Seven Business Myths Keeping Designers Poor
All too often the image of a designer is someone earning easy money doodling, while everyone else has to do real work for a living. We all know that this is far from true. Most designers work incredibly long hours and are dedicated to doing their best for their clients. They can often be found burning the midnight oil after everyone else has gone home. Many designers struggle to keep their business going not because of lack of talent or hard graft. Their weakness is not knowing how to market themselves and close sales opportunities.
In my experience working with new design businesses there are seven business myths keeping you poor. If you want a successful business you must overcome these seven myths.
Myth #1: Being a talented designer is enough.
The truth: How often do you look at the work of successful design firms and say “I could do better than that.” Talent is absolutely necessary but the reality is fit-for-purpose will win more clients than perfection. The sad truth is that the majority of commercial clients will value on time and on budget more than artistic value. Now if you can do all three…
Myth #2: People just need to hear about me.
The truth: Unless you have something useful and meaningful to say and show, you are just adding to the noise that most people filter out. Getting your name out there leads to fruitless hours of social media time wasting, dull website creation and blah blah blah marketing material. You have to have a message that makes you stand out from the crowd and sets you apart from everyone else “getting their name out.”
Myth #3: Doing good work will lead to more business.
The truth: It will lead to some new work but will not be sufficient to grow your business. Word-of-mouth only travels so fast and so far. Bad work will reach a much wider audience than good. And in this case any publicity is not good publicity. If your clients have a great experience with you the they are likely to mention it just a few times however, if they have a bad experience they are likely to shout it from the rooftops.
Myth #4: Right brained people are no good at business.
The Truth: Left brained individuals are viewed as more analytical and right brained as being creative. We are all a mix of left and right brain, the trick is to find a way of learning business skills that will help you succeed. Closing yourself off from the opportunity of learning new skills will kill your business just as surely as doing bad work.
Myth #5: I can just duplicate the system that works for someone else.
The truth: Just because it worked for them is no guarantee it will work you. Internet marketing is full of information and opportunities to show us how to do almost anything. “Get 10,000 likes on Facebook”, “Crushing it on Google.” If you haven’t defined your target market and tailored the systems to fit, the chances are these techniques will not appeal to your buyers.
Myth #6: Selling is so unnatural for me.
The truth: There are very few natural salespeople out there and even they need good training to be really successful. Selling, much like playing the piano requires lots of practice. Initially the results are not all that attractive, however, the more you practice and learn the better you get. Being a good salesperson is a combination of skills: sociability, listening, research, asking questions, analysis and listening. You don’t need to be a concert pianist to bang out a good tune, nor do you need to be a rainmaking Guru to make sales. There are an amazing number of resources available to build your sales skills and confidence. All you have to do commit. Having a simple series of steps to follow can make all the difference to the outcome (and your bottom line).
Myth #7: I’m too busy for marketing.
The truth: If you don’t plant the fields today you will have nothing to reap in the future. At the very least you should be aiming to spend 10% of your working time on business development and marketing. For new businesses and those want to grow more quickly this should be 20% or slightly higher.
‘The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.’ Steven Covey Author: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
If you don’t make time for the fundamentals of business development your business will NOT develop!