Something I hear all the time is that designers are out there working like crazy, putting in long hours, but aren’t seeing the profits they want to see. There’s a vision of those $5k months, where at least 50% of that can be pocketed, but it’s much easier dreamt of than done.
If you’re reading this post, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’ve found yourself in that situation.
You have too many business expenses.
There isn’t enough time in a day to make the money you need.
Your design projects aren’t profitable enough.
This doesn’t have to be the case and really shouldn’t be. The key is simplifying the things that are getting in your way so you can start seeing the profits that you want. Let’s go over a few ways that simplifying your design business will boost your profits.
Fewer tools means money saved
A common trap for online business owners is to get distracted by all the shiny tools. You likely have monthly fees for all sorts of things from social media schedulers to cloud file storage.
These tools are great and totally necessary…until they’re not.
I say that because we get to a point where we’ve got these recurring expenses each month, but aren’t actually sure if they’re giving us a return on our investment. It’s easy to let them continue running, so that’s what we let them do.
Instead, set quarterly reminders to go through and see what tools you actually need.
Are you getting clients through each social media platform you’re active on? If not, you probably don’t need the monthly fee for the scheduler that’s keeping that platform updated.
Are you still using more file space than what’s allowed on the free version of Dropbox or Google Drive or was it a one-time issue for a big project you were doing?
Go through and ask yourself these types of questions for each tool that renews monthly or annually. Cancel any accounts for tools that aren’t giving you a consistent return on your investment.
Only outsourcing where it counts
Just like getting caught up in all the shiny tools, once you start outsourcing tasks in your business, it gets a little addicting. It’s soooo nice to see tasks move from your own to-do list to someone else’s that sometimes you forget to think about what you’re actually doing.
Outsourcing is amazing. It lets you focus your attention where it counts.
But it becomes less amazing when the outsourcing you’re doing doesn’t serve a purpose.
Take me for example. I have an amazing VA who helps with all kinds of things. But near the middle of last year, I looked at where she was spending her time and realized that I was having her spend a ton of time scheduling posts for Twitter and Facebook when my audience isn’t at all interested in those two platforms.
I was basically throwing money at her each month for something that didn’t make a difference in my business…other than having it be something she was doing instead of me.
I quickly updated her task list to cut way back on those two platforms. Simplifying just that instantly saved me money and increased my profits.
If you are currently outsourcing, do an audit of the tasks your team completes. Make sure that every task you assign actually makes a difference in your business.
Less time spent on projects = More money for your time
The most time-consuming work you have as a designer comes from client projects. Any type of design, whether branding, websites, print material, or digital products requires a big time and energy investment.
But what if that investment didn’t have to be so big?
If you take a close look at each step of your process, you’ll likely find that you’re completing some steps that aren’t entirely necessary. Or that some steps are way over-complicated.
If you do brand design, does your client really need as many logo concepts as you provide them with?
Or if you do website design. Do they really need that many rounds of revisions?
The more unnecessary steps you can eliminate from a project, the more money you’ll find yourself making for the time you’ve spent.
More time for revenue-generating tasks
The last way that simplifying your design business will boost your profits comes as a result of eliminating tasks that don’t move your business forward.
For myself in the past, that’s looked like:
- Ditching the weekly YouTube videos
- Cutting down from one blog post and newsletter per week to one every-other-week
- Giving far less attention to Facebook and Twitter
- Reusing Instagram photos, rather than taking and editing new ones each month
Those were all tasks I was doing because I felt like I “had” to, but once I took a step back I realized that they weren’t doing a darn thing for me. And with just that list, I instantly saved myself more than 10 hours per month.
For a little help figuring out what you can eliminate or simplify, check out this post on 9 things to simplify in your design business!
What you do with that saved time is up to you, but it could look like taking on more client projects, working on passive income, or creating better systems to increase efficiency in other areas of your business. All of those things will lead you to see an increase in profits in no time.
Bigger isn’t always better
There are so many people out there saying what you “have” to do in your business to be successful. That leads to feeling pressured to do things that don’t always matter. But as you’ve seen in this post, adding new things to your business isn’t always going to lead you to be more successful.
In fact, if you’ve been at it a while, you’ll likely find just the opposite.
Today I challenge you to go through your tools, personal task list, and list of tasks that you outsource and see what is actually moving you forward. One-by-one, eliminate the things that are taking up your time and money without giving you any sort of return.