This one's for you: brand designers, website designers, and people who want to be brand and website designers. When you're first starting a design business, it can be confusing what you need to do and how to do it. If you went to college for design, they likely did not teach you any of this business stuff in college.
You might be struggling with confidence that you can do this thing solo. Maybe you're a self-taught designer, and that can come with all kinds of doubts. A lot is going on, and it can be overwhelming.
First, I want to say: You've got this. You've chosen an excellent, fun, exciting, and much-needed field to go into. You're going to love having a design business.
But, there are plenty of myths about starting and running a successful business as a designer. These myths are likely holding you back from getting going, getting clients, and making money as a designer.
This blog is all about BUSTING the three design business myths I commonly see new designers (and even more seasoned designers) believing. These myths could be holding you back from booking clients and seeing results.
What we're covering in this article
Myth #1: Finding clients will be easy if you're a good designer.
Myth #2 You have to have everything ready to go systems-wise before you book your first client.
Myth #3 Your website needs to be perfect because you are a designer.
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Myth #1: Finding clients will be easy if you're a good designer.
We're starting with a sad myth that reminds us that the truth isn't always fun. We often believe this myth because we WANT it to be true. The truth is, you have to market.
Some of the best designers are broke and do not book any clients. Why? They are great at design but not so great at marketing. No matter the type of business you're in, you need to be able to market and sell your services.
Having great design skills IS beneficial and essential and will help with marketing. However, some people want to believe their skills and work will speak for themselves, and they leave it at that. People WILL see your work is excellent, but there is more to it.
As someone who has been freelancing or owning my design business for over ten years, I've seen countless amazing designers have to quit their business because they're not booking any clients.
They think it's because they aren't good at design, but that's not it! They just don't know how to FIND clients, which is an entirely different skill.
If you need help with marketing and learning how to find clients when starting a design business, my course, Booked Out Designer, is excellent for this. You likely already have the skills and desire to be a designer, but you may need help with the marketing and business skills you didn't learn in design school.
Myth #2: You must have everything ready to go systems-wise before you book your first client.
This is FALSE! You don't have to have everything sorted out or have all your fancy backend systems ready in order to book your first client. It is scary to start working with someone and have them pay you, and there is a lot of mindset work to be done there.
For that reason, I have two complete trainings in Booked Out Designer on mindset + a mindset coach who works with students inside the course.
Often as designers, we put off getting paid for our designs because we think we need to have it all figured out before we start booking clients.
For example, you might feel like you need a client process thoroughly planned out before taking on your first client. You may also think you need your exact package suite figured out.
Whatever it is, you procrastinate because you feel you need to have it all done. Sometimes it's intentional because you’re nervous, but other times it's accidental because it seems like the right thing to do.
Whatever boat you're in, I'm here to tell you that you don't have to have your whole client process figured out before your first client. Even if you're determined to start with it all figured out, you'll likely change parts of it once you have your first client.
When you're mapping it out, it's all just theory. Then, when you do finally work with a client, you'll realize things didn't work how you wanted them to, or you'll see how they could be done better.
My advice is to figure out the process WITH your first client. Focus your energy on getting that first client. You can come in with a general plan and package, but then just DO IT. Record what you do and how it goes to save as a template for next time.
But do it WITH the first client. Just starting a design business can feel so complicated and intimidating. You've got this; your first few clients will probably be more gracious than you think.
Curious about what my life was really like when I started my design business? Check out this blog post for the full story.
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Myth #3: Your website needs to be perfect because you are a designer.
This applies to starting a design business, but it also applies once you’re a more seasoned designer. As designers, we can feel that our design work for our business has to be perfect.
You have to get away from this mindset. If you're a designer, you know that designing for yourself can feel impossible.
A few things can cause this. First, you're not limited by clients' abilities, so it is tempting to do more complicated stuff. Second, you like all the different styles and vibes, and you don't know which suits your brand. Third, changing things around is easy, so you want to tweak things constantly.
Designing for yourself is HARD, but it is not impossible. You have to practice “self-control” and resist the urge to change things constantly. The best way to do this is by knowing that your brand will never feel perfect.
There will always be changes you can make, but it doesn't have to be perfect, and it likely won't ever be. Your website is not the only thing that speaks to your skills. Put your client work front and center on your site because it says even more about your skill level.
Don't obsess over your site, especially your first site. Let it grow and evolve as your business grows! In the first year, you'll probably make tons of changes to it anyway because your business offer will develop so much. Whatever is in your portfolio will be tweaked a good bit in the first year.
So don't obsess over perfection; get something up and start finding clients. Believing it has to be perfect can be another form of procrastination. It may be good to see if it's a mindset thing. Ask yourself, "Is there something else you're scared of? Are you scared of putting yourself out there?"
So those are the three myths! I'm curious, which one do you struggle with the most? Do you disagree with any of those? Send me a message on Instagram or comment on this blog post, and let’s chat about it! To the new designers- you've got this! Enjoy the early days and have fun with it! You're jumping into a fun and much-needed field!
And if you are a designer, check out that sample I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post from my course Booked Out Designer HERE. You can learn the magnetic marketing principles to begin doing the necessary work in starting a design business. This will give you a head start on booking clients to generate revenue.
Also, check out Booked Out Designer and learn about the course through the sample lessons HERE. You can join anytime you feel ready. It truly is a holistic course on building a successful design business. Inside, you get 90 amazing lessons, access to our Facebook community where you can ask questions to other designers and me, and bi-monthly coaching calls with me. The results are amazing, and it's LESS than the cost of a college class. Over 100 students will tell you, it’s totally worth it!
August 2, 2022