January 6, 2016

A new direction in my business this year

changing directions in business

Last month, with a new year at the doorstep, I decided to make some changes to my business in 2016. Changes of which I don't know if they are going to pay off or not. But I felt I needed to make them in order to keep feeling passionate and inspired about things. So what happened and what did I change?


If you've visited this website more than once you might have noticed that the pages 'Hire Me' and 'Portfolio' are no longer up on the menu bar. Until recently I gave clients the option to hire me for custom design work for Blogger templates and logo and branding services. I liked helping out people with a custom made design for their projects, but it's a lot of work. While I don't mind putting in the work, I do mind when clients are not taking it seriously. Every once in a while I had a client like this, but lately the number of this sort of clients somehow sky rocketed unfortunately.

I had quite a few clients over the last few months asking me to do a custom logo/branding design for them or a blog design. They seemed serious, since they had tons of ideas they discussed with me. I put time and effort into explaining all kinds of things to them and discussing their wishes and visions for the design. And then, when it was time to get serious and pay the fee (which I always ask for before I start making any draft designs), it went dead silent on their end of the line. And I don't know why.

They were fully aware of the exact costs that were involved and that they had to pay up front. They discussed it in so much detail and were so enthusiastic about working on their project with me that the radio silence from their side was a total surprise to me.

Of course clients have a choice whether or not to work with me or to cancel a project, but it would be nice if they would let me know that they are putting the project on hold for a while or cancel it.

If it was just that one client that I have once in a while that isn't taking things seriously, then I would have just brushed it off. But with so many clients pulling this trick on me I needed to re-think offering custom design work. I put so many hours into discussing plans with people and most of those hours never paid off. From a business point of view that is not something I can keep doing.

So I made the difficult decision to stop with all the custom design work, at least for now. Maybe things will change in the future, but for now I'm no longer taking on clients for custom made blogs and logos. 


The same thing goes for the premade Blogger templates I sold with full installation included. While the installation of the templates for clients isn't that much work, the after sales work is.

I'm getting the impression that when people purchase a blog template with installation included, a lot of them think that it means that I will help them out with every little blog issue they have for the rest of their blogging career. I'm getting questions on a daily basis from former clients that bought their blogs a long time ago. And those questions often don't have anything to do with the template I designed.
I just don't have enough time in my day to help all my clients out that way. That is why I decided to stop selling the templates with a full installation included.

Right now I am selling premade Blogger templates that people can install themselves. They get an instruction sheet with the blog template that walks them through the installation. The advantage for the client is that they pay a lot less for a template (the prices went from $39 to $12.50). And if they really don't like to install it themselves they can still hire me for an additional fee to do it for them.

I hope by presenting the templates this way that people will not automatically assume that I will become their blog assistant when they purchase one of my designs. I love my job, but like everyone else, my days only have 24 hours in them and I can't be assisting every client 24/7.


Fortunately I didn't only quit some services. I created a whole new product line too. In my shop Dutch Lady Digi Design you will now find a collection of photo card templates for all kinds of purposes (gift cards, save the date cards, and other cards will follow in the course of the year). 

These photo cards are Photoshop templates that can be downloaded right after purchase. Clients need to open the card files in Photoshop and then they will be able to easily put their own photos into the designs and change the text. Then it's only a matter of printing and the result is a professional looking photo card.

Sometimes it's just time for a different direction in life and business. And while I have to let go of some services, at least for the time being, I will have more time left for other things. Like keeping up with this blog for example. So don't worry. I might have changed the direction of my business but I will keep on blogging like I used to!

Have you ever had to change the direction of your business or blog? If so, please share your stories in the comment section!

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