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Make Things Make Money: The Business of Illustration and Lettering

Lesson 11 of 29

Build Your Site to Attract Clients: Portfolio Page

Dina Rodriguez

Make Things Make Money: The Business of Illustration and Lettering

Dina Rodriguez

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Lesson Info

11. Build Your Site to Attract Clients: Portfolio Page

Lesson Info

Build Your Site to Attract Clients: Portfolio Page

What is more engaging, having a portfolio page that just has the final product? Or, process? Isn't that way more interesting? Because you actually get to see how I made it. And, hey, there are a ton of iterations, right? So you can tell, hey I'm doing my case studies; I'm doing type research; I do my skeleton, I add weight. Then I'm adding embellishments, and then I'm doing color, then I'm digitalizing it, and then I'm adding even more details. And, it shows you my style. This whole flipping canvas is filled with something. Alright? And this is actually one of the examples I use in my Lettering Adventures course, where I actually teach you how to make graphics just like this, and hand lettering. So if you guys do want to learn lettering,! Alright, so let's talk about case studies. Case studies are so great because you can showcase yourself as a professional by explaining your design decisions instead of just showing them. So, I just needed to stop the GIF for a...

second (laughing) ! So even if you do show your process, like your sketches, you need to be able to talk about them. Not only is it important to see your process, but I want to know that you're staying aligned with my client goals, right? If I give you an art direction, how do I know you're sticking with it? Now, I want to make sure when you're choosing, like fonts, or choosing a color, that you're basing it off the audience, right? And not off your own personal preference. Because, think about it like this: when you have a client that comes up to you and they want a revision, you need an answer why that revision isn't a good idea. You can't just be like, "Well I don't like that, "that's not going to work." No, they're going to be like, "Uh, you need to do it." (snapping fingers) "Chop chop," right? But if you can come back with, "Well actually, if I do increase the, like," say if they wanted to make the logo bigger, right? That's a big, that happens a lot in the graphic design industry: "Make the logo bigger." Well if I make the logo too big I won't actually be able to sell anything, because their focal point will be on your brand when it should be focused on your messaging. That's a reason, right? That makes a client go, "Oh, okay." And now I don't have to waste my time doing something I know that sucks, right? Think about it like that. And, when you're creating these case studies, they also can double as a presentation for your client, because what's more engaging, just getting an email with an attachment that says, "Hey, what do you think?" Versus, "Here is a full-on presentation of your project and how I made it." Do you think they're going to be a little bit quicker to pay that final invoice? Okay, so when we have our portfolio, we have case studies. We understand the importance of having case studies, okay. But you need more than just a pretty picture, we need content too. But let's include even more testimonials, so every single piece of your portfolio needs to have a testimonial on it. Because to me, when I see a portfolio project that doesn't have a testimonial, that makes me think it was a bad one. Now this is the thing, if you can't get, and remember it's never to late to get a testimonial, so maybe you just never even thought. If it was a really good project there's no harm in going back to that client, "Hey, I really love the project we worked on together. "I love it so much, I want to put it in my porfolio, "and I want to talk about your business. "I want to help you promote your business "by talking about my business. "Can we help each other? "I would love to be able to not only give you a link "from my website to your website," right? "Outbound links are helpful in SEO, "just throwing that out there, "but, it will help me sell more work. "And I did such a good job for you, "I would love the opportunity to do a good job for others." No one's going to say no to that! They'll be like, "Yes I want free promotion, thank you!" And then you can go ahead and get that testimonial from them. But, for future reference, you have to go ahead and seize the moment, and be able to ask for that testimonial at the right time. Now, how do we get the perfect testimonial? Do we just go, "Hey, what did you think?" Have you ever like, gotten that email, "Hey could you please leave us "a review of our business or service?" How many times do you delete that email? Because there's nothing specific about it. Like okay, now you're just asking me for a compliment? It's like that girl at the bar that's just like, "Look at me, am I pretty, tell me how I'm pretty." Like, don't do that (laughing)! You have to be able to be a little more intentional, so what I do, what point in your design process is the client most excited about the project? When it's done. So before they pay you, have that be in your production process: "Okay great I got approval? "I want to send that final invoice but before I do, "so that way I can give you your final design files, "can I please have a review?" And, why can't I create a form and a page that says "," and I can go ahead and ask you specific questions. So that way you can start talking about the success of that project, right? Being able to ask thing is, "What did success look like for this project?" You just call it out, "What did you like the most about this process? "What did you not like?" Because we don't want to just get false platitudes of compliments, right? We want to be able to get tangible insights so if we did make a mistake, even though it still resulted in a good project, we want to learn from them. So that way the next client doesn't have that complaint. Now last thing I'll say is, for every service you have, you need to create a landing page for it. Because again, what is more specific, if I have just a service page, "Hey I do logo design, I do this and I do that," versus, "Hey, I have an entire page about this one service. "These are only the products and pieces of our porfolio "that have to do with that service; "this is my process for that service; "these are testimonials for doing that service," now it's seeming a little bit more meaningful. Now, if you only have one service, that's fine. But, if you have at least three or four, I would definitely recommending have a sales page, not only because it's better communication, but it's better from an SEO standpoint. Because if I have "hand-lettered logo design," and I have a landing page for that, when someone types in "hand-lettered logo design" in Google, instead of them being taken to my overview page, my home page, they can be one click closer to hiring me.

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.



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!!