We’re continuing to share a different story each week of how a past student has been able to significantly grow their freelance business by applying the concepts they learned from Double Your Freelancing (check out last week’s with Andrew Marcinkevičius).
If you feel your story would be a good fit, share why.
Andy Fuller is the man behind Designbull, a graphic design and branding company. Andy is both a Double Your Freelancing Rate and Double Your Freelancing Clients graduate. He’s seen a great business lift from implementing what he’s learned from the DYF lineup.
“Designbull is on track to make an additional 20% this fiscal year, JUST from applying the roadmapping sessions!”
What got you into freelancing? Was it what you expected?
I’ve been freelancing since 2001, when I was made redundant in the first dot com recession. Then in 2006, I set up Designbull, a graphic design business and started to focus more on working directly with businesses rather than freelancing through the design and advertising agencies.
I now help companies with their branding and web design. My team and I are able to offer a full brand identity service with all the bells and whistles.
What’s been most challenging so far?
- Making and keeping goals. I want to do so many things, like a couple of personal projects I have in mind. But I get overwhelmed – I never even get to start.
- Monthly blogging. I try to write regular articles that are useful and interesting every month as part of my newsletter. I always leave it till the last minute, but as the deadline looms I get inspiration and in the end do get it done.
- Learning to say no to pitching work. I had two offers to pitch on large projects earlier this year and I spent a few days (and nights) preparing and then presenting. As they declined the roadmapping session, I didn’t fully understand their businesses going into the pitch and lost both opportunities for the same reasons. Offering a potential client your ‘roadmapping’ session’ helps show your professionalism, and lets the client trial you. I’ve gotten two great clients who I work with now who trust what I do for them through their roadmaping sessions and are happy with paying me my rate.
- Delegating. I still find it hard to delegate work out as I suppose I’m a perfectionist – and impatient on everything! But I now have a great young designer who comes in to help me, although I still do all the initial design and management of a brand or web project…
Did you ever want to give up? Please expand.
Yes, a few times!
When starting Designbull as a business in 2006, it was difficult as I transitioned from freelancing for design agencies to directly working with clients. I even did a stint working a couple days a week teaching graphic design at the local college to help pay the rent!
But over the years, and more recently now with my better rates, I can spend more time working on my business and marketing.
What were you struggling with the most when you came across the DYF material?
Never having consistent work with the right clients.
I always had tons of enquiries – most finding they had no budget. Putting some guide prices on the site and following the DYFR process has brought in better prospects who want to work with us.
What are some big successes you’ve had recently?
Before I used to waste so much time chasing enquiries that turned into nothing. I won a client project at the end of 2014 by taking them through a ‘brand’ roadmapping session.
We are still referring back to this document from the ideas I gave the client and it’s produced additional work. The client really believes in my expertise and my advice. I’m now adding this skill into my regular offering.
What are some specific strategies, tactics or pieces of advice that helped you grow?
Using the DYFR proposal template with the roadmapping session has given me a new revenue stream and expertise which I had never charged for before.
What are you most excited about for your business in 2015?
I’m really wanting to see my business grow and get a regular flow of interesting clients. I’m committed to helping these clients create gorgeous online brands that bring them more business!
And my goal to the end of 2015 (in three months) is to sign up five new client projects with a minimum £7k budget each. To get these type of projects, I’m currently writing a detailed case study for a large project we worked on last year that shows the benefits of working with me and the Designbull team.
Watch this space!
Designbull – Take the bull by the horns!
We work with business owners and their teams to clarify their brand – bringing their identity to life with hand-crafted logo designs, brand guidelines and responsive websites that inspire people and ultimately increase sales. We also provide design consultation & marketing advice to get your online businesses back on track.