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

What to do if you’re always “busy” but never “productive” as a freelancer

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Let me bring you up to speed on something. You won’t enjoy it, but here it goes anyway: People close to you literally hate it when you say, “I can’t. I’m too busy.” That’s a fact. And don’t get me wrong, they may say that they understand, that they know what your work is about.  But deep down inside they’re thinking, “Damn it, I have a job too, yet somehow I can spare those couple of hours in the evening

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

What I learned from interviewing 9 successful freelancers

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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

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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

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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

How spying on your competition leads to bigger and better freelance gigs

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Here’s a quiz question for you: How do you grow your business exponentially? Do you: (a) try figuring things out on your own as you go along and improve one step at a time, or (b) spy on people, stealing their processes and adapting them to your business? I guess you can figure out where I’m going with it. Of course, (b) is the right answer. *** This is part three of a three-part miniseries on how to get started

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

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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

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