the refund, but what happens to any work that was created? Will you turn anything over to them? What will you do with their content? As much as we don’t want to think about a project ending badly, you still have to cover these things in your contract.

Rights

This one seems tricky for some small business owners, but rights are vital to cover when you’re a designer. Most people want to retain all of the rights when they’re just getting started, but I’ve found it’s a lot easier to turn over most of the rights to my clients. However, it’s still important to make sure they know if the rights are limited. For example, if you don’t want your clients to manipulate your designs or use them in certain ways, you have to mention this in your contract.

Another thing to think about is what rights, if any, you’ll retain. I always retain the right to show off my work and use it for promotional materials, but we have heard of clients requesting designers to not show the work in their portfolio. This is why it’s important to make sure it’s clear right in your contract whether or not you want to be able to retain those rights.

The Legal Stuff

At the end of your contract, you’ll want to include the big deal lawyer stuff. It’s okay to get this part from a template or a peer, but you want to make sure that it’s actually going to protect you if you ever did have to go to court.

One thing I have in this area in my contract is what happens if we need to go to court and where that would take place. If you’re a website designer, it’s also really important to mention if you’ll be held liable if something goes wrong on their site. I’ve had so many clients install random plugins on their site after our project is over, for example, and I definitely don’t want to be held liable if they get hacked because if a plugin they installed.

Action Steps

  • Go through your contract and make sure these things are included
  • Consider buying a contract template from a lawyer to really cover yourself or working with someone through Legal Zoom to get things in order

Resources

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023: Choosing The Right Platform For Your Web Design Clients
24:14
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 24:14
023: Choosing The Right Platform For Your Web Design Clients

This week, we're going to chat about how to choose the right platform for each specific client and what to do if a client isn't the best fit for the platform you're the most comfortable with.

It’s always been a big pet peeve of mine when designers and developers don’t pay attention to what platform is the best for their clients. It’s always easy to choose your favorite platform, but it’s not going to be the right answer for every client.

This week, we’re going to chat about how to choose the right platform for each specific client and what to do if a client isn’t the best fit for the platform you’re the most comfortable with.

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The worst thing you can do for your clients

The worst thing you can do for your clients is to force them onto your favorite platform, no matter what. Doing this is actually bad for both you and the client.

First, your client won’t be happy if they wanted something super simple and you gave them something really complicated. On the other hand, if they wanted room to grow in a lot of different ways and the platform you chose doesn’t allow for it, that’s going to come back in the way they view your work together.

When you should use Squarespace

Squarespace pros

Squarespace is perfect for the more tech challenged clients out there. If they want nothing to do with the internet and computers, a simple platform is definitely something they’d appreciate.

There are also a lot of really gorgeous templates that don’t need any sort of customizations. These templates are built and supported by Squarespace and clients can get set up super quickly without much hassle.

The drag-and-drop feature on Squarespace is also extremely useful for a lot of clients. The websites you create will be nice and easy for them to customize and it’s nice and visual.

And last, Squarespace has really amazing customer support. Their support team is there to answer questions, which can also save you sometime!

Squarespace cons

The first downside of Squarespace is that it has limited advanced features. While they are adding new features often, it can be very limiting to certain clients for things like course and membership sites, advanced ecommerce platforms, and anything custom.

Squarespace also doesn’t have any plugins. What you see is what you get unless and outside tool allows you to embed their functionality.

Next, it can be hard to create a totally custom look, leading to a lot of cookie-cutter looking websites. It’s totally possible, but there aren’t many people out there who know how to make a completely custom site.

And last, Squarespace has a few SEO limitations. It’s totally possible to have good SEO on Squarespace, but there aren’t helpful SEO plugins like you’re going to find on WordPress. And for the more tech-challenged people, having a tool that makes SEO easier would be a helpful thing to have.

Who Squarespace is great for

Let’s talk about a few clients who Squarespace is great for:

  • The total beginners who want something easy without all the bells-and-whistles
  • Clients who will need hand-holding and your help with everything

Who Squarespace is not-so-great for

On the other hand, there are a few types of clients who might not be the best fit for Squarespace:

  • People who want lots of flexibility and choices
  • Clients who need the freedom to have special features now or in the future
  • Someone who wants a totally custom look

When you should use WordPress

WordPress pros

Now let’s move into more information about WordPress, starting with the things that are great about the platform.

First, you can do just about anything you want. I’ve never had someone ask me for a feature that wasn’t possible. There are a lot of developers out there who can custom code functionalities and there are currently over 50k plugins available to allow you to easily add extra functionalities to your client sites.

WordPress is also great for getting a completely custom look easily. There are thousands and thousands of premade templates available and there are also a lot more developers out there who know how to custom code for WordPress versus Squarespace.

WordPress cons

Now for the cons of WordPress. First, it can be complicated if you make it that way. If you shove a whole bunch of plugins onto a client site or add HTML and CSS right into a page, of course it’s going to be hard for your clients to get the hang of – it’s unreasonable to expect anything different. It’s all about the way you make the site, your coding experience, and the tools you use.

Next, another downside is that security is totally up to your client. They need to have a good webhost, strong passwords, security plugin, do their updates, and have regular backups taken. While it’s easy once it’s set up, it can be a lot for some people to handle.

Who WordPress is great for

WordPress is great for a lot of people, including the ones who:

  • Need certain advanced features
  • Want freedom and room to grow in the future
  • Are comfortable with technology, in general

Who WordPress is not-so-great for

And of course, there are some people who WordPress isn’t the best choice for:

  • People who want to be totally hands-off after their websites are created and also are unwilling to pay someone else to manage it
  • If they hate all things technology related
  • If they’re total beginners and don’t need any extra features (or don’t think they will in the future)

What to do if a client isn’t a good fit for “your” platform

Now, if you’re willing to start realizing that your platform of choice isn’t the best fit for all of your clients, you’re bound to come across a situation where you run into a client who is a better fit for a different platform. Now what?

The first option is to find a friend who offers services with the other platform and refer platforms back-and-forth to each other. That way, the clients can be best served and it’s a mutually beneficial relationship between you and the person you team up with.

The second option is to work with a developer. That way, you can take care of the design and hand all the tech and coding off to someone else without having to refer any clients away. Check out episode 013 for more information on working with a developer.

Action Steps

  1. Take a few minutes to decide if you’ll refer people to another designer or work with a developer if you come across a client who is a better fit for a platform you’re not comfortable with
  2. If you decide you’ll refer clients to another designer, choose who that designer will be and start a conversation with them about referring clients back-and-forth
  3. If you decide to start working with a developer, listen to episode 013 and start looking for who you want to partner with

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022: How to Curate Your Portfolio to Get More of the Projects You Want
28:20
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 28:20
022: How to Curate Your Portfolio to Get More of the Projects You Want

This week we're talking about portfolios and answering your questions on how to diversify your work once you've gotten yourself established in a niche that you don't necessarily want to be stuck in anymore so you can start booking more of the projects you really want instead.

We recently got a really great survey response that read, “I’ve fallen into a niche and can’t get out. Actually I love the niche I’m in, but I want to diversify. I believe I have potential clients who pick another designers because they don’t see their websites represented in my portfolio.”

Kory here! I can definitely relate to this struggle. For the longest time, my portfolio featured a lot really feminine projects aka ones with lots of pinks and script fonts, and I longed to do design work that was more modern and “sophisticated” (whatever that means). The problem was that my portfolio kept attracting more people who wanted similar feminine designs. Luckily, I’ve been able to slowly diversify the aesthetic of the work I create, so today, I wanted to share a few things you can do to when curating your portfolio so you can get more of the types of projects you actually want.

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Share only your best work

This should be totally obvious to everyone, but your portfolio should only have work that you are really proud of and show off your best projects. Don’t show off work that you aren’t 100% proud of because it’ll attract clients who want that type of work, which you probably won’t enjoy doing. I’d much rather see a portfolio with 3-4 really stellar projects than 10-15 so-so projects.

You know what’s your best work, but if you don’t, don’t hesitate to reach out to a peer to get help curating what you should keep and what you should get rid of. You’re welcome to ask for a portfolio buddy in our Facebook group where both of you can help give feedback on your projects so you’re only showing your best stuff.

Include project details

This might be surprising, but a lot of designers make the mistake of not showing any project details. In fact, I’ve been to so many websites where the designer only shows off this little tiny graphic of a logo or website mockup and nothing else. If I’m looking at that, how am I supposed to know exactly what you did for that project?

Instead of just sharing those tiny graphics, link to a project page where you share things like:

  • What the client was looking for
  • Who their target market is
  • What you did for them
  • The tangible results your design has gotten for them
  • A testimonial

That may seem like a lot, but remember, people are only going to bother reading if they’re considering hiring you. However, if it’s feeling like the content is getting a little long, split up some of it into a whole case study that you can link to on the project page.

Diversity in your work depends on where you are

A lot of designers are curious about how much diversity they should have in the projects they include in their portfolio, and it really depends. There are two different approaches: you can add all of the different types of projects you do (logos, websites, editorial, packaging, etc) or you can only show of a few types of projects (logos and websites only).

The approach you take here really depends on where you are in your career. If you’re just getting started, it’s better to keep things diverse. This will help show off your expertise in design, and it’ll give you a better chance to land a variety of projects. However, if you’ve been designing for several years and have a few things you know you enjoy doing, consider only adding one or two types of projects. This will keep you from getting inquiries for things you don’t care about doing, and it’ll help you become known for your specific type(s) of design projects.

Update it regularly

We talked about this in EP 012, but so many designers have issues with their portfolio simply because they aren’t updating it with new work regularly. Just take a second and look at your own portfolio. See that most recent project? How recently was it completed?

I’m definitely guilty of this too, but it’s important to add this task to your schedule. Krista likes to add new projects soon after they wrap up so she knows exactly what she wants to say and share in the project details. However, if you’re too busy for that, at least make it a point to check your portfolio every other month to add new work and get rid of anything that isn’t the best representation of what you want to be doing

Bonus tips

  • Share large images not just small computer mockups so we can actually see your beautiful design work
  • If you do web design, link to the live site.. as long as your client is actually still using your design
  • Don’t make people hunt for your portfolio because they just aren’t going to, which means you may lose clients

Action Steps

  • Upload your most recent projects to your portfolio
  • Get rid of any work that isn’t your best and doesn’t represent the work you want to be doing more of
  • Add a recurring task to your calendar to keep your portfolio updated

Resources

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The post 022: How to Curate Your Portfolio to Get More of the Projects You Want appeared first on Get Back To Design.

021: Making Your Designs Easy For Clients To Update
21:44
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 21:44
021: Making Your Designs Easy For Clients To Update

Today we're chatting about the different options you have in WordPress for making your designs easy for clients to update.

When you’re focusing on your design projects, you’re likely thinking about things like keeping your client happy, making something that looks great, and creating real results with the final product. But something you might not think of is how easy the final website you’ve created will be for your clients to update themselves.

Krista here! This definitely isn’t something I’ve always considered. I’m sure if I went back to the first few sites I did for clients, I’d cringe at how difficult certain things are to update. But since then, I’ve seen what a difference it can make to empower your clients to do their own updates.

So today we’re chatting about why it’s important to pay attention and the different options you have in WordPress for making your designs easy for clients to update.

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Why it’s important

Your clients will be happier and feel empowered

First of all, when your clients have the ability and knowledge to update their own website, they’re going to be happier with your project overall. It’s likely that if they had to contact you for each and every change that they’ll feel annoyed or frustrated and we never want to end a project with someone feeling that way.

They won’t come back to you for so many small “emergency” changes

Allowing your clients to make their own updates will also make your life easier. It will mean fewer emails from past clients expecting you to do something simple for free or acting like a change is an emergency just because they don’t know how to do it on their own.

What these updates don’t include

Even though we want our clients to be able to make updates to their sites, this does come with limitations. While we want them to be able to update, say, their about page, we don’t want them changing large parts of their design.

So we’re talking about things like updating their page content without searching through HTML in a page, a ton of widget areas, or complex plugins.

For example, if there’s a call-to-action in the header, it should be easy for them to go in and change out the text without having to go into a theme file.

4 ways to make your designs easy to update

1. Widget areas

Widget areas are helpful for places like the sidebar, footer, and after blog posts. They’re so great because it’s easy for clients to replace or rearrange what’s in those areas without worrying about messing up code.

Most themes come with widget areas built in, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add your own to make things easier and more flexible!

However, even though they’re great, there are some mistakes to avoid:

  • Don’t load up the website with a ton of widget areas. Your clients will just get confused if there are more than a few.
  • Use widgetized homepages wisely. Sometimes they’re more confusing than flexible or helpful.
  • Don’t leave extra widget areas that came with the parent theme if you’re not using them.

