Are You Self-Sabotaging Your Web Design Business?

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You started your web or graphic design business because you wanted to do creative work. You wanted to make things, design things, code things and get PAID for it. When your first started your business, the prospect of getting paid to do what you love was suuuper exciting, right?

What's not so exciting is realizing that your usual business day will be about 30% creative work, 70% business tasks.

For weirdos like me who geek out over systems and tools, the techy/admin side of business is actually really fun. (I know- I'm crazy!)

But for the majority of creatives and designers out there, doing all the business-y stuff like replying to emails, writing blog posts, scheduling social media and organizing the client process is hard work.

You find yourself thinking: Is this stuff really that important?

Then you let it slip.

Before long, you're up to your ears in emails, knee-deep in piles of business receipts you never bothered to organize, and stressing about every client that gets in touch.

Sound familiar?

If it does, you're on track to burnout. And you're self-sabotaging your business by doing nothing about it.

A burned out designer limits their income because they can't handle more than one client at a time without having a meltdown.

A burned out designer isn't fun for their partner to be around anymore.

A burned out designer usually ends up hunting for a soul-sucking day job again because freelancing was too stressful.

Here are the facts: You're only burned out because you don't make time to organize your business, and you don't think you have time to do it because you believe in one of the myths I outline below. I call them the Seven Self-Sabotagers.

Are YOU self-sabotaging your web design business? Watch the video below or read on to see!

Here are the seven beliefs that are sabotaging your web design business and keeping you in Burnout Central.

Myth 1: "I don't have time to create systems."

This is the myth I used when I was in my first year of business and stressing like crazy over every new client. I thought that if I spent time creating systems and getting my business organized, I'd never get anything important done (like client work).

That thinking is completely flawed.

Yes, it does take time to create systems and get organized. But by the time you start using your systems, the time it took you to create them is MORE than made up for by the time you save.

I went from spending hours in my inbox to just 15 minutes on Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s.

I went from always going over deadlines in client projects to never, ever missing a deadline again.

See how much time I saved by investing a little time in organizing my business? It was worth totally it.

Myth 2: "Systems are inflexible. Being organized is just... boring."

Being organized is necessary, my friend.

I haven't always been an organized business owner. In my first two years of freelancing, I didn't have any systems in place. My lack of organization is what I blame for how stressed I became. I reached a point where I just wanted to throw in the towel and go back to a regular 9-5 job because my business was so overwhelming.

But after I implemented systems and got organized, my income tripled (yes- TRIPLED!) and I stopped stressing so much because I knew my business was always under control.

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Want to get organized but not sure where to start? Start by organizing your web and graphic design process! This free cheatsheet will show you the exact steps to include in your process.

You may not like the idea of systems. You may think that getting organized is boring and tedious. But for less stress and more income, it's worth it.

As my friends at Lifehacker say, 'Adopting a system means spending some time figuring out what's important to you, what isn't important and how to get rid of the less important stuff so you can make start making ground on the important stuff.'

Myth 3: "No matter what I do, I'll never be able to stick to the systems I put in place."

The reason I think so many people fail to stick to the systems they put in place in their business is because their system either wasn't automated enough or it was too complicated.

The purpose of creating systems and getting your business organized is to make things easier for you.

Don't overcomplicate your business systems. The simpler the system, the easier it is to stick to!

Myth 4: "I work best when I'm under pressure."

Most people actually don't. They are just so used to working under pressure and feeling stressed that it has become like a badge of honor to them. They can say ‘I’m so busy’ and it gives them some degree or self-worth or a feeling of superiority to people who seemingly aren’t working as hard as them.

Can you relate to that? Or have you ever had a friend like that? A friend who always seems to be working her butt off and never seems to be truly happy, peaceful or content?

Here’s the problem: Constantly working under pressure means you'll eventually burn out, you'll resent your work and you won't provide your clients with the quality of work they deserve.

Stop commending yourself for being busy and working well under pressure and start taking the pressure away but organizing your business. I guarantee you’ll work even better and have a better quality of life.

Myth 5: "The work I create for my clients is more important than the process."

Yes, the work you create for your clients is really important.

But the process is just as important, because an organized client process = a happier client experience.

(Want to learn exactly how to organize your design process and create a better client experience? Head this way!)

Most freelance designers think their clients are only concerned about the work they're getting, but they're wrong. Clients appreciate organization. They want the creative process you take them through to be fun, simple and effective - not chaotic and unprofessional.

Don't believe me? Here's what one of my own clients said about my process:

"Nesha has made the design process really easy and she’s been a pleasure to work with. I’ve worked with a lot of web designers and its always been a stressful experience, but working with Nesha has been fantastic." - Michelle Mae, Mae You Be.

Beautiful work isn't as meaningful to your clients if they didn't enjoy the process.

Myth 6: "Busy is the same as productive."

Creatives don't literally go around saying this one. It's a myth that a lot of business owners believe without realizing it.

Let me give you an example.

If you manually follow up with your past clients every three months to see if they need to hire you again, is that productive? It’s worthwhile, but it’s not productive. It's just a task that keeps you busy.

A productive freelance designer will use a tool like Dubsado to automate the process so they don’t have to follow up with clients manually. Dubsado does it for them.

Ask yourself - am I busying myself with tasks that I can automate or delegate? And if so, why?

You may find you’re addicted to the feeling of being busy. But as I said earlier, being busy all the time leads to burnout.

Myth 7: "Systems don't allow space for my creativity"

It's actually the opposite- systems allow space for more creativity.

Without systems, you're wasting a lot of time doing the same tasks over and over again.

With systems in place, you get things done quicker so you have MORE time to be creative. Or just kick back and watch Netflix. It’s up to you. ;)

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Want to get organized but not sure where to start? Start by organizing your web and graphic design process! This free cheatsheet will show you the exact steps to include in your process.


Nesha Woolery

I build beautiful brands & websites for passionate entrepreneurs!