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Do you ever wonder what sets high-end web designers apart, and keeps their business alive and thriving long after their competition has thrown in the towel?

It’s more than the ability to create fancy, trendy designs…it also has to do with the everyday habits they embrace early on in their business!

Now obviously no two paths look the same, but when you see those designers who are out there killing it not just financially, but also genuinely enjoying their business when so many others feel burnt out and overwhelmed, you start to notice a few things they all seem to have in common.

In today’s video, I’m sharing the 6 habits top designers practice that set them up for long-term success!

Top 6 habits of successful web designers

Habit #1:

They reflect often

When you’re busy building your empire, it’s easy to get caught up on ‘the next big thing’, always living in the future.

But before you go dreaming up your next exciting idea, it’s worth checking in on where you left off with the last one.

Not to hash over past mistakes, point fingers, or dwell on the things didn’t go to plan, but to learn a little bit about yourself and your audience, and to spot patterns you may not have noticed in the thick of things.

Some of my best ideas have come out of ‘aha’ moments I’ve had while being honest with myself about how my latest project went.

My favorite way to do this is to have a simple reflection document ready to go before a project even begins.

Just two simple columns on a page for what went well and what didn’t go so well.

Having it ready to go and pinned to my browser means I can note down things as they pop up and the details are fresh, instead of trying to remember all the valuable lessons weeks or months later when my brain has already moved on to other things in my business.

Then, the next time I sit down to tackle a similar project, I have super-valuable, specially tailored advice from my past self about how to make sure this time goes even more smoothly!

Habit #2:

They schedule regular price increases

Pricing can feel hella-overwhelming and even a tad bit arbitrary as a new designer.

You’re just picking this random number out of thin air, hoping it’s not too little that you will seriously regret offering this service, and not too much that you will scare clients away.

So after a bit of snooping around the internet, seeing what designers with similar quality work are charging, you land on $1,500 for your basic website package saying, “Oh, I’ll raise my prices once I have more experience,” or “I’ll raise my prices once I have a better portfolio.”

But then the months go by, and even though you’ve now got several client projects under your belt, the timing has never felt quite right for bumping up your rates.

It was was hard enough naming a number in the first place, and you don’t mind making less because you love what you do, so you just sort of put it off until you see a clear sign that it’s time.

Well, here it is! This is your sign!

Successful designers don’t raise prices based on how they feel. They write them in their calendar in pen so there’s no erasing them.

Some designers opt to increase their prices at a set interval like every 3 months, or every 3rd client.

Past Square Secrets Business™️ student Ida Winstead recently shared in an interview that she actually does an incremental rate raise with every single project.

Here’s what she shared:

“Doing an incremental raise has helped me a lot with imposter syndrome and confidence!

Every time I book a project, I raise my rates by a couple hundred dollars, and that’s helped me to reach my goals faster than if I had just started and stayed at one rate the whole time.

So I make my “starting at” price on my site whatever I’m looking to make with that next project, and if a client reaches out, my “starting at” price is what I’m going to quote them.

Sometimes I’ll have multiple people reach out at the same time. So in that case I do first-come-first-serve, and the next person will have to pay $200 more.”

I thought this was so cool, and also a sort of genius way to get fence sitter clients off the fence because they know it’s only going to get more expensive the longer they wait.

(You can find the rest of that interview with lovely past student Ida, here!)

Or maybe you commit to raising your prices a certain amount for every dollar you invest on your professional development.

Past Square Secrets Business™️ student Mariana Durst shared in a recent interview:

“Never ask your clients to pay more than you have invested in yourself…

If I’m asking somebody to invest in me, it’s because I’m also investing in my expertise, and becoming faster, better, and more well-rounded!”

So however you go about it, make sure it’s something you can schedule.

Something that has a measurable value, rather than just “when you have more experience” or “when you feel more confident” which makes raising your prices way too easy to put it off.

Habit #3:

They outsource before they feel ready

When you are bootstrapping your business on a baby budget, you get used to wearing 57 hats and having to do everything by yourself.

