Business tips for creative freelancers & consultants

What does it take for a creative person or a consultant to become a successful business owner? Here are the business lessons I've learned since I started freelancing.


 

Nela’s ultimate list of 32 freelancing tips

Nela’s ultimate list of 32 freelancing tips

I started freelancing when I was 19 years old, and for the past 7 years I've been a full-time freelance brand identity designer. There are many lessons I learned in that time that I wish I knew when I got started, but at least others can benefit from this experience. Here's my list of 32 tips that will help you avoid the common pitfalls of freelancing. Read more...

Creative professionals: design your client process

Creative professionals: design your client process

Imagine there was one important thing that you could do that would result in better client satisfaction, higher productivity, attracting more ideal clients, more money, and less stress for you—would you do it? Who wouldn't, right? This magical-sounding method is designing your very own signature client process. In this article I’ll explain why I believe that any creative consultant would benefit from it, and how to get started if you don't have a process yet. Read more...

How young designers benefit from volunteering

How young designers benefit from volunteering

I often get asked by young, inexperienced designers how to find their first client. My answer is always: find a cause or a non-profit that aligns with your values and your interests, and offer to volunteer. Unless clients are already seeking you out, you need to put in more hours to improve your skills and build a portfolio that shows what you're capable of. Read more...

Do I need to register a trademark with my logo and business name?

Do I need to register a trademark with my logo and business name?

Selecting the perfect business name is a difficult process, and there’s nothing more demotivating than learning someone else has already registered your chosen name. Once you’ve found a name that is available and appropriate for your use, it’s a good idea to protect that name (and the logo graphic) so that your company is the only one that can use it. That’s what trademarks are for. Read more...

How & why to sell accountability?

How & why to sell accountability?

Sometimes what people really need is not your expertise or your superior knowledge—all they need is someone to hold the time and space for them to show up. If you’re struggling with what to offer to your clients at this time, think about what “accountability” might look like for them. Read more...

The Ramp and the Ladder – 2 methods for improving client experience

The Ramp and the Ladder – 2 methods for improving client experience

Our responsibility as business owners is to make purchasing easy for our dream clients. Of course we want our clients to be happy! On the other hand, you don’t want to make it too easy for people to hire you, because you want to make sure that only the right clients get through your sales process. Read how making things easier, or purposely more difficult on prospective clients—what I call the Ramp and the Ladder—can be used to improve your client process. Read more...

Rebranding 101: Why & how to update your existing brand

Rebranding 101: Why & how to update your existing brand

Whenever designers create a brand for an organization, we want it to be long-lasting. What’s the point of doing it if you’re going to scrap it in a year or two? The challenge here is that in order to create a long-lasting brand, the information designers and brand strategists are working with has to be accurate and future-proof. Unfortunately, new businesses often base the information they give designers on lots of assumptions, which may or may not prove to be correct in a couple of years time. Businesses grow and evolve, and a brand may get outdated even if you did everything “right” the first time. Read more...

How do I know what I’m buying? – Logo design & spec work

How do I know what I’m buying? – Logo design & spec work

I’m fully aware of the risks my clients take when working with me. I used to think I should be offering money-back guarantees, endless revisions, or doing exactly what they tell me to do to make sure they’re happy. Thankfully, I learned quite a bit over the years and I no longer think that. I do one revision within the scope of the project, and only offer a refund in case I cancel the project. I know where the real value of my work lies, and I want to share these thoughts with you today. Read more...

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