Why does design matter?

I believe that design is the most important part of your business. 

Before you close out of this post, give me a minute to explain why I think design is the most important aspect of your business. Being an entrepreneur has always been the "American Dream", and today it is more feasible than ever before to start a business. Currently, the projected growth of small businesses in the United States is +7% per year. With the increase in new businesses in your area, or even online, companies are trying to figure out how to get your attention. Thirty years ago, the design of a company's logo or their brand didn't matter as much as it does today. The focal point for those businesses was the products they were selling, which totally makes sense. The internet wasn't all that it is today, and the customers they were selling to were mainly locals. The mom and pop type businesses thrived in the past because they didn't have the competition that haunts all start-ups today. And this is why design is the most important aspect of business today. 

Design will make or break the success of your business.

I'm going to use a practical example of what I mean by this. Currently, it's very popular to open up a hip local coffee shop. With the growth of freelance workers and small business owners who may be working from home, this makes perfect sense. But what is going to set you apart from the other coffee shop down the street? You could be using fair trade coffee beans, or offer free parking, but what is really going to draw new customers to your business? Your business's design can be the thing that attracts a new customer into the door. It's your job from there to use your product and customer service to make that individual a loyal customer.

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Today, business owners owe it to themselves to re-evaluate their current design needs. Does your current design represent the quality work or product that you provide? If not, don't be intimidated or afraid to change things up. Your design should represent every part of your business. If it doesn't, your customers may be getting the wrong idea about what you can do for them. If you're looking to re-evaluate your design needs, click here and I'd be happy to give you a free consultation.

Work hard. Invest in yourself. Don't cut corners.

 

5 things I’ve learned in my first month as a freelance designer.

A month ago I left my job of 5 years. It was a well paying, start up tech company on the up-and-up and I took a leap of faith and parted ways. Being my own boss has always been a dream of mine, and for the last month I've been able to live that dream. My wife and I, along with our cat, Kylo Ren, left our home in Michigan and drove down to Florida to start the next chapter of our life.

Here are 5 things that I've learned in my first month as a freelance designer. 

1. Don't freak out!

Being a freelancer means starting with no clients, no income, no benefits and no guarantees. It would be very easy to get anxious or become fearful knowing the above, but it won't help you. Instead of freaking out, remember why you decided to started freelancing. You have a product or service that you believe in enough to start a business around. Trust that you've made the right decision and don't give up on your talents.

2. There are no shortcuts.

You can't take shortcuts in design and expect success. While I've been working this month, I've seen numerous designers who will rip off other people's designs and buy stock designs for their customers. Shortcuts will only bring short term success and will lead to clients finding out you're a  fraud. The best way to become successful in this industry is to put 110% into every project you do. Make something that you can look at and be confident that the project is 100% your design.

3. Throw away your pride.

I'm not saying to not be proud of the work you do. That would totally contradict my second point. Throwing away your pride means asking for help. No one has all of the answers, so don't feel bad when you don't know something. Make sure to surround yourself with other hard working designers, as well as supportive friends and family. This group of people should be ones that you trust and that will give you honest feedback on your work. Being able to receive and implement feedback from others will allow you to become a better designer in the end.

4. Change up your environment.

The beauty of being a freelance designer is that you can work with anyone, anywhere! So why work in the same place everyday? I like to switch up where I'm working from often. At least once a week I try to work from a different coffee shop or place that inspires me. I've actually been able to meet potential clients just by doing work at Starbucks. I noticed that I'm able to focus more when I'm not home, and my designs evolve depending on where I'm working from that day. You'll start to learn about the community and businesses around you that may need your help.

5. Invest in yourself.

For many, freelancing is the first opportunity that you've ever had that allows you to set your own schedule. Take advantage of this and invest in yourself. Spend time to do things that you weren't able to do with a 9-5 job. I've been able to spend more time reading, working out and was even able to go on a fun little trip with my wife. This doesn't mean slacking off, but promotes that you have a healthy work/life balance. 

 

Thanks so much for reading this post. Look out for more posts soon!