Nurturing client relationships, with Phyllis Sa

About This Interview

If you find marketing difficult, the easiest way to get clients is to really nurture the ones you already have and turn them into repeat clients. Phyllis Sa, a freelance brand and web designer from San Diego, is here to tell you about how she has built a clientele that is mainly repeat clients.

Interview Breakdown

03:00: The difference between a freelancer and an entrepreneur

04:14: Nurturing client relationships

05:10: Working with clients in different timezones and making yourself accessible 

05:58: Exceeding client expectations and going the extra mile

07:40: Taking your ego out of your work

08:10: Being a generalist and NOT choosing a niche for your design business

09:30: Being defensive about your work

10:30: Handling revision rounds and putting a deadline on revisions

11:50: Scheduling revisions to fall on the same days in every project

11:34: The results Phyllis has seen from nurturing her clients

14:50: How to get clients if you're not comfortable with marketing

15:50: Make it easy for clients to re-book you

17:50: Phyllis's top three tips for wowing your clients

About Phyllis

 
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"I create beautifully holistic brand and website experiences for amazing small businesses, organizations, and creative individuals, right here in sunny San Diego, California.

When I'm not designing things, I'm enjoying being a mom of two awesome little girls, catching on my favorite TV shows, and feeding my very unhealthy daily Starbucks habit.

Discussing the complex yet fulfilling intersection of work, motherhood, and pursuing your inner creativity + dreams is a personal passion of mine."

Visit Phyllis's website here and follow her on Instagram here.

Check out Phyllis's blog for freelancers, The Quiet Creative.

 

Masterclass Execution Plan: Find Your Niche

 
 

What is a 'Masterclass Execution Plan'?


I know how difficult it is to implement the things you learn online. You probably read blog posts, watch webinars, make notes and then... never act on the things you learn. It's not your fault - you live a busy life and it isn't easy to make time for implementation!

Well, these Masterclass Execution Plans are here to save the day. If you don't have time to watch this month's masterclass, you can read the execution plan and find two things:

01. Masterclass Summary.

Below, you'll find of a written summary of the main points from this month's masterclass. It's perfect for busy designers or people who simply don't like video! 

02. Three Execution Plans (Aka. Your Masterclass Homework)

I don't just want you to read or watch the masterclass. I want you to take ACTION, and these execution plans make it easy. Simply watch the masterclass/read the summary, then use the three execution plans at the bottom of this page to take action. 


Masterclass Summary


What is the masterclass about?

This month's masterclass is called 'How To Find Your Niche.' My cohost, Devan Danielle, is a personal branding coach. She’s a total pro at helping you figure out WHO you should be targeting and HOW to stand out from your competitors.

You can find Devan's website here and follow her on Instagram here.

Now, on to the masterclass summary!

Why should you choose a niche?

You should be able to tell people what you do and who you do it for in ONE simple sentence.

Niching will help you get clear on what you do and who you help so you can attract more dream clients and do more of the things you love to do. Instead of doing 'all the things' for everyone, niching allows you to focus on what you're good at and do more of it.

Niching is the fastest way to win clients because clients almost always prefer to hire a specialist over a generalist. 

Example time! If a client wanted to hire someone to redesign their Squarespace website, would they choose the designer that designs for Squarespace, Wordpress, Wix and everything else? Or would they choose the designer whose portfolio is only filled with awesome Squarespace websites? Of course, they'd choose the latter.

Switching from a 'freelancer' mindset to a 'business owner' mindset

We all start out as freelancers and freelancers do the work our clients ask us to do. But when you change your mindset from 'freelancer' to 'business owner', you go from doing what YOU'RE told to do to telling the client what you do. As a business owner, YOU can set the price and YOU can tell your audience what you're going to help them with. 

How to find your niche when you're just starting out

Think about past clients you loved working with. What was it about them that you loved? Were they in a specific niche? Were they male or female? What services did you need?

Reflecting on what you love doing the most and who you love working with will help you choose a niche.

Is it possible to niche too much?

The biggest fear people have around niching is niching too much and not being able to find clients in that niche. But here's the thing: it's virtually impossible to niche too much! Even if you choose to only work with a small niche such as yoga studios, how many yoga studios are there around the world? There are THOUSANDS! There's no way you'll get through all of them and run out of clients. 

Feel the fear and do it anyway. It's almost impossible to niche too much. And even if you choose a niche and it doesn't work out for you, you don't have to stick to that niche. There is nothing wrong with changing your niche if you've tried it for a while and it doesn't work.

The best way to analyze if the niche you're interested in will be profitable and successful is to look for others who have chosen it as their niche. If there are one or two others who have had great success with it, you know you can too. 

