Tips for Hiring a Designer

Many small businesses use the term “full branding” when they are looking to brand their products or services. What does that term mean, though? It will often mean different things to different people. Each designer will offer their own full branding package that may include different things.

To me, full branding in its most basic form includes a logo, a website that also includes a blog, and your basic stationery. Creating these visuals is just one piece of the branding puzzle, though. The biggest part is how a client feels after they meet with you and the impact you leave with them. It is about how you make them feel while they read an email sent by you. These things are what truly makes your brand, not just the visual designs.

There are some things to keep in mind, though, when you are looking to hire a designer for the visual part of your branding:

  • What is their background? You will likely prefer to hire a designer with a background in business. This will give them a better understanding of what you will need to make your business successful in marketing to clients.
  • Will they help you define your ideal niche and clientele? You must know who you are marketing to so you can build your visuals to draw them in. Having a pretty design isn’t enough. The designer will need to build all your visuals around the ideal clients to attract them to your business.
  • Does the designer offer all you need to use for consistency in your business? Having the necessities like a logo, website, blog, and stationery is a great start, but you will many times need a lot more than that. To keep your business consistent, you will want a Facebook cover, Instagram templates, an email signature, and more. If you can create them yourself, then great. If not, you will want to choose a designer that can provide them for you. You will want all your visuals to be consistent.

Hiring a designer is one of the most important first steps of getting your business recognized by potential clients. Do your due diligence and ensure you are getting the best designer for your money and your needs. You will be glad you did!

Taking Care of Yourself in Business

Having a small business is a lot of hard work. If you own your own business, I am sure you understand how hard it can be to avoid burnout. There are always so many things you need to manage with work and with home and family. How can you manage it all without losing your mind? Well, here is what I have learned:

  1. Put some boundaries in place. When I first started my business, this was a hard thing to do. I wanted for my business to be a success so I offered more to my clients than they paid for. My clients were happy, but I was quickly worn out. It became important for me to learn when to say no and not feel guilty about it. It is important to take care of yourself and set healthy boundaries. One way to do that is by providing a welcome package to your clients that includes your rules. Never take phone calls or emails when you are vacationing. Stick with the rules that you have set.
  2. Give yourself a break. Make sure to always plan time for yourself. It may mean leaving the office a little early to go to the spa or taking a lunch break with a friend. It is important to step away from work and recharge yourself.
  3. Delegate your work. Yes, it is a hard thing to give up some of the control you have in your business, but it is a good thing to get help at times. Using a team will not only help you personally, but will usually improve your customer satisfaction as well. If you are not able to hire help, try to automate more of your work.

Remember, it is very important to take care of yourself. Otherwise, you will not be able to give your business what it needs to thrive. You need to be able to keep going and not give in to burnout. Be sure to set up boundaries for yourself, take regular breaks, and delegate work whenever you can to keep yourself at the top of your game and help your business to thrive.

Using Time Blocking in Your Business

Those of us in a creative business must learn to manage our time effectively to be successful. We often feel that responding to emails or answering client questions bog us down. We always seem to have a never-ending list of tasks to get done. I have found that time blocking is necessary for me to fit everything into my life. Here are some guidelines to help you time block and see your productivity soar.

  1. Set aside time for your emails. It can be easy to spend hours answering inquiries. Instead, time block thirty minutes to an hour to answer emails when you first get to work. At lunch and just before ending your day, check again briefly to make sure there are no immediate responses needed in your inbox.
  2. Give your days a theme. There are so many things to accomplish in a day. When you give your day a theme, you tend to organize your work better and switch from left brain to right brain less frequently. Some of the themes I use are finances, prospecting, marketing, and others. On my finances day, I will send out invoices and check on my bank accounts, as an example. Having an entire day set aside for a particular task helps me to focus in and get a lot more done.
  3. Make a “bite size” task list. When you set aside a period of time for a task, make sure it is something you can finish. Don’t give yourself an hour to hire a new staff member, for instance. Instead, make a list more along the lines of “post job listing online” or “put job in newspaper.” These now become tasks you can check off your list and move on from.

Once you learn to time block, you will be able to better eliminate the distractions that come up throughout the day. It can be a hard habit to get into, but try time blocking in your business and see how much easier your work days can get.