Ready to stop chasing clients down and make more money in your design business? If you’re on the burnt-out hamster wheel, I’ve got help just for you. It IS possible to enjoy client work, make a great living as a designer, and have time for your family and other priorities too. It’s the Booked Out Designer lifestyle to run a design business with this balance, and that’s what I’m teaching you here.
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Scroll to episode 104 wherever you get your podcasts, or click buttons to listen now on Apple and Spotify.
Tips for becoming a booked out designer
These tips here are a great starting point! But if you really want to learn how to run a design business, take the Booked Out Designer course! [Get details here!]
1. You need processes!
I’m all about processes, and we really have processes for everything in my business. Processes are so important because it helps get stuff out of your brain where you have to try to remember what needs to happen every single time and onto a system that you can just follow.
Early on in my business, I didn’t have processes documented anywhere. Everything lived in my head and because I did it that way, things fell through the cracks and my business lacked consistency. I’d forget to do something for one client that I did for the last that was really effective, or the testimonial questions would be different from one client to the next. The discovery call process might be different. And so on.
The major things you need a process for are:
- Discovery calls
- Booking clients
- Blogging your work post-project
- The whole client experience from start to finish
I’m giving you my processes for all of these things plus more in my course. If you want to know what I do so you can adapt it for yourself and your business, then come on over and join!
2. You need a minimal, but effective experience you take clients through.
More stuff doesn’t always mean more success with client experiences. Sometimes we think that the more steps, calls, questionnaires, and meetings we do, the better the “experience is”. I disagree completely. You want to make things as easy as possible for your clients. When you make it easy for them, you make it easy for you, and things move quicker.
For my client experience, I have a system that is minimal for them. If you’re anything like me, I don’t want to talk to clients on the phone 24/7 anyway. I like to start a project, do the fun design work, and get paid.
Want to buy the awesome financial spreadsheet I talk about in this episode? You can! It's included in Booked Out Designer, but you can also buy it solo for just $39 here! Profit Sheet helps you actually know the numbers in your business, feel more financially organized, and run your service business with more ease.
3. You need to know your business finances.
To run a design business successfully, you have to know your numbers. This really goes for any business!
You can’t measure growth or evaluate how well you are doing without looking at the finances of your business. You need to know when payments are coming in, when expenses are hitting, and how much money your business is actually making.
I still use a spreadsheet for my business today that I am giving you guys in the course that I started with from the beginning of my business. This doesn’t replace an accounting software like Quickbooks but helps you see your numbers in real-time.
4. You need to network online with intention and strategy.
Networking sometimes gets a sleazy reputation. But, the way I do it and the way I teach this, isn’t sleazy. It’s the way you’ll build your business, make friends in your industry and so much more.
This has quickly become one of my favorite topics in the course because I realized how much networking helped me grow my business. When I’ve been asked “What was something that made the biggest impact for finding clients?”, this is one of the biggest things.
Listen to the full episode about how to run a design business to hear the different ways I would encourage you to learn networking!
5. You need to consistently raise your prices as you get better at your craft and to match demand.
When you run a design business, you are going to get better at what you do, and eventually, the demand for your services or services like yours will go up. As you get better at what you do, your prices can increase. As you change up your packages, your prices can increase.
After every project, I’d encourage you to look at your prices and consider raising them slightly. This is not something to gloss over because forgetting to do this literally loses you money. I have a specific strategy for this that I teach in my course!
6. You need to understand how to work with luxury clients.
To have a booked out design business, you need to understand that there is a difference in the clients you might work with. I don’t really love phrases like that, but what I’m talking about are clients who pay your higher prices, are easy to work with, and dreamy to YOU.
These clients are usually different than someone who is newer and has a tighter budget for their design work. Typically higher-paying clients are going to have a few things in common. For example, they likely have been in business for a while, so they probably have had a logo and website designed at least once before if not many times. Also, they typically have a team that works with them in their business. So you might be working with them directly OR them and their project manager, and copywriter, and personal assistant, and marketing manager.
Why is this important?
If they’ve already done the branding thing a few times, brand discovery will feel different than it does with a new business. They might already “know who they are” as a brand and you’re just bringing it to life.
If they have a small team or large team that they are used to managing, it’s possible that a team member will actually be your point of contact for the project. Or if it is the business owner, they will likely be more hands-off and not micromanaging you because they are used to having a team and delegating.
I have experienced this difference and what it’s like to serve people in their different phases and it truly is different. You have to adapt and the way you go through your process might look different for clients like these.
7. You need to be confident at selling on discovery calls.
This one comes with PRACTICE, watching it be done, and having a system. I certainly have not always been confident in these. I've had many “failed” discovery calls that felt like absolute disasters. I’ve had plenty of awesome calls too.
It is totally fine to be nervous before some of these big calls! You can be nervous and confident at the same time! But learning to be confident is vital because this is where the sale happens! This is where you get booked out. So focus on this!
Psst... want MORE discovery call help? Check out my free guide: The Designer's Guide to Mastering Discovery Calls!
If you are a designer and you need help taking your business to the next level, let’s do it! I want to help you run a design business like a dream.
And, if you want to sample the course before you buy... you can! Check out how you can get 2 lessons from Booked Out Designer absolutely free here.
Cheers to building booked out design businesses!
February 9, 2021