323 episodes

Wouldn't it be nice if you could spend more time designing and less time worrying about your design business? Resourceful Designer offers tips, tricks and resources for freelancers in order to help streamline your graphic design and web design business so you can get back to what you do best… Designing!
Let me know what topics you would like me to cover by emailing feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

Resourceful Designer: Strategies for running a graphic design business Mark Des Cotes

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 100 Ratings

Wouldn't it be nice if you could spend more time designing and less time worrying about your design business? Resourceful Designer offers tips, tricks and resources for freelancers in order to help streamline your graphic design and web design business so you can get back to what you do best… Designing!
Let me know what topics you would like me to cover by emailing feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

    Throwback - Ep. 195 - Design Hacks To Increase Productivity

    Throwback - Ep. 195 - Design Hacks To Increase Productivity

    This is a throwback episode, replaying episode 195, Design Hacks To increase Productivity. For any links or to leave comments, please visit https://resourcefuldesigner.com/episode195

    • 27 min
    Price Equals Expectations

    Price Equals Expectations

    The second most common question among graphic and web designers, after how to attract clients, is how much to charge for our services. No matter what price we settle on, we’re never sure it’s right.
    Could you have gotten more for that job the client so readily agreed to? Probably. Is price the reason another client isn’t replying to the proposal you sent? It could be. No matter how long we work in this industry. I don’t think we will ever figure out the “right price.” But that’s ok if you feel adequately compensated for your work.
    Getting paid $200 for a logo design is a great accomplishment for some designers. In contrast, other designers won’t consider a logo design project for under $2000. It all comes down to the value you feel you bring and the impression you give your clients.
    But let’s look at this from the client’s point of view. From their perspective, what’s the difference between a $200 logo and a $2000 logo?
    You may say it’s the value. It’s the experience of the designer, their skills and their knowledge. And I can’t argue with you there. More experienced designers do tend to charge more. But does that mean the experienced designer’s $2000 logo is ten times better than the $200 logo from a less experienced designer? Maybe, and maybe not. The less experienced designer may end up creating a better logo.
    So why would a client hire a $2000 designer over a $200 designer? It can be summed up in one phrase. Price equals expectations.
    Let’s look at another industry.
    Say you’re going on vacation and need a place to stay. Your destination has two options (It’s not a popular vacationing spot.) Those two options are a $49 per night motel and a $200 per night hotel. Not knowing anything about or seeing photos of either of these two places beforehand, what do you think your expectations are?
    Both the motel and hotel offer a bed for sleeping. Both include a TV and free Wifi. Both have breakfast included. They even both have positive online reviews. So you would expect the same experience at both places, right? Wrong!
    The fact that one of the places charges four times the price of the other creates a higher expectation. For $200 per night, you expect the beds to be more comfortable. You expect more offerings on TV and faster Wifi. You expect a more inclusive breakfast.
    You expect more from the hotel because they’re charging a higher price. Even though, in the end, both places give you precisely what you need, a place to sleep at night.
    The same goes for graphic design services. The more you charge, the more clients expect from you. And I don’t mean deliverables. However, that may be part of it. What I mean is your clients expect better communication from you. More professionalism. More attention to detail. And a more take-charge attitude.
    The more you charge, the more the client expects that you can get the job done with minimal involvement on their part. These expectations breed trust. And when you’re clients trust you. They give you the freedom to do your work in the manner that suits you best.
    The less you charge, the fewer expectations they have. Which means lower trust.
    I speak from experience, and many designers can attest that the less you charge for your services, the more clients want to dictate exactly what you do. They don’t want your knowledge or your experience. They only want to fork over a few dollars for your skills. It’s almost like you’re a rental designer. These are the type of clients who say, “I have an idea. I need you to create it for me.” They expect less from you because it’s what your prices tell them.
    Would a client hire a $2000 logo designer and say, “Here, I drew up this rough sketch of an idea. Can you clean it up for me?” No. That’s because price equals expectations. Clients will treat you differently depending on how much you charge.
    Clients willing to pay more for design services expect higher service, experti

    • 13 min
    Google Analytics 4 and Using Plan Instead of Should

    Google Analytics 4 and Using Plan Instead of Should

    This isn't a standard episode of Resourceful Designer. Instead, I want to share two tips with you.
    Tip #1
    Set up your Google Analytics 4 account ASAP. Google is turning on Universal Analytics on July 1st, 2023. Google has said the data collected in your UA account will not be migrated to your GA4 account. Unless you want to start again from zero, you need to set up your GA4 account now and start collecting data while you still have access to your UA information.
    Listen to the podcast episode to learn more.
    Tip #2
    Never tell a client that you "Should" something. "I should be able to start your project next week, " or "I should have something to show you by Friday." etc.
    Instead, tell them you "plan." – "I plan to start your project next week." or "I plan on having something to show you by Friday."
    Saying "Should" instills doubt. It tells the client you are unsure of your abilities. Using "plan" instills confidence while not guaranteeing anything in case you cannot fulfill what you say.
    Using "plan" instead of "will" is also a good idea for the same reason. Planning on doing something but not succeeding is forgivable. Saying you will do something and not following through harms your reputation.
    Semantics can go a long way in helping you become a better business person.

