So with the New Year approaching, it’s such a great opportunity to not only reflect on the year that was 2021, but to also begin really thinking about how you can potentially do things differently this year, and set your sites on scaling out your studio, ultimately to bring in more revenue and even give you a little more play time or ‘freedom’ I guess you could say, whether this is with your time, your schedule, your money, ability to travel (if and when we can travel again).
So here are 5 ways you can think about scaling out your Studio in 2022.
While it might sound daunting and you might think to yourself ‘ I can’t afford it, or I do everything myself anyway, so why would I hire a VA’ I want you to do an exercise for me,
Across an entire week, I want to write down in a notebook ALLLL the tasks you complete each day as a Freelancer. There will be replying to emails, planning and posting on your social accounts, actual client work, so this might be asking for assets from your client, organising files, chasing up accounts, reconciling your accounts, actually designing so fleshing out moodboards, creating mock ups and Brand guidelines, designing out a web page, submitting designs for feedback, the list goes on…
Inside ALL of these tasks, are stock-standard run of the mill jobs you could be 1. Writing SOP’s for, and handing off to your VA.
I will go into a heap more detail around writing SOP’s in another Episode, but essentially, outside of actually doing the creative stuff, alot of your tasks can be automated or put into a Document. And if you feel like your shit is just all over the place, well I am here to tell you, the start of a New Year is a really good time to sit down and start to get serious about running your business…
If you are unorganized, lack systems or streamlined processes, this needs to be addressed first, and THIS I will also feature in another episode if you are needing some guidance on getting your processes in place.
Ok so Number One – You can absolutely hire a VA, even if it is for 5 hours a week, it does take organisation and planning, but the pay off will be in the extra time you will then have to focus on what you do best, and that is designing. And I say this because I understand that their are certain aspects of our creative business we cannot offload. These are the tasks our clients have paid good money for and that is what makes us individual as designers in our ability to craft something from nothing whether it be a Brand, Website, Socials, Packaging etc etc. But of course there are ways to find extra time, and extra time = more client work you can take on, confidently.
Ok so, to give you an idea of what I am about to talk about, 18 months ago I had a thought about creating another eComm Brand, if you’ve listened to the first episode, you’ll know I had created a Skincare label back in 2016 which kinda kicked off my love of Shopify – but I have had this desire to create another Brand for a while now, and I have finally done it! Its called ScorpioxSun and its a lifestyle and skincare brand focused around introducing or supporting your daily rituals, and the products are kinda astrologically themed, or have spiritual kind of intentions behind them – super cute packaging and the Shopify Website I designed out alongside my Shopify Course which Launches on the 15th January but more about that later…
Ok so I am not saying go and make an ecomm Brand although they’re alot of fun (and if you have the budget for it, you can start for under 5 k)
BUT what you can do, is potentially consider looking at selling some of your systems or ideas. What do I mean by that? Well, if you look at your Freelance Business and see that you’ve created some really cool documents over time, or you love designing your Brand Guidelines, so you might design out another document and sell that one, there are some really cost effective places to sell these kinda digital products and if you especially have a very unique style about your work, then this could work really well for you! The other thing you could consider is sort courses, maybe you have certain aspects of your web design or email marketing fine-tuned, so you could wrap it up into a mini-course for other designers. There are alot of ways to monetize what you are already doing in your business, for that little bit extra ‘passive income’.
Now this one is my favourite, and its become even more apparent to me in the last 6 months as I painstakingly create the educational content for Elevate with eCommerce which is my Shopify Course specifically for Freelance Designers where I teach you how to attract, onboard and design iconic websites for bigger-budget ecomm brands, it launches on 15th January so check out the course notes to join the waitlist,
Ok so why expanding your knowledge is so important. Your clients are choosing you because of your style, your creativity that makes you, you right,
So if you can learn a new skill whether that is learning a new platform, or learning how to hand letter on an ipad, or create your own fonts to sell, whatever it might be that can leverage on the creative skills or special creative sauce that you already have, then your existing clients will want that because they already know how amazing you are! But new clients will be more inclined to go to you for their brand, their shopify website, and to also get you to create some cute hand-lettered elements as well, Vs hire 4 different creatives for their Project,
It’s not about loading yourself with a million skill-sets and only enjoying 3 of them, when I say expand your knowledge these have to be things that still keep you inspired and excited to create, but they also have to be things that you can inject your own creative imprint on,
And I understand that upskilling can sometimes be expensive, or incredibly daunting, because the feeling of learning something new when at the moment you’re probably just alllll over your current skills and super efficient at everything, right, but investing either your time, or some of your money (or both) back into your business is honestly so valuable.
This is my one bit of advice I can give after 6 years as a Freelancer, and that is, it does take money to make more money, even if its a small investment or you pay it off over time as most courses offer payment plans, the pay off can be exponential, not only with your skills BUT how you see yourself, your confidence as a designer, truely it can.
The other thing I want to mention is, if you are thinking about learning anew skill, but already feel pretty loaded up in terms of your workload, revisit number 1 – hiring a VA. So for example, I have been chatting to a few students in my course around the fact they want to learn Shopify but they are already pretty booked up with work as a Designer offering Branding and/or Website builds for service providers, but working with ecomm brands is something they’ve always wanted to do right,
So really for them, especially with Shopify, is you can write SOPS and with my help I provide a bit of guidance around this in the course, so you can look to hire help for the things that dont require your creative sauce, not only in the skill you are learning, but other aspects of your studio as well.
So they are my top 3 suggestions when it comes to thinking about how you can potentially scale your studio in 2022. I hope they inspire you in some way to start thinking bigger for the New Year, of course everything takes time and I recommend using the Christmas Break to really set your vision for 2022, and I am wishing you all the very best for success and above all else, happiness in 2022.
Thank you for listening to my episodes, its been such a fun ride already and I’m really excited about what I am bringing to the podcast table for you guys in 2022.
Till next time, happy and safe holidays xx