If you’re feeling daunted by the thought of growing a large social media following, figuring out what content to create, trying to create content consistently and figuring out how to utilize your socials for getting clients…welcome to the club.

I think it’s safe to say virtually every online business owner is in the same boat.

That’s why I’m so excited to bring on logo designer and content creator James Barnard to the podcast who shares how he grew his social media audience to hundreds of thousands of followers and how he uses his social channels to land logo design clients.

At time of this episode’s release, James has amassed:

310K + Insta followers
160K + TikTok followers
Millions of views across all his channels

And as you can imagine, it’s a huge source of lead and client acquisition for him.

In this “social media masterclass” of a chat, we cover:

Personal branding vs company name on socials
How to grow an audience
What type of content to create
How to balance content creation and service work
What platform(s) to focus on
How to attract your best fit clients through social

And much more.

Be sure to connect with James at barnard.co, on Instagram @barnardco and on TikTok @barnardco

Enjoy friends!

In this episode:

00:00 – Introduction
02:45 – Greeting to James
06:34 – Social media success
10:19 – Toying w/price points
12:51 – Why freelance worked
17:24 – Starting with logos
20:11 – Leads from social media
24:16 – Pricing on site
29:53 – Video evolution
34:03 – How you appear to clients
37:30 – Adding YouTube
41:25 – How to get them to stay
45:40 – Repurpose
48:40 – What to talk about
53:12 – Different tools to use
58:22 – Building confidence
1:01:08 – Bulk recording

“There are all sorts of goodies and content at my resources page, including access to my upcoming courses, live streams and my blog.” – James

Featured links mentioned:

Episode #262 Full Transcription

[00:00:00] James: my advice, I guess, would just be stay consistent and get on camera because, you know, just get, get out of your, sort of your shell and, and actually start making these videos because it’s helped in so many ways With my business, it makes me more succinct when talking to clients. I’m actually, I feel like I’m better when I chat to clients now because I’ve had this practice of getting on camera and talking about my industry and the kind of repetitive nature and doing things like podcasts with you has just allowed me to actually be, become a bit of a better public speaker, which ups my confidence level when I talk to clients and allows me to sell for more and charge for more.

[00:00:32] James: So it’s kind of like a confidence thing, you know, get out of your comfort zone a little bit, push those boundaries, try some public speaking, try getting on camera and just see how it works for you because it’s certainly worked for me.

[00:00:45] Josh: Welcome friends. In episode 262, where my goodness are you in for a treat with the conversation that we’re about to get into here with James Bernard, who is a graphic designer.

[00:00:59] Josh: Well now, as you’ll hear very specifically in Niche Down as a logo designer, but has an incredible social media following. In this episode, I consider this a masterclass into how to build social media and how to get clients from social media. Also how to do consistent content, how to do it well, how to decide, what platform to choose, how to be able to split your time between doing service work and growing your social media.

[00:01:28] Josh: So many things covered in this episode, and I’m really excited to help you. For those of you who wanna decide what social media platform you really want to capitalize on, how to use it effectively and more importantly, How to get clients from your social media presence. We also dive into personal branding in this one, which is really interesting too.

[00:01:45] Josh: If you don’t know James, uh, you can find out more about him@bernard.co. That’s b a r n a r d. Dot co. You can also get connected with him from there through his Instagram, TikTok, and other socials. His Instagram is hopping right now. That’s where I got connected with James and started following him. Uh, at the time of recording this intro, he has 310,000 followers and he has racked up millions and millions of views with all his, uh, content through the different channels.

[00:02:15] Josh: So, needless to say, it was an honor to be able to pick James’s brain on how to use your social media to get more clients, how to grow it effectively. I gotta give a shout out to chat GTP as well for helping me nail down the title from this episode, uh, from likes to Clients, which chat GTP did help out with.

[00:02:33] Josh: And my goodness, I feel like that fits perfectly into what we’re diving into. So I’ll follow up at the end of this episode with some more links and where to go next. But for right now, here’s James.

[00:02:45] Josh: James man, what an honor officially to have you on the show. I was just telling you before we went live here, uh, I’ve been following you for a little while. I love your Bri. There’s a lot of, I really like about what you’re up to. Number one, you have such a niche specialized service, which is hard to get to, I feel like for a lot of people. Uh, number two, you have a.co. So I feel like we ought to have an automatic kinship.

[00:03:08] James: It’s like a, like a bonding thing, isn’t it? Um, nothing to do with the fact that the dot coms have been completely taken up, but uh, you know, we’re just, we’re just new media. That’s the way dot cos work, isn’t it? You know? We’re just so fresh and so forward. Exactly. Exactly.

[00:03:21] Josh: Exactly. Well, thanks for taking some time to join today. The other aspect of this that’s funny is we’re both, uh, we’re both family men. We both have littles. Uh, both of our schedules did not line up Great, because you, where are you based out of in Australia?

[00:03:34] Josh: Right now I’m

[00:03:35] James: on the Gold Coast Australia. So my wife is Australia and we moved here, uh, a couple of years from London a couple of years ago from London. Uh, we have two young children, a four year old and is almost two, uh, uh, daughter and a boy. Uh, so my life is, um, complete carnage as a freelancer right now.

[00:03:52] James: I’ve luckily been able to carve out a small section of the house, which I can call my office, which is like the corner of the spare bedroom. Um, but you know, if I set up my backdrop, okay, no one can tell the difference. You can’t tell that there’s, you know, screaming kids over there. This is my little, my safe space.

[00:04:08] Josh: Your safe place and yeah, it’s funny you mentioned the term carnage. Yeah. It doesn’t take long for those ages to make a house into carnage very quickly. Uh, usually every night our job is just to clean up the carnage. So, uh, yeah, glad that we were able to find a custom time here to work. Uh, evening time for me, I just had dinner and I don’t know if you’ve had breakfast yet or you’re about to, but great to connect

[00:04:30] James: Yeah. 8:00 AM in the morning. So, um, yeah, let’s, uh, let’s get cracking.

[00:04:34] Josh: So I’m curious, there’s a lot of different things we, we could probably go into and talk about, but I think the idea of a personal brand, especially nowadays is really interesting because one of the main questions I answer and try to give my insight on for folks who are building their web design business is inevitably they ask me, Hey Josh, should I do a personal brand or a business name?

[00:04:55] Josh: I wanna turn it over to you, James. What made you go with your last name and, and your kind of personal brand for your business, rather than going with an agency name?

[00:05:05] James: Well, for a start it was more that the fact that my website evolved from a portfolio. So I made that website to kind of get jobs in the graphic design industry, which is why I started out, you know, using my name, it was mainly just to showcase the work that I did.

[00:05:20] James: Um, helped me to get freelance work on the side of a full-time business. Cause I started out, uh, as a graphic designer for the publishing industry. So I was doing lots and lots of work from really, really big clients, but, um, had nowhere to sort of showcase them. So I, I made that website as a portfolio and as the business progressed and I moved more into the freelance side of things and eventually completely, uh, logo design only, I just sort of morphed that website.

[00:05:44] James: And as I went freelance, my, um, company name was, you know, I just made it sort of to match what the website already was, the kind of capitalize on that brand recognition. Not that I had a brand really at the time. Um, so the website was kind of like a, you know, just a follow on from that. But, you know, having that, um, as a sort of personal brand has allowed me to, to target so many more clients.

[00:06:08] James: I feel like having, um, being a one man band is actually way more transparent. I’m not, you know, faking being an agency to my clients. They’re very aware that I’m a one, that I’m one guy and there’s only me working on these projects. So it kind of made sense just to have that, the website sort of follow on from that.

[00:06:26] Josh: And as of right now, James, is it you 100%? Like do you have contractors who help you out or is it just all you baby?

[00:06:34] James: So yeah, I’ve, I, over the last year I’ve had like quite a lot of success, um, with social media. I’m sure we’ll, we’ll get onto that, but my, um, freelance separation is just me now. I do work with the occasional contractor to help with things like, uh, logo animation, but I’m right at this kind of inflection point at the moment where I’ve scaled it so much that, that I can’t, I don’t have enough time to scale it any further, I need help.