2. Customizer

The Customizer is my personal favorite. It’s so nice for keeping things easy to update, but it’s something that a lot of designers seem to be a little intimidated by. Even though it’s a little tricky to get the hang of, it’s totally worth the work.

It’s perfect for things your clients will need to update without having to worry about CSS and HTML and things that don’t need to change much. For example, I love to use the Customizer for full-width images and calls-to-action in website headers.

However, be careful not to limit your clients where they shouldn’t be limited.

3. Advanced Custom Fields

This option is a little easier than the Customizer, but still requires a bit of PHP coding. It’s especially helpful when your clients need extra options available in their posts or pages.

For example, if they want the option to toggle on or off the page title or set an image to show in the header that’s different than the featured image, adding fields for those things can make this super easy on them.

However, don’t go crazy with putting too many fields in a page. More than a couple is probably overdoing it (not that I’ve done that before or anything 😉 ).

4. Beaver Builder

Now we’re on to my personal favorite. Beaver Builder (affiliate) is a simple, flexible, and powerful page-builder plugin. It’s great for letting you add custom styling easily, while making it super easy for clients to update. And unlike Divi, there won’t be shortcodes left if the plugin breaks or your client decides to use something else in the future.

This tool is the easiest one to use for pages with a lot of custom styling and formatting.

Action Steps

  1. Do a little research on any of the options you haven’t heard of or used before
  2. Get those things set up on a test site of your own and do some experimenting

Resources

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The post 021: Making Your Designs Easy For Clients To Update appeared first on Get Back To Design.

020: 6 Red Flags to Look for When Booking New Clients
30:32
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 30:32
020: 6 Red Flags to Look for When Booking New Clients

All designers experience a nightmare client at some point in their career. Sometimes you can avoid them, and sometimes you can't. However, today we're going over 6 red flags to look out for before booking a project to help avoid taking on a nightmare client.

We’ve all been there before: you get a project, and you’re trucking right along only to realize that your client… well, they’re kind of a nightmare to work with. Sometimes it’s too late because you’ve already booked the project, and all you can do is stick it out either because you need the money or because it’s just not worth the fight.

Kory here! I’ve had my fair share of those nightmare clients. The good news is that there are some things that you can be on the lookout for before you even book the project that will help you avoid taking on projects with clients who are going to make you want to pull your hair out. In today’s episode, we’re going to go over the 6 biggest red flags to look for when booking new clients.

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1. They’ve worked with other designers on the same project, but it hasn’t worked out

The difficult part about this red flag is that your client isn’t necessarily going to offer this piece of information up. Sometimes they will, particularly if they’re frustrated about it, but most of the time they aren’t even going to say anything. However, if they mention that they’ve worked with other designers on the same project, it’s definitely worth asking why the project hasn’t been completed.

Sometimes the designer is at fault for one reason or another – maybe the designer was crummy or couldn’t finish the project. Most of the time, though, it’s that the client is at fault, and they don’t realize it. Whatever caused the project to not work out with the previous designers is probably going to be a headache for you as well.

2. They have a really specific or too vague idea on what they want

This red flag is generally obvious right away in the inquiry emails when they’re explaining what they need you to do and sometimes even in the way they talk about their inspiration. I’ve worked with a lot of clients on both ends of the spectrum, and it’s really frustrating because it makes them really hard to please.

People with really specific ideas are going to essentially make you a pixel pusher (aka someone who is just creating their exact vision). This is hard to deal with because you’re not able to really be creative throughout the project. I’ve had a few clients like this recently, and I didn’t realize it until after we were well into the project. At that point, I just sucked it up to keep things moving.

On the other end, there are the people who are too vague or don’t really know what they want. These people are tough to work with because they don’t know what vision they want, so how are you supposed to know?! It’s challenging to get started on those types of projects, and those people generally have a difficult time making up their mind during the project. That means they’ll require extra revisions or will turn to crowdsourcing opinions on your work.

3. They try to rewrite or negotiate terms in your contract

This is a pretty big red flag because it means they’re trying to get you to bend and do what you want them to do before the project has even started. If a potential client is doing this, you can expect them to be the same way during the project. If you get a client like this, it’s important to remember (and maybe even remind them) that your contract is there to protect both you and your client.

Krista and I had this happen with a potential client in 2016. We sent her our contracts because we were all ready to book the project, but she emailed us back with lots of things she wanted to change in our contract. We both knew this was a big no-no, and we ended up respectfully turning the project down.

4. They want to negotiate the price of the project

This goes right along with the last point, and this one is a big red flag, too. However, sometimes this isn’t a big deal. We’ve both gotten project inquiries where the person really wants to work with us, but they just can’t afford our rates. If that’s the case, we’ll both tweak the packages we’re pitching to the client to try to make something work out for them. For example, if someone wants a custom design but can’t afford it, we might encourage them to get one of our themes and then do some design or development tweaks to it to make it more unique for their site.

Where this becomes a red flag, though, is when the person just isn’t willing to pay what you’re worth, and yes, you can tell the difference. These are the ones who ask you to do something for a lower rate, maybe way lower than your regular prices. One hundred percent of the time, the people on this side of it just don’t respect your time or expertise. It’s usually not worth fighting with them; however, you can explain that you bill at your rate because of your experience, expertise, and the time the project will take you.

5. They’re impatient and pushy or it takes weeks to hear from them

Similarly to how controlling the client is going to be with your creative work, you’ll be able to tell how quickly this person communicates before you even book the project. Generally, you can expect someone to keep up their email habits after a project starts, which is why it’s important to be on the lookout for these before you book the project.

People who are impatient and pushy are those who email you 6 hours after their first email just to make sure you got the other one. They’ll email you all hours of the day (and night) and expect you to do the same. On the other end, the people who take forever to email you will probably be too busy or aloof during the project as well.

6. They want to communicate in a way you aren’t comfortable with

Erin Flynn talked about this a little bit in EP 014, and it’s because it can be really challenging to work with someone who wants to chat on the phone or Skype if that’s not your thing. Most designers are okay with jumping on a call at the beginning of the project or once during the project, but not everyone is okay just getting on a call whenever the client wants and sometimes the client always wants a call. This is totally okay, but you want to look out for potential clients who are fine to communicate in the way you prefer.

Action Steps

  • Take a look at any projects you had that weren’t enjoyable or didn’t end well and really examine why they were like that
  • Make a note to look out for those things when you get more inquiries

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019: Getting Feedback On Your Work With Elevate & Cultivate
26:59
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 26:59
019: Getting Feedback On Your Work With Elevate & Cultivate

A super important part of running a successful design business is getting feedback on your work. The type of feedback you get and how you receive it can make or break a project, both for you and your client. But good feedback doesn't just come on it's own. That's why we're so excited this week to bring on Lauren Black and Illiah Manger of Elevate & Cultivate to talk through their own processes and experiences with us.

A super important part of running a successful design business is getting feedback on your work. The type of feedback you get and how you receive it can make or break a project, both for you and your client.

But good feedback doesn’t just come on it’s own. That’s why we’re so excited this week to bring on Lauren Black and Illiah Manger of Elevate & Cultivate to talk through their own processes and experiences with us.

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It’s important to get used to receiving feedback

Taking feedback well isn’t something we’re all born with. In fact, most people have to learn the best way to receive feedback and put it into practice.

If feedback isn’t something you’re used to receiving, ask others with design experience for feedback on your work. Use their suggestions to improve your projects in the future.

There is no “right way” to get feedback

Krista here! Going into the episode, I half expected both Lauren and Illiah to have super set processes they use to get the kind of feedback they do, but it turns out both of them do this whole feedback thing very differently. This goes to show that there’s no “right” way to get feedback and you’ll have to do some experimenting to learn what’s best for you and your clients.

For example, Illiah gets feedback very early on in her process by presenting sketches of her logo concepts. This has helped her get more positive feedback at the end of projects because she had buy-in from her clients in the very beginning.

On the other hand, Lauren waits until she has moodboards and logos ready to present on the computer. She also has her clients to rate what they think on a scale of 1-5, based on different questions she has for them.

Build trust to avoid crowdsourcing

You don’t have to look too hard to find another designer’s client crowdsourcing feedback on their logo concepts in a Facebook group. This is generally dangerous to the design process, as the thousands of people they’re asking have no context.

Both Lauren and Illiah agree that they’ve been able to prevent clients from doing this by building trust very early on and becoming the go-to person for their clients. That way, their clients ask them questions, rather than large communities of random people they don’t know.

Think about who you’re getting feedback from

Although we’ve been talking about how important it is to receive feedback on your work, it’s important to keep in mind that not all feedback is created equal. For example, Lauren’s mom and sister think that everything she does is amazing and the same goes for my opinion of anything that Kory does. Someone who loves everything you do isn’t going to help you improve, just as someone who doesn’t know anything about the business you’re designing for wouldn’t have the insight they need to be helpful.

Make sure the people you’re receiving feedback from have the context and design knowledge they need to give feedback that will be helpful to you and your project.

How to take feedback well

Something I’ve always struggled with personally is taking feedback well. Even if I totally know the client is right, I tend to have negative feelings anyways.

Lauren and Illiah made so many great points about how we take feedback. Lauren pointed out that it’s important to realize that design is subjective and that sometimes the client really does know what’s best for their business, even if we don’t want to admit it. Along with that, it’s also important for them to be in love with the final product.

Action Steps

  1. Present your designs to your designer friends, acting like they’re your client
  2. Use their feedback to help build confidence in presenting your work and learn what questions to ask to guide the conversation
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Learn More About Lauren & Illiah

Lauren Black and Illiah Manger, the creative minds behind Elevate & Cultivate, are both brand designers that help creative business owners define their brand and design a visual style they are proud of. Embracing community over competition, they have joined forces to create a platform to help design professionals strengthen their skills, receive feedback on their work and develop friendships stronger than Gotham Ultra.

Community | Illiah | Lauren

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The post 019: Getting Feedback On Your Work With Elevate & Cultivate appeared first on Get Back To Design.

018: How To Handle Booking Clients In Advance
26:39
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 26:39
018: How To Handle Booking Clients In Advance

This week we're going over a great survey question that went something like,

This week we’re going over a great survey question that went something like, “When you get booked out, how long is too long to make clients wait to work with you? How do you know when to start a waitlist? And how do you make it all work?”

These are great questions and can be super stressful if you’re booking in advance for the first time or don’t have a plan in place when it happens. Krista here! I’ve been consistently booking anywhere from 3-5 months in advance since late last year and it was definitely stressful right away.

So today we’re answering all your questions about booking clients in advance and talking about some ways you can work around being booked “too far” in advance, whatever that means for you.

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Identify how many clients you can work with at once

The first thing you need to do in preparation for being booked out is deciding how many clients you can work with at one time. When you’re doing this, it’s important to remember to schedule in time for running your own business, time off, and random things that pop up.

If you’re not sure how long your projects take you and how long to schedule them for, start tracking your time throughout your next few projects to get a realistic idea.

Figure out your availability

Based on how many clients you have now and how many clients you can take on at once, decide when your next available opening is for a new project. You might find that it’s right away or not for a couple of months.

If your first available start date is more than a couple weeks away, be sure to indicate that on your website so people know they’ll be waiting for a little while. Your services and contact pages are the perfect places for this. (Hint: Don’t forget to update them!)

How to work around being booked out too far

Being booked “too far” out totally depends on your preferences. If someone wants to work with you, they are going to be willing to wait. We know some designers who are booked out 6 months or more – people are willing to wait.

Option 1: Raise your prices

If you’re at a point where you’re booked out months in advance, it’s time to give yourself a raise. People value what you do and you do good work, so start by raising your prices by 10-15% and go from there – you can always boost them more in the future.

Option 2: Build a team

If you still find yourself being booked in advance and don’t want people to wait too long, you can consider building a team of other designers to take some work off your plate, while allowing you to accept more clients.

However, this option is not as easy as it sounds, so be sure to listen in to the episode to hear about my experience with outsourcing.

The biggest mistake designers make when booking in advance

The most common mistake people make when starting to book out in advance (myself included) is overbooking. It’s so tempting to “squeeze” in a past client or someone new that you’re super excited to work with.

Doing so is a fast way to get burned out and sick of client work entirely.

To keep myself from doing this (most of the time) I have a Google calendar that only contains my projects. When I decide that a spot is full, I block it off in my calendar, making me less likely to squeeze someone else in.

