When you’re building your business, it can be tough to know when you’re ready to hire contractors and employees. How do you know what to prioritize? How do you make the best use of your limited resources? If you’ve been in business for a few years, chances are your design work has been a cobbled together mixture of some DIY, some purchased graphics, and maybe if you’re a little ahead of the game, the occasional freelancer.
Whether it’s freshening up your social media graphics, revamping your website, or designing some printed pieces for an upcoming trade show, there are plenty of design-related projects that need to be done for your business to maintain and up-to-date and, more important, cohesive visual brand. That’s why, for some businesses, it makes sense to work with a designer on retainer.
But how do you know if you’re ready for this? Here are a few questions to help you evaluate your business and whether you’re ready for this step.
How many design-related projects do you have on your to-do list?
Do you have a long list of projects and products that you haven’t completed because of the design hurdles? Working with a designer on retainer can help you bring these ideas to life much faster, which means getting your products to market ahead of your competition. You won’t have to spend time sourcing a freelancer or doing it yourself, and the end result will be quality you can trust as they’re already familiar with your brand. A lot of entrepreneurs can bring their ideas to 80% completion, but it takes great design to really take that project to the next level.
How much of your own time are you spending on design?
This includes either trying to design things yourself, or trying to find someone who can take on the project when you aren’t able to do it. Building a relationship with a single designer frees you up to continue to come up with other amazing ideas to build your business.
If you find yourself constantly stressing over finding someone to help you get your products or your brand up to snuff, or spending too much time handing this stuff yourself, save your sanity and your time and hire a designer on retainer.
How consistent is your visual brand?
If your brand is a mixture of your own DIY work and hiring out when needed, odds are your brand might look a little disjointed. Hiring a designer on retainer means you have someone in your back pocket at all times who is familiar with your brand and knows how to make a variety of unique pieces that still look cohesive. And a consistent brand pays dividends when it comes to standing out from your competition and attracting your ideal customers. Having a designer who cares about your brand as much as you do is a no brainer.
Are you making a consistent amount every month?
If you’re bringing in a reliable amount of money each month, it’s probably time to start looking at what you might be able to outsource, so you can get back to what you’re good at - building out your business. If you’re not a trained designer, then a designer should be at the top of the list of outsourcing tasks. They’ll be much more efficient than you and product higher quality work, which frees you up to focus on the rest of your to do list. Plus, when you hire a designer on retainer, you’ll usually get a discount on their normal rates.
Have you hired a designer to tackle your branding and collateral work? If not, and you’re ready to think about it, I’d love to hear from you!