[00:06:57] James: So I, I’ve reached out to some contractors to help me with things like logo animation. I have a lot of automation in place with my sort of accounting and my, my lead generation and my sales funnel. But yes, it is, it is just me. So, yeah, I, I’m, I’m very, very, um, aware that I need to, I need more people to help me to scale this.

[00:07:15] James: So I’m right there. I’m right at that point, that sort of crossroads, you know, do I take this from a sort of lifestyle business and keep it ticking along where it is, or do I scale it up and I think I’m, uh, I’m about to scale?

[00:07:26] Josh: Well, the cool thing is, if I can add any insight on that based off of what I’ve experienced, is you can do both. Like, you can scale as a solopreneur and whether it’s web design, graphic design, no matter what the service is, the options now are endless To make a one man team with just multiple arms and multiple extensions, like you don’t need to, you know, and I recommend this to everybody. You don’t need to have like an agency name.

[00:07:49] Josh: And you don’t have to have like overhead and a ton of expenses. Uh, you can be a solo printer and, and hire out what you want to. But still be the, the face of the business or in your case, I would imagine creative director or whatever that would look like for you. Yeah. But I don’t, what, how do you feel like, is that exciting to you? That you live, like we both live in a world now where we can be solopreneurs, but you can, you don’t have to do everything yourself. I find that it’s like super empowering, exciting now. It is, and

[00:08:16] James: it’s also the sort of the, the start point of becoming like a c e o, isn’t it? You know, actually having to delegate some things and learn how to be a bit of a boss. That’s one thing I used to do in my, in my, you know, former, uh, full-time roles. I was the head of a small team and I’m, I’m very used to sort of dealing with designers and the training aspect.

[00:08:34] James: but actually sort of delegating work. I find, I find it really hard to kind of let go of that control and actually, you know, um, put some of my, um, high standards to the side slightly so that I can get some help. Um, and like I say, I’m right there. But yeah.

[00:08:51] James: I like the idea of having this business, my logo design business up and running where you, where clients get to work with me directly and maybe for some of the smaller budget clients, spin off something like a smaller agency to deal with something that’s a little bit faster. Um, uses outside help and maybe I’ll just take a, a cut as a kind of referral scheme. I don’t know.

[00:09:11] Josh: Yeah. Uh, you know, it’s, it’s all very useful. Well, I know, uh, recently I expanded on the idea and I came to this realization more recently, um, that there’s kind of, well there could be four different categories, but there’s for sure three big categories when it comes to like freelancer, solopreneur, business owner, and it’s those three.

[00:09:29] Josh: Freelancer is doing everything all themselves. Going from job to job. Solopreneur is kind of the hybrid between managing some people as contractors and then focusing on the business you’re still in the business doing, uh, whether it’s creative direction, project management, whatever it is. And then the business owners are those who are solely working on the business, but they don’t have their hands in the actual design aspects or in my case, building a website.

[00:09:53] Josh: So, yeah, I just think that’s really cool. I love that we’re touching on this already because I think a lot of folks in your position, James, you do get to a point where, I mean, really the only ways to grow without working 90 hours a week is to just raise your rates and become super exclusive. which I feel like you’re already quite exclusive. Is that kind of the crossroads? I guess my question now would be like, what has made you feel like you need to scale and delegate rather than just raising your rates and going more exclusive?

[00:10:19] James: I’d say it is because of the price point. So I’ve, I’ve hit a sort of a sweet spot with my pricing at the moment, and I know if I go any higher than that, I really am just going to not get any business.

[00:10:29] James: Due to the nature of the fact that you’re working with a freelancer, you can’t expect to charge agency rates to clients. And I am, I found a really nice, sweet spot with clients where, you know, they’re, they’re willing to pay a certain amount. I reckon I convert maybe 15 to 20% of my leads at that higher price point.

[00:10:47] James: But what I’m finding is that there’s a huge amount of, um, Money to be made in the sort of smaller, um, those smaller budget clients, the mom and pop shops, the, the, you know, the very, very small startups. They don’t have much cash. They do have some cash. Just not quite enough to play at, at my kind of level.

[00:11:05] James: And I mean, I’m really interested to see how I can sort of extract a little bit of that extra cash rather than just losing those jobs. Now I’ve toyed with a, a few different things, like, um, as I recently started an Instagram subscription and I’m offering those leads out to my Instagram subscribers. Um, So that they can maybe sort of cha so the, the younger designers and, and the more junior designers can chase those leads down and then they might sort of bounce those ideas back with me over a Discord channel.

[00:11:30] James: And then I still get a little bit of money there cuz the Instagram subscribers come through. It’s not a huge amount, but it’s sort of me sort of offering up some of those leads to the, those smaller designers. Smaller designers. That’s a horrible thing to say. More junior designers of people. Junior designers.

[00:11:44] James: Yeah. Quite, yeah. Yeah. Haven’t had the experience that I’ve had cause I’ve been this, in this for sort of 13 years now and I believe that’s allowed me to set the bar reasonably high. Uh, it’s just, you know, a case of finding that sort of sweet spot of the, of the pricing.

[00:11:58] Josh: Well, I would love to dive into your Instagram because you have a big following there. It’s how we got connected and I’d love to hear some of your strategy as a personal brand there. Before we do though, I am curious, how did you get to this point where you’ve refined your services? Only to logo design? Because what I typically see with graphic designers, and I don’t know if you know this about me, James, but I started in graphic design too before getting into websites.

[00:12:21] Josh: I was designing shirts for my band and then started doing CD artwork, and then it was, you know, a full suite of graphic design. Initially it was door hangers, flyers, business cards. I would do anything that was print eventually, you know, kind of shoveled those off and then eventually just focused on into web design.

[00:12:39] Josh: But for you, what was the, uh, a couple different questions with that. Like what was the time period for you to refin this into just web design and what made web design stand out over o other branding services you could do?

[00:12:51] James: Logo design. Yeah, I, um, oh, I’m sorry. Logo design. Sorry. That’s okay. I started out as a, uh, I worked in the publishing industry, so I was a generic graphic designer for a lot of years of something like six to seven years.

[00:13:02] James: I worked for magazines, I worked for newspapers. While I was there, I. I picked up a little bit of freelance work from, um, clients inside the, those businesses and also some external stuff. So I was doing this sort of generic graphic design for a very long time. Um, I took on a role for a very big newspaper for a sort of head, head of digital role, and it was a real firefighting position.

[00:13:25] James: I really didn’t like it. I, I ended up losing a lot of the design work in order to sort of fight fires and deal with client problems, and I hated it. I, I ended up leaving after about six weeks. So I went freelance to pay the bills while I found a new role. And, um, during the course of that freelance career, I realized this is amazing.

[00:13:41] James: I get to pick my own hours, I get to choose the clients. I was going into agencies and working on a day rate in agencies, and then Covid hit and I had a, had, um, my first child, dy, she was born four years ago. So when that happened, I became a sort of, um, stay-at-home dad role. My, my wife and way more than I did.

[00:14:02] James: It made sense for her to go back to work. So for a year I was the stay-at-home dad. But in between that I was doing, you know, keeping a sort of freelance, um, career ticking along. And I realized that I was just doing this generic saturated market of, of graphic design. There’s so many graphic designers out there that can do it all.

[00:14:19] James: Um, I ended up watching all of Chris doe’s videos about nicheing down and pricing my services and learning about the business of graphic design. Cause I just had no idea. I’d fell into this freelance career and I realized what’s, I basically had a, I had a sit down and wrote some notes and I thought, what’s the part of this industry that I enjoyed the most?

[00:14:39] James: And it was the logo design and the creation of brands from scratch. You know, I’ve done a lot of work with clients where I take client assets and I make a website and I put their photos, their logos into a website. I love actually creating something from. Um, you know, from scratch and logo design was that for me.

[00:14:56] James: It was really, really empowering. I got to be, um, so creative. I really enjoyed it. So slowly over the course of about a year, I changed my website. I made it all about the logo design projects that I’d previously done, and I started rewriting the content on my website to basically target the SEO for logo design services.