Action Steps

  1. Determine how many clients you can take on at one time
  2. Look at who you’re currently working with and figure out how far out you’re booked
  3. Update your website to say when you’re accepting new projects
  4. Add a step to your process to update your availability on your website each time you book a new client

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017: How to Keep Your Design Projects on Track
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC
017: How to Keep Your Design Projects on Track

At one point or another all designers have projects where little things pop up while working with a client that end up making the project go off schedule. While it's incredibly frustrating every time it happens, there are a few things you can do, even before the project begins, to help avoid this, and in this week's episode we're covering them.

We recently got a survey question that went like this: “How can you best keep a project on track? Especially in terms of revisions and all the little things that seem to popup.” This is a really great question because no matter how much experience you have or what type of design project you’re working on, you’re still at risk of the project going off track.

While you can be incredibly strict and tough during your projects together, no one will enjoy that. Instead, keeping your projects on track really boils down to you being prepared for any outcome and making sure you set the right expectations from the beginning of the project. In this week’s episode we’re covering four specific things you should make sure you’re doing to help keep future projects on track.

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Set expectations at the beginning of the project

It’s incredibly important for the success of the project to make sure that you’re setting the right expectations from before you even book the project. Of course there are many things that you want to be straight forward about so your project goes smoothly, but here are three specifically that can help keep the project moving smoothly.

When does the client need to be involved

If your client has never worked with a designer before, then it’s not crazy to think that they don’t know how often to expect to be involved during the project. This means they may go MIA in the middle of the project because they didn’t realize you needed them to be available to provide feedback.

How many revisions are allowed

Sometimes it’s the revision stage that holds the project up, and it might happen if you don’t have a specific limit to how many changes you’ll provide for your client. Instead, put a cap on how many revisions you offer during your project. Let them know what happens if they need to go over the allowed number, including what it’ll do to the timeline. Also, don’t hesitate to jump on a call if you feel like you client is just being wishy-washy.

What if the client wants to add more work

Extra work popping up out of nowhere can also be a headache when you’re trying to keep things moving on track. However, keep in mind that your clients don’t know your schedule and often don’t understand how long certain things may take you. This means that they’re not intentionally trying to alter your schedule. Let them know up front what will happen if they want to add more work in terms of the cost and their deadline.

All of these things should not only be in your contract but also your Welcome packet. This will give you multiple reference points in case something goes wrong during the project.

Allow extra time in your projects for delays

If you’re a new designer, I highly recommend adding a week or two to your timeline. I say this because those without much experience are still trying to nail down how long it’ll take them to work with clients, so instead of saying you could squeeze a project into a smaller timeframe, give yourself room in case something goes wrong.

If nothing else, it’s still a good idea to have a buffer period in between projects. Krista shared a little bit in this episode about her experience of not having a buffer, which includes a lot of frustration and hurrying along at the end of the project. Aside from avoiding these things, it’ll also help you in case your projects do go off track, you won’t have to worry about having overlapping projects until you wrap one up.

Use a project management app

We’ve talked a little about this in other episodes, but it’s even more important to use a project management app if your projects consistently go over. This will allow you to set deadlines that your PMA will then automatically remind your client about, which means you won’t have to worry about being annoying trying to get feedback from your client.

Using a project management app is also great because it’ll allow your potential clients to see the project as a whole even from the beginning. This shows your client exactly what you’re working on when and when they will be needed to provide feedback and sign off on certain parts of the project.

Don’t be afraid to follow up

At the end of the day, if you see the project is starting to go off track, then you have to be willing to reach out to them. Sometimes they aren’t responding because they have a question they aren’t asking but other times it could be because something big is going on in their personal lives. Because of this, you can’t be worried about being too annoyed or feeling uncomfortable to send that follow up email.

This is another good thing to create a plan for before you’ve actually booked the project because if you do need to cancel, there are several things to consider:

  • How long will you wait on them to get active in the project again
  • What happens to the project files
  • Will there be any additional fees

You definitely want to include notes about this in your contract so you’re covered just in case you do need to cancel the project. It’s also good to mention this when you’re following up. You don’t have to be aggressive about it, but let them know that after a certain amount of time you’ll need to cancel the project so you both can move on.

Action Steps

  1. Make sure you’re clear about your client’s involvement in the project, revisions, and project add-ons in your onboarding process
  2. Get yourself set up on a project management app
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016: Website Mistakes That Are Costing You Design Clients
26:39
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 26:39
016: Website Mistakes That Are Costing You Design Clients

Designers make the same mistakes on their website that end up holding them back. In this episode we're talking about website mistakes that are costing you design clients.

As a designer, you’re always worrying about other people’s branding, graphics, website, or all of the above. When you’re focused on keeping your clients happy and on the right track, it’s easy to forget about making time for yourself. The problem with that is that your website and business may be suffering as a result!

Today we’ll talk about website mistakes that could be costing you clients and how to fix them.

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Mistake #1: Focusing on what you do, rather than the benefits

If your website focuses on the fact that you offer different types of branding and design services, rather than the reason your clients should be hiring you in the first place, you’re making a super common mistake. For example, if the tagline on your website or call-to-action in your header just mentions the fact that you’re a designer, you’re definitely missing out.

But don’t worry, it’s an easy fix!

Instead of focusing on what you do, focus on what results your clients get from working with you. What are the main reasons your clients are hiring you in the first place and the biggest benefits they see after your project is complete?

Mistake #2: Your services page

Listing features, but not benefits

Similar to the first mistake, if your services page just lists out what your clients will get in their package, rather than what they’ll get out of it, you’re missing out. Use your services page as an opportunity to remind clients of their struggles and the huge difference you can make in their business.

Offering too many services

If you’re offering everything from website design to VA work to social media consulting, you’re scaring away every experienced business owner out there. People who have been in business for any length of time (you know, the people who are willing to hand over their money) want to know that you are amazing at what you do. When you’re offering too many services, it looks to those people like you’re just kind of throwing everything out there to see what sticks, rather than specializing in one thing that you can help them with.

Not listing specific packages (or having too many)

Offering specific packages is an important part of being a designer. Your clients don’t know exactly what they need when they come to you in order to get the best results. You do!

Having these set packages also deters people from asking for services that you don’t want to offer.

Come up with 3 specific packages at different price points that will help your clients to move forward in whatever stage of business they’re in.

Making booking too difficult

Booking with you or scheduling that first consult call should be super easy. We don’t want to put any extra boundaries in the way of people trying to hire us.

The best options are to have buttons that allow potential clients to directly:

  • Schedule a call
  • Fill out a form specific to the service they’re interested in
  • Pay a down payment

Mistake #3: A portfolio with just a gallery of images

As a designer, your portfolio is a big selling point. Potential clients want to see examples of the work you do before booking to make sure your style aligns with theirs and that you’re really as good as you say you are.

However, a lot of designers have portfolios that are simply a gallery of images that don’t open to any more information. This type of layout doesn’t give potential clients what they need to get excited and really see what you can do.

Instead, have each item on your portfolio page open to a new page containing more information on the project, additional screenshots, and a link to the website (if applicable).

Mistake #4: Linking your main call-to-action to your services page

This one is nice and simple. If the main call-to-action on your website is to view your services page, you’re likely missing out on some great website real estate that could do a whole lot more for you. Kory found that when she tried this, it increased the page views on her services page, but she didn’t see an increase in clients at all.

If people are visiting your website for the first time or are just there to scan around, they’re not ready to just go and hire you and you asking them for it isn’t going to change their mind. Instead, bring them to your blog posts or email list where you can build a relationship with them and show them just how you can help improve their business.

Mistake #5: Starting your homepage or services page with questions

Listing off questions on part of your website where you’re trying to get potential clients to hire you shows that you’re unsure of who your ideal client is. Instead of asking questions, rephrase them into statements. That will show a lot more confidence and your potential clients will both agree and realize that you know and relate with them

p.s. Kory does not agree with this point

Mistake #6: Not showing your face

Trusting someone with a website design or branding is a big step. People want to know who you are, what your personality is like, and feel a connection before they reach out to work together. But if your website doesn’t have a picture of you, you’re making the connection much more difficult for people to feel.

I know that having your face on your website isn’t always the most fun thing. But if you’ve been putting it off until now, start with having a picture on just your About page and homepage.

Action Steps

  1. Go through the above mistakes and take note of any you’re making on your website
  2. Set a reminder on your calendar to fix one mistake per week
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015: 5 Questions to Ask Potential Clients Before Starting a Design Project
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC
015: 5 Questions to Ask Potential Clients Before Starting a Design Project

When you get an inquiry for a new project, there are likely several questions that you ask before agreeing to take on a project. There are 5 specific questions, though, that can help you decide whether or not you want the project as well as help you get a jumpstart in the right direction. In today's episode, we're going over those 5 questions and why it's so important to ask them.

In last week’s episode we talked to Erin Flynn a lot about onboarding. As she mentioned, one of the most important things you can do before booking and onboarding a client is to make sure that you’re screening them and know all the right details about their project. Most of us do this by sending a longer questionnaire to potential clients to get a better idea of what your potential client does and what they’re looking for with their project.

There are 5 specific questions, though, that can help you decide whether or not you want the project as well as help you get a jumpstart in the right direction. In today’s episode, we’re going over those 5 questions and why it’s so important to ask them.

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Why are you wanting a new design?

This is one of the first things you want to ask a prospective client, especially if they’re inquiring with you for branding or a new website design. We say this because there are many times when people think they need these big overhauls, but in reality they’re wanting them for the wrong reasons. So, by asking this question, it’ll help both you and your potential client decide if they’re getting this design work done for the right reason (like helping them move closer to accomplish their goals).

The downside of asking this is obviously that you may end up booking a smaller project with that client or you may not end up booking any work with them at all. However, let’s be honest: I would much rather lose a project than take someone through a major rebrand or whole new website design if they don’t need it. In fact, I’ve had a few clients that hired me for new blog designs even though they didn’t really need it, and it was those clients that moved on from my designs to something else the quickest.

What are your goals with this project?

This question ties in a lot to the previous one, but it’s okay to ask a similar question worded a little bit different. We like doing this because it encourages your potential client to think about their project in a different way. Not just why are they wanting the new design, but now we’re forcing them to think about what they want to get out of the project again helping you both make sure this is the best investment.

However, asking this question is also really important because it’s going to help both of you get an idea of whether or not this project was successful after things are wrapped up. If you’re doing website designs, definitely make sure you’re asking your potential clients this question because it’ll help you get an idea of what kind of results your design gets for your client after the project is over.

Related: Get Your Clients Awesome Results + Show Them Off

What are a few big goals you have for your business?

While we’re talking about goals, it’s also a good idea to ask about any big goals they have for their business that they’re currently working on or will be working on soon. You may feel that the work you’re doing for them isn’t necessarily going to directly effect their goals, but trust me: it most certainly will. If your client has a goal to increase their email list and launch a product in the next year, then the website design you create for them can help or hold them back from their goal to increase their list for that launch.

Beyond this, it’s important as a web designer to ask this question so you can make sure you’re giving them a website that they can grow into. For example, I had a potential client recently that let me know within 6 months after her new site launched, she was going to be adding a shop to her site. Instead of forcing her to figure that out on her own when the time comes, I would want to help her at least get the shop designed to match the rest of her site, so she wouldn’t have to worry about that along with launching her shop when the time came.

Who are your competitors?

If you’re doing anything like branding or website design, it’s absolutely always important to have an idea of who your potential client’s competitors are. This gives you an even clearer idea of who their target market is and what kind of design they’re used to looking at. Not only that, but it’ll help you avoid creating something that’s too similar without realizing it, which may sound crazy, but I’ve heard of it happening.

Building on that, asking about your potential clients competitors also will give you a chance to really focus on creating a design that will allow your clients to stand out from their competitors. While yes, you’re going to want to create something that isn’t an out of left field design, you also want your client’s brand or website to be memorable to their target market. If you’re not sure what makes them stand apart, even after asking who their competitors are, you definitely want to inquire more about this because it’ll absolutely help you with the design process.

Will you need any complementary add-ons?

This is sort of a secondary question, but it’s one that we don’t think enough designers bother asking. The truth of the matter is that a lot of times your potential clients will want or need more than just what they’re asking for, but they don’t realize it. For example, if they’re getting a new logo from you, does that mean they also need a new business card and letterhead design? It’s also important to keep in mind that sometimes potential clients don’t ask for those extra pieces if they don’t think you offer it.

You don’t necessarily have to upsell your potential clients on getting add-ons. If they don’t need them, then they just don’t need them. However, it’s a great chance to let them know that you offer these things and would be happy to create them while you’re working on everything else. So for example, if you do branding, be sure your clients know whether or not you can also create business cards, social media graphics, a custom newsletter template, or similar items as well.

