Hey, what’s up, guys. This is Adrian Boysel. Thank you for tuning in to another Adrian Graphics and Marketing video. Today, I want to talk to you guys about why I gave up my career as a graphic designer full-time, and now I’m running a company instead. It’s important, if you’re a graphic designer, to understand that if you’re going to grow a business and you’re going to go from working for somebody to working for yourself, you need to change your mindset. This is a hard mindset to change, and I know firsthand how hard it is because I’ve had to go through this since 2007, and it hasn’t been as easy of a transition as I thought it would be.
Over the years since I started my graphic design and print shop, from 2007 to about 2010, I had taken on over 3000 clients. And during that time I got so overwhelmed with work that I had to start bringing in other people to help me. One of the guys that bought into my company at the time – and I’ve talked about this in the past – he was pretty mean. And he told me: you can’t do graphic design anymore. You need to be doing sales, because that’s what you’re better at. And I took that personally. I was like: “man, is he saying that I’m not a good graphic designer?” I had a lot of my identity wrapped up in being a graphic designer. I know a lot of my fellow artists and my fellow creatives can feel the same way, that you can feel discouraged by having to bring in other people to do the work that you think you should be doing, but you can only produce so much in a day.
I feel like it’s very, very important that you understand that your income, your quality of life, and the volume – and the value, also – is tied to the type of work that you can do and to the people that you bring in, and being able to let go a little bit.
So what I was able to do was to bring in a graphic designer who was just as talented as me, if not better. Through doing that, I started to realize that my income would go up. Because I can only produce so many jobs in one day, and by bringing him in, he could produce the same amount of jobs as I could, if not more, and even do them at a higher level. So I started to realize that by bringing in other talented people who are just as talented as me, or better, I could start to produce more income and really help my team and help myself.
That was what I was really driven to do. And really, in the big picture of things, it was also helping my clients. Because I was bringing in people who were more talented. Yes, they had to pay a little bit more, but they were getting a better quality of work. It was getting turned around faster. So it was just a great win-win situation for everybody. I was able to just let go, have more fun, and just enjoy the income part of being a graphic designer. Now I’ve stepped away from that, and I’m not doing really any graphic design, other than here and there. I’m picking the projects that are personal to me, that I have an affinity towards – whether it’s marketing for ministry, or some sort of graphic design project for a new brand, a friend’s business, or something along those lines. I can pick and choose the projects that resonate with me. So that has really helped my income and given me a lot of freedom.
That leads me to number one. Number one is: income. By bringing in other graphic designers, taking yourself out of the graphic design chair, and giving yourself more of an overall creative director approach, you’re going to increase your income. You’re going to increase the income of the people who are on your team and around you, and that’s important.
I have hit record numbers in sales last year that I’ve never done before in any of my businesses, because I was able to bring other talented people into the business who were just as good as I am, if not better. By doing that, I increased my income. I grew the company’s income, and I grew the people who work for me – I’m producing jobs for people. I’m actually out there helping the economy grow, not just putting all the money back in my pocket and trying to just keep it all myself – which wasn’t even that much to begin with when it was just me.
So, number two is very important as well, and that’s volume. Volume of work is very important. If you’re doing a high volume of work by yourself, you’re going to burn yourself out. And that burnout is very, very real. Just think of the volume of work that you can produce if you bring in one graphic designer. If I can produce 100 graphic design projects myself in a month, and then I bring in another graphic designer, that doubles the amount of volume of work that I can produce in a month. It also really takes some work off of my plate, so if we only get 150 graphic design projects in a month, I can split those projects between myself and the other graphic designer, and now I’m having to work less and not having to pull crazy hours.
The volume of work also increases your income. You’re able to charge more and you’re able to produce a better end result for your customer, because you have other people who are just as good or more talented. So that’s very, very important for you to think about: the amount of volume that you can produce. I’m going to hit record numbers this year in volume and in sales because of how many graphic designers, or how many people, we have on our team.
Now what I’ve done is encouraged everybody that’s on my team to start thinking in the same way. I want them to be entrepreneurial. I don’t want them to just be in the employee mindset, where they sit in a seat, they do a job for eight hours and they go home and that’s it. I want them to be thinking about how they can be creative directors of their department – whether it’s web design, whether it’s graphic design, whether it’s motion graphics – they can be creative directors of their role, and they can make more money than they’re even making now with me, by managing the projects. We can go find young and hungry people who are just starting off in their career, maybe just came out of college, or maybe they’re self-taught – they could be 17 or 18-year-old graphic designers. Maybe they’re on Upwork or Freelancer, or working online somewhere. You can find them at colleges and internship programs. They’re hungry, and they want to get the experience and build a portfolio.