    • 6 min
    Graphic Design Business Challenges You're Sure to Encounter

    Graphic Design Business Challenges You're Sure to Encounter

    Are you running or considering starting a graphic or web design business? If so, let me tell you, you’re in for a wild ride! The graphic and web design industries are filled with opportunities and challenges, and understanding what to expect can be the difference between success and failure. In this Resourceful Designer episode, I’ll look at some common challenges you will surely encounter.
    Here are four of the most common challenges you may face.
    Finding Clients. Finding clients is one of the most challenging aspects of running a graphic or web design business. You may be a very talented designer with the most fantastic portfolio in the world, but that doesn’t do you any good if you can’t get work from clients.
    To find clients, you’ll need to focus on networking and marketing to increase your chances of success. Attend as many networking events as possible, especially when your business is young. Ask friends and family to refer you to people who can benefit from your services. Reach out to potential clients via email, social media, and other platforms. Whatever it takes.
    Clients can’t hire you if they don’t know who you are. This industry is all about connections and relationships. It’s not who you know that will help you succeed. It’s who knows you.
    Another great way to find clients is to build relationships with other designers or people in the industry. Working with other designers allows you to exchange ideas and resources and can lead to referrals and more business opportunities.
    Designer groups like the Resourceful Designer Community can help with this.
    A good client of mine reached out when his church was looking for a logo. I was in the middle of several large projects and couldn’t take this on. But I knew that Ciera, a member of the Resourceful Designer Community, had shared several church branding projects she had designed. Thinking it was a perfect fit, I introduced her to my client, and now his church has a new logo they can be proud of.
    This is just one example from the Resourceful Designer Community of how connecting with other designers can benefit you. Finding clients is challenging, but you can make the task more manageable if you put in the effort.
    Staying Up-to-Date on Trends. The graphic and web design industries are constantly changing and evolving. What worked yesterday may not work today, or there may be a new and better way of doing it. You’ll need to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques to stay ahead.
    Devote time to reading graphic and web design blogs, articles and publications. Listen to podcasts and watch courses and videos. Try to attend conferences and workshops if you can afford them. Follow design influencers on social media to keep up with what’s new in our field.
    You’ll also want to stay abreast of the latest software and hardware developments. Tools and technologies are constantly changing. Take time to learn what’s out there and how to use them effectively in your business.
    Staying up-to-date on trends will help you stay ahead of the competition and make you a more efficient designer. And allows you to provide your clients with the best possible work.
    Managing Time and Money. Time and money management are essential in the graphic and web design industry. You’ll need to learn to manage your time to ensure you complete projects on time and within budget. This means setting realistic expectations and deadlines and charging enough for the work you produce. Don’t undervalue yourself to land a client. You’ll only regret it. Communicating realistic deadlines, schedules, and fair pricing with your clients will help things move smoothly.
    You’ll also need to budget for overhead costs like software, hardware, and marketing. And don’t forget the fees for design resources and subscriptions you may require. Everything from stock imagery to website hosting costs money and will eat your profit. Your monthly credit card

