So we are nearly at the end of 2019, and since I’m aware most of us will be reflecting on the year, and planning ahead, I thought it worth sharing some of my big wins for the year, to discuss some of my plans for 2020, and to share with you some of my own personal methods for planning to help you make the most of the new year ahead.
This blog is based on a podcast episode, which is sponsored by FreshBooks, a cloud based accounting software designed for creative professionals. Head here for a free 30 day trial.
So… here’s a few of my biggest wins from 2019…
Growth of the Logo Geek Podcast
In 2019 I released almost 3 seasons of the Logo Geek podcast. 28 episodes in total in 2019.
Earlier this year the podcast also hit over 150,000 all time downloads which is astonishing, with some individual episodes hitting over 1000 downloads within the first 24 hours of release.
As I started the podcast to help me overcome social anxiety I’ve been amazed by the growth and success of the show, so I’m immensely thankful everyone who has time to listen to any episode since the beginning.
In 2020 I’m proud to say that I’ll be shifting from doing seasons, and will be committing to doing a weekly show! This is happening thanks to the support of FreshBooks (get a free 30 day trial), so thank you to them for sponsoring the show, and believing in me.
Increase Order Value Per Logo Design Project
In 2019 I worked on over 20 identity design projects through Logo Geek.
I’ve worked hard over the year to work with my clients to create not just a logo design, but the supporting identity too. Below is one example I worked on for Astro Blue Properties, where I designed the logo, brand identity, property signs, stationery and social media imagery too.
This has allowed me to increase the amount of income I generate per customer.
Within his book Blair shares a photo of a stick on a white background. But since there’s nothing to compare it with you don’t know if it’s 2cm or 2m… you need something to compare it with to know the size. People do that with pricing too…
If you offer one price, your potential customer will shop around so they have something to compare it with.
But if you provide your customer with options, they are less likely to shop around. So I’ve started to offer 3 tiers.
One an anchor, a high price option. One a low priced option stripped of features, and a mid point option that’s somewhere between.
The anchor is not there to be purchased. It’s there to make the middle option look affordable. Fashion stores do this… they’ll have a high priced option on display as you walk in – you check the price, see something is $100, so that when you check the next thing suddenly a $50 t-shirt seems affordable.
That’s not to say that the actor will not be purchased though… you might get lucky, so be sure you can actually deliver what you’re promising.
For me my anchor is a full brand identity project – colours, fonts, images, patterns, stationery design, social media designs and a comprehensive guidelines document. This can also be tailored, to add in packaging, leaflets, websites and so on so it meets my clients needs.
My lowest price option is a logo only, with a fixed number of revisions. Once complete a comprehensive logo package is provided.
The middle option is a logo and brand identity design package, which includes a logo, and supporting assets such as business card and stationery, as well as a basic guidelines document.
I’ve found offering 3 options like this has allowed me to provide more value, and to also increase my average order value too since most people go for my middle option. This makes a lot of sense as seeing 3 options on the page like this makes the cheapest option look insufficient, and in comparison to the anchor the middle option sounds very affordable.
This also sets the scene that I can help with all areas of design beyond logo design, so a lot of my clients request additional assets once everything is complete.
I Became a Certified Brand Specialist
From an educational perspective, back in October I attended level 1 of Marty Neumeier‘s Level C branding masterclass, which now allows me to call myself a Certified Brand Specialist.
I’ve also just finished reading his latest book, Scramble, which is a very different approach from Marty… this one is a story. Within the book they utilise agile brand strategy methods, and I found it fascinating to hear all the discussions and objections surrounding brand strategy.
I personally see Marty Neumeier as the best in the business, so whilst the workshop was expensive, I’ve looked at it as a long term investment. (You can learn more about my experience with the masterclass here).
Until now I have no formal qualifications for design, so this has given me a lot more confidence to be assisting my clients with their brand strategy, and I will forever have the honour of telling people I was taught by Marty Neumeier.
The content of the workshop was primarily based on The Brand Gap, a book I read and enjoyed a few years back, so most of the content discussed was somewhat of a refresher, but since it involved team activities where we disrupted different industries as a group, there was so many moments where concepts described in the book suddenly made so much more sense. It was a really incredible weekend, and a definite highlight of the year for me.