You can bring these people in for $12, $15, or even $20 an hour, and you can pay your people better. So, the client gets a better end result. We’re able to turn things around faster, and you’re never under-delivering to your client, which is very important, especially as a graphic designer. I don’t know how many times throughout all these years, I was overwhelmed with so many projects. Because I needed to make an income, I needed to produce a good income, so I took on all these projects. And then I was behind by a week or two weeks, sometimes, just backed up with work. That’s not the way I wanted it to be. So by being able to create more volume, those situations didn’t happen. It’s served the clients better, it’s served me better, it’s served the company better, and it’s served my team better because I was creating more jobs.
Now that leads me to the third one. I talked about burnout – number three is quality of life. As a graphic designer, you deserve a good quality of life. And that doesn’t mean making a ridiculous amount of money. That’s great, and that’s cool, but most artists and most creative people don’t get into doing this for a living because they wanted to make a ridiculous amount of money, right? That’s not our drive. That’s not our motivator. That’s not our passion. Our passion is art. Our passion is creativity. Our passion is graphics. Our passion is business or entrepreneurship.
So, as you start to think about those things, you start to realize that the priorities will change once you start bringing in these other people, and your quality of life will improve. You won’t be working, like I did, in 24-hour shifts. I mean, I can’t even tell you how many 24-hour shifts I pulled just trying to keep up, and still being behind. I don’t know what kind of toll that took on my body long-term, but sleep is incredibly important. There were probably five or six solid years in which, probably a dozen or two dozen times throughout those years, I was working 24-hour shifts doing graphic design.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I wasn’t miserable through all those times, but it wasn’t good for me. I enjoy doing it so much that I couldn’t go to sleep. I had so much work on my plate, and I was making great money as a graphic designer, so I wanted to keep going. I was like: hey, I can just push through it tonight. I’m young, I can do it now. I might as well do it now, rather than trying to do it when I’m older. So I took those advantages was when I was in my younger twenties, 20 to about 27. I did that, and even fairly recently, I’ve done that a couple of times over the last three or four years, but I just can’t do it anymore. It’s just not good for me. I know it’s not good for my quality of life. I know it’s not good for the company, and it’s not good for the clients.
So for me, I want to prove improve the quality of life, bring a higher ROI to the clients, and by bringing in other talented people in different areas, with web design, graphic design, logo design, branding and motion graphics – all these different area. By bringing in great talent, I can actually provide a better ROI, because it allows me to look at the projects with all of my experience, all of the awards that I’ve won and the things that I’ve done, and allows me to provide a better end result on the content strategy, on the marketing strategy. Because I’ve transitioned out of being just a graphic designer to being a marketer, being a marketing trainer or graphic design trainer. I teach people the business of graphic design and how to actually make real money. That’s part of why I’m doing this video, right?
My goal is to help people make a higher ROI, help bring in more clients for my company, to produce more sales, to bring in more talent, and to create more jobs. It’s just a better quality of life for everybody, all around. So you’re not just doing it for yourself and your own quality of life, but you’re doing it for all the people around you: for your customers, for your team, for your business, and even for your family. Your family deserves to have more time with you, and if you’re pulling 24-hour shifts, you’re sacrificing that time with your family.
So, I want you to have a better quality of life. I want you to have a better career. You’ve got to let go of that control. You can still have that overall look and feel of your style, your design, in the projects that you do. You can still be the creative director. You can still make changes and say ‘do this,’ and ‘do that.’ You can still have the overall initial vision for the design projects, but you don’t need to be the one doing the actual graphics work, or drawing, or doing illustrator, or doing Photoshop, on every single project. You can sub some of this work out to people and let them handle that part of it. Just take the projects that mean something to you, that that matter to you, that you have a clear vision for. Projects that you know you could knock out an hour, versus having another graphic designer do it in four hours.
So just think about those things. Think about how much your time is worth. If you’re out there selling or you’re out there bringing in customers, or you’re out there doing marketing, your time is worth a lot more than just a $15, $20, $25 per hour graphic designer. So, as a freelancer, I just want you to start changing your thinking. I want to challenge you to just let go of the control of being a graphic designer.
That’s what I got for you today. If you liked this video, please send it to a fellow creative, a fellow graphic designer, web designer, motion graphics guy – any of the creators in the world. I need to have this video seen because I want to reach people. I want to help people. I just want to change the world.
Thank you guys for watching. Make sure you hit that ‘like’ button hit the ‘subscribe’ button, and I’ll see you on the next one. God bless. And as always, keep looking up.