February 28, 2023
Beautiful human, let’s help get you outta those weeds.
Ask yourself: “What needs to be right for the rest to matter?”
(psst we’re not sure who the originator of the above quote was…if you know, please let us know!)
Quite often designers get stuck in the weeds of the doing, doing, doing, and we can’t see the forest for the trees.
Hands up if you have been guilty of checking a stack of things off your to-do list only to prematurely celebrate? Check, check, check, check, check and for a fleeting moment you pat yourself on the back. But then wonder why it doesn’t feel like you’ve actually achieved anything?
We’ve all been there. Take a close look at your list. Are the things that have taken up your time actually going to transform your business, get new clients in the door or increase your revenue?
Let’s highlight some ways to recognise that and to make sure that our focus is always on what really matters.
If we get too far ahead of ourselves, it can be detrimental to more than our bottom line, it can affect our overall well-being.
Look out for things like:
Designers everywhere have been guilty of spending endless hours researching ALL the tech possibilities. Focus on the outcome. In the case of a website platform, is it more important that you have at least one page with a simple contact form so potential clients can reach you. Does the platform itself really matter?
Most platforms or software will do much the same things. And guess what? You can change your mind later on if you wish.
For those of you who are curious, we use Showit as our website platform. If you like using InDesign or Figma, you’ll love it! This is our affiliate link – click to get a free month trial (rather than 2 weeks) and we also get a free month. Win win!
We see a lot of designers still using old-school methods of getting paid. Keep it simple and make sure there is no barrier to make payment. Always include a debit card option. Automate payments wherever possible. It can be as simple as using PayPal invoices.
The PDF invoice design may look pretty, but you’ll end up wasting precious time chasing down payments. Bells and whistles are definitely not required when it comes to invoicing. What matters is ease of payment!
Let’s simplify things for you! Use a client portal.
Aaaannd, don’t get caught up researching the eyeballs out of the best option.
Trello, Notion, ClickUp, Monday, they all work!
We happen to LOVE Trello but they all essentially do the same thing. Just pick a platform, up your skills if you need to and commit to it.
The most important thing is that you have a client management system as soon as possible. It’s the key way to ensure clients are cared for and your project is on time and on budget!
We’re sure you can relate to the never ending design process that goes on and on and on.
We are creative beings and our curiosity can be equal parts our biggest strength and our achilles heel.
If we don’t focus on what matters, we can lose vast amounts of valuable time (and money). You’ll end up pushing the solution so far that you miss that you’ve actually cracked it already.
Often designers will whizz past a great solution, that already answers the brief and it’s going be fantastic for the client. BUT, curiosity gets a hold and you keep going down research rabbit holes that you haven’t explored yet. And before you know it, hours and hours and hours are gone and you actually had the solution already.
Or you might typeset a creative concept to within a minute mark of it’s life because it felt important to show your passion for beautiful design! But it hasn’t been approved yet, the client flippantly says “Great, thanks. Can you add this sentence?” creating chaos in your line endings—and your soul.
Precious time lost on things that don’t matter!
Yep—been there. So what’s important here?
With powerful creative processes in place, you will have validated that first beautiful solution as soon as you arrived at it. You will have ticked the boxes, it will have met the brief, it will have met your beautiful brand board or your process. It is ready to present!
What matters is that you have worked within the budget, you have worked within the boundaries of the project, and you can confidently present this solution to the client.
Whether it’s a curiosity rabbit hole, a creative rabbit hole, a kerning rabbit hole—is this for the greater good of my business or this project?
Is it going to help me shift the needle in my business?
Is it serving my processes?
Am I being boundaried around my very own processes that I have created for my business?
Am I happy in this rabbit hole?
We have to keep checking in on ourselves because we can go rogue in our own businesses and we can be the culprit for getting ourselves stuck in those weeds. And all of a sudden we are wondering why we’re not profitable.
If you are not holding yourself accountable for the smooth running of your business it will affect a lot more than your bottom line.
Of course profitability and the longevity of your business will be at stake. But also your physical health, mental health, emotional health—essentially your overall wellbeing can be compromised.
Constantly getting stuck in the weeds, allowing yourself to get bogged down in tasks that don’t matter can lead to burnout and resentment.
And heads up, if you’re a solopreneur, you’re probably more likely to go rogue within your graphic design business. We have! So it’s even more important to make sure you are operating with clear processes and boundaries.
The first place to start is for you to recognise where your weeds are. What time sucks take you away from what really matters? Always ask the questions…who is this serving? What is this serving? Why am I doing this?
Be aware of these time sucks, catch yourself wasting time and make a positive change.
Change comes in the form of beautifully functioning processes—designed to catch you before your toes get muddy. If you need help with design business systems, take a look at The Academy.
Awareness is everything, it allows you to shine the light on what really matters.
Be gentle—awareness is a practice. Don’t expect that you’re going to get it right from the get-go. It will become a healthy practice once it becomes habitual. Allow yourself the space and time to form positive habits in your business.
So beautiful designers, if the task you are doing feels weedy and mucky, if your energy feels flat—ask, what is it? Why am I doing this?
Instead, stop and pause and think about how to move the needle in your business right now.
Have fun clearing those weeds.
For full transcript click here
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