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Investing in your pattern design business

Title, investing in your pattern design business, Design and Shine podcast episode with image of woman's hands typing on laptop


If you are wanting to build a successful design business then there are going to be a range of different things you will need to consider investing in in order to grow. I know that probably sounds very scary and you may be thinking that it feels a long way off or something that you’re not ready to do but I want to challenge you today and get you thinking about why it’s important, when and why you should invest in your surface pattern design business.

First of all, I’ll ask you a question. Are you creating patterns for a hobby or do you want to do create a successful business where you can earn money from your designs? If you aren’t wanting to grow a business then it makes sense that you will be careful where you invest your money however if you are wanting to have a profitable business then you have to expect there are some investments that you will need to make and this is true of anyone who is running a business.

If you do in fact want to create a successful business but you’re only wanting to play small and not invest in it, then your results will likely stay small also. Of course, you do need to think about when the time is right to invest and that could be different depending on what element you’re investing in but know this is something you should consider if you really want to grow. Now I know, you know, you may be feeling a little bit overwhelmed by what I’m saying. You may think, no, absolutely not. I don’t need to do that but if you are wanting to create a business where you’re working from home and earning money selling your art then I encourage you to think about this.

There are some obvious things as a surface pattern designer you need to invest in. For example, there are certain tools you will need to create your pattern designs.  At a most basic level, you’re going to need a computer and computer software although you may decide to replace your computer with an iPad. One of the things that I’ve noticed with people who are starting out and are wanting to develop their skills in this area, but they’re not wanting to pay for the software to do that. They want to use free software rather than invest in industry-standard software.  It’s absolutely fine to use free software if you’re wanting to create designs just as a hobby but if you are wanting to grow your business and you want to sell your designs, then investing in the right software to do that is really, really important. I recommend Photoshop and illustrator as they are industry standard and what most clients would expect and is one expense that you need to add into your annual budget to run your business.  I do recommend as much as possible to start as you wish to continue because it can be a headache to have to so that you’re not relearning how to do something with different software at a later date.

Investing in the tools is obvious and most people are happy to get started investing in these tools. It’s usually the tools such as marketing tools that people feel triggered and a little bit uncomfortable investing in until they’re making a return from their designs. An example of a marketing tool is your email marketing system. That enables you to capture the emails of your customers and then be able to send them regular emails or newsletters about new collections or designs or new products that you’re created. Having a good email marketing system will enable you to communicate and get yourself in front of your customers. In its simplest form, this works by having an opt-in form or a way of enabling people to sign up for your newsletter on your website or to see your full pattern portfolio. When they do,  they will then be added to your email marketing service and you’ll then be able to send them regular emails. There are different lots of different services that will allow you to do this and the one you choose will depend on what your overall marketing strategy is going to be. Some companies include MailChimp. Convertkit, Flodesk and Active Campaign.

As I mentioned, as you grow your business, marketing is where you’ll probably find that you will need to start investing if you want to be able to grow. That includes creating and hosting your website so you have a place to host your design portfolio and a way of people finding out more about you. You might decide that it’s too overwhelming for you to create your own website, and you might decide to invest in getting someone else to help you.

Social media is another area you may want to look at investing in. I really recommend batching and scheduling your social media posts in advance whenever you can and there are some paid tools that will really help you do that easily. There are some free tools out there as well so it’s about finding what will work for you and investing in what’s going to help you achieve the desired results in the fastest, easiest and quickest way. The other alternative is to pay someone to help you create the posts and schedule those for you so you are able to really free up your time to spend on what’s going to make you the most money and that is designing.

It’s all about finding the right time to know when to go to that next level and invest in something else that’s gonna help you grow further. I think you’ll know when it’s time to outsource or to invest a little bit more is when you are finding you’re really struggling to get everything done by yourself. And one of the biggest mindset blocks when investing in your business is feeling like you shouldn’t pay someone to do something that you can do yourself.  This is a really common thought process. But the thing is, the reason that you invest is to free up your time so you are able to spend your time doing the things that bring you the most joy, but also most importantly, doing the jobs that bring you the most amount of income.


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