10 THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I STARTED MY DESIGN BIZ

1. GET CLIENTS TO FIND YOU

(CHECK OUT OUR FREE HAPPY COLLAB WORKBOOK!) Now granted, this is easier said than done, but this should be one of your goals for your biz. How can I find my ideal clients where they are? What type of content can I create to bring them to me? Think about what you’re doing for your biz, where you’re looking and how you’re finding businesses to learn from. Learn from them and use their strategies to drive traffic to your site! Speaking of your site…


2. YOUR BRANDING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT

When you’re starting your biz, it’s easy to feel pressured to have your branding and business all figured out from the get-go. But in fact - in my opinion - you won’t be able to really get a hold of your branding for at least of year of being in business. Think about it! You don’t even know your business yet, you don’t know how it’ll change and grow as you do, so how can you know how to find the perfect branding to represent your business? Once you’ve been in business for a while, you’ll notice that your perspective on your business will change. You’ll even probably change your initial business model altogether (like I did!) - and you should! Which leads me to my next point…


3. BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF

The last thing you need is to feel tied down to plans you made when your biz was just an exciting idea. Allow your biz to change as you learn, and pivot to different services, products, etc, as many times as you need to until you find your sweet spot! When I started my business I wanted to be everything at once, but now I know myself better as an entrepreneur. I stopped doing the work I didn’t like doing - but I didn’t just stop it all at once. I found other ways to replace the income. The most important thing here is-


4. BE CREATIVE

And not just with your website or your design style - be creative with how you think about your business. Start to think like an Entrepreneur - not a creative. Only then will you start to see your unique skills as precious commodities that you can sell! People need to know why they should care about YOU specifically. It’s not enough to just show up, you have to-


5. SHOW THEM YOUR VALUE

Why you? What’s unique about you that would make me want to care about your work or your services. Try to think about what made you stand out in other areas of your life - school, work, even your social circles. Are you the partier who loves to socialize, and who’s uniquely positioned to help me network? Are you the Type A student who can help me organize my workspace and digital files? Find the simple things about you that make you unique, because that’s what will bring you sales!

Speaking of sales, let me tell you about ads...


6. ADS WON’T MAKE SALES - CREATIVE OUTREACH WILL

I wasted a lot (a L O T) of money on advertising when I started my business. But I never got a single lead through advertising, and rarely made sales. It took me a while, but I realized that these platforms (Instagram, Google, Etsy) make you feel like Ads are the ticket to your success, they convince you that there’s VALUE in paying them to advertise. But the age of ads is over, I declare! Content is key, so instead of wasting your money on ads, find creative ways to build your social media profiles and drive traffic to your site.


7. SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT A TICKET TO SUCCESS

It’s easy to look at the social media accounts of other businesses and feel like you need an account like theirs to be successful. But the truth is, most businesses get followers on social media by building traffic elsewhere and driving it back to their accounts. It takes a really long time to build a social account, and especially with all of the changes Instagram has been making, it’s incredibly difficult to grow on social media right now. But don’t fret!


8. BUILD AN EMAIL LIST!!!!!

If you take anything away from this list, take this! Social media has changed dramatically over the past decade alone, and it will continue to change dramatically in response to a virtual world. While social media can boost your biz, your email list should be the most valued part of your business. Emails are a direct link to people. It’s like sending a letter to someone’s mailbox - they’ll always check it. Free downloads are the best way to build your inbox - just think about how many times you’ve entered your own email to get a free download! (Speaking of free downloads, check out my free Happy Collab Workbook!)


9. YOU DON’T HAVE TO PUT EVERYTHING YOU DESIGN ON YOUR WEBSITE

I would even say you shouldn’t have everything you’ve ever designed on your site. Your website should be a very carefully cultivated selection of work that represents your style and skill. Don’t have a lot of work to choose from? Well then-


10. MAKE PASSION PROJECTS

Passion projects are huge right now, and for good reason. While clients do want to know that you’re a professional who they’ll have a positive working relationship with, they also want to know that you’re capable of the design style that they’re looking for. Believe me, a client will never come to you with a design style that isn’t present anywhere on your site. The work on your site should function as a preview for them of what their branding may look like if they were to work with you. And the more consistent your style is across projects, the better. This is why passion projects are key! They allow you to niche your design style to aim for the clients and projects you want.



Check out our FREE Happy Collab Workbook for tips on creating positive working relationships with your clients!