Action Step

  1. Take a look at your intake questionnaire and add any questions we covered today that you don’t already have included
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014: Why Client Management Systems Are So Important With Erin Flynn
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC
014: Why Client Management Systems Are So Important With Erin Flynn

Client management before and after you work with your clients can either make or break the project not just for yourself but also for your clients. However, getting your management systems set up doesn't have to take ages. In today's episode, we're chatting with Erin Flynn about the importance of client manage systems, what they can do for your projects, and how to position yourself as an expert in the design field.

Client management before and after you work with your clients can either make or break the project not just for yourself but also for your clients. You can make sure you’re only booking the right projects for you and help ensure your clients give you amazing testimonials once the project is over with great client management. However, getting your management systems set up doesn’t have to take ages.

Both of us have learned so much about client management systems both before and after the project is over from Erin Flynn and her workshops, so we are really excited to be chatting with her today about the importance of these kinds of systems, what they can do for your projects, and how to position yourself as an expert in the design field.

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Why onboarding systems are so important

Erin isn’t afraid to share that she’s had nightmare clients, but she feels pretty strongly that most of them were nightmares because she didn’t onboard or manage them properly, which means they ended up walking all over her and making her feel miserable. This is why she thinks it’s so important to have your onboarding systems in place. It sets up the whole entire project either for success or failure. If you have a bad onboarding process for whatever reason, it’s going to be harder to have a good project overall.

After she had several nightmare clients, Erin started revising her onboarding process to help avoid that from happening again. This is around the time when she started utilizing the Intro and Welcome packets, which reduced a lot of questions she was getting and almost always gave her a reference point if things started going wrong during the project.

Both of us have taken Erin’s workshops on Intro and Welcome packets, and Krista in particular can attest to the fact that having them in place definitely helps the onboarding process, and it makes it a lot easier to deal with things if the client has different expectations about something during the project.

What client management looks like before the project

Erin says that the most important thing you can do before the project is screen your client. While she doesn’t believe in the “perfect, ideal client,” she does think that if you don’t have a specific idea of who you want to work with, you set yourself up to work with just anyone, which can potentially set the project up for frustration: either you’re not excited about the project or you have two totally different communication styles, for example.

She also admits that this can be hard to do when you’re new, and we totally agree. When you need the work, sometimes you just have to compromise. However, it’s all about learning which personalities you work the best with.

What client management looks like after the project

Since Erin had so much success with sending her clients Intro and Welcome packets, it should come as no surprise that she also has a Goodbye packet. She thinks it’s important to end your project with something like this that includes tutorials on how to manage their website, branding with notes on how and where to use their logo, resources to help them with services you don’t offer, and a special note of what else you can be hired for now that the project is over.

Even after giving them all of that information, though, she still thinks it’s important to follow up with her clients within 30 days of their website launch. This is a great time to see if they have any questions. Then she follows up every 3 months or so to make sure her clients not only know she’s still there to answer any questions, but also that she’s available to do more work for them if they need her.

Common mistakes designers make with client management

One of the main mistakes Erin sees clients make is that they work with their clients to launch a website, but they don’t bother to then let them know that they’re also available for other services. A perfect example of this is anyone who also does website maintenance. If you don’t tell your clients that you also offer this service, they’ll assume you don’t, and likely go find someone else who does and hire that person.

She also makes a really great point that doing this and getting your past clients coming back for more is such an awesome way to help you build stronger relationships while avoiding having to constantly be on the hunt for new clients. However, you have to remember to give them the heads up that you’re still available after their main project is over.

How Erin established herself as an expert in the design field

While Erin would love to tell us there’s a magic trick to this, she says that when it comes right down to it, she thinks making the mistakes she did early on in her business, documenting them, and sharing them on her blog with fellow designers is what helped her become known as an expert in the design field. People could see where she started, that she had experienced a similar problem, and also how she overcame it. This made a big difference in people trusting that she knew what she was talking about.

We both couldn’t agree more with her. Both of us always feel that people who share their experiences openly like that are so much more relatable. We also learn the best from them, which makes us want to keep coming back to their blog for more.

Action Steps

If you’re ready to revisit and rework your client management systems or work on becoming more well-known, Erin has some great tips for you:

  1. Sit down and write out your processes. Know what’s going to happen every step of the way so you can better answer your clients’ questions and never feel like you’re lost during the project.
  2. Work on networking either though Skype chats or going to conferences. Erin sets a goal to try to connect with a minimum of three new people per month, and that’s a great starting point when you’re trying to get your name out there more.

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Learn More About Erin

Erin has been making websites since 1999, and started her own web design and development company in 2012. After a few years creating websites for clients, Erin shifted her business. Now, her primary business is helping other designers and developers navigate the difficult waters of entrepreneurship by providing courses and guides to teach everything from how to start a web design business to how to deal with nightmare clients.

Website | Unstoppable Basecamp | Unstoppable Expedition

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013: How To Work With A Developer
32:56
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC 32:56
013: How To Work With A Developer

If you're never done it before, working with a developer can be really overwhelming. Especially when you start thinking about all the moving pieces. In today's episode we'll talk about how to work with a developer at each stage of a web design project!

Lately, we’ve seen a lot of designers who are interested in working with a developer, but are totally overwhelmed and not sure where to begin. They know it’s something they want to do, but getting started is a totally new thing to tackle.

We’ll admit, it can definitely be overwhelming the first couple times as you’re getting the hang of things, but we hope that this week’s episode and action steps will help prepare you to outsource development for the first time! We’ll walk you through everything from what to do before your first collaboration to onboarding to client support after the project is complete.

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Before you start your first collaboration

To make things go as smoothly as possible, there are a few things we recommend doing before you even go into your first collaboration. This will make sure that the process is stress-free and gets completed on time without any issues.

Find the right person

First things first. It is super important to find a developer that will work well for you. Working with the right person can completely make or break a project.

When you’re looking for someone to work with, take a close look at their website. Do they focus on development or do they also offer design that could end up competing with you? Do they have portfolio projects that you’re impressed with and resonate with your style? Are they using premade themes or developing from scratch? What is their communication style like?

Rather than working with the first person you come across, take some time to compare and find the person who will be best for you and your clients.

Update your services

Next, it’s important that when you start working with a developer consistently, that your services page includes everything relating to their part of the project. This includes things like the timeline, total cost, and what all is included in the package.

Some designers list only their part of the project and say things like “Development not included”, but this is a problem for a couple reasons:

  1. A lot of clients aren’t going to know what “development” means or why it needs to cost extra
  2. Even if they do have an idea of what it means, they’ll already have your price and timeline in mind and won’t be a fan when you come back and let them know that the full project will actually be twice as expensive (or more)

Add to your intake form

Last, before you get started on your first collaboration, chat with the developer you’ll be working with and make sure your intake form includes everything they’ll need to give an accurate quote.

That way, you don’t have to go back and forth between them and the client and can get a quote right away.

Onboarding

Next, comes onboarding. This is the phase where someone has decided to work with you and you’re going through the steps needed to get them booked and ready to go. It’s definitely important that you have a good process with your developer to make sure everything goes smoothly on the client’s end.

Quoting: The more info, the better

When you’re working to give a final quote on the project, give your developer absolutely every piece of information you have.

Krista here! As a developer, I really like to see things like inspiration websites and information on the client’s goals so I have a better idea of what to expect, even though those aren’t things I’d necessarily ask on my intake form.

Send a proposal and keep your developer updated

Next, it’s time for the proposal! Work closely with your developer to make sure your proposal is spot on when it comes to the development side, including costs, timeline, and what’s included. Once it’s approved by both of you, send it over to your client.

It’s important to keep your developer updated as you’re waiting to hear back from your client so they know if they should fill that spot in their schedule or leave it open and prepare for the next steps.

Contract and Invoice

Once the proposal is accepted, it’s time for contracts and invoices!

The way this works totally depends on your preferences. If you want to white-label the development, meaning your client doesn’t know your developer exists, you’ll send a contract to your client and your developer will send one to you.

On the other hand, if your client knows that the developer is in the picture, you’ll send your client a contract and your developer will likely send one to both you and the client to keep themselves fully protected.

As for invoices, the easiest way to do things is generally for you, as the designer, to invoice the client and then pay the developer their portion. This keeps your client from having invoices coming in from all directions.

Design

Nothing much will change when it comes to design. You have the freedom to design whatever you want, usually without having to check-in with your developer.

The one time you do want to check-in is right before you send the design off to your client. That way, your developer can make sure you didn’t design anything that wasn’t included in the original quote.

When designing, keep in mind that your developer can’t read your mind. Make sure your mockup shows things like hover effects, headings, blockquotes, and more.

Hand-Off

After your design is completed and approved by your client, it’s time to pass everything off to your developer. This part of the process is the one that can be the most intimidating, as it’s important that everything is delivered correctly and on time.

You can expect your developer to need things like:

  • The client’s content, including text and images
  • Your mockups
  • Brand elements

If your developer doesn’t include a checklist for you to go off of, make one for yourself the next time you’re doing a project on your own.

Development

Now it’s time for your developer to do their job and for you to sit back and relax!

While most developers won’t need a whole lot of back-and-forth communication, it is important to be available for questions that will come up. If you didn’t indicate a hover effect or the way you want headings to look, you can expect questions. Your developer might even reach out if something in your design would have a negative effect on load time or overall visitor experience.

Revisions

After development is complete, you can usually expect a round or two of revisions, depending on who you’re working with.

The most important thing to keep in mind here is that these don’t work like design revisions. You can’t expect to go in and change the way things look without being charged extra, as even a small change can sometimes require hours of extra work. With that being said, make sure your mockup is just right before you send it off!

Installation and Support

Finally, you’re all done and it’s time for the final installation and support!

This includes getting the design installed on your client’s live site and supporting them while they get used to everything for the first few weeks. Usually, this period can be nice and hands-off for you!

Action Steps

  • With your next design project, whether it’s semi-custom and you’re not doing much coding or fully custom and you’re going to power through, organize everything as if you were going to work with a developer.
  • Take note of the files, timeline, and anything you decide on the fly while setting up the site that a developer would need to know.
  • Then, turn that into a checklist that you can use when you work with a developer for the first time!
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012: What to Do When Client Work Slows Down
2017-12-14 23:25:47 UTC
012: What to Do When Client Work Slows Down

Summer and winter seem to be the two times that the inquiries start slowing down. Instead of freaking out, we're sharing 4 things you can do for your own business while client work is slow.

There are a few times of year when the unthinkable happens to us: inquiries start drying up and client work slows down. Usually this happens at least once a year for most business owners, and that’s usually during the summer months. People are going on vacations, figuring out how to entertain their kids, or just slowing down because they can, which means they aren’t thinking about making any changes in their business that would require hiring a designer.

Kory here! The first couple of years I noticed the slow down in my work I started freaking out. I went into panic mode wondering how I was going to pay my bills, and I was always on the edge of my seat wondering when I’d get more work. If you’re feeling this, rest assured that we all go through it. The good news is that you don’t have to overwork yourself trying to market your business or freak out waiting for new inquiries. Today we’re talking about four things you can do for your own business while things are quiet.

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Update your website

As important as our websites our to our businesses (they’re one of the main things helping us book clients after all), they’re one of the things that often get overlooked for the longest while we’re working. Either things like our copy or pricing becomes outdated or we don’t spend time actually updating our portfolios while we’re working with clients. So, there are several things you can do to your site when client work starts slowing down throughout the year:

  • Update your copy
  • Add new work to your portfolio
  • Completely redesign your site

Revisit and update your processes

Just like our websites, the processes we put to work with clients also end up not getting tweaked or updated until we have a horrible experience that forces us to reconsider how we do things. The problem with that is that as we work with more and more clients, we learn new things about how we like to work and tweaks we can make to our processes to make things go more smoothly. For example, maybe you want to change your moodboard process or update the way you onboard clients.

Updating these types of processes are perfect to do when you don’t have any clients because it’ll really give you enough time to go through every step and make sure you have things set up exactly how you want it to be. You also won’t have to worry about having two different sets of processes for your current and new clients, which is too much of a headache to even think about.

Do something on your “someday” business to do list

If you’re anything like us, then you already know what a “someday” list is, but in case you don’t, a “someday” list is simply a list of tasks that you know you need to get around to, but you keep putting it off or saying you’ll get them done “someday” or “soon”. Krista and I each have our own “someday” lists, and they seem to grow faster than we can tackle them.

Depending what’s on your list, you might have plenty of time to tackle some of those tasks when client work is slowing down so you still have productive things to do for your business. For example, a lot of people have tasks like “add new work to portfolio” on this list, but other people might have things like creating a passive income product on there. Whatever your tasks are, if you have a few weeks off or have extra time during the day, working on these things will help you move your business forward even when things are slow.