How to transition into your new niche

The first thing you need to do is rework your brand messaging. Figure out your who, where, what and why.

Who are you now targeting? Where are they? What do they do, and what do you do? Why are you targeting these people and offering this service?

Once you're clear on your new brand message, alter your website copy and change all your social media bios.

Send an email out to your newsletter list announcing your new change so they're kept in the loop. If they don't realize you've changed your niche, they won't know how you can now help them. If you don't tell your current community about your change, you'll miss out on potential clients.

Finally, go through your blog posts and unpublish any that aren't related to your new niche. Your blog should be centered around your niche and the topics they are interested in. People should be able to tell what you do and who you do it for simply by reading your blog posts!

What to do if your niche has no money

Find a new target market. For you to run a profitable business, you need a profitable target market. If your current niche can't pay you very much for your services, find a similar market that can. 

If you're passionate about handling a specific service or working with a specific niche of people but they can't afford to pay you, take on these types of projects occasionally as pro bono projects! This will allow you to run a profitable business while still doing what you love or helping people you truly want to help. 

How to specialize in a different visual style to what you've been offering

Start designing in that style and filling your portfolio with work in that style. To find clients you can design for in this style may be hard initially because your portfolio won't yet be filled with work that resonates with them. So, reach out to three people and ask them if you could design something in your new design style for them! You could do this at a very discounted rate in exchange for the work you can put in your portfolio and a raving testimonial. 

Alternatively, you could continue to work with your usual clients but don't put their work in your portfolio. Instead, spend some time on evenings and weekends making up projects in your new design style! You can add it to your portfolio as long as you state the work wasn't done for a real client.

Finally, make sure your own website is designed in the style you want to attract. 

How to niche without losing business

Some designers want to niche in on a specific service, like brand design, but fear that they'll lose business to designers who offer the full package.

Here's a simple fix: partner with another designer. If you focus on brand design, find a designer who focuses on web design and collaborate with each other! This will allow you to focus on doing what you love and what you're best at, while also not losing business. 


Your Execution Plan


Homework 01 - Find you niche

Think about past clients you loved working with and answer these questions:

  • What was it about them that you loved?
  • Were they in a specific niche?
  • Were they male or female?
  • What services did you complete for them?
  • Was it the work you enjoyed, or the person you worked with? (This will help you determine if you should niche in on WHO you work with or WHAT you offer.)

Homework 02 - Rewrite your brand statement

After you figure out what your niche is, it's time to rewrite your brand statement. A brand statement is a few sentences that explain what you do, who you do it for, how you help them and why you help them. 

Use this script to write your new brand statement:

My name is _______ and I help _______ with _______. I believe your _______ should _______ and I can help you achieve that through _______.

Example: My name is Nesha and I help freelance brand & web designers grow and streamline their businesses. I believe your business should be profitable, not just creative. I help you achieve that through training in my courses, ebooks and member's club. 

Homework 03 - Identify where to find clients from this niche

Once you choose a niche, you just have to figure out how to find them! The best place to find them is on social media sites like Facebook. Use the Facebook search bar to look for groups of potential clients by searching keywords related to them. 

For example, if you're looking for groups of photographers, you'd search for 'photographers' or 'wedding photography' to find related groups. 

Join these groups and network genuinely. Finding clients in Facebook groups is all about having conversations and offering lots of free value, not promoting yourself all the time and always talking about your services. (You can learn more about Facebook marketing in my ebook, Social Splash.)


Got questions?


Reach out and ask your fellow club member's in our community! Taking action on your homework shouldn't be done alone. Share what you've done in our community and ask questions if you need help!

Masterclass: How To Find Your Niche

 
 

In this month’s masterclass I talked with my special guest, Devan Danielle, about how to choose a niche for your design business.

Topics discussed:

  • Why should you choose a niche? (5:12)
  • Switching from a 'freelance' mindset to a 'business owner' mindset (9:50)
  • Using your niche to help you stand out from your competition (12:16)
  • How to find your niche when you're just starting out (16:15)
  • Is it possible to niche too much? (19:32)
  • How to transition into your new niche (22:25)
  • How to make money while you transition into your new niche (27:06)
  • What to do if your niche has no money (29:14)
  • How to specialize in a different visual style to what you've been offering (32:20)
  • How to find out if the niche you're interested in is profitable (35:17)
  • How to find clients from your new niche (39:39)
  • How to niche without losing business (43:01)
  • OWN your niche (52:55)

Quotes From Devan

"Once you figure out your niche, OWN it. Don't dance around it."

"When you find your niche, your content and services will be easier to create because you're creating with a specific niche in mind."

