Even though I work The Modern Design full-time, I had a consistent part-time job that gave me a steady small income, perfect to live off of comfortably. Well, today I learned that they had hired someone else in my position, and I will admit, I was definitely very anxious of the future, but after some reassuring and confidence that seemed to spring out of no where, I decided I was not going to feel affected by this change. Here’s what I did to ensure the next couple months would still be good ones (and believe it or not, this literally worked today with securing a couple of new clients!):
Automate Everything You Can to Have Less Work
I never even knew there were systems to automate your daily social media until recently. I always knew about Hootsuite (which you can use for free), a software where you can push social media content to all boards: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram and help with the overall consistency of your brand.
For the last few weeks, I automated my Pinterest feed using Board Booster and I have gained quite a few followers in a few short weeks! It even chooses top-ranking pins from selected boards to re-pin each day to your selected boards for you for only $5 a month (they offer a free trial period which is what made me gain so many followers and begin paying for their services)! How amazing is that? Also, I seem to get the majority of my referrals to my site through Pinterest, so I deem this a very great deal considering the traffic from it.
The benefit to automation is that you don’t have to spend time doing tedious things such as re-pinning throughout the day or tweeting. Trust me, you may think those things don’t take that much time (and when I first started my social media marketing strategy I thought I could do it all by myself forever and boy, I was wrong). Ultimately, doing your own social media each hour of the day will burn you out quicker and you will become more frustrated; a sure-fire way to have you not making your financial goals each month.
Work With Your Clientele
When I first started MD, I never really worked with my clients to make their experience more personable/livelier. Not only did I never show my face, I had a fee for everything, including a fee for (what should’ve been free) consultation! I genuinely thought that that was acceptable and that people would assume they needed to pay just to talk to me. Wrong! Sorry, but no one cares enough to pay money to get a consultation from you (especially as a new business)!
Here’s a prime example of how working with your clientele can benefit you: I did a free consultation with a potential client today to go over project details and she told me that the last coder offered a consultation with her for $350! That’s literally my downpayment for my services. I was baffled! Obviously, she had no interest in working with them, period.
Another example: if someone is working hard to afford you, don’t take that lightly. Work with them. Offer them a payment plan. Never lower your prices, but make every effort to try to make the financial strain easier on them because after all, not only are they (now) paying your rent, but they chose you to work with, and that is honestly such a pleasure not to be taken lightly.
Email Potential/Ideal Clients Weekly
Something I have always been afraid of doing is emailing people directly. I was afraid of rejection, and I also didn’t feel qualified enough to ask people to work with me until recently. This change was more because I understood who MD was through a series of serious branding questions that I asked myself than my push to have financial stability. Now, my goal is to email at least 5 potential clients weekly.
Although this is one of the least effective measures when finding a client, the least they really can do is disregard your email (and in most cases they email you back respectfully declining!). Some things I always include in my emails is a short description of what I have to offer, perhaps a short, short glossary of terms people may get confused by (such as a brand verses branding), and a link to my latest posts/newsletter.
The last link is the most important, because I always tell people that if they are unsure of the investment, at least subscribe to get more information from me and keep your mind in that general direction or read a couple of my posts. Guess what? that link works as people can then see who I am and where I am coming from. Today alone, from an email I sent out, I got a subscriber. Woo hoo!
Track Your Sales
This is kinda a short point, but keeping track of your sales lets you know of the money that is coming in, as well as coming out. Now that MD has grown enough where I have monthly payments to some automation features and client portals, and since I am paying myself (I used to horde my profits from MD since I didn’t need to spend them), I have to write down where everything is going.
Plus, by tracking my sales, I can actually see if I am moving in a positive direction sales wise, and I also can see directly how much I spend that money on MD things. It’s just a good habit to get into.
Keep Your Sale Page Simple
This point could have a blog post of it’s own, but if there is one thing I have learned through designing and research on the psychological impact sale pages have on people, it’s that a simple, straight to the page sale page is what makes sales (how many times did I say sales?).
To keep it simple: narrow down your services to seriously 3 (stop offering the world and offer solutions that would benefit your ideal client), display them neatly and bluntly, have a short description of what they are and who they benefit, and a CTA (call to action such as a “Let’s Work” button) after each service offered. People will click more when the thing to click is more easily available, and make sure that when they click your CTA it doesn’t lead to a dreary “contact us” page.
Remember Your Goals Despite a Shortfall
Especially after you’ve lost your job, you’re not feeling that confident. I still don’t feel completely confident. But, the only way I can pay my expenses is literally through believing in myself and making my income from The Modern Design more consistent. What I’m going through is just a phase, and the beginning of a wonderfully fulfilling journey!
UX Researcher and psuedo blogger.