Systems

Expand Your Team Part 3: Establish an Efficient Workflow

In this Expanding Your Team series we’ve gotten to the point that you’re ready to bring on a design assistant, but what’s next? Establishing a workflow can be a tricky component of this process – we covered exactly what you could pass off last week, but now let’s talk about how.


WHAT ARE YOUR MOST REPETITIVE TASKS?

The easiest and most effective ‘getting started’ strategy is passing off the repetitive tasks. This is a good idea in large part because it allows the designer to ‘get used to’ your branding and how you like things done and designed. It’s a great exercise for building up trust and a good working relationship.

Repetitive tasks might include things like blog post graphics, social media graphics, or newsletter graphics. If you already have templates created this might be as simple as passing the templates over to the designer (along with any brand specific fonts you use, stock imagery, etc.). If you don’t already have templates designed that would be a great first project for your designer. The best bet would be to send over what you do have (your brand fonts, colors, etc.) and collect a few samples of other graphics you like – I’d make a secret Pinterest board and share that.

If your designer is establishing a look/feel for this, and not working from templates, keep in mind that ‘round 1’ might take a little ‘back and forth’ to get it perfect. You’ll want to account for that in your initial assignment/due date expectations!


OUTLINE YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Within these sort of repetitive tasks take time to outline specifically what you are looking for with your designer and how often you need it done.

Some key things to keep in mind are giving enough time between assigning blog posts and when you expect the graphics to be returned to you. I know a lot of us tend to wait until the last minute to write our blog posts, but your designer will need at least a day or two to get you the graphics back (please, please remember that you are not the designer’s only client and that they do need lead time for projects)! This is why repetitive tasks are a good start because it not only helps establish the relationship, but it helps you get in the habit of assigning tasks and turn around times!

An example might be that you need ten quote graphics per week to post on Instagram and that you would like them done by the Wednesday before or that you need the weekly blog graphics done the Friday of the week before. Within these expectations to your designer, you should also note what that means for you as far as getting content to the designer.

So if you need blog post graphics by Friday, you should have content available by Wednesday (or whatever you and your designer decide on for lead time/turn around time).

You’ll also want to make note of anything specific you need file wise – usually just a web quality file sized appropriately for Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram suffice in most businesses (at least the ones I’ve worked with!) but if you have any specific requirements or file types needed, make note of those too.

"If you have any specific requirements for projects, be sure to explain them to your designer first!" [tweet that!]


SET UP A REOCCURING TASK IN ASANA OR TRELLO

I’ve mentioned before that the goal is get clients set up using Asana, because that is my preferred way or organizing tasks. This is super efficient when it comes to these reoccurring type tasks because you can set things like ‘Instagram Quote Graphics’ to repeat being due every week (and you can set yourself the task of ‘compile content’ a few days prior.)

In time when you move away from simple repetitive tasks Asana will be a great tool for sending over work and communicating any questions or revisions. With these more repetitive tasks you can learn the system and allow both you and the designer to get used to using it together.

"Use smaller, simpler projects to get used to working with a designer." [tweet that!]


MAKE A PLAN FOR FILE SHARING

This definitely differs from business to business, depending on what you currently use, but informing the designer how to actually return the files to you is a must! I’ve been in situations where I’m unsure of what’s expected so I end up emailing the files, and uploading them to Asana, and sending a Slack message to let someone know where the files live.

What I recommend here is just adding the designer to whatever you are currently using whether it be your Google Drive or Dropbox or if you would prefer them to just upload straight into Asana or an email. Long term I think emailing everything will get sort of clunky and something like Google Drive or Dropbox is the most efficient, but to each their own!


PERFECT + MOVE ONTO BIGGER PROJECTS

Like I mentioned, I think these sort of redundant and easy-to-replicate projects are great for getting started. I’m sure you hired a designer for bigger and more important projects though! So once you’ve done this for a week or two and have good communication and processes established, you can move into more unique and “one-off’ projects (and make the most use of your new designer)!

Got any questions about working with a designer that I can help you with? Let me know in the comments! If you’re ready to start working with a designer in your business, click here.



I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!


Expand Your Team Part 2: What Does A Design Assistant Do?

Since tweaking my services to work as a design assistant I’ve been asked a handful of times… what does that even mean? What do you do? How do you work with people? The answer is pretty open ended, but it doesn’t have to be complex. Basically, think of anything and everything you create for your business that includes some sort of visual elements… I do that.

