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Make Things Make Money: The Business of Illustration and Lettering

Lesson 13 of 29

Build Your Site to Attract Clients: Blog Page

Dina Rodriguez

Make Things Make Money: The Business of Illustration and Lettering

Dina Rodriguez

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Lesson Info

13. Build Your Site to Attract Clients: Blog Page

Lesson Info

Build Your Site to Attract Clients: Blog Page

Alright, blog page. How many people here blog? How many people want to blog? Okay, so everybody here either has a blog or wants to blog? Did you raise your hand? You're like, "I don't wanna blog." Okay, I'm gonna show you the value of why you should blog. Alright, first of all anyone can teach. 'Cause remember, there's always gonna be someone out there that knows less than you. Because to teach you can better understand your own work and you might just be the perfect person to teach that someone. If you're just in the beginning of your life and your design career, you're gonna have these same questions that other people are having that are just starting out. So wouldn't you rather learn from someone who is in your same space than someone who's 10 years ahead of the game? Because that person that's 10 years they're not gonna be worried about "How do you set up a presence on social media?" That was, like, their 10 years ago problem. You wanna be able to talk to someone who can directly u...

nderstand your issue, right? Now, now that we all know that you can teach, and I'm not saying that you have to write loads and loads of content. Seth Rogen, right? He just goes ahead and writes a paragraph or a sentence and it goes viral. So, just throwing it out there, you don't have to write your next novel in order to build an audience, okay? Now what do we blog about? You can teach a few different things. You can teach your niche to your competitors, or you can better educate your future clients. Now what does that mean? So your competitors would be more like tutorials, howto articles. For me, I was definitely getting the attention of other freelancers because I was starting to establish myself as an authority in the industry. Now this was good because I was teaching other people and it helped me get clients because, hey, you have two people, both have great case studies in their portfolios, great content, but one person teaches their niche and the other person doesn't. Which one are you gonna hire? You've always gotta think of, "How can I get a leg up, how can I get a leg up?" Now, you can also better educate your clients. Think of the questions your clients have. How can you better get them to your website? Maybe for them like how do you work with a graphic designer? How to choose a graphic designer to hire? What kind of, how you can answer a questionnaire to hire an illustrator. Think of those kinds of questions and then answer it for them. So you're better helping them hire you. And they're already on your website to read that article so why wouldn't they hire you versus going back to Google and searching from a bunch of strangers? It's about making that connection. Now let's talk about creating a newsletter. Now blogging you should have a newsletter. If you're writing articles 'cause email has the highest engagement. Twitter not so much, Instagram, mah. But, think about it like this, anytime you have an opportunity to speak again directly to your customer is a good thing. I'm gonna pay attention to your more if you send me an email versus me just seeing something come up in your feed, right? 'Cause you're speaking directly to them, literally, you came in my email. So why wouldn't you be taking advantage of that? You could be using programs like MailChimp, which I think is really great because they only charge you based on how many subscribers you have. So if you start out with MailChimp and you've no subscribers you pay zero dollars. And then as you grow your price grows. So I have a newsletter of about 30,000 people, so I actually pay a little bit more, but it's worth it 'cause it's just an expense and because I'm actually making off of my network of people. 'Cause I definitely don't want you guys to be paying for something you can't afford. Now with the newsletter you can actually help stay in people's front of minds. So whether that newsletter looks like you're just sharing what you're writing, or maybe you're doing a progress update. So if you work with a client and unfortunately it doesn't work out, you wanna be able to keep that connection. "Hey, can I add you to my newsletter?" Now they're getting something in their inbox every month that's showing your beautiful work. So if they ever need to work with you again or know somebody that does, boom, top of mind, 'cause you're in their inbox every month. You probably forgot about them but they won't forget about you. Now do you guys think it would be valuable to have a blog now that I've explained it a little bit more in-depth? I'm gonna convince you. (audience laughter) No seriously, I really do think blogging, and a newsletter, for me specifically, is what exploded my business. That first personal project I did, 10,000 email subscribers, what, that was crazy! I was super intimidated, and I had this, now I finally had an audience that could hear me when I talk. I felt like I wasn't talking to a blank wall anymore. I was actually starting to make a difference to people. And remember there's this rule of reciprocity that comes with blogging. I buy you a coffee, you're gonna buy me a coffee right? Rule of reciprocity. I give you free content, you're probably gonna be a loyal fan and talk about me right? I helped you in this class, now this amount of stuff that I'm teaching you in this course took years of experience and thousands of dollars. Now if you paid for it it's less than 100 bucks. Now you owe me, talk about me on Twitter. Talk about me on Twitter people! Rule of reciprocity, give me a favor, give me some followers. Mention Lettershoppe, two ps and an e, thank you. So, right, it makes you wanna give back? Alright, what are you gonna say? I wanna know how much time you actually put into your blog page 'cause I have a website, and it's one of those that you were talking about that's like just all the square pictures of my work, no words, so I need to go home and fix that. And I used to blog in a former life, different topics, and it took up so much time, and now I wanna just focus on creating art. So how do you integrate the two and not just spend so much time writing content? Like how much time a week do you spend blogging? Okay, so me personally, every Monday is a blog day. 'Cause I'm the kinda person where I can't multitask. I like to have focus time on whatever I'm doing. So if I have a client project I only work on that client project in the day. That's why I have a week turnaround, 'cause I'm not just doing these three hour chunks, I'm doing eight hour chunks. So Monday is my blog day and I just write the entire blog post that day. I do my outline, I go ahead and I do bullet points, and then I do the entire piece, and then I send it off to my editor. Another proofing software, I'm just so full of apps, is Grammarly. I don't remember if it's paid or free, I think there's a free trial, and it actually will go ahead, you just copy and paste your content and it will tell you all the grammatical errors in it based on how fancy you wanna sound really. But in terms of how you find the time it's just like the social media question. "How do I find the time for social media?" Well try it, and it it's working do more of what works. Now you can blog something, maybe just start with maybe just once a month, make it really simple. And you have to decide what kinds of things you wanna blog about. Maybe your blog is only to talk about yourself and to share with people your progress and what new pieces you're working on. And that's fine. Or maybe you wanna teach people and you wanna become more of an authority. Because remember there are different ways to make money as an illustrator and one of them is teaching. I'm not doing this for free (giggles), you know what I mean? So just being able to carve out time and just try it. But if you do end up liking it then I would recommend doing it weekly if you can. Now remember we're not writing novels. Once you start practicing writing it becomes easier, just like anything else. I'm sure at one point you guys all really sucked at drawing, you probably don't suck as much anymore because you practice. So like in the beginning I had a hard time with trying not to edit myself as I write but I think the key to writing is just brain dumping it out. Just like chugging up so much coffee and just being like, bbbrrrrr, and don't worry about sentence structure, don't worry about periods or capital letters. When you start writing it can be hard to stop but again, the hardest part about doing something, is starting it. So just giving yourself that carved out time in your calendar to do that kind of thing.