The 2 day session ended with a 30 minute exam. It’s the first exam I’ve needed to do since school, and… I’ve never felt so stressed! As a kid I wasn’t too worried if I passed or failed, but doing something like this as an adult… I didn’t want to fail… I didn’t want to look a fool! But, thankfully I passed.
In 2020 I have booked myself in for the Level 2 Masterclass, which will allow me to say I’m a Certified Brand Strategist. I’m really looking forward to it.
For anyone listening that’s also interested in attending the Level C Masterclass they have level 1 booked in for 2020 again, with tickets still available for Philly and London, both of which are happening in April – both of links to the right are affiliate links, so if you do purchase the tickets via these links you’ll be helping to support the logo geek podcast at no extra cost to you.
To expand on my knowledge of strategy further in 2019 I also now purchased and worked through the CORE Discovery framework from the Futur. It has some excellent exercises that I plan to work on for my own business, so that’s made it worth purchasing on its own, but it’s also helped to clarify how I can offer strategy as a service for my own clients in cases where they need support to find clarity for their brand.
I Started the Logo Geek Plus Community
A couple of years back, as a lot of you will be aware I set up the Logo Geek Community on Facebook. A free community that’s now grown to over 7500 members, and is incredibly active.
There’s a clear demand in the design space for community, but one thing I find with Facebook groups, the logo geek community in particular, is that it’s become so large that it’s hard to genuinely get to know anyone, and to know who to trust too when asking for feedback.
I’ve worked to find a solution to this so to add more value, and to create a better experience for those who want it, so I started a project called Logo Geek Plus. A private, premium community, away from the distractions of social media, where I host group video calls every 2 weeks.
These video calls allow us all get to know each other properly, and has also been an incredible way to get help and support from others who are building their own design businesses.
On top of group hangouts, we’ve had a number of guests join on the video calls too, including David Airey, who has been an idol of mine for years, who shared his process on a recent project, and answered questions too.
As a community we also worked through an activity… a charity logo design project.
Rather than just give a brief and expect logo designs from everyone, I broke the challenge down into stages – the first being idea generation, which was fascinating as it gave you an insight into how everything thinks and approaches an identity design project… that in itself gave each of us more ideas, not just for the project, but for our own design process too.
All the sessions are recorded, so if you ever want to join, you can always watch back to any previous hangout, or guest session.
If you’re keen to be part of Logo Geek Plus, head to community.logogeek.uk
I Created the Logo Designers Boxset
In 2019 I also worked on a collection of free eBooks called The Logo Designers Boxset that’s been written to help new designers through the logo design process, from knowing what tools to use, to how to create a brief, to coming up with ideas, how to present logo designs, what files to provide and how to find clients.
It took a number of weeks to put these books together, and I did it to help me build my email list back up again, which I use to notify people when I release a new podcast episode, or have any exciting news to share.
Since launching that back in July, the eBooks has been downloaded over 5600 times.
So if you’ve not already seen it, make sure to check out the logo designers boxset, which is totally free to download – just head to boxset.logogeek.uk
Doing this boxset, and the support received, it’s inspired me to really push forward with my plan to write a book. But not just one book… a while series of Logo Geek Books. So a major plan for 2020 for me will be to get the first written, and published before the end of the year.
I Was Featured on the Honest Designers Podcast
For a number of years I’ve been a huge fan of the Honest Designers Podcast, a podcast I try to listen to every week.
So can you imagine how excited I was when I was asked to be a guest??!! (listen to my episode here)
Not only was I a guest on the show, I was also a guest in their community too. As a fan, I was very honoured.
These were both on video… which for me was a big deal. For a long time I’ve not felt comfortable to have a video call with friends or family, let alone thousands of people, but now, thanks to the Plus group calls, I’m feeling a lot more comfortable talking to a camera. I still don’t like watching them back, but to know people get value from it makes me feel it’s worth doing.
I’ve since purchased a proper camera, tripod and lighting too, so expect more video content from me in 2020… if I get time maybe I’ll create a training course based on the book I’ll write? Watch this space!
