Getting organized, setting up systems, automating your business… it’s the unglamorous part of running a design business.
You put it off because you just don’t WANT to do it. It seems boring. It seems hard. And you have more important things to do- like finishing up that logo design for a client, or tweaking that bit of code.
I know that’s how you feel because I used to feel like that too.
I was running my graphic design business for TWO YEARS before I actually decided to set up systems and organize my business. It’s no surprise that after I did, my clients went from satisfied with my work to ecstatic about the whole process.
At the moment, you may be thinking:
"I don’t have time to experiment with lots of new tools and find the best ones for a design business."
"I have client work to do. I can’t fit this in!"
"And even if I wanted to, where would I even BEGIN?"
If you HAVE thought that, I want you to know it's perfectly normal. But the benefits of taking some time out to set up systems within your design business MUCH outweigh the cons. You CAN find time, and it's worth it.
Here are 5 reasons why you should stop procrastinating and get organized:
01. Thrill Your Clients
I wasn’t going to show you this (because it’s majorly embarrassing) but here’s what one of my clients said about my design process BEFORE I got organized:
"Because I'm a new business owner, I think it would have been extremely helpful to start the process with a brainstorming call where I could tell you what I was unsure about and you could make suggestions at that point. Also, I would have really liked to see an example of what a logo is, what a submarket is, etc. That would have helped me make decisions quicker through the revision process.”
Yep. I was providing my client with good work but there were things missing from my process that could have provided her with a better experience. If I’d gotten more organized and taken more note of what my clients needed from the process, I would have known that.
Now, here’s what another client said AFTER I got organized:
"You managed my expectations from start to finish. I knew exactly what was happening with my project, at all times. You guided me through a process I knew absolutely nothing about with professionalism and ease, and it was really exciting from start to finish. Your level of service went the extra mile and as a client I really appreciated that. Thank you so much!”
A streamlined design process = an awesome brand experience for your clients.
And an amazing brand experience = glowing testimonials, more referrals and more work for YOU!
02. Feel Happy, Not Stressed
Do you suffer from Just-Scraping-By syndrome? It's pretty common among freelance designers. It's when you have SO much on your plate, you feel overwhelmed by even the smallest of daily business tasks.
You feel this way because you haven't got real systems set up in your business. You probably write your daily tasks out on a notepad each day and manage your clients through back-and-forth emails. (That's crazytown and I'm going to show you a better way of handling things over the next few weeks, I promise.)
It seems like you have absolutely no time, right?
Like 'stress' is your word-of-the-year?
But if you...
- Write down your daily tasks and highlight your priorities
- Cut out daily tasks that don't benefit your business in a big way
- Use the time those tasks took up to set up systems in your business
... You'll be able to go from just-scraping-by to happily-pushing-on in as little as one week!
Stress is a real problem because it can lead to major health problems.
03. Be More Productive
When you know who you're working with, what stage you're at in each project, and you have systems and automations set up in your design business, you then have more time and energy for the bigger goals in your life and business.
Before I got organized, I didn't have time for anything but work. Hobbies were a thing of the past!
But now that I'm streamlined and organized, I've freed up time to:
- Go to the gym three-four times a week
- Spend a few hours a week learning a new language
Getting your business organized allows you to spend more time on your personal life.
And isn't that the whole point of our businesses? To enable us to live the life we crave? If your business isn't allowing you do that right now, you NEED to get systemized and take back control of your time.
04. Spend more time with your family
Do you wake up every morning dreading the amount of work you have to do?
Do you start work early and finish late?
Does your work cut into evenings and weekends?
I've been there, I completely understand how it is. It's not that you don't WANT to spend time with your family, traveling, or doing other things you love; it's just that you don't have enough time in the day.
If you had systems in place in your business and automated as much as you could, you'd be able to finish work at 5:30pm each evening. You'd be able to take your kid to the park on Saturday mornings, or spend a long weekend away just because you fancied it.
It DOES take time to create systems and get organized. But it's a one-time-only investment. Once you have your systems in place, the time you spent creating them will be MORE than made up for by the time you now save in your business.
05. Be A Better Example To Your Kids
Do you have a family?
Do you work from home?
If so, imagine what your children think when they see you slaving away at their laptop all day, barely managing to squeeze in time for lunch.
Imagine what they think when you tell them (for the third time) that you can't play with them because you have work to do.
Imagine what they think when they ask you what's wrong and you just tell them work is stressing you out.
As we all know, a parent's attitude at home can have a large effect on their child's attitude and happiness.
A survey of work-from-home parents from the Working Moms Break website showed these scary results:
- 80% catch up on work nights and weekends
- 81% worry they will burn out
- 88% said they suffer from at least one stress-related health problem since becoming a working parent
- 59% have problems with anxiety
- 43% struggle with depression
Notice the last two points?
Almost HALF of the 560 people surveyed said they struggle with depression, and 59% struggle with anxiety.
Whether you're a work-from-home-designer-parent or not, if you struggle with anxiety or you feel like you're on the road to those struggles, it's time to do something about it.
Over the next few weeks I'm going to be posting more advice on getting your design business organized. But before I do, I want you to leave a comment and tell me:
What aspect of your business is stressing you out the most? And why haven't you set up proper systems in your business yet?
There's no right or wrong answer. I just genuinely want to know how I can help you.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
50 Must-Have Tools For Designers
Want to get organized but not sure where to start? Start by implementing tools in your business to help you automate as much as possible, so you can get back to what's important. Enter your details in the form below to get it!