[00:15:15] James: And pretty quickly, um, my, um, website got very high in terms of freelance logo design London. I really targeted those four keywords. Nice. And yeah. And then, and then I moved to Australia and ruined it all.

[00:15:28] Josh: You know what’s interesting about the SEO perspective? I, uh, one of my colleagues in the web design world does graphic design alongside website services, and she told me, As a heads up, as a secret for everyone.

[00:15:39] Josh: If you really wanna capitalize in graphic design, you can do it with seo because most graphic designers aren’t as SEO savvy. It’s usually the website owners who are doing most of the seo. So yeah, it seems like there’s an untapped market for, uh, for graphic designers with seo. I’m kind of curious at, at that point here, James, like.

[00:15:57] Josh: Were you, so you kind of started to refine it. Um, have you ever read Built To Sell by John Warrilow?

[00:16:04] James: I have indeed. Yeah. Talks all about, okay. A very specifically selling a logo design business,

[00:16:08] Josh: doesn’t it? Yeah, exactly. That’s what made me wonder is that book is all about a logo design business. So I just wondered if I was taking notes when I read that one. Okay. Because you’re, it seems like you’re bi it seems like you are the real world version of that book. That’s kind of what

[00:16:21] James: I’m the start of that book. Definitely. Yeah. I have, I have a, a much smaller operation than what he talks about in that book. But yeah, the, the, the themes in that book were amazing to listen to cuz it was so specific about my industry. I was like, wow, just taking notes. So in, you know, three or four years time when this has grown a little bit, I’ll definitely know how to get rid of it and palm it off to somebody else.

[00:16:40] Josh: There you go. Um, or you could manage it as a solo printer for as long as you want. I don’t know. That’s just why, like, I just love, I just love it.

[00:16:47] Josh: I love the landscape now because literally, I. And I don’t say this as you, but like anyone listening or watching, you can do whatever you wanna do for as long as you wanna do it, uh, which is awesome. Now, I’m curious with your services, I’m sure this bleeds into brand identity. Do you, I mean, logo design I guess, kind of bleeds into that, right?

[00:17:06] Josh: Like how far do you go with brand identity and, uh, style guides and things like that? And then as a follow-up question, I’d be curious to see like, how do you tell clients know when they want you to design their social media graphics and stuff like that? Yes. But yeah, how do you, how do you, uh, draw a line with how far logo design and brand identity goes?

[00:17:24] James: So I found a lot more success targeting the actual term logo design. So brand design encompasses so much, it’s such a huge part of a company’s, um, personality that I can’t do it all. It’s everything from, you know, the tone of voice, uh, not, not just the logo, the background patterns, the colors, the fonts, the brand and style guide, the website, it’s everything.

[00:17:45] James: Now I start with the logo design, um, conversation immediately because that’s the, my strongest point. And if the client wants it, I can upsell, um, products based on my past sort of graphic design experience. So I know how to make websites, I know how to do, um, flyers and brochures and business cards and all that jazz.

[00:18:05] James: I sell that as a sort of a secondary part as, as a sort of phase two to each project that I work on. So I start with the logo design because it allows clients to find me much more easily when they’re really looking for a logo. That’s such a searchable term. Also, it’s when you’re in parties and someone goes, what do you do?

[00:18:20] James: And you say, I’m a brand designer. What do you mean? What do you mean if you say logo designer? Just, you know, clears everything up straight away. So yeah, it’s, it’s more of like a, um, it’s like a branding thing for me saying logo design first, because it allows me to just kind of start the process there. Then if they need it, I can upsell and add bigger packages to my offerings and, and then sort of sell more and more pieces to increase the budget on each project.

[00:18:45] Josh: Gotcha. So you are doing secondary and tertiary services, uh, excuse me, services like when needed or if you feel like it’s a good fit with a client?

[00:18:54] James: That’s right. And also some of those aren’t my sort of strongest suits. So like web design, I know how to build Squarespace websites. I actually started out in WordPress and then migrate everybody over to Squarespace. And that’s, you know, those websites only really work for those small businesses that just needed a kind of flyer based website to look pretty to give their contact information on to maybe, you know, tell their prices.

[00:19:14] James: There’s nothing clever about them, but I, I used the logo and the branding that I create in the design side, and I could implement that into a Squarespace web website for them to then take on. Cause obviously building websites, they get away from you quite quickly. You know, if you don’t have the sort of theme in place or, and, and a solidified sort of style guide for that site, you can start changing it and then it just becomes a mess.

[00:19:34] James: So I like to kind of set my client up with two or three pages, then let them, you know, destroy it themselves.

[00:19:40] Josh: Yeah. Nice. Well, the cool thing about logo design too is it generally is gonna mean that a business is either a startup, like they’re building a brand from scratch, or they’re rebranding.

[00:19:51] Josh: Which I would imagine depending on, I mean, some startups have budgets, but I would imagine rebrands are probably more profitable or they’re an established brand. Um, I’m kind of curious, so you said you went Lance and started freelancing. How did client acquisition happen? Like when you started, I, I guess the simple term, like how did you start getting clients when you started freelancing?

[00:20:10] Josh: Yeah,

[00:20:11] James: I got really lucky. Um, so when I, I, I turned the business around and, and, and niche down into logo design. Two or three clients, um, based off of referrals from previous jobs. And like I said before, my SEO was pretty good, so I was getting maybe, uh, sort of five to six leads a week. It wasn’t huge, but it was enough to kind of, for me to convert a few and, and get paid.

[00:20:31] James: Um, yeah, as a

[00:20:32] Josh: freelancer, I was gonna say, you know, a lead per day on average as a freelancer. That’s huge.

[00:20:37] James: Yeah, not bad. I made the mistake though, uh, at one point a couple of years ago of putting my prices on my website. So I was getting quite annoyed with people coming to me asking for logos for free or for like a hundred quid.

[00:20:48] James: Um, you know, it’s a little bit insulting when you, you sort of playing at my level and someone offers you a hundred quid for a logo and that’s, you know, my Legos take me a couple of weeks to do. The whole process is a bit, is lengthy. There’s a lot of passion, there’s a lot of meaning behind my design, so I was getting a bit annoyed with that.

[00:21:04] James: So I put a floor price on my website, all of those leads dried up. I went two months without a single lead. It was absolute disaster of a decision. I reverted back from that. And I was really, really lucky at the time. I, I published, um, I got a couple of logos published in a book called The Logo Lounge. And, um, it’s like this prestig prestigious book for, you know, logo design.

[00:21:26] James: Um, the logo design industry has lots and lots of showcases of logos. I made a TikTok video about that, um, bragging about getting into this book, and that video went viral. So in the course of, um, a week, I got 70 leads. So that leads average lead per day average just shot up. And I immediately realized,

[00:21:45] Josh: so TikTok is not just 12 year olds watching goofy videos.

[00:21:48] Josh: That’s

[00:21:48] James: right. TikTok for business. It’s just, it’s such an untapped resource. And it took going very well for me to realize that. And,

[00:21:55] Josh: oh, James, don’t tip me with this. Don’t tipt me because I’ve intentionally not gone into the TikTok world. But,

[00:22:01] James: uh, you’re missing out. You’re missing out. Well, all of the content that you create, you could, you could fly on that. It’s so easy to grow. Well, I’m saying that I, I got very lucky. I had one video go viral, but off the back of that viral video, I realized. That is huge. I’ve just got more leads in a single day than I have over the last six months. And off the back of that, my business is now booked out for two months. It’s like, this is insane.

[00:22:23] James: Like, why, why am I not doing this more? So I started getting on the camera more, providing, you know, making more videos, basically answering the questions in the comments sections of each video. Like, how, how do I find clients? How do I do this in an illustrator? And so I just made content about software tips, case studies, freelancer advice and stories about graphic design and sort of cut out a chunk of my day, uh, in order to keep creating that content.

[00:22:48] James: And now that is like 50% of my day is making content for social media because the amount of leads that I get from social media is just beyond what I was ever getting from SEO or any sort of referral based scheme.

