I have the best job in the world. That’s a big call but I came to this conclusion last week after working for six months with a sole operator design business owner.
He (let’s call him John) asked for some mentoring because he had lost control of the business. His invoicing was months behind; his record keeping made it hard to track jobs and clients were pushing and pulling him.
This is not uncommon with sole operators. Very few designers have been trained in business management yet they are expected to be all over it. Working solo, trying to manage clients and produce good design is a huge ask without worrying about all the business management stuff. I am never critical of sole operators trying to run a creative business.
It took three months of methodically dissecting the business and putting processes in place. This lead to questioning exactly what John wanted from the business. He took time to mull this over and discuss it with us. He made the decisions in the end; part of taking control.
In our last meeting John told us how happy he was. He knew exactly what he wanted from the business. His billing rates had increased so he could afford to push back to some clients. He was on top of job management and invoicing which lead to peace of mind and a better cash flow. He ended out the year with a sizeable profit.
John made the decisions and took control; we just gave him the path and tools to do it.
I love this job!
Map out a plan to take control of the business.
- examine your clients and their billings;
- grade the clients by work type, profitability and their attitude.
- introduce a studio management system that controls jobs, clients, estimating and invoicing
- check your hourly rate.
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Design Business Council
Greg’s passion is the research and development of methods that improve design management and the role of design in business.
Greg has developed a series of processes and tools to help designers manage their business better along with a series of workshops that show designers how to use these tools.