Any ideal business is one that allows you to enjoy the whole of life and it doesn’t swallow you whole! Here you will find 5 easy to implement ways to reclaim your time and your life without giving up your design business. In fact, you will find that making these shifts will increase your profitability, energize you, and create increased health and satisfaction. Go for it!
Delegate the Details
Independent designers (solopreneurs and entrepreneurs) are typically big picture thinkers. We are great at crafting the master plan and then must farm out the details or risk dropping the ball. We don’t like getting mired in the daily minutiae. This means you must learn the art of delegating whether to an intern, a book keeper, a Virtual Assistant, an installer or any other manner of assistance. Know your strengths, emphasize them, and delegate the rest.
Let your clients and your contractors know your working hours. Too many designers brag and also bemoan the fact that they work nights and weekends. That is a choice! You don’t have to choose it. You can have a very successful design practice and work 9-5 Monday through Friday, or 7-5 Tuesday through Thursday. This isn’t to say that you don’t work other days and hours, but these are the days and hours you are available for calls and contact. You can even make it Tuesday and Thursday 10-2, whatever works. It is your choice how available you want to be. Those that are serious about working with you and understand your value, will work within the parameters you set.
Use the shortcuts that technology provides! I am always amazed when a designer shares that they are doing their books manually. Use Quickbooks or Peachtree Accounting or some other software to streamline the process. Now there are any number of CAD programs available to aid in drafting. There are even automated note card services that can personalize notes to clients and send them as regular reminders. Find the time savers and use them!
Just because someone fogs a mirror doesn’t make them a prospect! Get clear on who your target audience is, create a complete profile and put it on a most wanted poster in your office. This is not for anyone but you to see. When you work only with ideal clients you make ideal money, on ideal projects that create your ideal life. When you instead take whomever shows up, your life will become chaotic, frustrating, and you will lose a lot of time chasing ill-fitting business opportunities.
Welcome a Website
As frightening as it is for me to write this, over 60% of design professionals don’t have a website. Having had a website since 1994 and I am now in my fifth iteration of that and having garnered major clients through my site, I know well how much it can benefit me. We are living in the age of technology, the age of high speed information, and everything at your fingertips. If you aren’t a few key clicks away, you are lost in the shuffle and invisible to your audience. It doesn’t have to cost thousands or be elaborate, it does need to represent you clearly and beneficially. Join the 21st century and get a website!
One step at a time, take it in bit-size pieces. Your business must be designed to serve the whole of your life or you will find yourself burned out and fed up. Profiting from your passion is crucial to your success, but so is designing your business for your best life now.
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