"Niching will help you get really clear on what you do and who you help so you can attract more dream clients."

"When you niche, you move from a freelance mindset to a business owner mindset. And when you're a business owner, YOU tell the client what you help them with."

Quotes From Nesha

"If you want to charge more and work with premium clients but your current target market can't afford what you want to charge, you need to change your target market."

"Your niche is not a forever thing. If you try working with a certain niche and realize you don't like it, it's okay to shift your niche."

"When you niche, remember to delete irrelevant blog posts. All your blog posts should now focus on your new niche."

Who is Devan Danielle?

Devan is a a personal branding coach. She’s a total pro at helping you figure out WHO you should be targeting and HOW to stand out from your competitors.

You can find Devan's website here and follow her on Instagram here.

Moodboard Template + Shop Discount from Fearless Confetti

 

It's week #3 of May which means it's time for your surprise!

This month's surprise is what I like to call a Member Perk. It's a little gift + discount just for my members. 

This month's perk is a free moodboard template to use in your branding projects, courtesy of Fearless Confetti. 

Click here to download your moodboard template.

They're also giving you 30% off their entire shop! There, you'll find brand board templates, social media templates, moodboard templates and more. They have every template you need to make designing easier. 

Use the code NESHA30 to apply your discount!


Here's how to use your moodboard template:

1. Open the template in Photoshop.

2. Open a photo in Photoshop.

3. Drag the photo from its tab into the moodboard tab.

4. In the layers panel, drag the photo above the section of the moodboard you want to insert it in.

5. Right click and select 'Create Clipping Mask'

Here's a video of how I create my own moodboards. This free template will work in a similar way!

Got Questions?

I welcome you to post them in our Facebook group!

 

Masterclass Execution Plan: Instagram Marketing For Designers

 
 

What is a 'Masterclass Execution Plan'?


I know how difficult it is to implement the things you learn online. You probably read blog posts, watch webinars, make notes and then... never act on the things you learn. It's not your fault - you live a busy life and it isn't easy to make time for implementation!

Well, these Masterclass Execution Plans are here to save the day. If you don't have time to watch this month's masterclass, you can read the execution plan and find two things:

01. Masterclass Summary.

Below, you'll find of a written summary of the main points from this month's masterclass. It's perfect for busy designers or people who simply don't like video! 

02. Three Execution Plans (Aka. Your Masterclass Homework)

I don't just want you to read or watch the masterclass. I want you to take ACTION, and these execution plans make it easy. Simply watch the masterclass/read the summary, then use the three execution plans at the bottom of this page to take action. 


Masterclass Summary


What is the masterclass about?

This month's masterclass is called 'How To Market Your Design Services On Instagram.' My cohost, Liz White of the Linea Mae design studio, finds most of her clients via Instagram. In this masterclass, she shares her best tips for turning likes and followers into paying clients! Be sure to follow her beautiful Instagram account and watch her stories to see how she works her marketing magic. 

Now, onto the masterclass summary!

Personal vs Business Accounts

Keep your business and personal accounts seperate. Almost everything you post on your business account should be centered around what your followers (aka. potential clients) are interested in or struggling with. We hate to break it to you, but your potential clients are most likely not interested in seeing a dozen photos of your dog, as cute or fuzzy as he may be.

If you want to share personal stories or photos, use Instagram Stories. The videos/photos you post on your story disappear after 24 hours. It's the perfect way to share what you're doing throughout your day, post personal photos and share a behind-the-scenes look at your business!

Keep your really personal photos on a seperate account. Both Liz and I have a business account and a personal account. Our personal accounts are followed by only our friends and family, and we keep it on Private so our business communities can't follow us there.

Using Stock Photos On Your Instagram Profile

Both Liz and I almost exclusively use stock photos on our Instagram profiles. It takes a complete load off of our shoulders because it eliminates the need to spend lots of time taking and editing pretty photos. 

Click here to see Liz's favourite stock photo resources!

Liz's Instagram profile and website are branded and perfectly lead on from each other. She uses photos that include the same colours as her website or the same themes as her website photos to achieve this. 

Using stock photos isn't 'cheating'. They help your profile look professional and make posting to Instagram easier for you. If you'd like to customize your stock photos, choose photos that include an ipad/laptop and display your work on it like Liz has in this post. 

How To Get Traffic To Your Instagram Account

Use hashtags to drive traffic to your account. Instead of posting the hashtags in the post caption itself, hide them in a comment on that post so your caption doesn't look messy and long. 

Liz doesn't fill her posts with designer-related hashtags because that's just going to get other designers looking at her posts. She wants potential clients to look at them. So, she uses hashtags her potential clients use. 

