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Make Things Make Money: The Business of Illustration and Lettering

Lesson 29 of 29

Planning For the Future To Increase Revenue

Dina Rodriguez

Make Things Make Money: The Business of Illustration and Lettering

Dina Rodriguez

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Lesson Info

29. Planning For the Future To Increase Revenue

Lesson Info

Planning For the Future To Increase Revenue

Don't you love this doc image? Yee-haw. How can we plan for the future so we can make more money every single year? We'll be raising our prices. We're getting better. But we have to make sure that all these things we're doing, we're blogging, we're promoting ourselves, we're on social media, we're drawing, we're live streaming, we need to be able to check back in on our progress to see what's working so we can do more of it. So do more of what works every quarter. So have a reminder on your phone. If you want you can pull out those phones right now. Give yourself a little reminder. You can go ahead and you can look up the quarterly dates so you can make sure you can add those things to your calendar. Just do a general check-in. If you have a website, you can go ahead and check your Google analytics. Go ahead and see what pages are people landing on? What's your bounce rate look like? How long are people staying on your website? Where are they coming from? How are they hearing about you...

? So that way you can say, "Hey, I'm getting a lot "of traffic from Instagram." So that tells me I really need to focus on Instagram this next quarter. Or, I'm blogging a lot. Am I getting the type of traffic that's worthy of me spending my time on blogging? Because if you're blogging and you have a pretty decent audience but no one's reading it, maybe it's just not for you. So that way you can go ahead and move on to doing something else that does work. Now, I know everybody has this question but let's ask it again. Who here has Shiny Object Syndrome? You see something pretty and shiny and they just have to make it. This is fun. You're inspired. You see someone doing awesome or hopefully you're inspired from this class and you guys just wanna go home right now, maybe take a nap first, but come back tomorrow and maybe start fresh and early on something really cool for your brand. So if you have a great idea, that's great. Write it down and save it for later. Don't go ahead. You have all these things. You have a to-do list. You have an idea of what you're gonna be working on that quarter, that day, that week. Don't just stop your progress to do something else because we need to be able to focus on one thing at a time. I know we all like to multi-task but for once, just turn your notifications off. Put that phone on airplane mode. Do something that's really productive. You can do it quicker and you can do more of all the other things you have to do to build your freelance business. I don't want you guys to be able to fall for a time trap because sometimes you'll read an article or you'll see a really great tutorial, or you'll take a great class on Creative Live and you just wanna work on something. You're excited. But maybe it's just not the most important thing for you to work on right now. What if you have a client deadline that's tomorrow? You just wasted valuable time on this thing that could have easily waited to next week or next month and now you are putting yourself in hella pressure by having to go ahead and rush that client project that you were supposed to be working on. So I just wanna make sure that you guys are focusing on the things you're supposed to be focusing on and you don't lose momentum. Because if you let Shiny Object Syndrome catch up to you, you start a lot of projects but you're not finishing them. I see a lot of heads nodding. I start projects and don't finish them, too. I'm with you. You have all these great ideas but you don't have enough time to complete them. Last thing, we have to think about sustainability. Don't spread yourself too thin. Give yourself time really explore new passions with different seasons of focus. What's a season of focus? It's when you're taking deliberate time to focus on one thing. You can do that quarterly, monthly, weekly, or daily. So you can make sure you're being very intentional with your organized time because it's only when we're like, "Okay, so there's a meeting at the Rip Logs, "and I have to teach, and I have to do all this product work "and I'm freakin' out." It can be really stressful. And you can't go to bed. You're staying up at night because you can't stop thinking about all the things you have to do tomorrow. That's not productive. Slow it down a little bit, people. We're only human. I know everyone always projects the best versions of themselves online and it can feel intimidating and we can feel that Imposter Syndrome trying to seep in but, you're just as good as those guys are. And even more so because you have the content, you have the tools, you have the guide so you know exactly how they got there. You know you can. Now you know how and that's awesome. And you can actually reach those goals you've been seeing for yourself for all these years. But, don't do too much too soon. Out of all of these segments today, I want you to focus on one thing next week. This is your homework. Whether it is you just wanna focus on your passion, and practice and be deliberate and maybe have a concentration on that thing that's really been bothering you. Or, you wanna focus on our website. Maybe you don't have a