I was also incredibly excited to get a few of my logos featured in logo lounge book 11. It’s so cool to see your designs in a book, so thank you to Bill Gardner and the team for allowing me to be part of that.
I Became a Dad!
The biggest thing that happened in 2019 for me… maybe one of the biggest and most important things that’s happened in my life this past decade…
I became a daddy!
My little daughter Evie is now 7 1/2 months old, and we had the best Christmas with her.
We had lots of hospital visits at the start of the year, it took a lot of hard work and planning leading up to paternity leave, and it’s been challenging at times through the year juggling everything and not having enough sleep, but every day has little special moments that make it one of the best, and most special things that’s happened in my life.
I love being a dad, and I’m excited to watch Evie grow. And… who knows, maybe she’ll be a host on this podcast when she gets a little older!
My Plans for 2020
I’ve briefly mentioned my 2020 goals throughout this blog so far, but in summary here’s what I plan to do…
- I’m going to do a weekly podcast episode.
- I’m going to write my first book + create a supporting training course.
- I’m going to grow the Logo Geek Plus group.
- I’m going to attend Level C Masterclass 2, to become a Certified Brand Strategist.
- I’m going to start to separate my work from the Logo Geek website, which will allow me to have more clarity with my blog content and messaging ongoing. This will allow Logo Geek to become a platform to help elevate the art of logo design.
Now you know my plans, I need you guys to keep me accountable…
I’ve come up with ways to make sure I make my goals a reality, and now I’ll share these with you with the hope they will help you to plan your goals too…
Create a Vision Board
The first place I always like to start is to know where you’d like to be long term. That way you can make daily actions to ensure you create the life you want.
I’ve personally found it beneficial to create a vision board.
I created one a number of years back, and to do this I purchased a large cork notice board that was hung in my bedroom. I then started to add images of where I wanted my life to be.
I included the type of design work I wanted to work on, the places I wanted to travel to, the type of home I’d like to live in, what I’d like to wear, what type of lifestyle I’d like… my level of income… anything that helped to show what I wanted my life to eventually look like.
Doing this will give you clarity on what you really want.
A vision board helped me to make some major life decisions… for example I put up on my board that I wanted to own a house. At that time I was living just outside of London, and… realistically, unless I drastically increased my income, it was a near impossible dream.
So when I got to a stage in my life where I wanted to make some personal changes, I relocated to the Manchester area, where I could afford to buy a place of my own… and the monthly costs also worked out much lower than what I was previously paying for rent, which meant I could afford to travel the places I wanted to go.
It also helped to provide clarity on the type of work I wanted to work on… which was brand identity projects, with packaging design too…
At the time of creating that, most of the work in my portfolio was websites. But I’m happy to say that over the past 12 months, thanks to my work on Logo Geek I’ve now worked on 2 fairly large brand identity design projects that have included packaging design, one of which is now available in Walmart in the US!
I know without having that level of clarity a few years back, I wouldn’t be where I am now, and I found having that board up in my bedroom gave me a reminder each day of what my real priorities in life was, and it gave me the inspiration to keep pushing daily to ensure I was able to reach my dream life.
It’s worth noting that the vision board can change and adapt as you progress. Swap out images, and keep working towards your dream. Just make sure to think big… as I truly believe that if you know where you want to go in life, you’ll get there, no matter how big your dreams, as you’ll remain working on the same goals until you’ve eventually succeeded.
My vision of my future is the reason why I started the Logo Geek podcast. Why I built a community. Why I live where I do now. Why I started a family, and why I travel to the places I want to visit. It’s why I’m now planning to write a book. Why I want to create courses. And why I’ve been happy to invest in the best training I can get. I know where I want to be, and I know I’ll reach where I want to because I’m always working towards reaching my goals.
And I know if you work on a vision board too, and actively work towards reaching your goals, you’ll have the same level of success too.
One of my favourite books is The One Thing. It tells you to picture your long term vision, then to picture where you need to be in the next 5 years to be on that path. Once you’ve done that you can then break that down into yearly jumps. Then you can break that down into monthly, weekly, daily… then hourly… right down to now. This very moment.
