Aug 9, 2016

Running a successful design business - Hazel @ Stay Bookish || LITHW16

Hi everyone!

Before we start off with the post, I want to remind you all that the #LITHW16 twitter chat will be happening on Saturday, at 12 PM EST! Don't forget to grab the hashtag and join in!

That being said, let's shift the focus to today's post! Despite a blog being all about writing posts and sharing thoughts, it is vital to maintain it visually and aesthetically pleasing as well. Hence, the popularity of design businesses. If you are a skilled designer, chances are that you have at least flirted with the idea of running one at some point. So today, we have Hazel from Stay Bookish to explain how design businesses to work, and some tips to be successful at it!

Before I hand over the floor to Hazel, I'd also recommend her design shop wholeheartedly! She excels in creating beautiful designs with the most amazing colour palettes! I never regret choosing her to do my design! Check out her store here!

How To Run A Design Business

I’ve always found myself drawn to various art forms. To name a few, I’m fond of literature, music, photography and most recently, design. Honestly, a visual media such as design used to be something I think I couldn’t do since I had the art skills of a toddler. So if you’d have told me a few years ago that I’d be running a design business one day, I probably would have laughed in your face. It’s amazing how things can change.

Tools & Resources For Designing

To say I’m thankful Adobe Photoshop came into my life would be an understatement. My design journey started the day I discovered this application. Since then, I’ve designed posters, wallpapers, shirts, business cards, blogs and tons of graphics. Basically, for me, this is a must-have application. Of course, there are free alternatives such as GIMP, PicMonkey and Canva. But I think if you really want to professionally design graphics or websites, investing in Photoshop is the best thing you can do.

Another tool in my arsenal is Adobe Indesign, which is what I used to create the Book Blog Planner as well as the freebies I offer on my blog for subscribers. I also use it for designing magazines since I was previously the Creative Editor for my college’s news mag. 

Being a designer for me means having a vision and using my tools and resources to make that happen. I used to rely on free design resources when I was just starting out. When my design business got going, I decided investing in premium resources from Creative Market would be worth it. I love having a variety of fonts, illustrations,and textures in my assets.

The Business Side Of Being A Designer

Like I said, I never thought I’d be making a business out of my design endeavors, at least not until I started book blogging. I can’t really say I’m business-savvy but I’ve had experience with it, previously running my own online accessory shop. Really, when I began my design business, all I did was put up a page for my serviceswith my prices and info. That was it!

However, running a design business, I soon figured out, meant a lot more than that. It meant communicating with clients, sometimes figuring out what they want when they don’t know it themselves. It meant cataloging my design files so that my computer isn’t a mess of WIPs and projects. It meant occasionally promoting my design business on my blog or twitter. It meant constantly improving my design skills and my coding knowledge so I can keep creating blog designs that impress. It also meant being more organized, especially with my email for orders and client discussions.

For me, that was the most challenging thing I think, keeping organized. I’m a very messy, forgetful person so it was something I struggled with especially when I suddenly was getting so many orders that I even had to start a queue. It might be hard to imagine getting frustrated over that since getting numerous people interested in your services should be an awesome thing but believe me, it was definitely something I had to grapple with. Another thing is having to raise my prices, which I was really really scared to do since I was afraid all my customers would leave if my services weren’t affordable. Ultimately I did proceed with it, but only after psyching myself that my designs are valuable enough and that I needed to do this to grow as a designer entrepreneur.

What really helps my business, most of all, is having my blog as my platform. Most, if not all, of my clients also follow Stay Bookish. Having a blog when running a design business helps because people can get to know the kind of person they’re interested in working with through content and blog posts. However, it’s also unnerving because that means I have to step up my blog game by always having an interesting blog design and pretty graphics. But it's definitely cool that my own blog can stand as a sort of resume as to why clients should hire me. Aside from this, having a good portfolio is also crucial for my clients to decide if they want me to design their blog.

At the end of the day, making my clients happy is what’s important to me. It’s not always easy to find the right clients and sometimes I’ve had to part with some just because I’m not the right designer for them or because of communication issues. That’s always hard but I pride myself in only taking money when my customers are completely satisfied. Because aside from my platform, referrals or testimonials from myhappy clients are the reason I can say my design business has been successful so far.

In conclusion, being a designer-entrepreneur is challenging but also incredibly fulfilling. As long as you’re a visionary who’s willing to work hard, then you definitely have what it takes! If you’re running a design business or hoping to start one and have any questions, feel free to drop me a line on Twitter anytime! 

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