    • 11 min
    8 Uses For Page Redirects

    8 Uses For Page Redirects

    Page Redirects. I know. Sound boring, right? I mean, how much can one talk about page redirects? After all, as the name implies, they redirect one web page to another—end of the story.
    Not so fast.
    Yes, Page redirects do redirect one web page to another. But there’s a lot more power to them that you may not have thought of.
    When used correctly, page redirects can help attract clients. They can show authority. They can strengthen a website. They can even steal visitors from the competition.
    Yes, there’s much more to the lowly page redirect than what it lets on. And maybe you can use one of these ideas for yourself.
    1) Redirect alternate domain extensions. A page redirect is used to redirect one web page to another. Those two pages don’t have to be on the same domain. Page redirects can be used to redirect one domain to another. The best use of this is with domain extensions.
    For example. I live in Canada, and many businesses use the .ca extension for their domain. It’s highly encouraged, especially for companies that deal exclusively in Canada.
    But we all know that .com is the most popular domain extension. When in doubt, most people try the .com first. That’s why I always recommend my clients purchase multiple domains, including the .ca and .com.
    Then, using a redirect, they can send people who type in the .com domain to the website with the .ca extension. Or vice-versa, depending on which extension they want to use.
    This also prevents someone else from registering and competing with the other domain extensions.
    2) Redirect alternate spellings or misspellings. Alternate spellings or misspellings are also excellent for page or site redirects.
    For example, a food truck business called 2 Brothers In A Food Truck wants a website. Due to the possibility of mistyping their name, they may want to register multiple domains,
    2brothersinafoodtruck.com twobrothersinafoodtruck.com toobrothersinafoodtruck.com They can then pick the one they want to use and redirect the others.
    Here’s another example. Let’s say your name is Shawn Johnston. And you start a business called Shawn Johnston Consulting. While talking to people, you tell people to visit your website at shawnjohnstonconsulting.com.
    But how do you spell that? Is Shawn spelled S-H-A-W-N, or is it S-E-A-N? What about Johnston, is that Johnson without a T or Johnston with a T?
    You can spell it out every time you say it. But there’s no guarantee that someone else will spell it out when referring to you. A better option is to register the multiple spellings and redirect them to the correctly spelled domain.
    shawnjohnsonconsulting.com > shawnjohnstonconsulting.com seanjohnsonconsulting.com > shawnjohnstonconsulting.com seanjohnstonconsulting.com > shawnjohnstonconsulting.com 3) Redirect an old site to a new site. Redirects are extremely useful when building a new website either under the same or a different domain.
    Every website will accumulate what we in the industry call “Google Juice” over time. Google Juice is a way to measure the SEO power of a webpage.
    When building a new website or changing a website’s domain, you don’t want to lose that accumulated Google Juice and start from scratch.
    If you’re changing a page’s URL, you want to create a 301 redirect that tells the search engines that the old page is no more, and they should now assign its Google Juice to this new page.
    For example, Franklin & Barton Law office may have the URL franklinandbartonlaw.com.
    Beth Barton gets married and changes her name to Beth Jackson. She wants to change the company’s name to Franklin & Jackson Law office and the URL to franklinandjacksonlaw.com.
    Changing the domain on a website is fairly easy. But if they don’t want to lose their current search engine rankings, they need to redirect every page URL from the old site to the new one.
    franklinandbartonlaw.com redirects to franklinandjacksonlaw.com franklinandbartonlaw.com/about redirects t

    • 28 min
    Throwback - Ep 52 - How A Great About Page Can Attract Design Clients

    Throwback - Ep 52 - How A Great About Page Can Attract Design Clients

    This is a throwback episode, replaying episode 52, How A Great About Page Can Attract Design Clients. For any links or to leave comments, please visit https://resourcefuldesigner.com/episode52

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
100 Ratings

100 Ratings

Gabe Urbina ,

A True Goldmine

I knew this was coming, but have not been looking forward to it.
I am the sole Graphic Designer at a printshop. I do not get the chance to do a whole lot of design, and have been more of a pixel pusher for the last 4.5 years. Since covid hit, we had to reduce staff. This put me running the production printer and bindery when I was not on the computer. At the end of July, I discovered this podcast. It has been an absolute goldmine of information for me! I have been binging every time I would go print or do bindery. Now I am all caught up, and am going to miss listening to the podcast every single day. Now I will have to be happy once a week.

If anyone is reading this and have not finished the podcast from beginning to end, keep going. I listened to every single minute. Even the episodes I thought did not pertain to me, because I always found hidden gems in each one. I have the Evernote app (tip from the show) and jotted down notes and resources everytime I thought it was helpful to me. This has given me the confidence to open my own business full time again. It won't be tomorrow, because I am taking the time to take the appropriate steps this time to ensure success. All the talent in the world will not guarantee a successful business if you don't know how to run it properly. This podcast has given me what I was missing the first time.

MissRgray ,

Like Having a Mentor!

Mark, thank you so much for this podcast. I just branched out on my own, full time, as a graphic designer. Your podcast has been invaluable in the information given, as well as being a motivating virtual “business meeting”! As a social person, getting motivated in the morning when I work for myself from home is difficult. Your podcast inspires me and gets me on the right track every day. I also love getting to learn from your experience so that I don’t have to learn as much from trial and error. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!

Noking17 ,


I’ve started taking graphic design classes with my university after 20 years of service both to the county and to local governments as a deputy sheriff (getting ready to retire from both). I’ve decided to change my career. I absolutely love this podcast it inspires me to be better and to do better. Thank you for all the hard work you put into this podcast and keep it up. I hope to work as a graphic designer as a side gig, until I can work full time, or do it as a full time gig.

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