Take time off

Last but certainly not least is one of the hardest things for people to do: take time off from their business. I know it’s so hard to do this, especially when you really enjoy what you do for work. Taking time off is always hard for me, but every time I do I almost always come back to work feeling refreshed and energized to get back into the swing of things.

You don’t have to take a dramatic amount of time off, either. If you usually work 6-7 days a week, try just taking a weekend off. If you just work during the week, take a long weekend or a whole week off if you can swing in. Regardless of how long your time off will be, make sure that you’re actually unplugging during this time. Leave your computer at home or in another room, delete social media from your phone, and actually unwind. That’s even harder than just taking time off, but it’ll do you a lot of good to be completely checked out for a little while.

Action Step

  • Make a plan for what you can do when work starts slowing down
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011: Designing For Clients With Multiple Goals
26:37
2017-12-14 23:25:48 UTC 26:37
011: Designing For Clients With Multiple Goals

011: Designing For Clients With Multiple Goals

As a web designer, the websites you create should do more than look nice. They should play a huge part in supporting your clients’ goals and moving their business forward.

But what if a client has more than one goal? How in the world can you design a site that supports multiple goals without ending up with a jumbled mess?

In this week’s episode we’re chatting about designing for clients with multiple goals, including how goals should work together, what to do when your client has goals that aren’t a good match, and what to do when they have more than one big main goal.

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Designing for goals that work well together

What it looks like

We actually came up with this subject thanks to a question we got from a listener. She was wondering what to do when a client wants to both book more clients and grow their email list. It just so happens that this is an example of a couple goals that work really well together.

A website should form a journey for your client’s audience. So they start by gaining familiarity and trust with your client and then take bigger steps towards eventually booking a service or buying a product. A common example looks something like read a blog post > join their email list > book a service.

Help them out

Most of your clients aren’t going to understand how these types of steps should work. Helping them become aware of these steps and then supporting them in your web design can be huge in moving their business forward.

Don’t be afraid to hop on a call and talk through things to figure out what the different steps leading up to their big goals should be.

Designing for goals that don’t work well together

What it looks like

An example of goals that don’t work well together that I dealt with in the past was someone who wanted a website to support both health coaching and design services.

Goals like these are a problem because they completely compete with each other. They have different audiences, need different content, and one doesn’t naturally lead to the other.

What to do about it

1. Merge their offerings

If you can convince a client like this to merge their offerings into one super niche offer, it could really set them apart and do them a whole lot of good. For the example I mentioned, the person could have done design for health coaches or people concerned with wellness. That way, she could tap into both passions and put all of her amazing knowledge to use.

2. Separate websites

Another option would be for them to have two totally separate websites. That way, they could market each business to the right audience and wouldn’t have competing subjects on the same site.

Some clients may even be up for the option of using one web design on two sites to save a little bit of money and make the process go a bit more quickly.

Designing for multiple high-level goals

It’s not rare to come across clients that have multiple main, high-level goals for their website. For example, some will have both services and products that they want to offer and make money through.

Consider the journey

The key here is to think through the different journeys their visitors will need to go on. What will make someone ready for purchasing a product? What will make them ready for booking a service? Can one lead to the other?

Help your client work through what the goal of each page should be and what visitors will be ready to do at that point.

Using Kory as an example, she has both a shop and design coaching services. If she writes a blog post on how she uses Asana for her client projects, it makes sense for her to link to her product related to Asana within that post.

However, since services are her main focus when she has to choose, it makes the most sense for those to be featured in most other areas, like her About page or main funnel.

Help your client decide what is most important and feature each goal in the appropriate areas.

Action Steps

  1. Write a canned response for when a client comes to you with two niches or two overall goals that don’t work well together on a website

Example:

Hey [NAME],

I love that you’re passionate about both [X] and [Y]. I can already see that you have so much value to give.

That being said, I’m concerned with offering both types of [services/products] on one website, as you need to attract completely different audiences and lead them down different paths to either one or the other. It will be nearly impossible to get your messaging perfect to attract both people and will decrease the effectiveness of all the work you do.

That being said, I recommend that we do [X].

Let me know what you think. I’d be more than happy to jump on a call to talk through this option or any others.

Important points to include:

  • Start on a positive note
  • Explain why trying to include both niches or goals on the same website will hurt them and slow down their business growth
  • Recommend a solution
  • Encourage them to respond with a decision or ask questions
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010: How to Improve the Likelihood of Booking a Project
2017-12-14 23:25:48 UTC
010: How to Improve the Likelihood of Booking a Project

Have you ever gotten an inquiry for a super exciting project only for the potential client to go totally MIA? You're left confused and bummed. Well, no more! We're covering five quick things you can do to help improve your chances of booking all of those dreamy projects.

Few things are more exciting, especially when you’re just starting your design business than getting an inquiry. It’s even better when a potential client contacts you with a dream project. Regardless, at that moment you’re dotting all of your i’s and crossing all of your t’s in hopes that you get the project.

Kory here! I know I always enjoy getting inquiries, and of course the dream projects usually have me making sure that I’m doing everything I can to actually get the project. However, it’s hard not to feel disappointed when the client chooses to book with someone else or simply just goes MIA. We’ve noticed in our Facebook group that a lot of people are dealing with this, so in today’s episode we’re covering five quick things you can do to help improve your chances of booking all of those dreamy projects.

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Ask their budget and timeline right away

A lot of times when you’re working on trying to grow your business, it’s easy to get a lot of inquiries from potential clients that aren’t quite willing or able to pay what you’re charging for your projects. We’ve all been there, and while it can be really frustrating (especially if you’ve already invested a lot of time in the potential client before finding this out), that’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re asking for their budget and timeline right up front.

Aside from saving some frustration, knowing their budget and timeline will help you create the best proposal you can that will meet the potential client where they are and help them accomplish their goals with the project. Just think about it: if they have a $800 budget for their entire project, you’ll likely scare them away completely if you pitch a $3,000 project. That can be a huge blow to your business, especially if you have cheaper options that would actually fit in their budget.

Get on a call to make a personal connection + relate with their struggles

We’ve talked about getting on calls with potential clients before, and we know – it takes time and can be a real struggle for you, especially if you’re an introvert. The good news is that I don’t believe you have to get on a call with every potential client unless you have premium prices. Even if getting on a call is pushing you outside of your comfort zone, it really can increase the likelihood of booking more projects because it gives you a chance to:

  • Build trust, which is really important regardless of how long they have been familiar with your brand
  • Help them feel like their struggles are truly understood and comfortable putting their project in your hands
  • Truly understand what it is they’re looking for, which can help you craft a better proposal based on their needs

Sending a professional proposal that focuses on the benefits

I don’t know about you guys, but when I started my design business I thought it was totally normal to send all of the project details right in an email. It’s probably safe to guess that most newbie designers do this, and I think it’s one reason that some potential clients either go MIA (they lost the email in their inbox) or choose to go with someone else. When you take the time to create a PDF proposal (or one in your client management software), it makes you look a lot more professional. This will make your potential clients more confident about working with you.

We talked about what to put in your proposals in EP 004, but one of the most important things you can do is to talk about more than just the numbers of the project. Make sure you’re including things like the benefits of working with you and of actually doing the project. How can getting a new website design increase their sales? Will new branding help them attract more dream clients? Including these things gets them thinking beyond just their current problems and into thinking about how working with you can boost their business over the long term.

Look professional by sending intro packets and invoices

Building off of the last point, looking professional is important because it makes your potential clients a lot more comfortable putting not only their project but also their business in your hands. So, when you can take that up a notch, why not do it? In addition to sending in-depth proposals, another way you can look more professional is by sending intro packets and invoices.

This is incredibly important to do if you’re just getting your design business off the ground. Experienced business owners know what red flags to look for when hiring someone, so if you’re attracting those types of clients you want to look and be as professional as you can. Sending intro packets, using a client management system, and just appearing professional let’s them know you know what you’re doing and that they’ll be well taken care of with you. This will also help you stand out from anyone else who is trying to book them that hasn’t taken the time to set up these systems for their business.

Follow-up with them if they go MIA

Usually the main reason any business owner isn’t booking a service based project is because at some point after the inquiry, the potential client just went MIA. There are lots of reasons that a potential client wouldn’t get back to you, for example: because they’re busy with other things, they had questions that they weren’t asking, or they wanted to tweak the package, but weren’t sure you’d do that. However this shouldn’t deter you from following up with them, especially if you really want (or need) their project.

The good news here is that your follow-up email doesn’t have to be super long or really intense. I always keep things really simple here and let them know that I’m available to answer questions, and I’m looking forward to hopefully getting to work on their project. You can even save time by creating a canned response and using this same email on all projects you’re following up on. It’s also important to make sure you give them at least a week or two before you start following up. Just because they haven’t emailed you back in 24 hours doesn’t mean it’s time to email them again.

Action Steps

  • Pick two of the suggestions we covered in today’s episode and try them out with your next project inquiry
    • While we recommend doing all of them, obviously, we for sure recommend that you ask their budget and timeline right away
  • Once you get comfortable with a few of those suggestions, add one more at a time. Play around and see what works for you.
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009: How to Discover What Services to Offer Your Clients with Kaitlyn of The Crown Fox
34:22
2017-12-14 23:25:48 UTC 34:22
009: How to Discover What Services to Offer Your Clients with Kaitlyn of The Crown Fox

Offering unique design services is a challenge, whether you've been in business for years or are just starting out. In this week's episode we're chatting about how to discover what services to offer your clients.

Offering unique design services is a challenge, whether you’ve been in business for years or are just starting out. It’s common to feel like you need to offer the same types of design services as everyone else – especially the people who are seeing great results and growth in their business.

In today’s episode, we’re chatting with Kaitlyn of The Crown Fox about how you can find out what you really want to offer to your clients to make you happiest, get your clients results, and make your business stand out from all the other designers out there.

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How Kaitlyn’s business started

Kaitlyn started her business the way a lot of designers tend to. You see a few websites offering branding or website design along with a general price range, and decide to go for it.

She jumped in by offering branding and Squarespace websites like a lot of the other designers she was seeing around. However, even though she had good clients she didn’t feel fulfilled in the way she always expected to. Even though she loved branding, she realized she didn’t like doing branding for people on her own.

What the transition looked like

Even though Kaitlyn knew she wasn’t doing the right thing, she was very resistant to the change at first. She tried to power through and keep going, while trying different things to see what stuck. If you’ve followed her for a period of time, you might be surprised to learn that she was even looking for full-time jobs for a while.

During a conversation with a dream client that she was doing retainer work for, Kaitlyn mentioned that she wished she could work with all clients like her…and that’s where the real transition started. She quickly started signing on more retainer clients and knew that she was meant for a design assistant role, rather than a web or brand designer.

She can now look back at the old work she was doing and say that she didn’t enjoy it because:

  • It felt like a constant struggle with clients with everything from pricing to choosing the right logos
  • She felt like she was there to click buttons

But on the flip side, she’s totally in love with what she’s doing now because:

  • She’s on a team
  • There are other people excited about what she’s doing
  • She can be excited about the direction someone else’s business is going
  • Her clients aren’t always standing over her shoulder

Kaitlyn transferred between her two types of services in a way that she wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others, but she completely stopped accepting the types of projects she had been doing. Even though that meant she didn’t know where money would be coming in, she decided she was done.

However, everything seemed to line up perfectly and as she was wrapping up her final two projects, an amazing new client found her way through the door.

Instead of completely cutting off your work before having new clients lined up, Kaitlyn recommends slowly making the transition. So while finishing up a current project, also spend time marketing your new services and signing on new clients. She also recommends that you give any longer-term clients that you’d no longer be working with a heads up that things would be changing and a referral to a new designer.

How the new clients started coming in so fast

If you listen in to the episode, you’ll learn that Kaitlyn filled up her new spots pretty quickly. She credits this much to the fact that she stood out to people as a graphic design assistant and was exactly what they needed. The word choice she used in crafting her new title was huge.

When coming up with your own unique service offerings, rather than trying to be creative in your name, consider what exactly your dream clients would be looking for if they needed someone like you.

How changing up her offerings transformed her business

Since finding design offerings that she really loves, Kaitlyn has found herself working a lot more – but in a good way! It’s crazy how much more excited you can be about your work when it really lights you up and is exactly what you want to be doing.

Because of working more on projects she loves with the perfect clients, Kaitlyn has also found herself feeling more motivated, productive, and happy overall.