Class Description

Do you have a passion for drawing and dream of turning it into your next full-time gig? Hand lettering artist and commercial illustrator Dina Rodriguez will show you how to create a career doing what you love. Dina shares lessons learned from her path to becoming a successful freelance artist–so you can grow your business without wasting your time or resources trying to get there.

In this class, Dina covers: 
  • Honing your craft through passion projects and social media 
  • How to attract clients through your online presence 
  • Three ways to make money for your business: Commercial Work , Commissions, and Products 
  • Creating a process that will get you the job every time 
  • How to charge what you're worth
She’ll provide detailed strategies, new ways to repurpose your work, and talk about planning for the future. After this class, you’ll know how to create a successful career and skip all that nasty trial-and-error.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Make Things Make Money Keynote

Make Things Money Money Resource Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



Wow! This class was fantastic! Dina did a great job at providing relevant information that I can use right away. I was particularly impressed at how she was able to explain licensing and royalties, she really broke it down into easy to understand pieces. I think this course would be a great foundation for any artist/freelancer but I liked the focus on lettering and illustration. Creative Live must convince Dina to provide more classes!

Elizabeth Matzen

This class is full of excellent information, and Dina did a great job covering everything from building a webpage to working with clients. She has a engaging delivery style, presented the information in a succinct and well-organized manner, and the pace of the course was perfect - not too slow! I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to start or boost their creative business - great info!

Sharnika Blacker

Awesome class! Inspired and excited to improve my business with the processes and knowledge gained. Thank you Dina!!