Today we take a look at how to audit your design business from top to bottom. Often, we can be so bogged down in the day to day work, we don’t take time to take a step back and see what’s actually working and what isn’t within our design business. Today’s chat gives you plenty of actionable tips for how to get your design business running, like a well-oiled machine.


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Show Notes for This Episode:

[1:00] How analysing and organising your design business delivers big gains.
[2:30] Ian explains the early stages of his design career.
[4:00] Early freelance clients.
[5:00] Every designer has to do boring work.
[5:20] Ian’s early experiences marketing his business and finding clients
[6:20] Ian never advertised because he didn’t think he had to.
[8:00] Not having a strategy for how to grow the business
[9:20] Most of Ian’s early clients were word-of-mouth clients.
[10:45] A transparent look at Ian’s income during his first full years of freelance.
[12:20] Early freelance career was merely enough to survive.
[13:00] Struggling with income is very real for so many designers.
[14:00] Ian explains financial pressures and providing for his family on a budding design career income.
[15:00] Stresses come from not charging enough for your work.
[16:00] Feeling like a mediocre designer.
[16:05] Your confidence must match your skill.
[16.30] How comparison can hold you back from achieving your career goals.
[17:30] Why you should audit your thoughts about yourself and your business.
[18:30] Often times we compare ourselves to things unknown to our clients.
[20:00] Stop wasting precious creative energy on things that are not real.
[20:20] What Ian really wanted from his career.
[22:00] Discovering what you need and want from your career.
[24:00] Looking into the future of your business.
[24:15] Ian didn’t know how to grow his business, get agency work and felt stuck.
[25:00] Feeling stuck in a rut with client type and income amount.
[25:20] Navigating the unknowns of billing.
[26:40] Client designer role play.
[27:00] Scheduling reactive and proactive work to break the glass ceiling.
[28:00] How to implement proactive sprint projects to make strides.
[29:40] Picking your low hanging fruit.
[30:00] Having a hit list of client goals.
[30:30] How to go from defining goals to getting there.
[30:45] Breaking down goals to achieve goals.
[31:30] How you can drill down on a goal and schedule tasks to achieve them.
[34:20] Pulling others in to help you with a struggle.
[35:00] Rehearsing client conversations before you reach out.
[36:20] It’s hard doing boring leg work to win a client but necessary.
[37:00] Overthinking goals.
[37:20] Everyone is different in client approach.
[37:40] If you want new clients you have to get over your fear of pitching yourself.
[37:50] If you want things to change, you have to change something.
[38:00] Where do you spend your marketing budget?
[38:20] Feeling intimidated by marketing companies.
[39:20] Marketing doesn’t fix feeling unremarkable.
[41:30] Lisa explains how you can create interesting marketing for your business that stands out.
[42:40] You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.
[44:00] How giving yourself permission to dislike certain work opens up opportunities for work you love.
[45:00] Ian explains how doing his own thing has changed his career.
[46:00] Trying design competitions for exposure.
[47:10] Moving your business needle should be put ahead of everything.
[47:50] Doing the boring work that is paying the best so you can invest more in work you love.
[48:50] Finding your business’ weak link so growth can occur.
[51:10] The pitfall of taking on low paying clients and expecting a high paying work.
[52:30] Dustin understands feeling like you have to take a job.
[52:40] Making time not excuses.
[53:10] Stop over delivering with your time and service without payment.
[53:40] You’re running a business not a charity.
[54:00] Finding success in the most unlikely places.
[55:00] Closing thoughts. You are not alone.


“A must for every creative freelancer (or those aspiring to freelance). Thank you for being so… honest! Such a wealth of information from people I admire who have ‘been there and done that’. Listening to the podcast every week feels like I’m among friends. Can’t wait for more episodes!”AG_GD