You aren’t just a web designer. You’re also the bookkeeper, tax advisor, marketing manager, content creator, graphic designer, customer service rep, and the whole IT department.

You hustled hard to bring in what you do, being forced to figure it out as you go, and you are NOT about to go giving a chunk of that away to someone else.

You may feel strongly right now that a penny saved is a penny earned, but in order to set your business up to be able to scale it past what you’re currently earning, your income cannot be tied to what one single person can achieve in 16 waking hours.

You’re going to need help.

And the sooner you can start handing off those tasks that—if we’re being honest—anyone could do, the sooner you’ll be freed up to do the things that only YOU can do but that you previously haven’t had bandwidth for.

Suggested reading:

6 habits of success embraced by high-end web designers

Habit #4:

Set boundaries and guard them unapologetically

What kind of boundaries are they setting?

Really any boundary that helps protect their time, creativity, and sanity as a web designer.

Setting boundaries around which days they’ll devote to client work, and which days will be set aside to manage and pour into their own business…

Or which projects they will accept, and which projects will always be a ‘no’ because they don’t align with their business or goals…

Or for client communication, setting the expectation that they do in fact have a life and are not available 24/7, setting boundaries like “here are my office hours, my preferred way you reach me, and when you can expect a response from me…”

Successful designers don’t reserve a spot on their calendar or start working on the project until they have the cash in their hands, and they set clear terms around what happens if a client is late paying, or doesn’t get them their content on time causing the project to be delayed.

And most importantly…

successful designers don’t wait to set these boundaries until they start experiencing burnout. They set them early on, which sets them up for a much more sustainable business in the long term.

Habit #5:

They make a plan to take action on the advice they are consuming

Are you a podcast junkie? A business book lover? A Blog or YouTube Binger? Or a serial course taker?

The internet is a wild and wonderful place full of all the free and paid advice you could ever hope for. We have the world’s largest library literally at our fingertips, something past generations only dreamed of.

And because all this wonderful advice is so readily available, it’s easy to get stuck in the consuming stage.

When we are feeling stuck on a project, it can feel super productive to hit pause and search for more answers, when what our business might actually be begging for is for us to turn off the firehose of information, and make a plan to actually implement the last thing we spent time learning.

It’s not easy when there’s all this amazing free content out there and it feels wasteful not to take advantage of it!

And I definitely believe the most successful designers out there are the ones who never stop learning. (I literally based my whole business around continuing your education and development as a web designer.)

But the ones you see progressing the most quickly are the ones who know when to minimize their browser, and get to work putting it all into action.

So my best tip for taking action on what you’re consuming is to try setting an area of focus.

So maybe this month, you are going to focus on all things ‘email-list-building.’

If you come across something else you’d like to read or watch but doesn’t fit with your current area of focus, bookmark it or Pin it for later. You can even create different folders or boards based on the topics covered, so when next month your focus is learning how to leverage Pinterest to showcase your design portfolio, you’ll already have a folder of learning materials ready to go.

So that’s step 1 is to only consume something if it matches your focus for that month.

Then step 2 is to not even think of cracking open a blog post or book unless you know you are prepared to take notes.

Once you have your notes, decide which bits of advice are likely to move the needle most in your business if implemented well.

Then for each of the top tips you’ve highlighted, come up with an actual action step, complete with due date, for making that thing happen.

Habit #6:

They hit ‘publish’ before it’s perfect

There is always going to be something more you could do.

More tweaks to that home page, better lighting for that Insta story, stronger copy for that email, and more pieces in your portfolio.

Successful designers recognize this and just launch the thing anyway.

Whether it’s their websites, a new freebie opt-in gift, content creation, or a new product or service they are planning…

They know it’s going to do themselves and their clients a heck of a lot more good just getting it out there as it is, than to let it sit hidden away in draft mode, always one tweak away from ‘perfect.’

Successful designers celebrate progress over perfection, and they love to inspire their clients by being relatable, rather than idol-worthy levels of unattainable.

So if you’ve been hovering over that publish button for months now because you worry whatever your thing is is not perfect, now’s the time to get it launched and move on to the next level of success in your business!

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6 habits of success embraced by high-end web designers