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

13,807 designers received our email newsletter last week. Click here to sign up for free.
startingfromscratch

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

What I learned from interviewing 9 successful freelancers

13,807 designers received our email newsletter last week. Click here to sign up for free.
interviewing freelancers

Think of someone you really admire as a freelancer. Have you ever wished you could just contact them out of the blue and ask permission to question them for 20 minutes on a specific topic they’re really knowledgeable in? Last month, that’s just what I did. I interviewed 9 successful freelancers on topics like: hiring employees overcoming self-doubt working with international clients finding your niche teaching design and much more (Stoked members can listen to them for free as they’re

Why entrepreneurs should only plan ahead 90 days

13,807 designers received our email newsletter last week. Click here to sign up for free.
Plan ahead 90 days

I get it. You’re an entrepreneur. So that means you have to have a one-year plan, a three-year plan, and a five-year plan–all with their own backup plans each. Right? I disagree. In fact, most of the successful independent entrepreneurs that I know personally do three things: They think big. They start small. They don’t go overboard with goals and plans. It can be easy while you’re thinking big to get caught up in making plans for the next decade.

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

13,807 designers received our email newsletter last week. Click here to sign up for free.
thumbnail-big-w

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

5 Fast ways to boost credibility with clients (and get more business)

13,807 designers received our email newsletter last week. Click here to sign up for free.
boost credibility

As freelancers, it’s easy for us to forget what it’s like to work with other people. After all, we did go solo, and often because we grew sick of being stuck in an office with a bunch of yahoos. Luckily for us, now we almost always get to choose the yahoos professionals we work with, whether other freelancers, clients, or agencies. Sure, we know we’re professionals, but since we don’t have to physically enter the professional realm on a day-to-day

Three client-types that are guaranteed to bring tons of business

13,807 designers received our email newsletter last week. Click here to sign up for free.
clients that bring more business

Last time I checked, 74% of our new business came from word of mouth referrals. That’s just downright staggering isn’t it? Pretty much three quarters of our clients came from people jibbering on about how awesome we are (or something to that effect, we’ll just go with that to stroke my ego okay?) You do good work, you deliver great results, clients rave about you and you get more great clients. And so continues the blissful cycle of never having

How we solved almost EVERY problem a freelancer can face

13,807 designers received our email newsletter last week. Click here to sign up for free.
solve every problem a freelance can face

One of the most powerful lessons I’ve ever learned came from my first mentor, my half-brother Steve. I called him complaining about some clients and the crazy revisions they wanted and he said… “You know, dude… When stuff like this happens, there’s really no one to blame. It just means you’re missing a system to deal with it.” And he was right. We’d never outlined any sort of revision process with our clients at that point in time. We never

4 Red flags to watch out for in client contracts

13,807 designers received our email newsletter last week. Click here to sign up for free.
red flags in contracts

We all know by now that it’s important to have a contract, and to use it. Everybody should have one to make sure they don’t get taken advantage of. That doesn’t just apply to freelancers. Guess who else should, and often does use contracts? Clients! That’s right. Some clients, especially bigger ones, may have terms they want added to your contract as a freelancer. They may even have a contract of their very own that they want you to sign.