You might not think you have a lot of ‘those sorts of things’ currently in your business. I urge you to reconsider your visual impact. People remember visuals significantly more than just words (especially on social media). Having a cohesive and compelling visual impact will promote authority and reassure your audience that you are the expert. Your business will grow and your presence and impact will grow when you start bringing a more polished and professional look to the table.

"Cohesive visual presence will promote authority + reassure your audience that you're the expert." [Tweet That!]

Still not sure what a design assistant can do? Here are some ideas:


SOCIAL MEDIA + BLOG GRAPHICS

This is definitely the main task that I take on for clients (and luckily one of my favorites). I know there are tons of statistics about this, and I’m not one for throwing out numbers, but I did a little research for this post. According to Hubspot tweets with images are 150% more likely to be retweeted – AKA 150% more likely to spread your message (and information) to other audiences.

So, that being said, if you don’t currently have images that tie into and support your blog posts being shared on social media – you are behind! A simple blog post graphic like what is at the top of this blog post is great because it is also formatted for Pinterest and makes re-pinning and sharing this blog post significantly easier.

A design assistant can be an incredibly useful asset in this regard – creating the original template can take a few hours and requires a good eye for taking your existing “look and feel” and re-interpreting it in the required sizes for a few different social platforms. Then for each blog post you create they can tweak the template for that post specifically, format it in the different required sizes, and send it back to you or to your social media assistant to share and get circulating on different platforms.


CONTENT UPGRADES + DOWNLOADS

Now within those blog posts you hopefully are including content upgrades to help grow your email list with warm leads. Those content upgrades should showcase just how awesome you are – so the content should be stellar, but it should also LOOK amazing and easy to understand and use. Another circumstance where a design assistant could be a great addition to your team.

Writing blog posts is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your expertise and value to your audience or potential clients, but if you really want to see business growth and success the secret lays in creating content upgrades for download associated with those blog posts. The REAL secret to that is having the content upgrades be useful, memorable, shareable, and totally impactful. A key component in that is how good do they look? How well is the information showcased? How easy it is to use and better yet, will people do something awesome like post an Instagram of them using the upgrade? How fantastic would THAT be?

Well, if you take the time to develop all this content you better believe you should be making sure they look amazing – and that’s where a design assistant can come into play. You might have the best information in the world, but if no one looks at it or uses it, then what does it matter?

"Why spend time making amazing content if you're not going to present it in an impactful way?" [Tweet That!]


COURSE + RETREAT MATERIALS

Another task that a design assistant can take on is polishing your course and/or retreat materials. These days it seems like you have to have a course or summit or retreat going on in your business – which is amazing and super exciting! But having these high value facets of your business NOT look polished and designed well is a huge error.

A design assistant on your team can take your existing branding and interpret it in a multitude of ways to cover your latest course or retreat. That way it still ‘looks’ like you, but it also reads as a separate exciting project and part of your business.

Not focusing on having these elements feel professional and high end can lose you sales. I definitely would be more likely to buy something that felt like the business owner put time and energy into making it high quality and perfect. It’s hard to ensure the course or retreat content is going to be worth the price, but having a professional and visually appealing look can set the groundwork of trust and reliability.


CLIENT FACING COLLATERAL

An element that a lot of business owners will forget to hand off is their actual client facing collateral – such as onboarding documents, welcome packets, etc. We focus so much on what is super external (social media, etc.) but forget that our actual clients deserve to an outstanding experience with our business – starting with clean and easy to understand visuals.

If you don’t have client onboarding in place yet, that is something I would also take time to focus on. Think about all the information you need and want someone you work with to have and understand. Let your design assistant take that information and create a visual experience for clients. It can be a workbook or a series of worksheets sent out separately. This will only boost your client’s experience and therefore your reputation as being an organized, efficient, and easy to work with business owner.


WEBSITE UPDATES/TWEAKS

Another part of my day to day involves small website updates and tweaks. I don’t offer full developing services, or anything extreme that is better suited for a developer, but I can go behind the scenes and help update press pages or featured in banners. I can update icons or logos, as those evolve. I can tweak how your category icons look, and so on. There are small visual details that will elevate your business and help you to showcase your professionalism and expertise, and that’s what a design assistant should be helping with.

Overall there are countless tasks that you can pass off to a design assistant that can give you back so many hours per day or week to focus on your strengths and growing your empire. If you’re ready to set up a consultation and see how I can help you, click here!



I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!