Nearly every graphic designer I know loves to celebrate. I don’t know if it’s some inherent creative gene or simply a flair for fun, but there are few designers who will turn down an invitation to a New Year’s Eve bash. Maybe it’s the fact that many designers work hard to deliver amazing design work that they seek opportunities for a release from deadlines, critiques and stress. Regardless of the reason, I hope you have a blast enjoying New Year’s Eve festivities this year – but once the party is over, it’s time to make resolutions for the New Year that will help you become a better and more valuable graphic designer. Here are 10 resolutions every designer should make.
1. Evaluate your clients
Determine who your best clients are and list common attributes to come up with a “best client” demographic profile. You can then employ this profile to find more great clients. Cut any clients who take too much time for too little pay.
2. Seek new marketing opportunities
What marketing opportunities haven’t you taken advantage of? Have you tried direct-mail postcard marketing? How about small business networking? PPC ads?
3. Take a tutorial every week
Stay on top of contemporary design trends, broaden your skill base and enhance your knowledge by challenging yourself with new tutorials every week.
4. Generate passive income
Seek passive income sources, those that allow you to create a design once and sell it many times over. Greeting cards, T-shirts, stickers, design templates and other products qualify.
5. Improve the client experience
Solicit feedback from your customers to find ways to improve the client experience. It might be more education, an explanation of why you took a specific design direction, or more accessibility.
6. Learn more about client end goals
If your clients seek sales, learn more about the sales and marketing process. If your clients are nonprofits, learn more about branding and fundraising. The more you know about the end goal, the easier you can craft designs that help achieve them. Designing an attractive sales sheet is one thing; designing an attractive sales sheet that generates a high response rate is another.
7. Spend time with clients
Whenever possible, spend time with clients to learn more about their organizations and goals. This will help you hone in on the message they want to express, and then to convey it visually through design.
8. Partner with others
Partner with copywriters, web developers, app developers, marketers, and others to expand your service offering and create a natural business referral network.
9. Delegate unnecessary tasks
You don’t get paid to keep books or market your own services (at least, not directly – you get paid to do the work). Delegate anything you don’t need to be doing to maximize your billable time. You can even outsource overflow design work to increase profits.
Become a more valuable designer by specializing in a specific area. This makes it easier to market your services and allows you to command a higher fee.
What other resolutions should graphic designers make?