As a design business owner, you want to get ideal design clients, go beyond dollars for hours, add additional income streams and simplify the business of design so you can have a profitable design business, work with clients you love, and have more time to spend doing what you love. You would love to go beyond tired to inspired, striving to thriving, breaking even to breaking through!

So why aren’t you there yet? What’s been stopping you? What’s keeping you stuck at 5 figures? Let’s talk about the 7 mistakes that could be keeping you stuck, and what you can do to create and design your breakthrough .

1. You don’t have a vision for your business.
You need to know your big why. Many times we lose our focus or passion, and that’s usually because we don’t have a clear, overall vision for our business. Sometimes we have a vision, but if we were to probe a little deeper we would discover a bigger, more authentic reason is driving us. So what’s your big why? Why do you do what you do? Is it to bring beauty into the world? Do you like creating harmonious spaces, places of sanctuary, or luxurious environments for your design clients?

Create and write down your vision, one that really inspires you.

2. You’re marketing like everyone else.
Maybe you’ve created beautiful brochures, or more likely a website with all the bells and whistles, featuring your design services and portfolio. Maybe you’re blogging and tweeting about absolutely everything design-related. But are you answering your client’s question of WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)?

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Be uniquely you. Define your target market and ideal client, then focus your marketing activities on your ideal client. Remember, stop trying to be everything to everyone.

3. You’re not closing the sale.
So stop selling, and focus on providing value. Darren Hardy, editor of Success magazine, has talked about this 4-letter word ‘SELL’ being one we should replace with another … ‘HELP’. How do you help your clients? It isn’t by providing space planning services, but it may be by creating comfortable, livable, functional spaces for active and busy families. Focus on the benefits you provide, the value you add, and the ways you help your clients.
4. You’re trying to figure it all out on your own and do it all on your own.
This is not an effective use of your time! Get help – from interns, other designers, bookkeepers, virtual assistants, etc.. Challenge yourself to continually learn and grow so you can spot trends and lead. Work with coaches and mentors who will provide you with answers and shortcuts.
5. You’re trading your hours for dollars.
Move beyond pricing by the hour for your design services. Look at value-based pricing and ways you can add additional income streams including passive revenue sources.
6. You’re reinventing the wheel when it comes to your business processes and systems.
Take time to document processes, the steps you take and create systems for success. Need a few examples? Have systems in place for client intake, ordering and expediting, client and vendor communications, bookkeeping and reporting, presentations, referrals, and testimonials, just to name a few. Systems will save you time, energy and money.
7. You don’t have a blueprint or roadmap for success.
Planning may not sound like part of your glamorous designer life; hearing the word ‘plan’ may even cause the same reaction as nails across a chalkboard. People have built entire businesses around helping others plan, be productive and manage their time. Why is this? Charting your course helps create ease, and when you’re in the flow it’s a lot easier to feel inspired AND have a lot more fun in your business.

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Which of these mistakes is keeping you stuck at 5 figures? You can have more time, work with clients you love, breakthrough to 6 figures and start living your designer life. You can create and design your business breakthrough, and you can do it in 7 steps or less. Where will you start?

About the Author

Kelly Galea, The Design Biz Coach, is creator of the Design Biz Breakthrough System™, the complete & simple, step-by-step program that shows you how to breakthrough to more clients, bigger profits & extra time to spend doing what you love. To get your F.R.E.E. book chapter and to receive her bi-weekly design biz success secrets & inspired solutions to help you Get Clients, Make Money & Save Time so you can start living your designer life, visit