I’m so excited for today’s guest, Morgan Rapp to join us on the podcast! I’m guessing a lot of you love her as much as I do and I can’t wait for you to listen to our conversation together.
Morgan has been creating brands and websites for over 8 years with experience as a Shopify expert and mentor to designers. She teaches them how to scale, get booked out, increase their prices and so much more.
She spoke at my summit earlier this year about scaling and the presentation received so much positive feedback, I just knew we had to get her on the podcast as well! I’m excited to have her here to talk about the keys to scaling a design business to 6-figures.
Growing up Morgan always had a knack for design and creativity, tapping into those skills early, but she initially received a background and degree in public relations.
While she isn’t really working in the public relations field nowadays, it certainly has impacted her work and how she mentors other designers currently.
It wasn’t really until her final semester of college that she became really interested in graphic design thanks to a Photoshop course. From there, she would Google her way through projects and binged as many YouTube videos as possible to practice and learn about design.
Various jobs and side hustles alongside her friend got her deeper into the design world and she was also introduced to the marketing that goes with running a business. While she remained at her full-time job, she was still able to invest in her side-gig with her friend and build a brand that became October Ink.
Thanks to the demand of clients and Morgan’s love of design, she was able to quit her full-time job and take the leap into her business. Things have evolved over the years lead to so many new and exciting opportunities.
Hitting That 6-Figure Mark
When Morgan first got started on her own her business brought in around $30-50,000 each year for the initial four years. It was great for paying bills and being able to do something she truly loved.
She among other designers tends to sit in that range of income for a while, but Morgan decided to switch things up to help increase that number.
Morgan shared that a huge factor to making that income change came down to a mindset shift. She began to switch her mentality to a perspective of feeling worthy and deserving of making a really good income from design, going beyond just getting by to pay the bills.
She started to understand that she owned a design business, but also a sales business. Honing in on her sales skills really helped her take the business to the next level. She started to work on herself and work on her business, not just in it.
Undercharging was no longer an option because things were starting to pile up and stuff needed to change. Morgan invested in courses, changed her mindset and worked on her sales knowledge. This is what she really attributes to her success.
Your mindset matters
Morgan often hears from designers that they can only charge “X amount” for a logo because they believe that is all businesses will pay. She said that all businesses have all kinds of budgets, you just have to not get stuck in that.
Don’t show up to a meeting thinking that you will know what exactly a client is willing to pay because you’ll basically be bringing your own money beliefs into the call.
You have to really work on what your money beliefs are and what mindset blocks are keeping you from bringing a different energy into your sales calls. Changing this mindset will empower you to ask for and charge more for your services.
If you don’t believe it, you can’t expect a client to believe that you are worth the money. Set yourself up for success!
Part of this is asking more about your client’s goals and their bigger vision. Tapping into that and understanding what they are wanting to accomplish can help position you as an expert for solving their problem.
Morgan mentions to not be afraid to set into that expert role – you can do it!
She was able to turn a $1,000 project into a $20,000 one based on asking the right questions and really diving deeper into what her client’s longterm goals were. She provided real action items based on what the client needed and wanted to elevate her services and get her to that higher price point.
Charge the right way
Morgan also noted that most designers start out at hourly rates, but that is just an issue waiting to happen. She thinks that flat rates are the way to go over hourly because the client knows what they’re paying for through their work with you. They know what they are going to get.
She did mention that this can be kind of tricky because you may underestimate the number of hours it will take you, this process takes a little bit of experimentation so be prepared for that.
Another option is value-based pricing. This option does require more confidence and skills in the sales arena. Morgan shared that they are definitely some ways to experiment and transition into this pricing model.
Practice makes perfect
While sales calls with clients may be intimidating to you and sharing your pricing may cause you to break out in a sweat, practicing your calls is the way to go.
Morgan recommends practicing talking numbers with yourself or a friend. Once you’ve got it down it is so easy to share those rates as opposed to being stressed and making up a cost on the spot.
Make time for marketing
Morgan mentions to make time and invest in your business marketing. As designers, we tend to forget or things get busy.
However, marketing efforts really help plant the seeds for new clients instead of waiting for leads to dry up or new client inquiries seem to fade out. To have consistent clients, you need to be consistently planting those seeds through marketing.
She thinks an easy solution is time blocking your day a few times per week, even just for 30 minutes to schedule social media content, interact with followers or take time for a coffee chat. These efforts can introduce new leads and clients to your roster.
Scaling your business
A major step to scaling your design business to six figures is knowing your numbers along with having concrete goals. Morgan noted that things really turned around for her business when she made those serious goals for her business.
Once you set those intentions and make yourself accountable, you can really make headway on those goals.
Morgan also shared that some designers may be comfortable with their current income level but want to work with fewer clients. That is where the pricing structure comes in. You’ve got to get serious about those calculations to figure out what pricing works for your goals along with expenses and taxes.
- Consider your business goals – where do you want your income to be in the next few months, years, etc?
- Determine what you need to do to achieve those goals – more time for your business, more clients, higher pricing, etc.
Morgan Rapp is the woman in charge behind the October & Ink brand. She’s a creative director, designer, shopify expert, educator and mentor helping you get confident and scale your dream biz