November 19, 2020
And this takes courage, beautiful designer.
James Wedmore posted a quote recently on Instagram which really speaks to this. He wrote:
“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come out of it.”
In our latest podcast episode, we run through some of the ways you can attract clients to your graphic design business—and yes, some of these ideas will require you to take a deep breath and put yourself out of your comfort zone. But it will be worth it, trust us.
One thing that was a quantum shift for us was to swap out the word ‘sell’ with ‘serve’. Serving is something that comes naturally to us, we love to share our knowledge and we love helping people.
For us, selling felt icky. It felt like we were tooting our own trumpet and shouting from the rooftops ‘look how great we are’ which left us feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed.
This feeling is exaggerated in the very early days of business when you’re building up an audience from scratch and the majority of your audience are friends and family.
Here in Australia, there is also a cultural phenomenon called the tall poppy syndrome. Imagine a field of beautiful poppies, and there is one, lone poppy flower that is taller, brighter, and bigger than the rest. The idea is that this tall poppy should be cut down, as it is somehow immodest or in bad taste to be shining brighter than the rest.
Tall poppies have been ridiculed and shamed, because they fly in the face of our irreverent, self-deprecating (and often funny) culture. We have a saying, ‘to take the piss’ which is to mock and put others down a notch, including ourselves.
This is very different from the more outgoing and confident selling approaches seen in the U.S, for example. We have learnt a lot from our entrepreneurial U.S friends, who seem to naturally sell with such positivity and enthusiasm, like ‘we’ve got the most beautiful product you can buy’ and ‘we just love it so much, we can’t wait for you to have this in your life’.
So if selling makes you feel squirmish, reframe it like this:
How can you serve people?
If you hide your business away you are actually doing a disservice to the people who need you. How many people could be transformed by your wonderful offerings?
There are many, many ways to let people know you exist. Here are 20 ways to get you started now.
1. Engage on social media (Facebook groups, Instagram engagement)
2. Send out a direct mail campaign
3. Attend business networking events (and gasp! even consider speaking at an event!)
4. Visit a potential client in person and leave behind a beautiful promo.
5. Set up a referral system—ask current clients for referrals!
6. Have an opt-in or lead magnet on your website (pssst…check out our podcast episode 12 which has 5 lead magnet ideas)
7. Sell products on Etsy or Creative Market
8. Guest blog on other platforms such as Medium (position yourself as a graphic design expert)
9. Teach a class on Skillshare
10. Be a guest on a podcast where your niche will be listening
11. Send out press releases to get some free exposure for your business
12. Sign up to business directories
13. Use paid ads such as Instagram/Facebook and Google ads
14. Make sure your S.E.O strategy is strong!
15. Pin regularly on Pinterest
16. Offer free discovery calls
17. Make cold calls…eep we know….this one is hard but it can get results!
18. Create reels, carousel posts and stories on Instagram (people love short-form video content and things that move)
19. Share your work on portfolio sites such as Designspiration, Dribbble, Behance or Coroflot
20. Have a booth at a business trade show
So lovely designer, we know it is going to take courage for you to put yourself out there, to show up fully, to make yourself visible.
Want to dive deeper? Listen to our podcast for an in-depth discussion about all the above, and more.
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