Action Steps

If you’ve found yourself feeling like you’re not offering the right services and that you’re already mentally checked out, Kaitlyn has some great tips for you:

  1. Acknowledge the fact that you need to decide what’s next, whether it’s a full-time job or creating new services
  2. Think back to the work you’ve done over the past year and take note of when you were the happiest
  3. Build services based on that (and don’t be afraid if it’s super specific!)
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Learn More About Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn is a graphic design assistant to creative entrepreneurs. She’ll handle anything you need visually, while you keep growing your empire!

Website | Instagram | Weekly Wine Down

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008: Benefits of collaborating with a developer
32:06
2017-12-14 23:25:48 UTC 32:06
008: Benefits of collaborating with a developer

A lot of designers feel like if they want to offer website design services to their clients that they have to suck it up and deal with the techy and coding pieces. In this week's episode, we're chatting all about the benefits of collaborating with a developer on your design projects

A common struggle with running your own small business is finding yourself spending way too much time on things you don’t want to do.

Krista here! For me, things like writing blog posts, scheduling social media, and answering emails just feels like it’s getting in the way of the work I really want to be doing.

I know as a designer, you have something extra added to the list of things that aren’t in your zone of genius and that’s development. The problem is, a lot of designers feel like if they want to offer website design services to their clients that they have to suck it up and deal with the techy and coding pieces. Luckily for you, that’s not quite the whole truth so in this week’s episode, we’re chatting all about the benefits of collaborating with a developer on your design projects.

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Benefits of collaborating with a developer

More time spent on what you love to do

Whether you feel like you’re not getting enough time on your design projects, connecting with peers on social media, or hanging out with your family, working with a developer can free up hours of your time each week to focus more on those things.

Coding a custom site tends to take me between 40 and 60 hours – how many extra design projects could you take if you had that amount of time back?

Developers can probably get things done a bit faster than you

Something Kory brought up during this episode was the fact that she had spent hours struggling with a piece of code for one of her design projects. She finally decided to ask me for help and 5 minutes later the issue was solved. I’ve seen this kind of thing repeated over and over with designers I’ve worked with in the past. They spend hours on Google trying to fix an issue, but when you pass that same issue over to a developer, the solution is like second nature (just like design is for you!).

Less last-minute night and weekend work

When you’re trying to do something that you’re not so comfortable doing, you tend to underestimate how long a task will take. It’s easy to think that tweaking a theme a little bit will take you an hour or two, only to find yourself five hours later fighting with something that you thought would be simple. This tends to lead to unexpected night and weekend work, in an attempt to keep the overall project on track.

When you have a developer on hand that you can pass off either entire projects or small pieces to, you don’t have to worry about those types of things happening.

More confidence in your final product

When you’re forcing your way through coding a website, you’ll probably find that you’re not aware of many of the best practices. Google has great solutions, but do they really know what will be best for your client?

Knowing that you have these types of knowledge limitations when you’re passing your completed website over to your client will cause you to feel like it’s not quite perfect. Instead, when you’re working with a developer who knows exactly what they’re doing when it comes to responsiveness, SEO, or a unique solution to a problem, you can feel completely confident when your client is seeing their website for the first time.

You can offer extra design features

For me, any design work I do is super limited. I can code just about anything, but trust me, you don’t want to see me try to make something look nice.

The same thing is true for most designers when it comes to development. Maybe you have a homepage with a feature you’d really like to add, but if you can’t code it yourself you’re kind of out of luck. This definitely limits what you can design and what you have to offer your clients, but when you add a developer into the mix all of these limitations go away.

And if up to this point you’ve only been offering template installations or semi-custom websites, working with a developer gives you the freedom to offer your clients something completely custom.

You have someone else to take care of ongoing tasks

No matter what type of design services you offer, it’s never fun to have to stop working on a fun new project that you’re excited about to jump back to an old project to help them with maintenance. Especially if it’s related to a coding or plugin problem that requires troubleshooting.

When you have a developer in your back pocket, you don’t have to worry about these things. Your developer can take care of all the maintenance issues that pop up and you can focus on the fun new brand you’ve been waiting to start on for weeks.

Collaborations are fun!

Running an online business can feel a little isolating at times, even if you do have a business bestie or a mastermind. When you work with a developer, you have a teammate on each of your projects. Someone that is by your side, working with you to reach your end-goal.

I’ll be honest, making close friendships wasn’t something I expected when I started teaming up with designers, but now it’s one of my favorite things to come out of each project!

Action Steps

  1. Consider if working with a developer is right for you, based on the benefits we went over in this episode
  2. If you think it is, contact a developer and try out a smaller type of package with them and see how it goes!

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007: How to Get Clients to Provide Their Content and Feedback on Time
40:00
2017-12-14 23:25:48 UTC 40:00
007: How to Get Clients to Provide Their Content and Feedback on Time

One of the biggest struggles designers have with their clients is getting them to provide their content and feedback in a timely manner. In today's episode, we're going over tips to help avoid this frustration with your clients.

Have you ever had a project that got delayed by days or maybe even weeks because your client didn’t provide their website content to you in time? Or maybe your client went MIA right when they were supposed to provide feedback on your latest mockup. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to hurry up and wait for either of those things.

Kory here! I know this is something that many designers, and even developers like Krista, deal with on a regular basis. What’s worse is that most people in this situation want to be nice and let things slide; however, the problem with that is often times you’re the one playing catch up later in the project and feeling stressed out.

Unfortunately, Krista experienced this situation earlier this year, and even though it was incredibly challenging, she shared a little of her experience in this episode, and it’s one of the main reasons we wanted to share with you some of our best tips on how to avoid this with your own clients in this week’s episode!

Getting clients to provide content on time

Cover it numerous times in your onboarding process

It may seem like overkill, but a great place to set the expectation on when your clients’ content is due is by mentioning it several times throughout your onboarding process. Obviously when and how you do this really depends on what your process looks like, but here’s what we recommend:

Contract

In your contract, it’s really important to mention and be really clear about the deadlines during the project and your expectations in regards to them. Make sure that your client knows it’s their responsibility to send you their content and when it’s due. You’re also going to want to make sure that you’re clear about the consequences if they’re late. Will you charge fees? If their content is more than a few days to a week late, will you reschedule their project? Will there be an additional fee for that?

Welcome Packet

We highly recommend to have a Welcome packet for your clients because this is a great way to build excitement and continue to set expectations for your project. Just like your contract, this is another place where you can and should outline exactly what you need from your client. Don’t just say “content” because sometimes clients aren’t entirely sure what that means. Instead, be as clear as possible. Tell them you’ll need photos and text content for specific pages. Also make sure you’re including the due dates.

Asana

When you’re setting your client up on Asana (or any project management software you may use), be sure to create tasks related to sending you their content, and assign them to your clients. Also be sure that you’re assigning due dates to these tasks. Not only is this another way to avoid your clients sending everything too late, but Asana will due the work for you of sending reminder emails a few days before the task is due, the day before, as well as the day of.

Email

Just in case your client has missed all of your notes about their content, it doesn’t hurt to send an email one week before you’re getting started with them to remind them one last time. This may seem like you’re just bugging them and being annoying, but having that extra reminder will hopefully keep them from being late.

Create a safety net

The downside here is that there’s always going to be that one person who is too busy or didn’t really pay attention or understand how important it was to provide their content in a timely manner. Krista recommends having this safety net to create a buffer between when you want the content and when you actually need it to help avoid the content being late. Her buffer is 7 days before the project starts.

What will you do when they’re late?

It’s not fun to think about, but having consequences for when your client can’t stick to the contract or project schedule is really important. However, it’s vital that you actually stick to what your contract says. If you’re going to bill someone a certain amount, make sure you do it the first time they’re late. If you’re going to reschedule the project, don’t hesitate to let them know right away what’s happening.

You may feel totally awful doing this, but this is where Krista admits she went wrong with her project earlier this year. She says if she’d maintained what her contract said from the very beginning, she likely wouldn’t have continued to have the lateness problem throughout the rest of the project.

Getting your clients to provide feedback on time

Start with your Contract and Welcome Packet

This is the exact same as setting expectations for your clients’ content. You want to make sure your clients understand what their responsibilities are for the project from the very beginning, so that means they need to know as soon as the contract that they’ll be required to provide feedback. This is also a good time to give them an idea on when you need them to be available, and to make sure they know that you need to know if they have any planned vacations during your project.

Also, you want to be clear about your consequences for delayed feedback. Make sure they know what will happen to their project if they take more than a few days or a week to get back to you. Will you charge fees or reschedule their project?

Asana

One of the key things that has helped me get feedback from my clients in a timely manner is to have a task in Asana for every single time I need feedback from them. I also make sure I assign these to my clients, and I also assign due dates. I love that this allows me to not have to worry about reminding them that their feedback is due soon.

What to do when they’re late

Just like you want to have a plan if content is late, you definitely want to have a plan for projects where feedback is late. You’ll likely want to start by checking in with them to see what’s going on and make sure everything’s okay. You’ll also want to make sure you halt any work on the project, which may delay deadlines, but it’ll help you avoid doing work that you have to do major revisions on in the future.

Also, make sure that you’re sticking to your contract if your client is behind on providing feedback. If you have certain consequences like billing or delaying their project so that they miss their deadlines, remember that this isn’t your fault. It’s your client who has dropped the ball.

Action Items

  1. Revisit your onboarding process and make sure your contracts and welcome packet are solid
  2. Set up a way to send your clients reminders before the due dates
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006: How to Target and Attract the Right Clients
34:14
2017-12-14 23:25:48 UTC 34:14
006: How to Target and Attract the Right Clients

One thing we know all business owners, especially designers, struggle with at one point or another in their business is how to make sure they're attracting the right clients. It's something we all obviously want to be doing, but sometimes it's a whole lot easier said than done. So in today's episode we're sharing a few tips on how to make sure you're doing exactly that.

One thing we know all business owners, especially designers, struggle with at one point or another in their business is how to make sure they’re attracting the right clients. It’s something we all obviously want to be doing, but sometimes it’s a whole lot easier said than done.

Kory here! I see and hear people say they get a lot of inquiries, but it’s for people who won’t pay their prices or it’s for projects that they really don’t want to do. In fact, we also often see people asking how to get more ideal clients or how to get their current potential clients to be willing to pay more. At the end of the day, it really all boils down to making sure that you’re not only targeting but actually attracting the right clients to your business. So, in today’s episode we’re sharing a few tips on how to make sure you’re doing exactly that.

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Know who you’re targeting

It may seem sort of counter productive to have a specific niche that you target with your design services, but it’s really important for your business that you have one. If you just focus on targeting anyone, you’re likely going to get more inquiries for projects, but those inquiries might be for projects that you just don’t want or don’t enjoy doing.

If you’ve been doing this, don’t fret! Krista and I were both there and doing the same thing when we just got started, and we think it’s beneficial for everyone to dip their toes in all sorts of projects before committing to one niche.

If you’re not sure who to target

If you’ve been working with all sorts of clients on all sorts of projects, then you’ll want to take a look at what you’ve done recently that you’ve enjoyed the most. Chances are you’ll notice that the projects you’ve been enjoying are all similar projects, and this will give you a great idea of who you want your target market to be. For example, if you’ve done a lot of blog designs for fashion bloggers or branding for local restaurants then you’ll want to target fashion bloggers and local restaurants.

Something important to remember here: when you’re making a decision on who you want to target with your design services, whoever you pick doesn’t have to be a forever decision. You can certainly change your target audience in the future if you want to. However, picking your target market now will help you get on the right path sooner rather than later.

Make sure your website reflects your target market

Obviously once you’ve nailed down who exactly you’re target market is, you want to make some updates to your website to reflect that. This doesn’t mean that you have to go in and create a totally new design for your site, but there are a few key places you want to pay attention to.

Your Copy

It’s through the copy on your website where you’re getting that first impression across to people of who it is that you’re targeting. If you do not want to work with food bloggers or you don’t want to work with a certain kind of  people, then the opening line on your website should not mention anything about those people, right?

So be clear on your Home page so people visiting your site know right away who you want to work with. However, don’t forget to talk about who your ideal client is on your About page, and explain who your services are for on your Services page.

Your Portfolio

A lot of times, especially new designers, we wind up putting all of our projects we’ve ever worked on in our portfolio no matter how old it is, no matter how much we hate it, no matter how much our design style has changed. When you’re just getting started, you sort of have to do this to just show off that you can design things. However, when potential clients look at your portfolio, they’ll see right away the type of work they’ll get from you. This is why it’s so important to frequently be auditing your portfolio.

If you have projects in your portfolio that are really outdated because your style has changed or you didn’t like how they turned out as much, take those suckers off your website. There is no rule that you have to show every single project you’ve ever done. Use this space to curate your projects that are not only your best work and that you’re most confident in, but also that align to more of the type of work that you want to keep doing.