website or you already do and now you have a better idea of the exact kind of content you should be using in your website so you can better attract clients so you don't have to reach out to them, they find you. Or, maybe you've never even thought about having an on-boarding process of production process, yet. Maybe you should spend next week just writing content, figuring out what that should be, because not only is it good for clients to understand how they should work with you, but also you've streamlined your own process. So it's gonna take you that much less time to finish that product because you know exactly what to do to complete it. Or, maybe you wanna brush up on your usage rights. You wanna learn a little bit more about this. You're interested. You're like, "Okay, I wanna make more money. "I wanna feel confident in telling my clients "and educating them on offering this service." And remember where does confidence come from? Being prepared. So whatever you guys were struggling with, whichever part of this class was something you were just like, "Oh man. "That's my Shiny Object Syndrome. "I wanna work on that." Work on that next week. Get home. Get a good night's sleep. Keep working on the things you're working on this week. But when Monday rolls around, I want you to come prepared. And I wanna make a literal difference in your life. I want you to make so much freakin' money, seriously, I'm not trying to be one of those motivational speakers because I'm sorry, money makes the world go round and it can create a certain amount of happiness. I don't care what these motivational posters are supposed to be telling me. You need money. I want clothes. I like chai coffees. I wanna keep doing that. So, we have to be sustainable and we have to be able to focus at one thing at a time. We got a question from Mary Ann. What percentage of time do you spend on the business side versus the creative side? I'm sure it changes but, what's a rough guess? No matter what I'm doing for my business, I always wanna create a lot of content. Whether or not that looks like writing or I'm practicing or I'm creating work because what's my main goal? Is it being hired by clients? So I wanna make sure that I'm always drawing something everyday. So the first thing I do when I wake up, I draw. No phone. Just me, my coffee, my puppies, and my piece of paper. And I always make sure that I spend time to create because you can get lost in the blogging and the social media strategy but don't let that take away from your passion. Don't forget about your skills. Like you said, it will vary. When you have those client lulls, I would definitely recommend that's the time you should be really working on your promotions. "Okay, I don't have a website yet. "I don't have any clients yet" Well it's because you don't have a website. You should make that. So how can we stay in touch? Number one, I love Twitch. Twitch, you guys can hand out with me live in real-time. I work at all different times. Sometimes I'll stream in the morning, the afternoons, sometimes at night. So you'll always be able to catch me. And, I stream 90 minutes every single weekday at all different kinds of times. I don't have a schedule so please follow me on Twitter to know when I'm actually live or if you do decide to follow me on Twitch, turn your notifications on so that way you get an email every time I'm live. I will be available for questions always on Twitch and I could be a little bit more personable. And we can even talk about personalized consultation if that's something you think would benefit your business after this class. So after we're best friends, if you guys are interested in learning more about lettering, I have a class for that, too. Please go to so I can teach you a new style of vintage lettering every single month. Now, we went ahead and we changed Patreon. We used to make these printed zines and now you guys get video tutorials. So you can actually watch me live on Twitch teaching you how to make letters and showing you the steps on how to make something complicated like black lettering, how to style your lettering, how to include illustrations and mix them with lettering. We even get drawing challenges because it's one thing just to talk at you about what you should do. It's another to actually take the time to practice it because I think every illustrator can benefit from learning lettering. Last thing, follow me on Twitter, please. That's my conversational platform of choice so if you guys do have questions, that's the place to holler at me. I will always read every single one and I will always do my best to answer them. If I don't have time, it means way too many people contacted me and girl's gotta have a life. I'm doing a lot of classes this year so we have the Patreon thing going on. I'm always speaking at Creative South which is just in a few weeks. I talked in the beginning of this class about how amazing Creative South is. Please go. If you're gonna go to one conference this year, go to Creative South. It is a design snob-free zone, which is very, very nice. It's in Columbus, Georgia. It is in the end of next month. I'm gonna be teaching a workshop for my Lettering Adventure Series. There's also a bunch of speakers and everyone's so nice. It's crazy. I went last year for the first time. It takes a couple grand to go to a conference but I made $15,000, it's an investment, because of basing the content I learned from that conference. So it's sounding a little bit more doable now, right?

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!!