Listen now (57 mins) | In today’s episode we dive into this letter from a listener: I'm an artist and graphic designer and I run a one-woman creative studio. Like Jen, I'm very intentional about not hiring staff. If/when I get to a certain stage I would like to hire a VA or studio manager, but for now it's just me. I've raised my rates over the last year, and I have a steady stream of work coming in, which is great and I'm very grateful for it. However being a service-based business, especially a one-woman show, there is a very clear cap on how much I'm able to earn providing services. I plan to keep raising my rates gradually, and I'm slowly starting to gain slightly higher-paying clients and am, getting better at saying no to low-paying jobs. But this feels like quite a slow strategy, at least just now when it's still just me. I also plan to set some time aside this year to make stock (vectors, illustrations and textures) to hopefully set up some passive income streams, although I know this can be tricky to get going.
Another fab episode full of inspiration and support.
loved hearing Laura's whys around income as part of her question, I felt excited for her as you were reading them and it's made me think about my own and come back to them. Another amazing episode!
Thank you both so much for reading my question, and for all the juicy advice! My brain went into overdrive with all the ideas sparking. Your advice has helped me reframe my approach to this new chapter of my business, and I wanted to share what you’ve already inspired me to realise and do:
• You are absolutely right that I’m falling out of love with the client work. The episode made me realise that I like it with the right clients, but it doesn’t make my heart sing. What DOES make my heart sing is the art stuff: making my own work and selling that.
• I’ve sold cards and prints before, but burned out on that too because the energy and time exchange rate was too high for the money I was (or wasn’t) bringing in. But the urge to do it has always been in the back of my head. Seeing it as part of a hybrid business model has helped me see clearly how that might actually work. So I think a hybrid model is definitely for me.
• My purpose for pursuing passive income streams is to give me more stability so I can take the pressure off the client work, and give myself more breathing room to make my own work (which is ultimately what I want to do more of).
• I’ve realised I hate doing illustration for commission, but love doing it for cards and my own low-pressure projects, and that’s helped me decide where illustration sits within my business.
• As a priority I need to simplify and CLARIFY what my offering is. I’ve been fortunate that repeat business from clients has kept me going for the past year, which is why I’ve never realised just how unclear it is on my website how clients can work with me. I’ve already come up with five ways to work with me, four of which I’m going to flesh out and put on my website:
- One-to-one Hour Session: clients buy an hour of my time to ask me anything, or advise on a design etc. I might also include a report with a summary of what we talked about and action points they can take.
- Designer for Hire: companies hire me on a day-basis, to fill gaps or help with busy periods (I like this type of work because it’s relatively easy for me, and I get to be part of a team on an ad-hoc basis, which suits me!) There would be discounted rates for multiple days booked.
- Bespoke/By Project Basis: Clients hire me for a specific project with clearly defined deliverables, priced accordingly.
- Branding Packages: One or maybe two packages for all the branding essentials (I’ve tried this before but have let clients chop and change what they needed. So I’ll be very clear about what it includes so I can streamline the process on my end, with less faffing about trying to please everyone).
So after listening to the episode my action plan is:
• Think about how I want people to work with me
• Work through Jen’s Deep Dive Kit (which I’d already downloaded but hadn’t got around to doing yet!)
• Clearly define my offerings
• Add them to my website
• Choose which of the passive income routes to follow first (using Jen’s advice of which one feels most joyful)
• Make a roadmap on how to work through these chunk by chunk
Whew! Hopefully this gives you an idea of just how helpful I find your podcast. So again, thank you!
I have already listened to this episode TWICE as I am very much in the same boat as Laura. SUCH great ideas, thank you so much! I have always struggled to reconcile my 'design' side with my 'art' side and I am in the place where I really need to get clear on what the offerings are! THANK you so much for this episode! SO much to think about and clarify!