7 Reasons Your Design Business Is Failing + How To Fix It


When a business fails it isn't because the designer sucks but rather because there's a problem with the business, not the talent.

I've made all of these mistakes at one time at or another. Sometimes I've made multiple mistakes at the same time. At the beginning when I couldn't figure out exactly what was not quite working in my business, I would change a bunch of things at once. 

That was the totally wrong thing to do. You know why? Because you won't know which of the many changes you made was the one that made the difference when you get the results you want. 

So before you make any changes to your business, make sure you track where you are now and what you make whatever changes you do. Okay? Good. Let's go.

You don't have a niche or it's too broad

It's super hard to market your design business when you're a jack of all trades. And what's more, when you try to convey the list of the bazillion things you can do on your website, your prospects will be so confused. And you'll be off their list in a New York minute.

How to fix it?

Figure out what you want to do and who you do it for. You can't sell your design services to anyone and everyone. A) Nobody will know you're talking to them and B) you won't be able to create content because your focus is all over. C) Marketing to Jennifer, a busy mother of 3 is way different than marketing to Bachelor Ben and totally different than marketing to someone who is between 35-50 and like modern design.

Your website is confusing

Your website is CRUCIAL to your success. Your website has a purpose to help you make money in your business. You'll use it to grow your email list, to connect with your prospects, to sell your services and to market your business. It has to be the hub of all of your online efforts. 

How to fix it?

Pretend you are your client (or have a friend), visit your website and forget everything you know about your business. How would they use your website? Do you make it clear who you work with? Do you answer their questions? Do you make it clear how to work with you? Do you make it clear what they will get when they hire you? 

Beyond that, do you have a way to get them into your sales funnel? Your sales funnel is the beginning of your relationship with them where you can nurture them into working with you. It's so important that you get this system into place as well. 

And lastly, make sure your website looks professional. That means skipping the free website and crafting your brand so that it is client attractive. 

You don't work on growing your email list

I'll say it until the day I die... you need an email list. Facebook owns its audience and it's not yours. Your email is the only way to connect with your prospects. It's the way to keep your income rolling in. That should be enough motivation.

How to fix it?

Optimize your website to get people to sign up for your email list. Add your sign up form all over your website and start creating multiple content upgrades that appeal to the different buying stages your clients are in. 

You don't market your business until it's too late

You are a marketer before you're a designer. Marketing is about getting people interested in your business and if the only time you reach out to people is when you need money, you'll be really disappointed when the sales don't roll in. 

How to fix it?

Come up with a plan to market your business. I get it, you don't have the time to be online all day but you can automate your marketing efforts. 

One of the best places to market your business today is Pinterest. It will become one of your biggest sources of traffic which leads to more clients. Win!

You're blogging about the wrong things

You may have interests in photography, Punky Brewster dolls and interior decorating but the content of your website needs to be what your client wants. Your content needs to be super valuable to your prospects. Which means the odds that your client is interested in your Punky Brewster dolls are slim to none. Unless you're also specializing in Punky Brewster interiors. 

How to fix it?

Skip creating content about things that your client's aren't that interested in. Create content that is directly related to your services. Think of each blog post of video is a mini-advertisement leading to what you're selling. 

You don't have have a buyer's path in place.

A lot of people come to your website from many different places and land on all sorts of places. So that's why it's important to make it easy for people to find your free content that leads to your paid content. AND make it easy to hire you.

How to fix it?

Check out your analytics and see what your most popular pages are. Optimize those pages to lead people to your services. 

You don't have a plan in place to grow your business

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. You can't wish about your business success you need to come up with an action plan to achieve your goals. Showing up every day is the key to a successful business. 

How to fix it?

Make a list of your goals and then the steps you need to take hit them. This will keep the overwhelm away because you'll know what you need to work on every day.