[00:23:01] Josh: I was just gonna ask, did you ever do anything in person, any business meetups or anything like that?

[00:23:06] James: So I used to, when I was living in London now because of, um, I live in Australia, none of my clients are from Australia really. I work globally and also because of Covid. Uh, I haven’t, I hadn’t met a single person, so it’s, it’s quite a shame really. But, you know, over the last two years I haven’t met a single one of my clients in person. That’s all been done remotely.

[00:23:23] Josh: Wow. Okay. So one of the things I was most excited about to pick your brain on and your experience is your social media strategy. One final question before we get to that though, James, you mentioned your pricing. You, you said you took your pricing off, leads dried up. Right now you are doing what I recommend that my students do, which is to have your packages.

[00:23:41] Josh: Um, but to either have like a, get a quote or have. Generally what I recommend for my students is to have like a hidden page that you would send to quote unquote questionable clients. That way you could go right into value-based pricing for really good leads, but the questionable clients, the $100 for website clients.

[00:23:57] Josh: They go to your potential client page. That just gives your ranges that start at, so for you, as of right now, you have three packages, startup, professional, and Deluxe, that all say inquire for price. So how has that worked out for you and how does that work? Do you still filter out from there or does, does that take you to a, a price situation?

[00:24:16] James: So, um, initially when I put my prices on my website, that startup package, I put a price for that and that’s when all the leads dried up because that price was just too high for a lot of people. So what

[00:24:28] Josh: I like to do now, oh, I’m sorry. So I misunderstood that. So you put your pricing on there and that’s when it I did,

[00:24:32] James: and I took it off because it just, just destroyed my cash flow. I think it took me like, It was two months. I got one lead in two months. So it’s an absolute disaster from a sort of sales funnel perspective. Now what I do is I funnel them through a questionnaire. It’s a very, very simple one, but the first question is, what is your budget range? So it’s between zero to 1000, 1000 to 5,000, 5,000 to 10, and then 10,000 plus.

[00:24:57] James: And that immediately tells me, um, where we’re, where we’re at with this client. I funneled that through a crm, which I’ve just recently set up. And from there I do bespoke emails to each of those offerings. So it’s basically right, right away finding out what their budget is and, and what, what sort of level that they’re playing at.

[00:25:15] Josh: Gotcha. Okay. Interesting. Because you do, do you feel like, do you feel like you had some potentially good clients that saw that price, but just didn’t have a chance to talk with you and get any sort of sales because they just Yeah, they didn’t understand the value.

[00:25:29] James: Absolutely. So the, the, the problem with putting those prices on was it, there was such a barrier to entry for people, you know, that, that that price wasn’t set in stone.

[00:25:37] James: I, I go up and down from that and depending on the type of client, whether I think they’re cool or not, how long the lead time is for that project. Um, so what happened is when those leads dried up, I actually got a logo job for a motorcycle company based in Texas, like a, a motorbike, um, club. It was the coolest job ever.

[00:25:55] James: And I did it on the cheap because it was such an amazing project. That was the only project that I did in that time, and they didn’t found me from my website. It was just, I think it was through a Reddit post that they found me. So I realized, okay. I’m missing out on jobs like that by setting the, the barrier to entry right there on the website.

[00:26:13] James: It’s a hard bounce for a lot of people. If they can’t make the budget, they’ll just go to a competitor. So, you know, toying around with it. I found that, you know, I need to get them, I need to get their email, I need to talk to them first. I need to explain the value of a logo and what it can do for their business and how it can sort of turn around and then I price based on the return of that value.

[00:26:32] James: So if they’re a mom and pop shop and a new value will give them X amount of dollars, I’ll price like maybe 10% of that value. And try and sort of talk to them around the kind of the return on investment rather than the upfront cost that they’re about to pay.

[00:26:45] Josh: And how do you, uh, avoid wasting a ton of time with clients who are never gonna pay more than like 500 bucks or something

[00:26:52] James: like that?

[00:26:53] James: Well, it’s right there in the first intro email. I basically set, set the bar. This is the, this is the, um, sort of price that we’re looking at in a sort of ballpark range. Can you stretch to that? It’s the first question I ask, and then that kind of saves us both time. You know, it, it would save me us time by me putting the prices on the website, but they might not get in touch.

[00:27:10] James: Also, I wouldn’t be able to find out a bit more about their business and, and if the, if I check out their, their, um, intro email and. The actual job itself is kind of cool and I might, I might drop my prices to take that one on because, you know, it could work out better for both of us. It might be a cool story, might be able to work something in, in terms of a case study, so I might drop my prices for that.

[00:27:29] James: Oh, and also like the deadline, if the deadline is really long and I don’t need it for six months, I could work on that. I chip away at it over the course of a year and actually, and get there for a much cheaper budget.

[00:27:40] Josh: Yeah, I really like that approach, man. It’s kind of the hybrid between having your prices up front on your site versus just putting them on a proposal, which can also catch people off guard.

[00:27:50] Josh: I tried to take that approach as well with just giving ranges for really good qualified leads, but then also the people who I wasn’t quite sure about, I didn’t wanna spend an hour having a discovery call with them, so I would just let them know. Uh, here are our basic price ranges that they, they start at here, you know, are you willing to. What does a project look like? It’s a good fit for one of these ranges. Then we go from there. So yeah, it works, works when

[00:28:11] James: it’s like a structured offering. Sorry to interrupt. Um, but yeah, my, my, the, the problem with logo design is that sometimes projects can take me two days. Sometimes they’ll take me three weeks if I charge Oh yeah.

[00:28:22] James: For hourly, that, that range would just be two, it would be too big. So I have to set a sort of project price for that. Um, I’ve had logo projects that have taken six weeks from my end just to generate ideas from, because of the, the nature of the business, the, the competitive space of that logo, trying to find something unique in that space.

[00:28:40] James: They can take weeks and weeks and weeks. Sometimes I’ll do a sketch and get it first go and, you know, if I, if I charged hourly, then it would, I wouldn’t get any money. So I have to do that sort of project vice pricing in order to stay profitable as a business.

[00:28:53] Josh: Yeah. Logo design was one of my main services when I got started, and I found the same thing. I had some that were like, I two hours. I made a logo. They loved it, and it was amazing. I made like 500 or a thousand bucks in a couple hours, and then I had somewhere I made like, uh, 20 cents. Because yeah, we had so many freaking revisions. So I think if anyone’s curious about how to package either logo design or any type of services, I definitely recommend everyone go to your packages page just as a, as a good reference, which is uh, bernard.co/packages.

[00:29:23] Josh: So thank you, your social media man. Um, I’m only active on Instagram or Facebook, so, uh, you may or may not have convinced me to try TikTok out. I I knew it was gonna happen at some point, but what, uh, what made you choose these platforms? There’s a lot of different places, I imagine, for logos. Like you could probably do like Pinterest.

[00:29:43] Josh: I mean, I can imagine there’s a ton of different areas and avenues you could dive into. What was it about Insta and TikTok and maybe even Twitter that, uh, made you go full throttle on those?

[00:29:53] James: Well, I was doing, um, when, when the, you know, the, the clients dried up and, and things weren’t going so well. I was doing a lot of sort of, um, Time lapse videos of me making logos. So I would, I’d come up with the concepts. I would go and illustrate to screen record that and post it to places like Reddit, um, and it on Reddit, they would do really, really well on, on like the logo design channels and the graphic design channels. People loved the behind the scenes look at me using illustrators.

[00:30:19] James: Like, that’s really cool. So I thought I, I basically just took that content and posted it to TikTok and was making these little videos of me time lapsing stuff in Adobe Illustrator. And it did okay. You know, it was sort of the, the, the real niche graphic designers found me and, and liked it. I had a few hundred followers or, or so.

[00:30:35] James: And um, but when I did that viral video, the one where I was, I got on camera and I turned the camera around and started talking about what had just happened. That one exploded. So immediately I was like, okay, I need to get on camera. More people respond more when I’m actually speaking. They respond to, you know, person to person behind the scenes content.

