Exactly 2 years ago, I posted my first blog post on this blog. I still remember how nervous and excited I was back then. A lot of things have happened over the course of the past 2 years – I switched my business plan couple of times, I tried different strategies and I figured out what’s working and what doesn’t.
Similar to last year’s posts about the 7 things I would do differently in my first year of business, today, I wanted to share the 6 lessons I learned from my second year of business and the recap of MintSwift’s second year or blog & business.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
6 LESSONS I LEARNED FROM MY SECOND YEAR OF BUSINESS:
LESSON 1 – CHANGE IS GOOD
Changing things (especially in your business) can be scary because the outcome is unknown. But, if you see that things aren’t working the way you want them to, it’s good to change things up. There are no guarantees, but moving forward is better than standing still (more about it in lesson 5) and you can always learn from the changes
LESSON 2 – BE YOURSELF AND DON’T BE AFRAID TO SHARE YOUR OPINIONS
This one is pretty obvious, but believe it or not, sometimes you might realize that you’re doing thing out of your character (like I did with my email list and online courses), just because it’s “cool” to do something or you’ve noticed that there’s a trend and “it’s weird” not to do this. As in everyday life, the same truth holds for business life – it’s good to be yourself and showcase your personality through your brand.
I think it’s really important to share your own opinions, especially on your OWN blog, even if they are completely different from anyone else’s. One of my brand values is transparency, therefore I try to get out of my shell and share honest and without-sugar-coating posts like why I don’t design moodboards for my clients, how to get clients if you hate selling and pitching or why I deleted my email list.
LESSON 3 – EVALUATE WHAT’S WORKING FOR YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS AND DON’T EXPECT DIFFERENT RESULTS BY DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN
This one correlates with lesson 2. You may find yourself, testing someone else’s strategies and it seems like if something worked for some else, it should work for you and your business. Well, the truth is – everyone is different. Everyone’s business is different. Everyone’s circumstances and goals are different. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate what’s working for YOU and YOUR
It’s not difficult to get caught in the moment and do the same things over and over again and being surprised that they aren’t working after all instead of evaluating them on daily/weekly or monthly basis. Also, don’t waste time on things that make you miserable. If you hate doing something, considering outsourcing it or finding different (more fun!) ways to achieve the desired result.
LESSON 4 – THINK OF USABILITY AND STREAMLINE
Having a pretty website isn’t enough – you need to consider the functionality and usability of it as well. As a designer, I can’t stress the importance of user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) enough. After I updated my services, I focus on getting more into detail about them in the series of process blog post, I created easily accessible process pages and inquiry forms. For my blog, I created custom blog archives page with all the posts on one page.
LESSON 5 – GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
It’s easy to do the things you feel comfortable with, but the amazing things happen once you get out of your comfort zone and try to do something new or, even better, something you always wanted to do but were too scared to do it. This is something I want to do more in my third year of business, but one of the most “out of my comfort zone” part of the last year was definitely changing up my services and going back to WordPress website design and development I was doing a few years ago.
LESSON 6 – THINK OF YOUR BRAND VALUES AND GOALS AND FIND YOUR FOCUS
Sometimes we see ideas or strategies that worked for someone else and instantly, we have an urge to utilize them in our own business and we forget to take a look at a bigger picture like brand values, goals and focus. It sounds ridiculous, but you may do things that are completely out of those and realize it after few months (like I did with having my email list and creating email courses). Before you jump into trying new strategies, go back to the basics and think of the bigger picture, if this idea aligns with your business goals, your brand values and most importantly, your main business focus.
Now, after sharing my 6 lessons from my second year of business, let’s move to a recap of what happened for my blog and business between March 2017 and March 2018, so you can get more insights
THE RECAP OF MINTSWIFT’S SECOND YEAR OF BLOG & BUSINESS:
I CHANGED MY SERVICES
Instead of offering just logo and basics brand design, I created two, more comprehensive packages: brand design package and brand & website design package.
