Ok, to start out, you need to bring in money to eat, sleep, and poo. To pay the bills.
Focus on that as much as you need to.
Try stuff out. Go market, network, and learn.
In my list of four below, I used to think the first three were the greatest things to strive for in my web design business.
But now, I’m thoroughly convinced there are four things.
1. More income
You need to earn more income to pay for life’s needs and add a smile to your face.
It’s hell to be afraid you can’t pay rent or earn enough to feed your face.
(Ok, we’ll go without a vacation or spa treatment, a price we’ll pay to make our freelance web design dreams come true)
But above that, it’s a different game.
Wanting to earn millions, if that puts a smile on your face, is ok.
You can choose your own goals.
But be careful, as money can bring some joy, but working ungodly hours, sacrificing your health, or not having loved ones nearby, or not pursuing other fun things (tennis, gardening, drawing, etc) is a rough path.
Yes, earn more income, but there’s more, like …
2. Less time
To get my work done in less time is a SMART thing to aim for.
You’ll be dead one day.
Sorry to be the first to inform you, but it’s a reality.
Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer, said …
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.
Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is how it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”
― Steve Jobs
Whenever I read that, I instantly soften up and think better about my time.
Think about how you can deliver your best in less time.
Also, how can you market with less time?
How can you do accounting with less time?
Having more time is great.
But another factor I’d add after that is …
3. More fun
If you list out 20 things you do in your web design business, and then rate the “fun factor” from a scale of 1 to 10, I’m confident you’ll find that …
20% sucks (scores 1-3)
60% is ok (scores 4-7)
20% is wahoooeee FUN! (scores 8-10)
For me, doing proposals (which I’ve eliminated completely) was in the 20%.
Accounting goes into that 20% as well.
Selling, is “ok” so I minimize that while make sure I do get clients and work.
Tech work, I actually do like a bit more. A 7.5. But it’s so time consuming and I can easily get lost in it for extra 5-10 hours. So I outsource most of it.
Tinkering with a new theme or strategizing with an excited client is, for me, FUN!
The question is, as you earn more money, and reduce your time to earn that income, how can you tweak things so that you’re doing more of the FUN work?
4. More value
I’ve added this step to the process because earning more, working less, and doing more of the fun stuff is nice and all …
BUT, if the client is not happy, it ainta gonna worka.
So you need to ask, “How can I deliver more value to clients?”
Here’s how to ask the question all at once, “How can I earn more, work less, have more fun in my business WHILE adding a LOT more value for the client?”
That’s is a beast of a question.
But taking any small steps to do that will show rewards LARGELY.
Here’s a quick example of what I did one time to do this …
With a lot of reflection, fear, research, courage, and faith that it might actually work, I remember when I became a specialist with coaches.
Income -> Immediately went up because I could charge more as a specialist.
Time -> I spend less time selling because clients find that I’m better to work with than other designers because I get how coaching works. I also was able to package easier now that I’m niched.
Fun -> I love what coaches do. I so have some great people to work with. They are dreamers and doers. I like that.
Value -> Because I work with coaches, and do more and more of their kinds of websites, I learn what works and can provide “business advice” as well as web design. I also add value with tools, tricks, templates, scripts, copy, and more resources I’ve accumulated over time.
I remember landing 3 new clients in 1 week while testing out how to run my web design business in Paris. I was blown away to sell all three of them for over 10k income. Blown away.
I put all that I’ve learned over 12 years in my guide, Web Design Clients Galore, and I’m putting more in there for the new release coming later this year.
So, in summary, remember, it’s great to earn more in less time, but if you’re not having fun and delivering value to your clients, I deem that unsustainable.