[00:30:52] James: Um, I basically made that a sort of, uh, part of my day job is making those videos now. So I was posting to TikTok. Those videos were doing really, really well. People love the behind the scenes look at logo design. They love the client case studies. They love my stories about being a graphic designer and the weird things that have happened, getting plagiarized by people abroad, all, all sorts of little stories.

[00:31:14] James: I was posting that as a secondary thing to Instagram cuz at the time Instagram were really pushing reels. So I was basically just duplicating the content from TikTok to Instagram. So TikTok exploded first then. And as I sort of incorporated that video production thing into my daily routine, uh, I got better and better at it.

[00:31:33] James: My gear got better and better. I got a, you know, microphone and a decent camera and. Eventually it got to a point where a video took off on Instagram and it was a really, really short video. It was like 15 seconds long. It was about using the pencil tool in the Adobe Illustrator. It was so weird. It exploded.

[00:31:49] James: It got 15 million views and over the course of two weeks, my Instagram account went from something like 8,000 to more than a hundred thousand. Wow. So just unbelievable explosion of growth on Instagram. And that has just, that ball was kind of kept rolling. I’m at 300,000 followers now, like I think a year later after kind of trying.

[00:32:09] James: And because of that, the TikTok and Instagram, um, side of things and the link in bio and find out more about my services. That is now where like 18 90% of my, of my leads come from.

[00:32:21] Josh: You know what’s funny about a, like a weird piece of niche content that you just wouldn’t think would be a huge deal. I’ve found that to be true cuz my biggest avenue for acquisition, my, my biggest avenue for like, Converting really good, uh, students is the podcast here for sure.

[00:32:37] Josh: But discoverability for me is on YouTube. I really, social media is more about connecting for me than discoverability as of right now. But one of my most popular YouTube videos is how to use preview on Mac. And but, and the reason is cuz no one does tutorials on how to use preview on Mac.

[00:32:55] Josh: So it’s like one of my top tutorials. It’s so funny cuz I literally just made it because I was getting the question from students on how I do little things and I was just like, well, I just use preview and here’s how I do it. So I was like, I’m just gonna post that on YouTube and, and it like blew up. So yeah, you never know what like weird piece of niche content is gonna go.

[00:33:11] Josh: Um, that’s, that’s,

[00:33:12] James: that’s how I blew up on Instagram. It was a, it was a really hidden niche tool in Adobe Illustrator that no one knew you could use in a certain way. You can manipulate shapes with the pencil tool. I discovered it from another content creator and I stitched them in the video and um, it just, it was basically me going, what?

[00:33:28] James: I had no idea you could do that and 15 million views later. It’s just nuts. So yeah, it’s, it’s crazy. There’s, there’s so many people who are into a specific industry and if you can target them, you know, you can absolutely explode. Now,

[00:33:41] Josh: I would imagine one challenge you have is what a lot of my students do when they start posting content, and that is they attract other web designers who are not buying from them.

[00:33:50] Josh: So for you, James, like how do you, I imagine you’re helping a lot of graphic designers, but they’re probably not gonna wanna spend $10,000 on a logo and branding package. Like, how are you, or how is that attracting clients? It, it,

[00:34:03] James: it works exactly the same way. You, you, it’s so self-serving. It’s brilliant. It’s, it’s really kind of, um, uh, it’s just, it’s amazing because you are helping graphic designers and especially junior designers, learn about the software and, and explaining to them how they can sell their services better. But then to a client, you then look like a complete expert in your industry, right?

[00:34:23] James: Cause you help, you’re the teacher, you are the, you know, you know the professor of graphic design and they will come to you because of your expertise. Also, when I do case studies, I’m showing the behind the scenes of how I’ve worked with the client. And that’s specifically like, that helps logo designers because they can expand on their services and learn from that.

[00:34:40] James: But it also shows to a client, look how good. It is to work with me and look how professional I am and look how, how this process works. And that has led when I do a case study, one of my case study videos hit a million million views and I got 70 leads in a day. So that is just testament to how that kind of content serves both logo and graphic designers and the clients that are gonna come to me.

[00:35:03] Josh: Interesting. And, um, you mentioned this a little bit ago, but the difference between the two, are they still mirrored? Like, is, is the exact same content you post to Instagram, is that the exact same that goes to TikTok or do you do different formatting, different hashtags, like what is, what is the difference between the two?

[00:35:18] Josh: So the only thing that

[00:35:19] James: that’s different is the sort of the captions and the hashtags. Really everything else is the same, which is beautiful because I can make one video and then use it across multiple platforms. Even YouTube shorts now works as well. So there’s three places that I can post it, although I need to do a lot more work on my YouTube account.

[00:35:33] James: But yeah, absolutely. I post to both TikTok and Instagram with the same video and I tweak things slightly differently inside the app in terms of hashtags and captions to some. Based on some advice that I’ve got from other content creators. But the beauty of it is, is that that is just one video for me. It’s one piece of content that I can then use across all those different channels. Oh,

[00:35:52] Josh: James, dude, I mean, you’re, look, you’ve convinced me to really think about TikTok. I couldn’t recommend enough that you really take YouTube seriously cuz you would kill it, man. With, with your, I mean, I, I’ve been enjoy, I love following your stuff just because I, I still use Illustrator every once in a while, but I’m not in the weeds doing the graphic design work much unless it’s just to stay sharp and kinda have some fun.

[00:36:13] Josh: Cause I still love it. But I love your stuff, man. You would kill it on YouTube. That, and, and with your s e o game where it is, YouTube goes so hand in hand with the SEO side of things. So, man, that would be really interesting to see what you do there.

[00:36:26] James: It’s interesting. I you know, the, the longer form content kind of fills me with dread. I’ve done bits and pieces for, you know, making short courses and, and the designer Boss Summit where you, where I met you, well not met you, but I, I discovered you, um, was creating a piece of content that’s about half an hour long. And it took me two days to do that. So this is one of the reasons that YouTube scares me. The kind of slightly form stuff.

[00:36:46] Josh: I actually heard this from a, a, oh shoot, I forget who it was. It was YouTuber who was asked how long should the videos be? And he said Yes. And I was like, ah, that’s a great response, because it doesn’t matter. Like you don’t need, you could make a half an hour video, but you, like, you could probably do a bunch of five minute videos.

[00:37:05] Josh: Like you could probably just take a little more time than you might want to on TikTok and Insta. And yeah, you could do five minute, 10 minute tutorials and that would be, More than enough. And then if you wanted to do a long form one, sure. But, um, yeah, I don’t know, man, I, I guess, uh, if I can offer any advice, I’m learning from you left and right on this, but if I can offer you any advice, it would be just make ’em however long they need to be. If they’re four minutes, then that’s fine. Yeah. Uh, yeah, you would be fine with

[00:37:30] James: that. It’s actually like the, the, the way YouTube shorts are set up now, I can just post those directly and if I make a video that’s longer than a minute, you don’t even have to format it for landscape. You can upload the portrait version because obviously lots of users on YouTube are watching it on their phones.

[00:37:45] James: Those videos just automatically format for, for mobile. So there’s really no work that I need to do. The only thing that I might need to consider doing is just making slightly more SEO friendly versions of the videos that I’ve done, because at the minute they’re quite abstract and a bit sort of, they, they bounce from place to place.

[00:38:02] James: They’re really random topics. So I need to put a little bit of work into kind of, you know, making that s E O game a little bit stronger so people can find me. Because the thing is with TikTok, the for you page, it’s like where people get you and um, YouTube is more of like a search tool, I guess. I mean, you tell me, you have to kind of, to be popular on there, you’ve gotta really be clever with your seo.

[00:38:21] James: You gotta be good with your thumbnails. You don’t have to worry so much about that on TikTok and Instagram. So it just feels like a lot more work than what I’m currently doing. But I’m sure I’ll get there the less clients I take on and the more I start charging, the more I could.

