You started your creative 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% general business tasks.
For weirdos like me who geek out over systems and tools, that side of business is actually really fun. (I know- I'm crazy!)
But for the majority of designers out there, doing all the business-y stuff like replying to emails, managing clients and organizing the client process is hard work.
You find yourself thinking- is this stuff really that important?
Yes, it really is.
Before I dive into decluttering and organizing your design process over the next month, you need to own up to whichever excuse you've been using to NOT get organized.
Own up to it, confess to yourself that it's a load of poop, and set aside some time each week to go through these posts and organize your graphic design business.
As a designer myself, I know how difficult it can be to even want to get organized. All you want to do is design awesome stuff, right?
You can design without any systems in place. But with systems in place, you can do it faster and at an even better standard.
Ready for this?
Here are the 7 most common productivity excuses I hear around the webosphere. Which one are you going to own up to? ;)
Myth 1: "I don't have time to create systems."
This is the myth (okay- excuse) I used five years ago 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 from then on.
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 as a freelance graphic designer, I didn't have any systems in place. I didn't even have a business plan! I just wasn't organized at all.
My lack of organization is what I blame for how stressed I got in my first two years of business.
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.
You may not like the idea of systems. You may think that organizing your graphic design business 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 is because their system either wasn't automated enough, or it was too complicated.
The purpose of organizing your graphic design business is to make things easier for yourself.
Don't overcomplicate your 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 just use this as an excuse to not put in the time and effort they know it takes to get their business organized.
Constantly working under pressure means you'll eventually burn out, you'll resent your work, you'll forget things and you won't provide your clients with the quality of work they deserve.
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.
Most creatives 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
High quality work isn't as meaningful to your clients if they didn't enjoy the creation process.
Did I say 5 productivity myths? Because I'm adding TWO more! ;)
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 spend all afternoon saving out your client's files, you may think that's productive, but it's not.
A productive business owner will create Illustrator actions he/she can use to save out client files with just a few clicks, so that the process doesn't take a whole afternoon but a mere 15 minutes. (I teach my students how to do this in my course, Organize & Automate.)
Myth 7: "Systems don't allow space for my creativity"
It's actually the opposite- systems allow MORE time for 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.
Looking for tools to help you set up systems in your design business?
Look no further m'friend, because I've pulled together my top 37 Tools For Designers in a neat little PDF for you! Enter your details to get it sent straight to your inbox.