Before seeking clients, be good at what you do
It sounds obvious but before seeking clients you’ve got to be good at what you do, and have the confidence that you’re good because no one wants to buy bad design.
If you think you need to improve, before you can lead a client through a design project you need to train yourself, whether that’s in design, or in other areas required to run a successful business, such as sales or marketing.
SkillShare is a fantastic online platform to start with where you can learn most of the skills you will require.
Use side projects to attract clients
Clients come to David after discovering his book Logo Design Love, from word-of-mouth referrals, or by finding his website from a Google search.
When you first start out, attracting clients via referrals is not going to happen, so a more realistic approach is to have people find you through a side project that shows you have a real interest and passion for design.
For David, his side project was his Logo Design Love blog, which later became a book that positioned him as a key figure in the industry for logo design.
When David started his blog back in 2008 he didn’t think too much of it. He was working on it only a few hours each week, but it developed into something a little bigger than first intended. He was then approach by a publisher, which spawned the book of the same name. David is convinced anyone can do the same – it just takes work… you just need to get started.
Consider the type of work you want to be doing, and create a project around that subject area. Have fun with this and be creative!
Put your logo design work out there
When you start out you might not think your work is good enough, and may choose to hide it until it’s perfect. This is sadly a mistake.
You need to show your work. Why? If you don’t, nobody will ever know how good you are, and you’re missing out on the opportunity to attract potential clients or job opportunities. (David recommends the book by Austin Kleon, Show Your Work!: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Getting Discovered)
Showing off your designs can be a bit of struggle when you first start as you want your portfolio to be perfect, but you need to start somewhere. As you progress in your career you will realise that you’re never going to be as good as you want to be, and this is because you will continue to learn and to improve, and want to be better. You just need to put your work out there.
Both David and Ian use WordPress to build their portfolio websites, however, SquareSpace is also highly recommended. WordPress has a wide range of free online tutorials and themes available, and it’s also fairly easy to find impressive looking premium templates on sites such as ThemeForest for only $50-60.
How to get bigger clients?
It comes down to trust. Clients will be cautious before hiring a designer, and even more so when spending large amounts of money. For David his books provide a lot of credibility and confidence in him as a designer.
Any time you spend a large amount of money on something, before anything you will do your research. Expect potential clients to see every detail there is about you online. You need to show that you are professional, and be consistent about it.
For David, attracting big clients was a gradual thing. It was 3 years into his business when he was approached by a big name – yellow pages. They found David through a blog post of his where he shared his sketches.
Make more money by showing options
When David was first approached by Yellow Pages he offered only one price, however here today he would show options within his quote.
As an example, a company has recently contacted David to work on a redesign since after 17 years the owner knew their logo could be better. Although they first contacted David only for a refinement of the logo, after discussions the quote sent to them was broken down into 3 options:
- The first option was simply for the refinement of the logo. This was the cheapest option.
- The second option was for a refinement as well as a redesign so they had some comparison there.
- The third option was for the refinement, the redesign, and design for packaging too which had come up in the initial discussions.
The packaging wasn’t something that the client originally mentioned when they first reached out to David, however, as a result of him putting options in a quote, they choose the second option (which was the redesign and the refinement), and they asked if they could do the packaging once the logo had been completed.
Doing this allows David to earn almost three times as much money.
For more great insights, including a list of common portfolio mistakes, listen to the podcast interview with David Airey. You can listen on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher or Google Play Music. You can also check out more great interviews like this one on the Logo Design Podcast page.
Sponsored by Freshbooks
Before ending this I’d like to thank FreshBooks for sponsoring this episode, and for making this series possible. It’s a beautifully designed accounting software that makes it easy to create and send invoices, to track time and to manage your incoming and outgoing money. I recommend trying it out for yourself by making use of the free 30 day trial offered to listeners of this podcast – just enter Logo Geek in the ‘how did you hear about us’ section.