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CREATIVE BUSINESS GROWTH

4 Quick Win Strategies to Increase Your Profit as a Designer

In this article, I’ll be diving into some solid strategies to help you increase your profit as a designer or creative business owner.

I’ve been there myself, working what feels like endless hours, juggling client requests and moving targets. Only to find that the effort put in does not seem to match the money left to show for it.

So, is there a magic formula to increase your profit as a designer?

Increase Your Profit as a Designer

Profit vs Turnover

First, I’d like to make the important distinction between profit and turnover. I don’t know about you, but I suspect as creatives we don’t separate the two because we tend to see all time as money, forgetting about the cost of doing business.

 

However, they’re not the same thing. Turnover is everything that comes into your business. Invoice out translates to total money in. Profit is what’s left over when you’ve factored in all of your costs: subscriptions, materials and equipment, 3rd party costs, coaching and support etc. On top of that, you’ve also got to pay yourself, pay tax, something into your pension and set money aside to reinvest in your business.

 

So, now we’ve got that cleared up, let’s get into how you can increase your profit as a designer.

Profit vs Turnover

 

First, I’d like to make the important distinction between profit and turnover. I don’t know about you, but I suspect as creatives we don’t separate the two because we tend to see all time as money, forgetting about the cost of doing business.

 

However, they’re not the same thing. Turnover is everything that comes into your business. Invoice out translates to total money in. Profit is what’s left over when you’ve factored in all of your costs: subscriptions, materials and equipment, 3rd party costs, coaching and support etc. On top of that, you’ve also got to pay yourself, pay tax, something into your pension and set money aside to reinvest in your business.

 

So, now we’ve got that cleared up, let’s get into how you can increase your profit as a designer.

4 Strategies to Increase Your Profit as a Designer

Sadly, there is no magic formula! However, these 4 strategies have all had a massive impact in my own business. They’ve allowed me to make money rather than just feel like I should be.

Increase Your Profit as a Designer

Strategy 1: Be Intentional with Your Time

 

Giving your time or work away for free is much like being a piñata. It’s what I like to call the Piñata Problem.

No one feels sorry for the piñata. They don’t feel like they owe that brightly coloured bundle of goodies a thank you or a hand up when they’re in bits on the floor. Party goers just keep whacking it until they’ve taken all there is to take. Yes, there are smiles and laughs. Everyone’s enjoying the party while it lasts, except the poor piñata of course.

The key message here is your time is valuable. So, don’t give it away for free. It can be easy to think your clients will love you for your generosity, but in the long run they won’t. Because if you don’t value it, chances are no one else will either. They’ll just keep whacking you until there’s nothing left to take.

So be intentional with your time, which includes:

~ Setting boundaries
~ Not giving your value or time away
~ Not over-investing or over-delivering
~ Being realistic about how long things take and resisting the temptation to under-charge

Increase Your Profit as a Designer

Strategy 2: Showcase the Transformation

 

Your client doesn’t have your ‘why’ top of mind. What they’re really preoccupied with is why they should care. Aka what’s in it for them.

 

When you talk to your client about what you do for them not just what you do, something rather magical happens. You start to elevate yourself in their mind. And you become a necessity and something they desire, not a commodity.

 

When you focus on results, you set yourself apart. Not only do you increase the emotional connection with your audience, you stand out when everyone else if saying and doing much the same thing.

 

And when your audience desires to work with you, that’s when you can charge a premium. Because their decision-making is less about cost and more about feeling emotionally compelled. They need to work with you.

Increase Your Profit as a Designer

Strategy 3: There’s Money in the Method

 

I suspect many creatives shy away from describing themselves as strategic or selling strategic services.

The academics in grey suits seem to have a monopoly on ‘strategy’. And that’s not fair or justified.

I believe everyone has a strategic component to their offer. Whether or not they recognise it, place a value on it and talk about it is something different.

The definition of strategy is ‘a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.’

Think about ‘how’ you do what you do. Is there something unique in your:

  • Process or the way you gather and use insights
  • Methodology or framework
  • Perspective on your industry
  • Approach to getting results
  • Tools for guiding the client

This is all creative strategy, or what I call your ‘purple matter’. It’s creative problem solving, and it’s far more fun, engaging and interesting than plain old grey matter!

Consider how you can turn your purple matter into money. Even better, if you already give your clients strategic value but don’t charge for it, there’s money left on the table. That’s more profit for no additional effort the moment you start charging for it.

What this comes down to is how you package it. And then how you sell it as something of value that will result in a higher level transformation.

Increase Your Profit as a Designer

Strategy 4: Review Your Pricing

 

I’ve increased my prices several times over the lifetime of my business and it’s one of the key ways I’ve been able to increase my profit as a designer.

It really comes down to a choice. Do you want volume work at a low price or a smaller amount of high-end work at a higher price?

Most often the thing getting in the way of increasing your prices is your mindset. Low pricing can be a comfort blanket. I sold my first ever logo design as a solo-preneur for $250 Australian Dollars. Let’s just say I would never give something with such a high value away like that again.

Ask yourself what’s stopping you from increasing your prices and challenge your thinking. Are you making assumptions about what you client can afford? What are you afraid will happen? Is your pricing attracting the right clients? What’s the worst that can happen? Could low pricing actually be damaging your perception as a high-end designer?

Lots to think about! That’s probably enough for one blog article. However, I do have 3 other strategies to share with you. Plus, a video and workbook stepping you through how to use all 7 strategies in your business.

 

If you’d like instant access to my 7 Profit Plumping Strategies training >>> CLICK HERE

 

It’s time to introduce your creative side to your business side. This is about making the shift from sweat shop to sweet spot to increase your profit as a designer.

Bec Hughes Creative Business Insider Coaching

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