[00:38:34] Josh: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, honestly, you’re not at a point where you need to do that. But yeah, I would just think like knowing your brand, my gosh, I feel like you would kill it on YouTube. I mean, I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like social media and trying to get content under a minute is almost more work than like some of my tutorials that blew up when I started were literally, I just screen record 10, 15 minutes.

[00:38:53] Josh: No camera. My hair is whate, you know, like I’m not wearing pants, whatever. I just record and we’re good. Although it doesn’t matter, we’re all. From the waist above now. Um, but I found in a weird way, I almost found YouTube easier. And maybe this is just because that’s how, where I started from, but there was almost less pressure.

[00:39:10] Josh: Like I didn’t do any fancy overlays. Nothing wild with YouTube. It is definitely more, and this, I’m saying this for anyone who’s thinking about where to put content to build authority, YouTube is definitely, um, I think more utilized for tutorials and for like, you know, knowhow kind of things rather than.

[00:39:29] Josh: Social. And what you’re doing is really a mix of like education and entertainment. Like your, your videos on social media are really educational but also very entertaining with a lot of cuts and we’re, you know, like, so, but, but that pressure’s kind of off on YouTube. You think because yeah, somebody’s at their desktop, they’re Googling something. Oh, this James Guy has a tutorial on how to use the pointer tool on Illustrator and it could be 10 minutes and they’re hooked. So. Yeah. Yeah. I don’t

[00:39:53] James: know. I understand that’s the, the, the success I’ve had on social media is cause I’ve learned how to get my point across really, really quickly now. So I’ll, I’ll write a script for my videos and then cut them together using jump cuts, so they’re like 40 to 60 seconds. That’s the kind of sweet spot for a video. Um, so I really write, refine that script so I can basically say what I’m trying to say in half the time.

[00:40:13] James: And that is, I think is one of the reasons why I’ve, I’ve had so much popularity is that, you know, when you go on YouTube and you wanna find something out about a software tool, you have to watch a minute of Gump plus the intro plus, you know, and you’re skipping forward in the video with that, the TikTok video and the, and the Instagram stuff.

[00:40:28] James: It’s, it’s right there. It’s like, this is what’s gonna happen, this is how you do it, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then it’s done. And then, you know, that’s, that’s like follow for most graphic designers. And that’s, I think, one of the reasons why I’ve actually got a following from the content rather than just, you know, Views on videos.

[00:40:42] James: Yeah,

[00:40:43] Josh: that’s one reason I like what YouTube has done recently and, and what you just said and alluded to there, James, maybe the cause of it, which is the, um, like the video snippets you’ll see on Google searches now they’ll show like highlighted pieces of a video. So like on Google, if you search for div tutorials or probably see some of my stuff, often it takes you right to where I said the goods and my later videos get right to the point.

[00:41:06] Josh: Whereas when I started in 2017, they’re very like, hi everybody, I’m John, I do websites and hope you’re having a good day. You know, like, yeah, it’s, uh, rather than getting right to it, but luckily I feel like Google had so many people like myself who like, damn it, Josh, just get to it. And then they just like, screw it. We’ll get to it for you. Yeah,

[00:41:25] James: I say this in my, in my short course, you, you have to treat the content like a newspaper headline. You go right at the front in the first three seconds, you tell them what they’re gonna get and what this video is about. You explain a little bit. Then the main, sort of bulk of the video is more sort of towards the end.

[00:41:38] James: But you, you, you have to sort of give them a headline to keep them there. Um, and doing that in the sort of first three seconds, this is a really hard thing to do. So, you know, I, I’ve, I’ve tested a lot of ways to do this, but writing a script is just the, the really invaluable way to get that point across. And if you can refine it in your, in your copy, then you’ll be fine on, on video. Oh, that’s

[00:41:58] Josh: beautiful. And, uh, was it jump cut? Is that what you’re

[00:42:01] James: using? Yeah. No, sorry. The, but the, the software package is Premier Pro, but the jump cut is when you basically record one long take. So I do, I, I’ll just basically read off a script three minutes, four minutes long, and then in, in the editing software, I’ll just, Bunch all that together by removing the dead audio in between. And that way I can get a three minute long ramble into, into a minute.

[00:42:22] Josh: And how, so how many are, how, what’s your content strategy right now, James? How often are you posting?

[00:42:27] James: So I’m posting about three times a week, um, as much as I can essentially. So I post case studies, um, freelance advice, software tips, and just gen general stories. And I try to sort of vary that content as I, as I go along. There isn’t much of a strategy. I have a list of topics that I’d like to cover, and I have ideas in the shower and I get out and I write on my little content list.

[00:42:49] James: Um, so I’m working my way through those. But they revolve around those basically four content pillars, which I found works really, really well. And, and my followers now, they’re expecting that content from me. So I’m kind of just giving them more of the same. So yeah, case studies and software tips, those are the two sort of really, really, um, popular pieces of content.

[00:43:07] Josh: So I assumed maybe wrongly when I saw your social media, your Instagram at first, that with over 300,000 followers, three posts a week at least, I assumed you had a team helping you with this. Is that not true? Like you’re doing all this

[00:43:21] James: yourself? Nope. No, this is all me. So I follow a guy called, um, Jamie Brindle, um, who’s actually a, a sort of pal of mine now. He’s like a freelance expert. He recommends 50% of your time should be on client work and 50% of your time should be spent driving new business.

[00:43:37] James: And this social media content creation is the driving new business for me. I have to put lots of time into doing this. I devote probably two or three hours to each one of these little videos. I’m, I’m getting faster at it. So it’s, it’s that time is shortening and shortening. But I definitely get, get at least two videos out a week, plus a few stories on Instagram just to kind of keep the engagement ticking over.

[00:43:59] James: But yeah, it’s just me. So that’s one of the reasons why, um, the client side. The actual lead times for logo design jobs has probably slowed down a little bit, which has meant my wait list has got quite long. I have a three month wait list to work with me right now, which is sounds amazing, but. I’d like to speed that up A, for my clients and B, so I can get more money through the door.

[00:44:20] James: So I’m, I’m all about sort of refining my processes now, automating whatever I can so that I can sort of spend time creating this, this content. I’m almost to the point where I might just kind of re repost some of this stuff cause I’ve got like 300 videos that I’ve done now and I could probably just start from the beginning and go

[00:44:35] Josh: again.

[00:44:36] Josh: Yeah, dude, that’s so funny you mentioned that as I was thinking about like TikTok and I’m still not even on Twitter. I thought about jumping on that too, but my thought was like, oh, a bunch of new content. And then I keep on remembering what so many social media people have said is like, I. Just repurpose your older stuff.

[00:44:50] Josh: First of all, everyone who’s current with you is likely gonna forget about something you posted or it’s a good reminder. And then one thing I have to remember, and I don’t know if you’ve struggled with this, but it’s like somebody, like, I know I posted a tutorial three years ago on Facebook, and then I just think like, well, it’s done.

[00:45:06] Josh: I already posted it, but somebody who just followed me yesterday has no idea that tutorial’s out there. So I can keep on, I think Brendan Burchard calls it circular violation or something like that, where you basically just take your high performing posts and just repost them so it’s a, usually

[00:45:21] James: like, spins off from larger pieces of content. And I imagine as a YouTube creator, you’ve got videos that are 15 minutes long, which you could then cut right into little sections, um, for short form video or make a blog post about it, or a carousel or something. There’s that one long piece of content is now sort of chop ball into those little chunks.

[00:45:38] James: Yeah. So from one piece of content you can mix six, but you’re right about the older content. I, I, I need to start looking at that more. It’s just my, um, sort of standards, you know, my videos have gotten better by suddenly we were post one from a year ago. I’m gonna notice the quality difference. And also back Couple was just gonna say,

[00:45:55] Josh: was gonna say that that’s the only up, that’s the, the hairline’s

[00:45:59] James: back.

[00:45:59] James: I might just redo the videos so that, you know, it’s in my new

[00:46:02] Josh: setting. That’s what I did with my most popular YouTube tutorial was on Google Analytics. And I looked at the one I did from a few years ago and I was like, it’s good, but it’s not great. And I could do so much better now. I could tighten it up.

