Today, everyone is a designer. Whether you went to school for ten years or just watched a half hour intro video to a free online program, everyone designs. Small business owners DIY their logos, their brands, their websites, and almost everything they need to brand their business. Sometimes you can spot the people who aren’t design professionals a mile away, but the truth is that it is possible to create beautiful designs with little to no training at all.
That being said, I still think that investing in a professional design will always be worth it. ‘Sure’ you might say, ‘she’s a designer, of course she’s going to say that’. Well you’re right, but even if I wasn’t I would still feel the same way. I’m not trying to sell you my services, I’m not trying to convince you to work with me (though that would be nice too) I’m just trying to convince you to invest. Invest in your business. Invest in yourself.
This is something that is tough for me to say because I do try to DIY almost everything in my business. I almost never pay anyone to do anything without trying myself first to see if I can figure it out. Sometimes I find out that I can do it on my own, and sometimes I can’t.
You’re Not a Professional
The scenario of the mechanic is the one that you’ve likely heard before, because it makes sense to all of us. If your car broke down in the middle of the road, would you get out, open the hood, stick your head in amidst the smoke that’s pouring out, and start fiddling with the parts? Then get back in, try to start it up again, and drive away not knowing whether the brakes might give out or the engine might explode at any moment?
No. Unless you’re a mechanic, or you know a lot about cars, mechanics is just not something that the average person dabbles in. You call the professionals immediately. The thought of trying to fix it yourself likely never crosses your mind. You wimper at the price tag, but you know it’s something you have to do, and it’s worth it to get your car working again.
This same scenario can be applied to design. Sure, your logo or website is never going to explode and kill you, so DIYing your design is a little less risky, but it’s still not a great idea.
The truth is that you might be able to make something look good, just like you might be able to fix your car enough to make it home, but is it really working? Is your design doing what it’s supposed to do?
Design is about more than just making something look pretty, it’s about function. There are so many levels and so much hidden reasoning that goes into every little design decision, and you will never really know about if you’re not a professional. When it comes to design, it’s vital to invest in someone who knows exactly what they’re doing, and most importantly, why they’re doing it.
Invest in a Base
Now I’m not saying that you should never design anything yourself. Instead I believe that you should invest in a professional design in the beginning. Let a pro establish your brand and design guidelines for you. Let someone who knows what they’re doing choose your colours and design your logo and build your website.
Once you have a professionally designed logo, you have it. You can stand behind it and place it on all your marketing materials, across your social networks, on all your branded graphics, and your customers will recognize and remember you.
Once you have colours that have been professionally chosen for you, you have them. You know they represent your brand and call out to your ideal client. You know that they go together and compliment each other, and you know that you can use them and your designs will look great.
Once you have a professionally built website, you have it. Your website is there for people to see and navigate and you know you’re going to get a return on your investment. People are flowing through the site the way your professional designer wanted them to, they are making the choices you hoped they would. You know that you can put any images or branded materials or information on your site and they will look great and do their job.
But What if I’m not Making Money Yet?
Every new business owner or blogger faces this decision in the beginning. Whether to invest in a professional design, or to DIY it themselves. Today, a third option has been added – get a cheep and cheerful design done somewhere like Fiverr where you end up with something that might look okay, for a great price.
The truth is that option one is always the best. Invest in a professional design right from the beginning. Many people struggle to validate a cost like this in the beginning, claiming that they will just make due with DIY until they have some income from their blog or business, and then they will invest. But, think of it this way:
You’re opening a brick and mortar business, let’s say it’s a coffee shop. You decide to wait until you are making money to invest in your business. You rent a crappy space in a back alley rather than the space you really want on the corner. You slap a paper, handwritten sign outside that reads ‘coffee’ rather than coming up with a name and getting a logo designed. You verbally repeat your menu to every customer rather than writing it on the wall or printing menus. You make coffee from a store bought coffee maker rather than investing in the gorgeous, shiny espresso machine you really want.
And your business becomes a huge hit and in a few months you have the money to invest in all the things you really wanted in the beginning.
NO. Your business crashes and burns because it is crap. Starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur is a risk, and the risk is investing in yourself with no guarantee that you’re ever going to see that money again. Yes, it’s scary, but it’s also exhilarating. Taking a risk, investing in yourself, and letting everyone know that you have faith in your idea and your business will pay off if you work hard enough.
You’re Investing in Yourself
Investing in a design is exactly the same as this. The only difference is that you don’t have to buy a physical store or any physical products, instead the investment is in something visual instead of tangible. And this is where people struggle. You’re not buying anything that you can hold in your hands, so it’s hard to validate such an investment. But, ultimately if you want to find success, investing and taking risks is worth it.
Rather than thinking about how you’re investing in the design, think about how you’re investing in yourself. A design that you can stand behind and be proud of and share with the world while holding your head high is worth paying for.
You’ll End up Paying for it in the Long Run
If the cost is really what’s holding you back – think about this. If you don’t invest now, and decide to wait, you’ll end up paying more in the long run. And I’m not just talking about the fact that your favourite designer might raise their prices by the time you’re ready. I’m talking about the fact that branding is way easier than rebranding.
Picture yourself a year from now, when this blog or business has become really successful. You’re thinking it’s time to invest in a professional design, because you’ve never really been in love with your DIY one. But now you have a blog full of posts, social networks full of followers and clients, and marketing materials covered with a brand you never really loved. Changing that is a lot of work today, and you’ll likely have to pay more to get someone to do it.
Instead, wouldn’t it be great to be at the point, in the same success, but looking back and being so grateful that you actually decided to invest in the first place? You have a brand that established and recognizable, and a following that knows and remembers you. Wouldn’t that be nice?
“As a fellow designer – save time and money! Lots of peeps start DIY and pay more in the long run than if they had just hired someone.”
Make Sure You’re Certain
But, the one thing that you have to remember about investing in a professional design is that it is an investment. It’s not something that should be taken lightly. Take your time and make sure you’re 100% ready and committed to your blog or business before taking action. You wouldn’t rent out a space for your coffee shop and then decide a week later that you really want to sell flowers. You’d think about it long and hard before making the investment. Chantel invested in a logo design that she loved for her blog Glow Fig, but then ended up switching niches, which meant that her investment was ultimately wasted.
“I invested in a professional logo and love it, but then totally changed my niche. Wish I had waited longer…”
Take the time to make sure you are ready to invest, and then invest. It’s that simple. Though I don’t offer direct custom branding services any more, I do offer premade designs in The White Corner Shop. You can browse here and see if one fits well for you!