Being a successful freelance designer doesn't just come down to having great skills and a beautiful portfolio. You also need business smarts.
That's where Nesha Woolery comes in. Nesha teaches business strategy to freelance designers through her courses, member's club and ebooks, helping them create businesses that are profitable, not just creative.
She’s also generously offered a free 5 day course, Project Management for Designers, so be sure to sign up for that!
If you've ever wondered how you were going to transition from client work to selling your own online courses, this is the perfect post and episode for you!
My name is Nesha and I teach business strategy to freelance web and graphic designers so they can build businesses that are not just creative, but profitable.
Being a successful designer doesn't just come down to having great skills and a beautiful portfolio. You also need business smarts. That's where I come in! But I’ll rewind a little and give some background info.
I started my freelance design business in 2012. I went from struggling to find clients month to month, to continuously being booked six months in advance.
INTENTIONAL BUSINESS SUCCESS
But trust me, it didn't happen by accident. It began with understanding that creativity alone couldn't build a successful business.
I had learned all about that, but I realized that lots of other designers didn’t understand it. I saw so many designers struggling to keep their businesses afloat, and I realized I could help them. I just wasn’t sure how to deliver that help.
I stumbled across the Femtrepreneur blog one day, read a blog post on creating courses, and realized that was the perfect way for me to teach other designers. It was like everything Mariah said made total sense!
I've now taught hundreds of other designers how to leverage strategies and systems to create more profitable businesses! But I honestly couldn’t have done it without the help of Your First 1k™ and Webinar Rockstar™, Webinar Rockstar™ in particular.
Webinars have been my main source of course students!
Over 60% of my income this past year was made through webinars.
WEBINARS ARE SIMPLE AND FUN
Before taking Webinar Rockstar™, I wanted to host my own webinar but the tech side of things really scared me.
I had only ever done a webinar once before, and my co-host handled the tech side of things, so my confidence in my ability to host a successful solo webinar wasn’t high.
I didn’t have a clue where to start. I wasn’t sure what tech to use, how to promote the webinar, how to find webinar co-hosts… the whole process was daunting!
I took Your First 1k™ and Webinar Rockstar™ at the same time.
Before I enrolled, I had been selling brand and web design services and a couple of small ebooks.
I really wanted to launch a course and see if I could make a success out of a product-based business model, but I knew my course sales would plateau if I didn’t add webinars to my launch, and because I was scared of doing them, it stalled my launch.
It made me delay the launch date again and again.
It wasn’t until I joined Webinar Rockstar™ and realized how simple and FUN webinars could be, that I finally set a firm launch date and committed to hosting one webinar for it.
GETTING REALLY SPECIFIC
My course, Organize & Automate, teaches freelance brand and web designers how to streamline their design process.
There are a lot of courses around for freelancers and creative entrepreneurs on streamlining their business systems and client process, but I had never seen a course on streamlining made specifically for designers.
The areas of business designers need to streamline most isn’t their social media or blog calendars. It’s their workflow in Photoshop and Illustrator, their web design process, and their client onboarding and offboarding.
I wanted to be able to get really specific in my course. I wanted to be able to show my students the exact steps to include in their Asana project templates, the exact scripts they could use with their clients, and the exact files and training to deliver when the project is over.
I realized I couldn’t be so specific if my course was for all creatives.
I was a little hesitant to narrow down on a specific niche for my course instead of opening it up to all creatives and freelancers, because my market at the time wasn’t designers, it was ‘creative entrepreneurs’.
But being more specific with WHO my course was for was 100% the right thing to do. Narrowing down on a small niche has helped my course stand out from other courses on the subject of streamlining!
Before enrolling, I was a little worried that Webinar Rockstar™ would be really confusing to follow, or that the course would be overwhelming, but it wasn’t! The lessons were super simple to follow and there are fillable worksheets, templates and checklists to make things even easier.
Mariah tells you exactly what tech and equipment to use, and walks you through the webinar process step by step!
Once I invested in the equipment and started implementing what I learned in Webinar Rockstar™, I gained hundreds more students to my course!
PRESELLING THE COURSE
Before I launched my course, I asked my Facebook community what they wanted to learn from me and what their occupation was.
The majority said they were designers and that they wanted to learn how to streamline and automate their design business and process.
I’m aware that just because people say they want something from you, doesn’t mean they’ll spend money on it, so I took the advice Mariah and Megan are always sharing: to pre-launch.
I pre-launched my course for a few weeks to see if it would make enough sales, and it exceeded my expectations!
I hoped for 30 sales at $147 and ended up with 70 by the end of the pre=launch, and that was with only 1 ad, five blog posts, ten emails and 1 webinar.
I realized that if I could make 10k through 70 sales with very little effort, I was definitely on the right track with my course and it was definitely something my community needed.
I wanted to keep my first launch simple so I didn’t go crazy with Facebook ads or things like that. I knew I wanted to try those things, but not straight out of the gate.
I’m the kind of person who gets stressed very easily, so I tried to apply one rule to my launch: do more of the things that work and less of the things that don’t (or that I’m reeeally uncertain about.)
I looked to Mariah to see what would work and what wouldn’t. After all, she’s a total pro! She’s the queen of course launches.
I knew and trusted that I could implement what she taught and see results because her marketing strategies (such as hosting webinars) had such amazing results for her and her students.
THE POWER OF A HIGH CONVERTING LEAD MAGNET
The first thing that worked really well for me was building a launch list by offering a free lead magnet.
I created a Design Process Cheatsheet, which shows the exact steps designers should include in their brand and web design process. Then I added the lead magnet opt-in to my website and added it to popular, relevant posts.
I shared about it on social media and emailed my list about it. I did everything I could to get people to sign up for it because I knew that if people were interested in the cheatsheet (which was taken from my course), they’d definitely be interested in my course, Organize & Automate.
I also plucked up the courage to host my first solo webinar during my course launch.
I only hosted one webinar, but it generated 85% of my launch income! My community was buzzing with excitement during and after the webinar.
I also took the advice from Your First 1k™ and build urgency around my course.
I told my email list that the course would go from $147 to $197 and gave them two weeks to sign up.
Sending email reminders of the upcoming deadline and including countdown timers created a real sense of urgency for my community. It stopped people from thinking ‘I’ll miss out this course for now and come back to it another time.’
NESHA’S ADVICE: JUST DO IT.
Just do it. I sat around just thinking about launching a course for far too long.
In fact, I was so worried about hosting webinars and creating launch plans, I almost didn’t launch at all!
My favourite thing about running a course business is helping designers make significant improvements to their businesses.
Every time I receive a happy email from a student on how much the course has helped them streamline their design process, it reaffirms that I’m actually making a difference in my community.
Being able to help other designers like that brings me so much joy!
The strategies, tips and tricks inside these courses will help you take your business to a whole new level!
These are two of the best courses I’ve ever taken. Do yourself a favour and enroll!