[00:46:15] Josh: So I redid one and just the old one, I just changed the thumbnail and just said new, you know, updated version, click below. Uh, and that has already taken off the man. The cool thing about YouTube, last thing I’ll say about YouTube, but um, cause I feel like I’m just trying to get you on YouTube. The cool thing is, is it does so much work for you with search, as long as it’s a good video, which my gosh, where you’re at.

[00:46:35] Josh: I have no doubt a ton of series of videos would go, but I’d be curious to see what your monetization would look like. Um, even with short form, because those of us who are in the educational space, especially if we’re recommending tools and there’s companies that are like, Ooh, you know, like James uses our stuff Premiere Pro, it’d be awesome to get him to, to support this.

[00:46:54] Josh: Like, the monetization stuff is huge. The, the cpm, the cost per per mil is huge for, um, For folks who are like educating with tools in mind. So yeah, it’s kind of interesting.

[00:47:04] James: Well, I’ve had people and clients and brands reach out on social media and I’ve done a few projects with Adobe and Logitech and Astute Graphics and things like that. So there’s, there’s a kind of, um, a secondary income for me there. The more that this social media platform grows, the more sort of income I’m generating from those revenue streams. So it’s kind of diversifying the company a little bit, which is incredible.

[00:47:27] James: So we’re, we’re bridging into content creation as a, as a business here, which is kind of nice. And I really enjoy the content creation side. It’s, it’s so rewarding seeing those, um, those views come in and, and the, the genuine comments from people who are finding it helpful. That’s, that’s, you know, it’s just the most self-serving thing ever. It’s fantastic.

[00:47:45] Josh: Yeah, you’re a good example of, uh, half creator, half service provider. One of my, good friends in the industry is Jay Klaus. He has a, a brand called Creator Science. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with that, but right down your alley. I often tell him to check you out cuz you would be a great fit for his show. But it really is about like, mixing creator with services and everything else that could be, uh, with the creator.

[00:48:08] Josh: I, I think a big thing that I’ve noticed though with people who stick with it is you got to enjoy the content. You really do have to enjoy it. Like, I, I love podcasting and I’m getting back into YouTube because I miss it. Uh, I, I stopped it for a while just cuz I kinda shifted from teaching the technical side of web design to teaching the business side of web design.

[00:48:28] Josh: But now I’m like re-energized and already had more videos coming out. So I guess maybe would a lesson learned that you’ve learned James would be to. Like do content and use platforms that you enjoy and that you’re on.

[00:48:40] James: You’re familiar with. Yeah. And speak about subjects that you’re familiar with, obviously, because you then, the content is never ending and I, I could talk about graphic design all day.

[00:48:48] James: I could talk about, you know, working in the software. I’d love platforms like Illustrator and Photoshop and all of the little hidden quirks and the things that you didn’t know. So one of the things I noticed when I was working in an agency, a designer would sit by the side of me and look at my screen and go, what did you just do there?

[00:49:03] James: Like, and learning off another designer by sitting next to them. We can’t do that anymore. We live in a remote world. We don’t work in teams like that way. We don’t sit next to people in offices as much. So that kind of learning has gone. So that’s, I think it’s, One of the reasons I’ve been so successful is just showcasing that, that hidden, um, method and just actually, you know, showing my audience how I work in these softwares, either by doing time lapse videos or software case studies.

[00:49:27] James: Um, yeah, it’s just kind of behind the scenes stuff. Another thing that’s great is, um, live streams specifically for designers who are, who are new and, and dunno the, the software packages that, well I run live streams with Adobe on their Adobe Live platform where I’ll sit for an hour and work on a project.

[00:49:44] James: And the amount you can find out from watching people work is just beyond ridiculous. Um, little the way people work, the little hidden, you know, keyboard, shortcuts, scripts, that kind of stuff. Yeah. Um, you, you would just never know cuz it’s not, you know, apparent in the sort of tutorials. So watching someone work on a live stream like Adobe Live is just beyond, um, beyond amazing.

[00:50:03] Josh: Yeah. And the kind of the hybrid to that is, uh, the first probably three dozen of my YouTube channel, my tutorials, I literally would just work for 10 to 15 or 20 minutes on something. What I, what I did, I don’t know if you know this James, but what I did when I built my YouTube channel is I literally just share what I was doing on a project.

[00:50:19] Josh: I’d be like, Ooh, that’s cool. That doesn’t seem to be, have been talked about much. So I would just post like, here’s how to do this divvy header trick, and I would just work and basically screen record it. And I might trim out a little bit of fluff here or there. But what you mentioned there is really interesting because I think early on what helped me build my authority was people felt like they were sitting beside me.

[00:50:39] Josh: And I, and I treated it like that. I, it’s, it’s so funny you mentioned that because when I started doing tutorials, I remember when I was mentoring in a high school here locally, and I would literally do that. I would work and build website stuff and have a student watch me and I literally, Thought about that visual.

[00:50:55] Josh: When I was doing tutorials, I was like, I’m gonna pretend like there’s just somebody right next to me and I’m teaching them how to do it. And that I think that translated into that touch online. So it’s a great way to definitely to go about it. And you never know what little things that you do that you don’t think anything about it.

[00:51:10] Josh: But the world may be like, oh my gosh, James is a genius. Like that little thing that isn’t significant to you, it can be very significant to someone who doesn’t know that I have

[00:51:18] James: that all the time. It’s one of the things I try and work into my videos is that if I cover a topic that’s probably been done before, I might work in something like a little hidden way to do something a little bit quicker, a little bit better.

[00:51:28] James: Like for instance, in the Transform panel and illustrate it, you can put maths in there, you can add and subtract the values of your properties by typing in asterisks or backslash. And I just did that at the end of one of my videos and, and the video. The main, the main bulk of the content wasn’t that that popular, but that little hidden tip at the end, people are like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

[00:51:46] James: You can do maths inside those panels. And then, then, yeah, then there’s another video of that. But one thing I will say is if you are struggling for content ideas, um, is whenever you have a problem in a piece of design software or you know you have an issue with web design and you go to Google to try and find the solution, that is a video right there, that’s a piece of content that you could make.

[00:52:04] James: Because, you know, nine times out of 10 someone else is gonna have had that problem. So make a piece of content around that and if you don’t at least leave a like, or subscribe to the person that has helped you out because you know it’s

[00:52:15] Josh: free. Yeah. Well and even if it’s something that’s been covered a lot, it’s like maybe you have an interesting take on it or no one else is you.

[00:52:22] Josh: Where you could put your own flare on it. Yeah. There were software might have updated as well. Look, there are thousands of tutorials on how to migrate WordPress websites, and mine still comes up to the top because it’s my own personal way to go about it. And then I explain it the way I explain it.

[00:52:37] Josh: So you never know what’s, what’s gonna hit and click. Uh, side note, this is a little off topic here, James, but I’m kind of curious with tools like Canva and a lot of these, I don’t wanna say do-it-yourself or design programs, but they’re DIYs the illustrator. I mean, I love Illustrator, but you know, somebody who’s going to open it for the first time is gonna struggle unless they’ve had some training or Sure.

[00:53:00] Josh: Or follows you. So how do you feel about Canva? Like, is that, is that a tool that you. Feel like could work in your world? Are you, do you hate it? Are you completely against it? What are your thoughts on some of these DIYer type

[00:53:12] James: tools? Well, I’m con uh, contractually obliged not to say the C A N V A word and talk about Adobe Express and still, because it’s, uh, that’s the, the competitive version.

[00:53:23] James: Yeah. Um, I have mixed feelings about Canva. It’s great that it empowers people to do very simple things in graphic design, and that’s a fantastic thing. Also, it’s web-based. That’s amazing. You don’t have to install any software. That’s absolutely incredible. My wife uses it for her company. The issue I’ve found is that, um, it can sort of, it’s a, it’s very templated, so you’re seeing a lot of the same templates out there.