What do you need to do to reach your goals. What one thing will get you to that next step?
I love this approach as it turns dreams into actions. And if you make a step each and every day towards your goals, you will reach them…
Create SMART goals for 2020
You reach your dreams by taking action. Action means you’ll get things done, and by getting things done you will reach the life you want…
A big thing I’ve done in the past 12 months is to become part of a mastermind group. This is a group of entrepreneurs that I met at a networking event. We all do different things, but there’s enough of an overlap that we can support and help each other with our businesses’. We can also help provide clarity, and provide accountability too.
We had our end of year meet up a few weeks back where I discussed my plan for the year. The team encouraged me to work out my quarter one 2020 goals.
A big thing I realised from this was that my plan for 2020 wasn’t achievable… I was simply trying to do too much. But now, my Q1 plan is not only achievable, but I’ve gone as far as creating a spreadsheet, with dates, listing out exactly what I need to do on specific days to reach my goals.
This means by March 2020, I will have a first draft of my first book, and would have recorded, edited and released 12 new podcast episodes.
It’s no longer just a goal. It’s now a plan. And it’s achievable.
For the first time in years I’m actually going to do the thing I’ve promised myself I’d do for years… write a book. A book about logo design. The thing I’ve spent the last 8 years of my life learning, studying and mastering.
So the big lesson I learned is that when you work out your goals for the year, be realistic.
Be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and time-based) with your goals. That’s what I’ve done for 2020, and why I feel confident that I’ll achieve my dreams.
Create Useful Habits
Another useful thing I suggest to do in the new year if you don’t already is to form useful habits that will allow you to reach your long term goals.
For me one of my long term plans has been to build a community of logo designers – that means I’ve needed to work to grow my following.
For the past 8 years I’ve made it a habit that every morning when eating breakfast I will post on social media. It’s just something I do without thinking. Just in the same way I brush my teeth each morning, posting on social media is just part of my day.
Those few minutes each day make very little impact short-term, but doing them every single day… for years… I now have a large social media following, and have built the community that I’ve dreamed of. That’s all the result of daily habits. Small actions that have made a massive impact long-term.
So what small thing can you do each day to help reach your goals?
Could it be writing for 10 minutes? Could it be reading a page of a book? Could it be working through a tutorial? Could it be doing a sketch a day?
Have a think… just make sure your habit helps towards reaching your long term vision.
Things to Give Up in 2020
Before wrapping up this blog, I want to share a post I spotted on social media today that I feel relevant for the new year… things to give up:
- Give up overthinking. If you know your long term goal, just take action. The act if doing will get you much further in life than simply thinking about it.
- Give up fearing change. To reach your goals you will likely need to make changes. If you want to achieve your goals nothing will happen if you don’t make the changes that are needed.
- Give up living in the past. If like me you probably have things that have happened in your life that pull you down. You can’t change that past so let it go. You can however control your future. Work towards designing the future you want, and working every day so you’ll eventually have it.
- Give up negative self talk. I’ve spent years putting myself down. Feeling not good enough. But I know I need to stop, and you should too. What good is that you or anyone else? It’s pointless. If there’s something you don’t like about yourself, work to change it, like I have with my anxiety. You can do anything if you focus on your goals and take action.
- And lastly… give up trying to please everyone. Trying to do that makes nobody happy. Focus on you and the people that matter most. That way you’ll make the people that matter happy, and most importantly… you’ll make yourself happy too.
Lets Discuss Your Goals…
If you’re keen to chat and discuss your goals for 2020 join the logo geek community on Facebook. It’s free to join – just head to logogeek.uk/community
Or if you’d like to discuss your goals and plans with me in group video sessions along with a small group of dedicated, motivating and hard working designers from around the world, join Logo Geek Plus.
Just before ending this post, throughout the year I’ve had a few people ask how they can help support the podcast and community, you can now buy me a drink… just head to ko-fi.com/logogeek
So that it’s from me for 2020. I wish you and your family all the best for the new year ahead! Thank you so much for your support through the last 12 months.