Why most businesses fail, and solid tips for design business success

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Most businesses fail not because their owners aren’t good at what they do. A design studio doesn’t generally fail because they create poor designs. A dentist doesn’t generally fail because he cannot fix your teeth. Most businesses fail because their owners don’t understand how to run a business. As a design entrepreneur, this is the single most important fact you need to understand. If you as a designer can learn how to run a business well, your business has a

How freelancers can compete with design marketplace sites

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The last few posts I’ve written here have all come from excellent reader suggestions on this post. Today’s is no different. Joe Malleck writes: One topic that I’m interested in is what a designer’s future role in the marketplace is. With the uprising of theme marketplaces and the awareness that you can essentially purchase design as a commodity, where do we as designers fit into this new landscape? How can we leverage our skills and insight to make fortunes, without

How to handle hard-to-reach design clients

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A few days ago, I published a post in response to one reader’s question about overcoming fear as a freelancer. The post was such a hit, I decided to tackle another question posed by a designer named Bree. Here’s the request: I would love to see some reviews or tips on how to handle clients who do not respond or provide feedback in a timely manner. Well, Bree, today you’re in luck because I’d like to share with you–and the

Freelancing Fear: What causes it and how to overcome it

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When I relaunched this brand new version of GDB earlier this year, I asked you to submit your ideas for posts you’d like to see over the next 12 months. (Haven’t had a chance to submit your request? Click here to view the original new-year-launch post.) One reader, Carla, posted this request:   Any suggestions about … being afraid? Any suggestions on how to overcome my apprehensive behavior (which is not normal, I am an outgoing, sociable person)?!I have business

How I got tons of new design clients with this small freebie

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A couple years ago, I was stuck – big time. Maybe you’re familiar with it. You’ve been designing for a while, finding clients, fulfilling their needs, rinse and repeat. But my client pool was starting to grow thin (PS – “3 Simple Tips to Keep Your Client Pool Full“) and I was getting worried. No clients = no cash It’s obvious. Without any clients, it’s hard to make money as a designer (unless you work hard at passive income). So

Help me name my design business! + tips on naming yours

help me name my design business

GDB readers, it’s time to name my design business, and I really need your help. But first, a little back story: When I got laid off last February after 5 years with the company, I was devastated. I loved my core coworkers. I needed the paycheck. I hated that I had been chosen as the weakest link (which probably isn’t true – I also received the biggest paycheck). I cried. And then… literally the next day I started looking for

Are you turning into the client you hate the most?

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Every designer has that high-maintenance client who always needs their projects rushed to the highest priority. You know, the one that calls at 4:30pm on a Friday needing something for a Saturday morning conference but who is still waiting for legal’s final review of the text? This is the client my bank account loves but that makes me cringe when I see their incoming call. What words and phrases would you use to describe that sort of client? Unorganized. Haphazard.

Stop posting lame client testimonials

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You’ve just finished a project with your client. They love the work you’ve done for them. The design is perfect. The price is right. And the moment couldn’t be more perfect. So you pop the question: “Can I get a testimonial from you?” When they say “yes,” you get all excited and can’t wait to post a new positive testimonial on your web site or portfolio. But a few weeks later when your client gets around to sending a testimonial