If your potential clients are photographers for example, find a hashtag they use often, such as #risingtidesociety. Then search that hashtag on Hashtagify to see related hashtags. 

Utilize as many hashtags as you're able to use (which is 30).

How To Get Traffic From Your Profile To Your Website

Both Liz and I link to a newsletter freebie from our profiles. In Liz's case, she specializes in designing sales pages, so she has a Sales Page Checklist as her opt-in freebie and she links to that from her Instagram bio. 

When potential clients find her profile and read her bio, they aren't just lead to her website. They're pushed to opt-in for her newsletter so she can keep in touch with them and remind them how she can help them!

Liz uses Linktr.ee to add links to her bio. It lets you add multiple links to your Instagram bio!

How To Plan Posts Strategically

Liz and I use a free app called Preview App. It allows you to plan out your profile visually, add captions and schedule posts. It's the perfect way to schedule posts in advance!

Why Does Your Insta Profile Only Attract Other Designers?

In short, it's probably because you're following a lot of designers and using a lot of hashtags designers love. The first step to attracting non-designers is simply to unfollow the designers you currently follow and start following potential clients. You'll find that a lot of them will follow you back! Especially if you leave a thoughtful comment on one of their photos. 

Unfollowing other designers also ensures you don't get stuck in the comparison trap. Goodbye fraudy feelings! 

How Often To Post

Posting once a week isn't good enough. You're not going to see ANY results from that.

Liz and I both post once a day and we do daily Instagram stories. Since posting regularly, we've both met lots of clients and collaborators on Instagram. 

How To Use Instagram Stories

Our Instagram profiles are filled with beautiful images but there's only a headshot of us once every nine posts. However, people can see our faces every day on our Instagram stories! They can watch our stories to get to know our personalities. This is key in converting followers into clients. After all, no one wants to hire someone they don't feel connected to, and the best way to create that connection is through video.

Click here to learn what Instagram Stories are.

Follow me (Nesha) to watch my daily Instagram stories.

Follow Liz to watch her daily Instagram stories. 

How To Sell On Instagram Without Feeling Sleazy

Treat your Insta posts as mini blog posts. Provide your followers with lots of free value that's connected to what they're struggling with, then link that Insta post with an opt-in to get your followers onto your email list.

Don't do hard sells all the time but do them occasionally. It's GOOD to notify people of when you're next booking clients. They'll want to know after devouring all the free value you've been giving them!

How To Reach Out To Potential Clients

If you find a potential client you'd love to work with, follow them and comment on their posts when they post them. Don't go through their last 10 posts and comment on all of them with one-word comments because that's just sleazy. Instead, turn on post notifications so Instagram tells you when they'e posted, and comment on those new posts! 

The best way to get noticed by a potential client on Instagram is to direct message them. Reply to their Instagram stories. No one replies to stores, so doing this will help YOU stand out!

Another tip: Mention them in an Instagram story. (Click here to find out how.) It's a great way to get someone's attention and show them how much you appreciate what they're doing. Once you've built that connection with potential clients, you'll be on their radar. 


Your Execution Plan


Homework 01 - Find Hashtags Your Potential Clients Use, Not Other Designers

Find a few hashtags your potential clients use by looking up past clients and seeing the tags they've been using. 

Then use Hashtagify.me to enter one of the hashtags and see related hashtags!

Choose about 30 hashtags and add them as a note on your phone. You can copy and paste these hashtags on each of your posts!

Homework 02 - Start Using Instagram Stories

After watching the masterclass/reading the summary, you understand you need to use Instagram stories. But what should you use them for?!

Here's a 7-day plan to get your started:

  • Day 01: Introduce yourself! Tell your followers who you are, what you do, and a few fun facts about you.
  • Day 02: Show your workspace. Take your followers on a video tour!
  • Day 03: Show behind-the-scenes of your latest project.
  • Day 04: Show your followers your daily routine.
  • Day 05: Share a tip related to your expertise. Then tell people to click the link in your bio to opt-in for a freebie related to your tip.
  • Day 06: Get personal. Show your pet/family/something fun you're doing.
  • Day 07: Talk about your latest blog post and direct people to it.

Homework 03 - Reach Out To Potential Clients

Look for ten potential clients and follow them. Then, turn on post notifications for each of them by following the instructions here. 

Reply to their Instagram stories. No one replies to stories so doing this will help YOU stand out.

Mention them in one of your stories. This is the best way to get on their radar and show them you're into what they're doing. It's the perfect way to build a relationship with them before reaching out and letting them know you'd love to work with them! 


Got questions?


Reach out and ask your fellow club member's in our community! Taking action on your homework shouldn't be done alone. Share what you've done in our community and ask questions if you need help!