Well hello there! I decided to start a journal to reflect on recent happenings at the studio. Reflection is such a vital part of growth and I also wanted to give you a bit of a window into the word of JOAT. If you got any suggestions or requests for things you’d like to know more about, drop me an email!
Going back to school
The past month has been full of learnings and new connections which I am very grateful for. It felt like a student going back to uni again with all the courses that I have recently completed - mind you I paid a fraction of the price by investing into courses by other creatives like Wayfarer Studio and The Futur. The decentralisation of design education excites me! But that’s a thought for another time… Here is an update about the things that I have been improving and learning in the last few weeks:
Improving client experience
JOAT's project communication had a complete overhaul. I was looking for ways to make it easier for my clients to understand and engage with the design process. Most frustrations boil down to an issue in the communications department, am I right? I have trialed the new process including onboarding clients onto a specific Asana Project outlining all the steps from signing the contract to paying the deposit to outlining the design presentations and round of amends… It’s all there for them to see like a train timetable. The feedback has been amazing. It reduces anxiety and confusion on both the client and the designer’s side as anyone can refer to the overall project flow at any point in time and helps the client trust your understanding of their needs. Collecting feedback through it has reduced the frantic emails that are hard to keep track of and keep them all in relevant places. If you are a freelancer or one-man-band studio I highly recommend using those free features!
Improving the onboarding and payment system
As I am the main designer on all projects, handling admin and accounting on the side, it was time to streamline the process so I can focus more on projects and less on day to day runnings. Chasing payments and contracts is not my favourite thing and in the past I had occasions where I was starting the work before the deposit came through which wasn’t great and didn’t feel efficient. Although I am already using accounting software I am now using a CRM (customer relationship management) tool that makes the whole contracts and payment plans for my clients so much easier. I want to set up my clients for a win and make it as easy and uncomplicated for them and that added value is worth paying for. For the studio the effect was a more steady cash flow as things are more clearly laid out for the client with clear rules payment timings etc. So a win-win really!
Brand Strategy Services Testing Phase
I have been exploring ways to deepen and develop the strategy side of my services. Earlier this year they were more woven into the design services but never a separate fully developed service. I have been studying the CORE framework alongside other resources this month and lead my first strategy workshop this past week. It was a great start and I will do a few more workshops with regular clients and friends before the service will be available for everyone, so I can perfect it and craft the offering as it deserves. The first workshop was so insightful into the business of my client and helped clarify their brand personality and positioning (with a lot of laughs along the way). I am looking forward to part two next week and compiling a brand road map for them.
Resources: The CORE Kit
Connecting with other creatives
I made a strategic effort to catch up with other lovely creatives, once every week - either in person over coffee in our fine city or via IG video messaging and it’s been such a joy and inspiration connecting and hearing their stories. It definitely improved my motivation levels!
And that's it, folks. Improving the client experience, developing new offerings and connecting with like-minded creatives - my September progress in a nutshell. Let me know what you've been up to!