I CREATED THREE PAGES THAT GO INTO DETAILS ABOUT MY SERVICES
The “main page” for my offerings called Services is sort of a “sales page”. It pinpoints my target audience’s problems, showcases the goals and outcomes of my services. There are descriptions about the two packages along with a call to action buttons to learn more about each of the package, FAQ, testimonials, portfolio snippet and my bio. The more detailed pages for brand design package and for brand & website design package, showcase what’s included in the packages, collaterals to choose from, information on how to book the packages and so on
I CREATED INQUIRY FORMS FOR MY DESIGN SERVICES
I used a simplified version of my brand design and brand & website design questionnaire and I created pages called Brand Design Inquiry and Brand & Web Design Inquiry which helps me learn more about my prospect clients rather than having just Contact form
I UPDATED MY PORTFOLIO
I added new client’s projects to my portfolio and simplified the layout. Instead of using mockups, I decided to create simple and straightforward image grid layout with logos which links to portfolio posts
I STARTED SHARING MY PORTFOLIO BLOG POSTS
Instead of adding a bunch of graphics to the portfolio page, I came up with an idea to share behind the scenes, portfolio blog posts in which I walk through the entire design process for either brand design or brand & website design. I showcase all design elements along with detailed explanation and history behind the choices and I give more insight into the brand & business I worked on.
I WENT TO BASICS AND GET OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE
Did you know that when I first started with WordPress, I was actually planning to be purely WordPress developer rather than WordPress website designer? To be honest, I was a bit insecure (despite my experience and WordPress knowledge), so instead of offering full packages (which I have since April 2017), I offered only logo design and basic brand design. I was able to get out of my comfort zone and start offering brand design and brand & website design and I haven’t looked back since.
I CREATED PAGES THAT GO IN DEPTH ABOUT THE PROCESS FOR MY PACKAGES
Along with sharing six blog posts about my brand design and brand & website design process, I created two pages – one for a brand design process and the other for brand & website design process that includes the short description of the package, what happens each day of the process and a sample project calendar
I DELETED MY EMAIL LIST, STOPPED BEING ONLINE COURSE CREATOR AND DELETED MY FREE RESOURCES LIBRARY = I FOCUSED ONLY ON MY SERVICES AND WORKING 1-ON-1
I love working with clients one-on-one and it was one of the 8 reasons why I deleted my email list and stopped being online course creator. To be honest, it was one of the best decisions I made for my business!
I’M MAKING SURE MY WEBSITE IS USER-FRIENDLY AND CLEAR TO UNDERSTAND FOR MY POTENTIAL CLIENTS
As a website designer, I put a huge emphasis on usability and functionality of websites I design for my clients (and for my own website as well). That’s why I did all of the things I mentioned above, created all of the pages for my services, processes and so on. I wanted to make sure that my website serves the 24/7 employee purpose so it answers a lot of potential client’s burning questions for me (like what is included in the packages, what’s the process, how long does it take, how much it cost etc.) and also, saves time both on my potential clients and my end.
I CREATED BLOG ARCHIVES
WordPress has post archives feature build in for each of the categories, but I wanted to create a page called Archives that contains ALL of my blog posts, so there are easily accessible for my viewers.
I UPDATED MY PREMADE BRANDING KITS AND LOGOS ALONG WITH SHOP HOMEPAGE
On September last year, I decided to update my premade templates from MintSwift Shop so they are now more usable, versatile, streamlined and more cohesive. Speaking of user experience – I also created a custom Shop Homepage which shows all of the shop categories, how does it work and includes featured products
Blog & business is “work in progress” process, so I definitely have more changes and updates I need to make. Now, let’s talk a bit more about them 😉
HERE’S ARE THE MAIN WEBSITE AND BRAND CHANGES OR UPDATES THAT ARE EITHER STILL IN THE PROCESS OR IN PLANS:
I UPDATED MY BRAND PHOTOS AND I PLAN TO INCORPORATE THEM MORE INTO MY WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
This is the recent change I made – you probably noticed new photos of me on my site 😉 I still plan to add more of those on my website and use them more for the graphics (like the featured image for this post). One of my business goals for 2018 is to be more personal in my business, by showcasing my face more. I have other ideas in my sleeves but, we’ll see 😉
CHANGING UP BLOG CATEGORIES
I mentioned that in my post about 2017 posts, I plan to change the categories a bit so there’ll we still six categories, but I’ll have: Design, Branding, WordPress, Portfolio, Blog & Business, Tech Tutorials.
CREATING A PAGE WITH BRAND COLLATERALS EXAMPLES
I get to ask about the brand collaterals by my potential clients a lot, so I’m going to create a page with the brand collaterals examples
Thank you so much for all your support and for following my 2-year journey Minty! I’m excited to start my third year of business with a big smile on my face and a head full of ideas.