 Your Content

Last but not least, you can make sure you’re really attracting the right clients through your blog content. You don’t have to make every single blog post you publish be informative or educational, but 75-80% of it should be because it’s definitely going to help you appear more as an expert in your field and attract more of the right clients.

A good example would be if you design invitations for weddings, then the kind of content that you’re putting on your website should be for women who are about to get engaged or who just got engaged and are planning their wedding so that you can get them in with that similar content. Once you have them on your website, you can include a link to your Services page and explain how you can help them with their new design needs.

Network where your target market hangs out

Once you know who you’re attracting and you know that your website and your social media everything aligns, you do want to make sure that you’re putting in the time to actually get your name out there. If you are not looking to work with other business owners, then being in Facebook groups or going to conferences with only other business owners attending or hanging out there – that means you are investing a lot of time to network with the wrong people.

Instead, you want to focus on getting your name out there with the people who would actually hire you or at least be able to refer their clients to you. You can do this in a few ways. To start, obviously you can work on finding Facebook groups that your target market hangs out in. However, you can also search for online or in-person events that they would be attending. Regardless of where you’re networking, be sure to be helpful in general when you can instead of only trying to promote yourself.

Action Items

  1. Ask yourself who you really want to be working with. If you have an exercise that you walk your clients through to help determine their target market, try going through it yourself.
  2. Once you know who your target market is, make sure your website reflects that.
  3. Start hanging out and networking where your target market is
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005: What You Need To Know About Designing Strategic Websites
21:28
2017-12-14 23:25:48 UTC 21:28
005: What You Need To Know About Designing Strategic Websites

What You Need To Know About Designing Strategic Websites

In Episode 2, we chatted about how you can get your clients awesome results through designing strategic websites. In this episode, we’re following up on that topic and chatting all about what you need to know before you dive into more strategic designs. It’s definitely more than the simple tips you’ll find in a Google or Pinterest search about increasing your email opt-in rates or something similar.

There’s a whole lot more that goes into it, so that’s what we’re diving into in this episode.

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As Kory pointed out, it’s easy to focus so much on designing something that’s pretty, that you forget that it actually has to work for your client’s business. But on the other hand, it can be a tricky thing to get right when you’re not sure about what all goes into it. Luckily, that leads us right into our first point.

It takes research

If you’ve never spent time diving into strategic web design before, don’t put the pressure on yourself to think you should know it all right away. That’s definitely not how it works. It actually takes quite a bit of research.

See how the pros do it

Krista here! When I first dove into strategic websites, I spent a lot of time researching websites of the big dogs like Pat Flynn and Marie Forleo. I’d go to their website and literally take notes of how things were placed, what calls-to-action were being used where, and how I thought it all incorporated into their business growth. I learned so much by doing that and I use that knowledge in every single project I do to this day.

Experiment on your own website

Once you’ve done some research and have the basics partially figured out, it’s time to do some experimenting on your own website. This way, there’s not the pressure of getting something right the first time for a client, you have all the time you need to make tweaks and get it just right.

For example, in the past I was curious to see if the opt-in in the header section of websites really converted as well as people seemed to think so I spent a few weeks swapping out what was in that section. I quickly found that it was my highest converting opt-in on my website, which is a great thing to know going into client projects.

Taking time to experiment on your own website will give you some great insights into what you can do on your client sites in the future to get them results.

Use heat maps

Another great way to take the experimenting step a little bit further is to use heat maps on your website as well as client sites. Heat maps are an amazing tool that track where people are clicking on your website. With this knowledge, you can learn a lot about the paths they’re taking, the things they’re most interested in, and the things that aren’t converting well.

Kory even pointed out that it would be great to get heat maps activated on a client site before doing a new design to learn more about what their audience really loved and what needed some work.

To get started with heat maps, check out the Sumo plugin.

Understand your client’s goals

After you’ve done some research and are ready to dive into your first strategic design project, it’s time to get a good look at your client’s goals. The thing about goals are, even if your clients are in the same niche, their goals are still going to be quite a bit different.

Okay okay, maybe they all want to make money. But the smaller goals they each have to get there will be different.

For example, one client might be totally focused on list building. You can design a website that is absolutely perfect for them and gets them great results, but that website could be terrible for the next client that comes along who is more focused on something different.

Each page should serve a purpose

The next thing you need to know about designing strategic websites is that each page should serve a purpose.

For example, we all know the About page is important, but what’s it really there for? To teach your client’s audience more about them as a person? To illustrate pain points that their audience has? Regardless of what it is for a particular client, it’s important to understand the purpose of a page and craft calls-to-action around that purpose.

If an About page you’re working on is meant to build trust and introduce a solution, that’s a great place to lead someone to a Services page. Once that trust is built and they want the solution, the services will look a lot more appealing than they would otherwise.

Make it all work together and form a journey

And last, but certainly not least, once you’ve added a real purpose to each page it’s time to put it all together and make sure it forms a complete journey. Think of someone who lands on that website for the first time. Regardless of what page they’re on, are they going to be led through who your client is, what they do, and how they help? How is that know-like-trust factor going to be built? Are the steps that someone needs to go from a first-time visitor to paying client or customer all there, laid out in front of them?

The journey you make for each client will be totally different. You might even find that a really important piece of the journey takes place off of the website in an email list or live event, for example. But regardless, take the time to make sure the start and end points are where they need to be on the website.

It’s worth the extra work

This all might sound a bit intimidating, but take a few minutes to think about what it will be like once it’s all a part of your process. Adding anything new to your offerings takes a little time up front and designing strategic websites is no different. After a few, it will become a part of your process and won’t feel overwhelming at all.

Instead, you’ll see that the websites you’re creating are worth more to your clients. They’re going to see an increase in the conversions they want, which will make them even more excited about working with you in the future and sending all their friends your way.

Action Steps

  1. Head over to Sumo.com, grab their plugin, and get the heat maps activated on your website. Make sure it’s set up for your homepage, Services page, About page, and a couple recent blog posts.
  2. Then, take a look in 1-2 weeks and see what you’ve learned that can be applied to your next client project!
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Resources:

  • Sumo – The best plugin for heatmaps on WordPress
  • Checklist: 10 steps to designing a strategic website for your clients
  • Strategy workbook: Design Your Own Pixel Perfect Production (use the code GETBACKTODESIGN for $10 off)

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004: How to Go Above and Beyond for Your Clients
34:21
2017-12-14 23:25:48 UTC 34:21
004: How to Go Above and Beyond for Your Clients

Delivering on your promises to your clients isn't the only way you can make them happy with project. In this episode, we're going over five times that you can do more for your clients to make them happier + enjoy the project that much more.

In EP 002 we talked about going above and beyond for your clients by educating your clients on how they can take your amazing design and start really putting it to great use for themselves so they can start seeing awesome results. Going above and beyond in that way is a really amazing way that you can help your clients and make them even happier with the experience of working with you; however, that’s not the only way to do it.

Kory here! You can start going above and beyond for your design clients before you’ve even booked the project and even after you’ve wrapped up the end of your time together. In this episode, we’re breaking down different ways you can go above and beyond to really wow you client and boost their experience.

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Before you’ve booked their project

If you want to make a great impression with your potential clients and make them more likely to book their project with you, then it’s important to make sure you’re going above and beyond before you’ve even officially booked their project. While this will require some extra time from you on potential projects that you might not actually book, these things will make it worthwhile in the long run.

Offering a discovery call

I know a lot of people are uneasy at the idea of getting on the phone or Skype with a potential client, but it’s a great way to show your potential client that you really care about the struggles they’re currently facing and want to help them reach their goals. Instead of just shooting quick back and forth emails, you’re investing time and energy into getting to know them and what they need, and your potential clients will notice this.

These discovery calls don’t have to be hours long. We recommend doing a quick 30-minute call, but give your potential client plenty of time to talk about the project themselves. This will help you make sure you fully understand what they’re looking for and are pitching the right package to them.

Sending a formal proposal

Once you’ve gotten off your call and are ready to send over an estimate, don’t just send a number via email. When you do this you put yourself in a position where you literally have to just cross your fingers and hope that they like you and your work enough to book the project. When you take the time to create a more formal proposal, you do the same thing that discovery calls do: let your client know that you understand their needs and are committed to helping them reach their goals.

When you’re putting your proposal together, use their exact words back to them in the proposal PDF that you’re sending and really explain to them how the package that you want them to book will help them reach these goals. Dive deep into the project itself and how you can help them, how you specifically can help them and the package.

During your project together

After you’ve booked the project, you may find yourself just trying to make sure that you can give your clients what they want and ensure they’re happy at the end of the project. However, unless you have a truly difficult client (we’ve all had our fair share of those!) then it’s still important to do what you can to go above and beyond for your clients during your time together. This is when you can really wow them and make them more likely to send their friends your way.

Over-deliver on what you’ve promised

One of the best ways you can go above and beyond for your current clients is to over-deliver on what you’ve promised them. In addition to creating her website design, Krista’s designer went above and beyond by also creating blog post graphic templates in Photoshop that matched her new brand and website. This is a great example of over-delivering and just delighting your clients in general.

The key here is to create something that’s not going to take you a ton of extra time or work. With Krista’s designer, it likely took her 20 minutes or less to create the blog post graphic template, whereas it might have taken Krista longer to come up with the same thing. Another idea on how you can do something like this would be creating quick business card designs for a branding client. You can even create a template for yourself to save even more time but still deliver those extra files to your clients.

After the project is over

After the project is over is one of my favorite times to go above and beyond for my clients because the little things you can do or send almost always surprise your client, which usually makes their day. We have a few great ideas on things you can create or send at the end of the project, but it’s important to keep in mind here that you don’t have to invest a lot of time or money into these things eitiher. Remember, even a little surprise may still be a big deal to your client.

Send them a thank you note or a small gift

With every single client I book, I always make it a point to send them a thank you note. As I mentioned before, this doesn’t have to take a lot of time, so don’t think you have to write a 5-page letter or something. I do like to send a quick note that says, “Hey, thank you for picking me out of all the other people out there to take on your project. Thank you for trusting me with your project.” I also try to include how much I enjoyed the project and say, “I hope you enjoyed it too. If you get stuck or if you need anything, definitely reach out to me.”

Krista gets a little fancier than I do here, and I love what she does. She has a few different tiers of packages so depending on how big the project is, she’ll send a $10 Starbucks card, a $25 Creative Market card (perfect since she works with designers), or an actual small gift if it’s a large project and includes a thank you note with each one.

Offer additional resources

One other way to go above and beyond at the end of the project is to send over some additional resources to help your client get the most out of what you’ve just created for them. What sort of resources you send may depend on the client or the project, but having tutorial videos on how to update their site, places they can get their business cards printed, or something similar will be really beneficial.

Another great example of sharing additional resources would be to share a PDF on list building if you know that your client has that goal for their business. You could also share a PDF on social media or SEO if your client is more interested in those things. You may not be an expert in these areas, but this gives you a great chance to partner up with someone who is and then share your expertise with them in a way that they can pass along to their own clients. Win, win, right?

Action Steps

  1. Sit down and look at your process and see where you can really start to go above and beyond for your clients at even just 1 point in the project
  2. Start testing out some of the ideas we had in this episode and see what feels the best and what your clients enjoy the most
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003: 3 Ways To Offer Website Design When You Don’t Know How To Code
2017-12-14 23:25:48 UTC
003: 3 Ways To Offer Website Design When You Don’t Know How To Code

We don't think your coding skills (or lack of desire to code in the first place) should dictate what kinds of design services you can offer your clients, so today we're going over 3 ways you can offer website design when you don't know how to code.

Not being able to offer website design as a part of your business can feel like it’s holding you back. You can take on clients for amazing branding projects, but once it comes time for their website to be created, you have to refer them away.

Krista here! We don’t think your coding skills (or lack of desire to code in the first place) should dictate what kinds of design services you can offer your clients, so today we’re going over 3 ways you can offer website design when you don’t know how to code.

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Option 1: Learn to code

Your first option is to learn to code. I went to school for 5 years to learn all about coding and software engineering and we’re definitely not saying you should do that. However, there are a lot of great resources out there like CodeAcademy and Treehouse where you can get an amazing start on your coding skills for little or no cost.

