1. When did you realise you wanted to be a designer?
After studying advertising at college, I struggled with motivation to enter the industry.
Instead I got a job at a reprographics studio, my first encounter with the apple mac and the beginning of my journey to becoming a designer. I quickly realised that I wanted to be the designer and not the reprographics operator.
The position of receiving design rather than creating it fuelled my drive to get out of the job and to become a designer.
2. How did you get started and what was the biggest hurdle you overcame?
I hung around the art desk at Loaded magazine (for free) long enough for the editor to notice me and start paying me. (Thank you Martin)
This first role gave me the confidence to overcome any self doubt I had about becoming a designer.
3. What’s been your most successful way of getting clients?
When I started my first studio clients came exclusively from getting out there and meeting people.
Building relationships without directly selling and at some point work cam from those relationships.
With my new studio networking is still important, but new business mainly come from referrals from existing clients.
4. How do you get clients to stay with you and use you for more work?
- Be true to yourself in the style in which you communicate. For me it’s being open and empathetic and treat everyone like family. This has helped me build healthy long term relationships with my clients that feel natural. You are together through the ups and the downs.
- Design with your clients. Embrace this and you will never regret it. Designers tend to be scared of working in this way. To me it’s an essential part of the process.
- Find common goals that you can share. If you can align on some points in your journeys you can help each other get there.
- Be honest about what you don’t know. Neither designer or client can know everything but you can find out the missing bits together.
- Embed ways of working and share your processes to make a single harmonious team.
- When you write a quote for a new client. Imagine for a second you are going to work together for 10 years. This will stop you from trying to bill too much early on and can help in building trust.
5. Do you ever have issues with clients paying late? How do you manage that?
The best advice I’ve ever had was to invoice 50% before starting any work. Whether that’s a 5k or 50k project.
This process gets more difficult the larger the client, but stick to your guns. If a client refuses these terms you have quite a good indicator about how they do business and avoid future late payments.
6. What does your typical work day look like?
It’s taken me a long time to understand how to maintain an effective routine.
I recommend the book Get Things Done by Robert Kelsey which talks about developing habits for productivity.
I find getting up and out as early as possible for a run is the catalyst for a super productive day. I prefer to do new business work, communicating with my team on Slack and replying to urgent emails in the morning.
Other than that I keep the rest of my time flexible for work, inspiration, networking and meetings.
7. Any piece of advice/wisdom that you’d like to give the readers at This Design Life?
- Get personal and talk to your clients like family.
- Embrace the long game of growing a business.
- Be interested in everything and not just design.
- Put yourself into your work.
- Be nice.
Warran Brindle runs Design by Country, who design and manage brands for business owners. Brands that people can relate to, fall in love with and want to invite into their lives and their homes.
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