Get ready to hear 8 systems and processes (and some boundaries) you can set up in your design business that will give you more freedom and time back to focus on other things! Try them all, or just try the ones that resonate with you. These are all systems and boundaries I’ve used as I’ve built my own business that have truly worked for me and I think they’ll work for you as well if you are looking for systems for design business!
It’s sometimes counterintuitive, but more structure = more freedom. And these are all simple ways to get more time back and create more freedom — all while still working with clients.
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Ready to find freedom in your business as a brand and website designer?
1. Create a work schedule for yourself and set up boundaries with your work hours and what happens during those hours.
Depending on where you are in your life and your business right now, you will probably have different time constraints than other designers.
I know for me, I have much fewer working hours now after becoming a mom than I did when I first started my business, and the boundaries I’ve put in place for my work hours and what my schedule looks like are changing seasonally!
This doesn’t have to be a set in stone “forever” plan, but you do need a plan. You can call it your plan for this week or your plan for the quarter, then re-evaluate. Whatever you need to do to make it work! But, make sure you have a plan. The system of creating a plan will give you more freedom in your design business.
2. Have a system to collect testimonials and feedback after projects and showcase the project on your website or portfolio.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel every time you finish a project. If that is what you are doing, then you are wasting time and creating unnecessary restraints in your business.
I’d recommend this system look like this:
- A form template that you’re going to send your client with specific questions in your CRM. You have it ready to go and can edit it some if you want to to be specific to that client, but it’s also ready to go if needed!
- A templated email that you’re sending along with the form
- And a template you follow for blogging the work and adding to your portfolio.
This will speed up the process and help you deliver the same, consistent, awesome experience for each client. It is so nice to not have to remember how to do something and just have it DONE. This is one of my must-have systems for a design business!
3. Have a system for collecting content from your clients for the project.
If you are a designer, then you KNOW this is often the biggest headache of any project. This is tough because each client is so unique, but having a system is possible and will save in the long run.
This process is one you will want to guide clients through to get their content to you.
You have a preferred way of getting and organizing content and you are teaching it to the client. A big point here is that you are communicating expectations upfront so you are all on the same page.
4. Have a boundary within your schedule that you don’t take calls with clients or potential clients every single day.
Taking calls every day of the week can end up looking like you not getting as much focused work done as you would like to because every time you get going, you have to get on another phone call!
[Listen to the full episode to hear some ways to make this work in your design business.]
It is also helpful to have boundaries around what each day looks like in your life and business.
5. Have a solid system for discovery calls!
This is another MUST-have system for any service business. Discovery calls are hard and can be scary and it will take less time and less energy from you when you have a plan and confidence. I have a few great resources for discovery calls:
I have a freebie for designers all about mastering discovery calls and walks you through things like scheduling the call, preparing for it, and tips for executing it. Download it here:
Inside of my course, Booked Out Designer, I have a whole module on discovery calls. There are different methods to try for the way you schedule them, discovery call prep, executing the call, what-if scenarios, awkward situations, and much more!
I also did a podcast episode a while back all about discovery call tips! You can listen to that here - hear episode #124!
A system with discovery calls though, whatever that looks like for you will create more freedom for you!
6. Utilize digital software, automation, and templates to your advantage.
Once you do something really well — save it. Keep it. Re-use it. This will literally save you so much time and help your projects move faster. It is also a better experience for your clients.
One of my favorite softwares to use as a designer is Dubsaod. [Get 30% off with ELIZABETH30.]
Ask yourself if you are letting your entire client process live in your head? If so, it is time to get it into a templated system so you can replicate it. Automate what you can so you can save time.
7. Spoken boundaries with when you will communicate with clients
These boundaries could include no texting, no communication on the weekends, no phone calls, or whatever your boundaries are. You have this established and communicated clearly.
You will never feel like you have freedom in your business if everyone always has access to you and an expectation of an immediate response. You need some boundaries and to communicate them to your clients when the project starts and then are reiterating them throughout the project.
8. Not doing it alone.
When it makes financial sense for your business and when you know what you would hire someone to do - hire help. Who your first hire is will vary so much depending on your needs and what you love doing and don’t love doing in your business.
Having someone who is great at what they do and can take things off your plate is HUGE. It saves time and puts you back into your zone of genius.
Hopefully, these tips will get your brain spinning with how to get more time back in your business. I know these ways have to help me so much!
Now, you could go at it alone and create all of these systems yourself… OR you could join Booked Out Designer where I teach you how to do all of this AND you get my coaching support and a community to back you as you implement it.
Booked Out Designer isn’t a membership, but it honestly feels like one in some ways because you get ONGOING support. It’s not just a course you buy and take a solo, we have an active community that comes along with it and coaching from me.
The course itself is jam-packed with awesome content - teaching you everything from networking to social media, discovery calls, niching down, pricing your services, and so much more! See all of the details HERE!
I hope you have loved these processes and systems for brand and website design businesses or really any service business. Try some of them or all of them and see for yourself how big of a difference it can make!
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Listen to the Breakthrough Brand Podcast
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Get the Designer’s Guide to Mastering Discovery Calls Freebie
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February 1, 2022
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