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Ditching your day job and becoming your own boss comes with a lot of perks!

But when you are just getting started as a designer, and your dream has yet to consistently pay the bills, it’s pretty easy to start missing that cozy little paycheck you were seeing at your 9-5.

You can be totally booked out and killing it for months, and even start adjusting your living standards to this awesome new norm.

But then suddenly a slump hits.

And you’re back to square one, or even worse off than when you started.

If you’re tired of playing the game of feast or famine, and you’re ready to generate consistent, reliable income in your web design business, then stick around for these tips!

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Tip #1

Offer fewer tiers of web design services & packages

It’s super common for new designers to create a whole bunch of different packages ranging from basic site refreshes or simple page redesigns…

All the way up to full blown custom websites, complete with blog and e-commerce features!

Some will even list hourly support or designer day rates on top of their actual web design packages.

So their services page ends up being a mile long.

I think the reason this is so common is honestly due to a bit of a scarcity mentality that new designers face.

We subconsciously believe that in order to become fully booked and profitable in our business, that we can’t afford to turn away a single client.

So we create all the different packages and at all the different price points that anyone visiting our site could possibly ever need.

But there’s something I want you to know about building a profitable web design business…

And that is that you do not have to find a way to serve everyone who wants to work with you.

In fact, the most successful designers tend to have just 1-2 signature services they offer.

So rather than having random months where they are earning way less because all their clients that month ended up going with their cheapest package…

They’ve now made it so that pretty much the only way to work with them is to book them for their premium service.

It sounds scary to turn away people who love your work, and are just trying to give you their money…

But streamlining your offerings means you’ll be able to pretty much predict your income for the entire year, based on the price of your 1-2 offerings, and how many projects you can reasonably fit in.

It will make pricing your services soooo much easier, and it will also allow you to really hone in on your messaging and get hyper focused on the exact person you are hoping to attract every time you show up online to market your business.

Which actually brings me to my next tip for earning consistent income as a web designer…

Tip #2

Don’t neglect long-term marketing in your search for paying clients now

If you are currently having to go out and personally track down each new client every single time you wrap up a new project, then that’s a whole lot of time you could have been spending on other things in your business.

This is ok when you are first starting out, but you really don’t want to stay stuck in this rinse-and-repeat pattern of coming to the end of a project and having to put everything else on hold while you hand-search for someone to hire you.

The only way to set your business up to where your ideal clients find you, instead of you having to always find them, is to start focusing on more long-term marketing strategies in your business.

This can feel scary, because it feels like a huge time investment for something that legit could take months to even start working.

And last time you checked, you needed paying clients…like, yesterday.

But unless you want to be stuck on the client finding hamster wheel 6 months to a year from now, you really do need to get the long-term marketing ball rolling today.

Yes, it takes time, but if you do it right and with consistency, soon you’ll start to notice a shift in your business.

Slowly but surely you’ll see more and more client inquiries landing in your inbox, without you actually having to go out and find them.

Suddenly, you are getting several inquiries a day from actual dream clients…and they all found you because of one bit of marketing you did months ago.

So if you want a consistent income as a designer without feeling like you are constantly scrambling to find your next client, then it’s time to set up a plan for finding clients in the long-term.

If you’re not sure the difference between short-term and long-term strategies, and which ones will have your ideal clients coming to you, then you’ll definitely want to catch my free training on Finding Clients as a new Designer.


Tip #3

Get good at asking for referrals!

You are not the only one who can be marketing your business! Why not have other people marketing your business on autopilot for you!

The first thing that comes to mind is obviously to ask past clients for referrals! If you did a bang-up job of their site, and you knocked their socks off in terms of customer service, then there’s really no reason they won’t want to brag about your business on your behalf!

But even the most well-intentioned clients get busy and forget.

So you need to become a master at asking for referrals, rather than assuming if they want to they will.

So when your client sends you that DM saying:

OMG, I’m obsessed with my site!’

That would be the perfect time to respond with:

I’m so glad! By the way, I just opened up my books for the month of July and am offering XYZ as a thank you to anyone who sends a new client my way…is there anyone you can think of that could use a new website?”

This could look like offering a Starbucks card, a discount on your retainer services, or even just straight up Paypal-ing them a referral fee!

And this isn’t just for past clients! Sharing and incentivizing can work for getting family and friends to shout out about your business, or even networking and collabing with other service providers in related industries where you take turns sending qualified leads each other’s way.

So don’t be shy about asking for what you want! You will be surprised how many people are happy to spread the word for you!

Tip #4

Get a proper contract so you always get paid on time

If you are constantly having to harass clients for late payments, or even non-payment for work that’s already been done, then it’s time to protect your business with a proper contract.

Getting ghosted in the money department is obviously not going to work for you if you want to have dependable income as a designer, so you need to get firm.

The work does not begin until you get paid, and each new phase of the project relies on them being current with any payment plan you’ve worked out.

And it’s all written in stone in your rock-solid contract.

Tip #5

Change the way you pay yourself

We did not start our web design businesses so that we could put in 80 hour weeks, pay our expenses and bills, and then take home the scraps.

And yet, that’s how most of us (including me, ) calculate our take-home when we are first getting started as a designer.

We figure:

Income – expenses – taxes = my money.

But after reading the book Profit First by Mike Michalowicz (Affiliate link!) it totally changed the way I looked at money in my business.

I went from calculating my web designer salary using the equation ‘income – expenses – taxes = my money’ to instead calculating it like this:

Income – my money – taxes – expenses.

Not 100% sure how that math plays out? I teach exactly how to calculate your salary, and even how to give yourself a raise in my Square Secrets Business™️ Course for Squarespace web designers.

It wasn’t until I totally transformed my money mindset, and made a new plan for managing the finances in my business that I was able to start consistently paying myself well as a designer.

So I’m super passionate about helping my students learn and start applying this wayyyy sooner than I did in my business!

Plus, finally taking a real look under the hood at my finances made me want to get serious about where all my money was going each month.

To this day I still track and monitor even tiniest of subscriptions and softwares, so that I’m never paying for something that’s not moving the needle in my business.


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5 tips for earning consistent income as a web designer