This painful, terrible, amazing exercise forced me to become a better designer

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Flash back to 2010, and I’m giving a workshop to a room full of entrepreneurs who want to learn copywriting. We were on the subject of headlines. I’d given them the basics, and now, to make sure they “got it”, I had them each write a headline of their own. The room was silent except for the tapping and scribbling of pens. Then, some pens hit the table, and I looked around to see smiling faces. These people were proud

How to get tons of new clients (without spending a dime) with the “human billboard” Method

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My brother is a fitness nut. He owns gyms, trains in gyms, and basically lives in them too. If you’ve seen “Pain & Gain” with Mark Wahlberg – he’s kind of like that (minus the psychopathic, hostage-taking shenanigans…). But he’s also a brilliant marketer. And a few years ago he created a system for filling personal training studios and boot camps with new clients that’s 100% free, and works like crazy. He called it the “Human Billboard” method. Why? Because

This client-getting tactic worked so well… I actually had to stop using it.

Last year I attended a digital marketing conference in San Fran. I had three objectives: Learn cool stuff I could use for my own businesses and to help my clients. Pick up potential clients. Eat a lot of that famous west coast sushi :-) After all – I’m a digital marketer – so everyone at this conference is a potential client, right? But here’s the thing… From attending these conferences in the past, I know how people pitch their services

2 huge mistakes most designers make that push clients away (and what to do instead)

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Recently, over at Reliable (our new PSD to HTML & WordPress company), we had an interesting situation… A “tough cookie” wrote in asking for a quote on his project.  But he didn’t hesitate to tell us that he was also looking to outsource overseas, and he was asking for proposals from 10 other companies, too. We were #11. Well, we just did our thing. First, we responded about 10 minutes after the email came in (we’re OCD with email like

If I were starting from scratch, this is how I’d grow my design business

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This is a really relevant topic for me. My creative agency just opened a new branch called Reliable: our PSD to HTML & WordPress company. So we had to start from scratch, hit the drawing board, and figure out how to grow. It’s a different market with different customers, needs, and problems than those of our agency. There’s no overlap. We created a different brand, website, etc. Clean slate, as they say. But the steps we’re taking are the SAME ones

Why most portfolio WordPress themes suck for really growing a freelance business

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I have to start this post off with a quick disclaimer. Aside from running a design agency, I also run a PSD to HTML & WordPress company. So naturally – themes might seem like my enemy, right? If someone buys a theme, they’re not designing a PSD for us to code. And if someone buys a theme – they’re not hiring us to design a website, either. It seems like the natural enemy of both of my businesses! Well… It

The Quick & Necessary Steps You Should Take if a Client Doesn’t Like Your Quoted Price

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It’s so nerve-wracking to hit “Send” on an email that contains a proposal. “Did I price too high? Too low? Did I leave anything out? They’re going to hate it, aren’t they? Crap, maybe I should’ve priced it lower. Ahhhh!” Even after 5 years of sending proposals, they still give me nerves. I get a knot in my stomach and it’s hard to think about much else until the client sends a reply. Fortunately, most proposals get accepted these days.

How to Get More New Clients ASAP With Google Adwords Express

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AdWords Express has been a super powerful tool we’ve used to get more new clients for our creative agency. It’s gotten to the point where we turn it on / off as needed. On = contact form submissions almost instantly start rolling in. Off = schedule is full and we’re saturated with work. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s Google’s “smart”, automatic version of AdWords that’s for people like me who hate keyword research and would rather bang my