If you decide to learn to code yourself, start out with HTML and CSS. After you have those mastered, add in PHP. And if you still want more, move on to JavaScript and jQuery to really set yourself apart from the rest

Advantages

  • You can offer custom website designs to your clients
  • You have full control over your projects
  • You don’t have to be limited by the available Squarespace and WordPress templates
  • It’s just you and your client that you have to worry about managing
  • Not many web designers also offer custom coding

Disadvantages

  • It’s a big learning curve and will take you several months (at the least) to master
  • Coding can be frustrating, no matter how good you get at it
  • Offering development services yourself will take time away from what you could otherwise spend on branding and design

Option 2: Create your offerings to not require coding

With all the technology and the different platforms available today, there are a lot of ways you can offer websites to your clients without having to code.

A few ways we talked about doing this in the episode include using Squarespace templates, buying WordPress themes, or using page-builders like Divi or Beaver Builder (affiliate). You’ll definitely want to tune in and listen to Kory talk about how we’ll automatically shed a tear each time someone new starts using Divi.

Advantages

  • You can offer websites to your clients
  • You have control over your projects and don’t have to manage anyone extra

Disadvantages

  • Still can’t offer custom website designs and what you can do is limited
  • Not all clients are a good fit for Squarespace or the pre-made WordPress templates out there
  • Page-builders, like Divi, will leave shortcodes all over if your client decides to switch themes later on

Option 3: Work with a developer

Last, and my personal favorite, you can team up with a developer to offer fully custom websites and ongoing support to your clients. With this, you have full control over you design and pass your Illustrator or Photoshop files off to a developer once you’re done. They’d then take care of brining your design to life in the form of a custom website.

Advantages

  • You can focus all your time and energy on design and don’t have to worry about coding and tech
  • You have time to get a good start on a new branding or web design project, if not fully finish one, while your developer is working on coding a custom website
  • You have full control over your designs and don’t have to limit your creativity
  • You can be confident that the website is coded correctly
  • Collaborations between designers and developers are a blast

Disadvantages

  • You’ll likely have to raise your prices by hundreds or even thousands of dollars (Kory mentioned that her prices doubled once she started including my development in her packages)
  •  It can be intimidating to pass your files over to a developer

Which option should you start with?

We both agreed that if you’re just getting started with website design, that your best option is to start by taking existing themes and templates and tweaking them for your clients. This will help you get used to the overall process and become familiar with the standards you’ll see with most websites.

However, we also agreed that if you’ve offered some sort of website design in the past and design is your favorite part of the project, that working with developer is likely the best option for you. To learn more about working with a developer, check out my free email series on getting started!

Action Steps

  1. If you’re not currently offering website design, take some time to think about whether that’s the direction you want your business to take. Do you want that additional offering or are you happy with what you current do for your clients?
  2. If website design is something you want to offer, review the three options we talked about today and take action on the one that will be the best for you and your clients.
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002: Get Your Clients Awesome Results + Show Them Off
28:39
2017-12-14 23:25:48 UTC 28:39
002: Get Your Clients Awesome Results + Show Them Off

Get Back to Design Episode 002: Get Your Clients Awesome Results + Show Them Off

It’s easy to focus so much on designing a website that your client loves the look of, that you forget to focus on whether that design will actually benefit your client’s business. The thing you’re missing here is the web designs you create should actually help grow your client’s business. It’s more than just a pretty website.

In this episode, we’re chatting about getting your clients awesome results through your website design and then showing those results off to help attract more of the clients that you’re looking for.

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Why it’s important to focus on getting your clients results

While it’s easy to spend a lot of time and energy on making something look perfect, there’s a lot more that goes into a well-designed website. When you start adding a purpose behind the designs you create, you’ll start to see happier clients after your projects are complete. You’ll also find that happier clients (who get results) lead you to more referrals, better testimonials, and higher paying clients down the road.

This all sounds great, right?

We all want those referrals, testimonials, and higher-paying clients, but it’s definitely a process that takes some getting used to. To help you out, we’ll go through 3 steps you can take to get started.

How to design a website that gets results

1. Learn about the results each client wants

A common mistake I see when designers start focusing on results is assuming that every client wants the same result, whether it’s a bigger email list, more product sales, or more page views. However, it’s important to know that your clients will all have different goals, even if they’re in a similar industry.

To get started learning about your client’s specific goals, have a few questions in your design questionnaire that ask things like:

  • Why do you want an online presence?
  • What are 2 to 5 of the biggest goals you have for your website?
  • What will make this website successful in your eyes?

With questions like that, you’ll be able to get an idea of what this specific website needs to focus on.

2. Plan first, design second

After you know what the website needs to focus on, take some time to plan before diving into an Illustrator file.

Using wireframes or some quick sketches on paper, plan out what the goal of each page should be. What calls-to-action should be on that page to get audience members where they need to go? What journey should a new audience member take through a website?

Doing it this way will give you a much better chance of getting the strategy right from the beginning and making the design process easier on yourself.

3. Educate your client on putting the design to use

After you’ve designed this amazingly strategic (and gorgeous) website, it’s time to hand it over to your client. The only problem is, what if that client doesn’t know how to use it?

Picture this: You’ve designed a site that’s perfectly optimized for growing their email list, but your client has no idea how to create effective funnels or even send a regular newsletter. In that case, the site you’ve designed for them will do them absolutely no good.

To keep this from happening, have resources available for clients based on the most common goals you come across. For example, for clients that have goals of growing their email list, maybe you have a 10-step checklist of making the most of their subscribers. Or if they want to sell more products, maybe you have a friend who’s an expert in marketing record a video training about creating effective funnels.

The more education you can provide your client with, the better results they’ll get out of the website you created for them and the happier they’ll be with your work.

How to funnel your client’s results back into your own business

After you go through the work of getting amazing results for your client, you don’t want to leave yourself hanging, right? The paycheck is only one piece of the benefits you should see from putting so much time, effort, and thought into a website.

Portfolio

To start, include a portfolio piece about these projects that’s more than just a picture of the website. Include things like:

  • A testimonials with your client’s headshot
  • Full-screen pictures of at least one page of the website
  • A link to the website so potential clients can check it out
  • Information about your process
  • Actual results you got for the client

Including this extra information in your portfolio will make you stand out from aaaaall the designers out there who only include a picture and a couple quick sentences.

Case Study

In addition to your portfolio piece, write a full-blown case study on your blog. Talk about the results you got your clients with actual numeric results. You can then link that to things like moodboards or a testimonial on social media to help draw in people who are interested in working with you.

With this, don’t worry about including too much information. Only the people who are interested will click over to read more.

Testimonials

A common mistake is getting a testimonial and only showing it off in your portfolio. This is a mistake because there are so many other places you can make use of these raving reviews.

In the episode, we talked about including testimonials in places like:

  • Social media
  • Your homepage
  • Testimonials page

Action Steps

  1. Get your questionnaire updated with questions relating to your client’s goals. Don’t overwhelm your clients by including all the questions we talked about, but choose two to get added to your questionnaire today.
  2. Creating a plan for showing off your work for your next client project. That way, the next time you wrap up a project you’ll know exactly what to do with that information.
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001: How To Make Your Design Business Stand Out
34:47
2017-12-14 23:25:48 UTC 34:47
001: How To Make Your Design Business Stand Out

Get Back to Design Episode 001: How To Make Your Design Business Stand Out

We don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the market for designers is incredibly saturated right now. That means that for every one person that’s looking to have design work done, there’s usually at least a hundred people willing to take on the project. This can be super frustrating because obviously that means it’s getting harder to keep your schedule full consistently.

Kory here! If you’re currently feeling this struggle, I’ve been where you are. The good news is that there are things you can do to help make people more likely to want to work with you instead of those other 99 designers. Today we’re going to talk about one of those things: making your design business stand out!

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Start by looking at anything unique you offer your clients

At first glance, it may look like most designers are offering similar services to their clients. However, if you take a second look at what different designers include in their branding packages, for example, then you’ll quickly find that packages vary. Some designers may just offer a logo with files. Other designers may offer additional items like business cards, social media graphics, blog post templates, or something else.

Do you offer something extra?

If you include something extra in your design packages for your clients that’s going to set you apart, and it’s important you share that on your website and with your potential clients. Make sure that you include exactly what extra pieces you include in your packages on your website so potential clients can see that by working with you, they’re getting everything they could need instead of potentially having to create some items on their own if they work with someone else. Don’t forget to play that up in your proposals and when you do consultation calls as well.

Consider how your process is different

One of my first coaching clients told me that she sends just 1 logo option to her clients instead of what most designers do which is include at least 3 or more. That’s an incredibly unique process. I guarantee that even if your process isn’t different in such a major way, there’s probably something unique about your process that most other designers don’t do. Maybe that’s sketching before you get to work in Illustrator or maybe you have an outside expertise that helps inform your process.

Why does your unique process matter?

You may be wondering why this matters to your potential clients, and it’s easy: you have a reason (hopefully) for your process being unique. Whatever it is, it likely makes your work better for your clients than other designers who don’t sketch or don’t have other experience helping with their designs. For example, if you’re like my past client and only send 1 logo option, then explain why this is better for clients in the long run. This not only makes you stand out, but it may make potential clients more intrigued to work with you.

Don’t forget about what makes you as a person different

A lot of people get so caught up in their business that they forget people want to know the person behind the computer as well. Your audience obviously wants to know that you’re an expert in design, but they also want a chance to get to know you as a person. When you give your target audience a chance to get to know you as a person it’s going to be easier for them to build a relationship with and trust you.

What can you share to show off who you are?

Sharing your background, niche, and the things you care about are a great way to start allowing your target market and even just your audience, in general, to form connections with you. But if those are a little overwhelming, just think about how you can make sure that the content on your website sounds like you would actually say it. Having a strong connection with your audience makes them more likely to hire you or refer you to other people.

How do you share these differences with your target market?

The thing is, though, it’s not enough to know that you’re different in these ways. It’s important to make sure that you’re sharing these things with your target market so that you and your design business is actually standing out to people. There are a few obvious places you can play up your differences:

Your Website

When you’re sharing details about how what you offer is different and how your process is different, it’s really important that you’re sharing these things on your website. If you hide these things on separate pages or in blog posts, you risk your potential clients never seeing it and knowing that you may be a better pick for them than another designer. Be sure to mention the differences in your business on your Home and Services pages.

Social Media

Once you’ve shared your differences on your website, another great place to talk about these things are on social media. Do a Facebook Live or Instagram Live and talk about how your process is unique. Share glimpses into your work. For example, if you sketch things out before you get started in Illustrator, share some sketches and talk about why you take that step.

Don’t forget to share about how you as a person are different on social media as well. I know we all have a certain level of comfort on how personal we get on social media, but at least give your audience an idea of who you are. For example, post photos that show off what you’re passionate about.

Action Items

  1. Really take a look at your business and figure out what makes you different. I challenge you to do this. List out the steps that you take in your process. List out what you offer to your clients and how you go above and beyond. That really matters to your potential and current clients as well.
  2. Start letting people know. Put it on your website, start talking about it on social media, whatever is your thing. Share in blog posts, in your newsletter, whatever it is – start letting people know in a non-icky way that you are different and why you are so cool and so awesome.

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000: Welcome To The Get Back To Design Podcast
5:07
2017-12-14 23:25:48 UTC 5:07
000: Welcome To The Get Back To Design Podcast

We're so excited to introduce the Get Back To Design Podcast. We know that there's a lot that goes into growing a successful design business on top of the actual design work that's putting food on the table each month. In this episode we're telling you all about what we'll be chatting about in this podcast and what you can expect to each episode.

We’re so excited to introduce the Get Back To Design Podcast. We know that there’s a lot that goes into growing a successful design business on top of the actual design work that’s putting food on the table each month. In this episode we’re telling you all about what we’ll be chatting about in this podcast and what you can expect to each episode.

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About Krista

Krista is a WordPress developer and website strategist for designers. She’s all about giving designers more time to design by taking care of the coding and techy aspects of web design projects. She’s also passionate about creating websites that work through teaming up with designers to make sure the websites they produce have a strategy behind them.

About Kory

Kory is a designer for female small business owners who specializes in branding and website design. She’s also a creative coach for designers who are ready to bring their business to the next level.

What We’ll Talk About

Throughout our episodes, we’ll focus on three main topics:

  • How to grow and streamline a successful design business
  • What it means to design a strategic website and how to go about it
  • How to ditch the code and team up with a developer on your design projects

What You Can Expect

Each week, we’ll publish a new episode with great content on how to better your design business. We also plan to throw in extra episodes here-and-there with more general life and business topics that tend to weave their way into running a design business.

We plan to have guests once a month who have great content and tips specifically for designers.

We’re not only going to share successes, but also mistakes we’ve made, what works, and what doesn’t.

Action Steps

Visit us on iTunes, hit Subscribe, and leave us a quick review!

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Growing a successful design business is hard work. Let the Get Back To Design podcast help!Click To Tweet

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