How to Fix the #1 Frustration of Designers and Entrepreneurs

– Hi everybody, welcome back. I recently surveyed my email list and I asked people what was the one thing in their business as an entrepreneur or as a creative professional that they were struggling with the most. And one of the things that rose to the top that I thought was really interesting was people are very frustrated with having to educate their clients. And close on the heels of that
people are very frustrated with the amount of downward pricing pressure they’re experiencing. So the unwillingness of their clients to pay for what they do. Essentially this is clients
not understanding our process and not valuing what we do. And I wanted to talk today
about how these two things are really related. One is the solution to the other. Clients not understanding
our process or our value and this is leading to that
downward pricing pressure, their unwillingness to pay more. So what can we do? So the types of complaints
I hear are things like I hate educating my clients
or they don’t understand the value of the design
or they don’t understand the value of what I’m
bringing to the table. I’m gonna give you some tough love here and it’s a fact, education
is part of your job. Educating the client is part of your job. No matter what industry or
what category you’re in, educating clients is important. Think about a car mechanic,
and your shock absorbers have gone bad. And your car mechanic comes to you and he says hey your
shock absorbers are bad and you’re like why do
I need shock absorbers. Now I understand most people understand what shock absorbers are,
but a lot of people don’t and they don’t know why they
would have to pay for them or why they would even need them. So that car mechanic
educating that customer is an important thing
to value shock absorbers and value the work he’s
gonna do on their car. Education raises the level of appreciation of what you do, about
what it is that you do, about how long it takes,
about what it can to help them or help their business, why it’s valuable and why it’s not always easy to do right and why it may cost money to do it right. So what we need to do with
our customers and our clients and our prospects, is we have to let them behind the curtain. We have to show them the
workings of the machine. We have to show them the
levers you have to pull to actually have an
effect on their business. We have to involve them in the process, we have to co-create with them. We have to describe and help
them understand our processes. And then we have to
communicate what great design can do for a business or a great creative can do for a business. We have to use examples. Using allegory and telling
stories about examples of businesses that have
been positively affected by design can be really
motivating to clients. By educating your clients,
your clients will value more what you do. They will understand why it costs money to create what it is that you’re creating. They’ll be more willing to pay that money if they understand what it
can do for their business. And they’ll start to see
the creative and the work and whatever the product or service is that you’re bringing to
the table as a designer or an entrepreneur, they’ll
see that as an investment in their business rather than a cost. By educating your client
over time what you’re going to be doing is instilling
in them the belief that you are actually a
business partner with them, that you’re not just a vendor. That you are deeply invested in the success of their business, and that you are a
brand guardian for them. And if you do that, they’re
going to be much more likely to value what you do, be
willing to pay for it, and then also more importantly
hire you again and again. So that’s it, I hope
you enjoyed this video on the biggest frustration
that entrepreneurs and creative professionals face. And if you did, please hit subscribe below so you can see my videos
when they come out and make sure to hit
that notifications button so you can get alerted
when I post my videos. And from Verhaal Brand
Design, my strategic branding and design agency, thank
you so much for watching. I appreciate your time. And if you need help
with your brand strategy, your brand design, or your
professional creative career make sure to reach out to
me at and let’s see what we can
do to take your business or your career to the next level. And with that, thanks again
for watching, bye for now. (upbeat techno music)

20 thoughts on “How to Fix the #1 Frustration of Designers and Entrepreneurs

  1. Thank you, Philip! My biggest frustration is that businesses underestimate the value of content. And your advice is the key to this problem too.

  2. You hit another nail on the head Phillip. Hello from Melbourne.
    Educating clients is a pain in the @ss but it is part of what we do and most clients don't understand how we work, so we must teach them first. Once they understand they are more willing to increase their payment for what you do. If they don't get it, then dismiss the client.
    I recently had one client who offered a large sum of money to illustrate his manuscript. I never take on work without diagnosing their needs and making sure they know what they're getting into in terms of copyright and royalties.
    In the book illustration world, some new authors who have not done their research on hiring illustrators or graphic designers, tend to believe that the money they're offering only pays to have their book illustrated. I have to educate them about NDA's; contracts; copyright; art licensing fees; royalties; processes; or milestone payments etc.
    It's frustrating that they have only thought of their side of the project without recognizing the needs or rights of the illustrator/designer.
    It has to be done to save the risk of both parties getting into any legal issues later on.
    A good idea is to include your instructions on your website/email footer as a client reference to save time repeating yourself over and over with new clients, while also serving as a statement of your professional rights and services.

    Good advice mate, all the best.

  3. Great video Philip. This is very true! It's also worth mentioning the geographic and financial attitude to design. For example, If you have clients in Zurich, Switzerland, they're more than happy, if not expecting to have to pay good money for design. Historicially, countries with a less artistic culture find the value of design much less.

  4. Also, to add, what I've personally found beneficial is to outline to the the client your process. This can be a branded letter with detailed bullet points of the workflow and considerations you need to give to the design process. As "Visual Communicators" , verbal communication is just as important. They're synergistically important and is often the reason why some designers don't become great designers.

  5. Great topic! I've been doing web design for over 15 years and educating my clients is a huge part of the job. My clients keep coming back to me because I take the time to help educate them on this industry and how things work on the backend. It's amazing how many "web professionals" overlook this very important task.

  6. Hi Philip, I'm pretty sure I've seen all your videos, big fan, thanks so far. A big frustration for me is managing a huge workload. Lots of orders, at various stages, needing approvals and ordering stock (and the waiting inbetween). I've had suggestions of Slack and Asana and others. What I really want is Tony Stark's voice assistant, however, sadly not available, just yet. What do you use?

  7. Does anyone else have problems with their WACOM TABLET and it's DRIVER? Somehow the driver has been lost, I've been 4 day's trying to replace it!

  8. I run into this problem sometimes – I've developed systems and techniques over the the years so that I can create much faster than others. This is what I think adds value to my service, but I don't like to show this to clients. I "make it look too easy" and sometimes they think it should be worth less to them. So sometimes (in my business) taking them behind the curtain hurts my business.

  9. True. I had two clients wanting everything (Corporate Design, Website, Mobile website, Business cards…), yet when I told them the cost they thought I wanted to rip them off. Now I had to break down every step of the process to them and show how many hours it takes. I'm waiting for them to respond now, but it's frustrating seeing people who want everything for nothing, and don't respect my creativity and skill…

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