[00:53:45] James: Yeah. Um, and people that are using it. Are able to create, um, pieces of graphic design. But my wife will go, can you ti this up for me? And I’ll go into this, into the her template and I’ll be, oh, God was, yeah, exactly. It’s, it’s such a pain. It’s slower. Um, so obviously, you know, for, for people who are, who don’t have graphic design resources or can’t afford the software, that’s fantastic.

[00:54:09] James: And I’m all for that. That’s, that’s, you know, empowering for small businesses, which I absolutely love. One thing that I can sort of work in with that, with my business is creating templates for people inside packages like Adobe Express and Canberra. So when I give them a logo, I can export their files and throw all of that, um, those colors and those fonts and those logos into those packages, and then they can make their own templates or I can create templates for them inside those packages.

[00:54:32] James: That way they don’t need a graphic designer to make absolutely everything for them. They can roll out social media posts and, um, things like flyers and banners because of the. This sort of grunt work that we’ve done beforehand. So I think that’s cool. I like that.

[00:54:44] Josh: Well, I will back you up on that and say in that like, I use Canva a lot. We do, especially now that I have a team who helps me out with the podcast graphics and, and a lot of social media stuff, we use that as like, I’ll create a template and then have the team go in there and adjust things. And, uh, but it only goes so far. There’s a reason why I haven’t canceled my subscription to the, uh, Adobe with Photoshop and Illustrator, cuz inevitably I need to go in there when things get serious.

[00:55:09] Josh: That’s my

[00:55:10] James: take on it at least. That’s definitely, there are some tools in those packages though that you can’t find in the, um, the main sort of Adobe software. Like there’s like background removal tools and that’s what sold beyond.

[00:55:22] Josh: Yeah, can’s background. That’s literally why I start, I signed up for the pro version. I was like, yep, that’s worth it right there. Yeah, definitely. Uh, tell me about Express. I don’t know too much about Adobe Express. I mean, how close is that to Canva? I, I haven’t even opened it, so I don’t even know where it’s at.

[00:55:39] James: It’s the same theme. It’s a, it’s a, it’s a web-based graphic design platform, so you can create, um, all sorts in it. Like, you know, your, your social media templates even does a little bit of video editing, can make animated gifts from it. It’s basically the same as Canva, um, with a few added bonuses that if you are familiar with Adobe packages, it’ll be, you know, second nature to you. And also, um, it’s great for clients for me.

[00:56:03] James: So I can, I can, um, once I finish the logo project, like I said before, I can just dump all of their files, their style, guide their logos, um, select all of the color ranges for them and select the fonts and basically solidify their brand so they can’t. Tweak it and change it and add random fonts and colors that they shouldn’t. They can stick to a sort of stago that I can set them inside that package and yeah, then they can run with it. Ah,

[00:56:26] Josh: that’s beautiful. Well, James, this has been great, man. We’re getting close on an hour here. I know. Uh, I’m getting close to bedtime here for the kiddos where I’m at. Um, you’ve answered a lot of questions that I had.

[00:56:36] Josh: I mean, I was curious about how you’re time managing a lot of this stuff and, uh, just your approach now versus when you got started, you know, a decade plus ago. Um, it’s been really cool to hear your strategy on social media and how, I mean, it sounds like it’s like 50 50 now between, uh, the social media stuff versus what you’re doing, but I think more importantly, you’re, you enjoy it and it’s evident and it’s cool that you are really having a good time with the educational side of things, but making it fun, entertaining. Uh, you mentioned a course, right? So do you have a course for graphic designers? Is that right? I have

[00:57:08] James: a course for winning more clients on TikTok. So it’s a short course. Okay. Um, so if, you know, you can find it on my website if you go there, it’s, it’s not, um, you know, it’s, it’s very, very, um, succinct. It gets to the point quite quickly.

[00:57:20] James: But if you are looking to start on TikTok and, and get out there in front of, um, the world and actually try and bring in more clients that way as a graphic designer, I can help with that. So yeah, barnard.co/tiktok and you’ll find it there.

[00:57:34] Josh: Well, I’m, uh, I’m linking that cuz I think you’re gonna have a new student.

[00:57:38] Josh: Uh, I’m definitely

[00:57:39] James: very, I’ll tell you what, if you sign up to the newsletter on my, um, website, you actually get the ebook for free. So go and just download that. You don’t have to pay the course.

[00:57:47] Josh: I’ll pay you too though, because well worth it, I’m sure. Um, but yeah man, no, this has been great. This has been super fun. I really enjoy talking to these strategies cuz I, I think the reality is, and one thing I’ve, I’ve tried to help people out with is there’s so many questions about how to market online and they’re like, what? What social media platform? Do I do YouTube? Do I do TikTok? Whatever.

[00:58:06] Josh: I don’t know. Maybe as like a final question, do you, for somebody who is maybe the James of 10 years ago and you’re figuring out, well, you’re wanting to figure out what is best for you and where to market, what would you recommend that they do, particularly if they’re wanting to market online?

[00:58:21] James: Um, my advice, I guess, would just be stay consistent and get on camera because, you know, just get, get out of your, sort of your shell and, and actually start making these videos because it’s helped in so many ways With my business, it makes me more succinct when talking to clients. I’m actually, I feel like I’m better when I chat to clients now because I’ve had this practice of getting on camera and talking about my industry and the kind of repetitive nature and doing things like podcasts with you has just allowed me to actually be, become a bit of a better public speaker, which ups my confidence level when I talk to clients and allows me to sell for more and charge for more.

[00:58:55] James: So it’s kind of like a confidence thing, you know, get out of your comfort zone a little bit, push those boundaries, try some public speaking, try getting on camera and just see how it works for you because it’s certainly worked for me. Yeah.

[00:59:05] Josh: I don’t know if you’ve realized this, but pretty much almost every answer you’ve, you’ve dished out here are like little two minute clips that could be clipped out. Yeah. It’s probably content. It’s a good example that you’re just like, you’re, you’re, that muscle, that muscle is something that you get when you get used to answering things with brevity. Shocker I really struggle with being way too fluffy and being long-winded on stuff.

[00:59:29] Josh: So even do, doing the short videos as much as I don’t love them, that minute window where, cuz I, I will do, like, on this podcast, I’ll say like, this week I had James on the podcast, blah, blah, blah, and I know I’ve got a minute. So it forces me to get the top points out within a minute. Yeah. And there’s a lot of power to that. That’s a great point. Now it

[00:59:47] James: is, it’s also great for people that aren’t comfortable with public speaking because you can just record and let yourself ramble and then just use the edit to trim that down.

[00:59:56] James: And people expect those edits. Now they’re just kind of par for the course. The, the sort of. Cutting between what you’re saying, it makes it go faster and without it, people get bored quite quickly, so it just kind of helps, you know, you get your point across faster and allows you to someone who’s not a public speaker to actually become, you know, successful on camera.

[01:00:17] Josh: One thing I teach a lot of my students too, who are getting on video is, it’s okay to have like eight bad takes and then get the one, do you still do a lot of bad takes or do you put yourself

[01:00:25] James: I certainly do. I did the live stream of me editing a TikTok reel and, and everyone watching the live stream got to see all my bad takes. It’s quite embarrassing. So I had to, you know, cut those out live on, uh, on air. But it totally happens and even it’s embarrassing to myself recording and, and messing it up and going, Ugh, God, I’m just going, taking eight times to get through the same line. It’s, it’s really embarrassing. Often I’ll rewr rewrite, um, part of the script to stop the tongue twisters cuz I just can’t say that line and, and try and change it. But yeah, just, just embrace the jump cut, that’s all I’ll say.

[01:00:55] Josh: Well, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that if I have like a series of videos to record, I’m really bad getting started, but then I get it in the flow and then I can cook through the rest of ’em. Yeah, that’s actually, I can’t let you go.

[01:01:06] Josh: Before I answer this or ask this question, James, cuz I meant to ask this earlier. Are you bulk recording content? And then just scheduling it out a few times a week or are you doing it weekly? What’s your practice for consistency

[01:01:18] James: like that? I, I can’t find the time to, to bulk record and change. I do it right before I post it. So I’ll set a day when I’m gonna do it, and I’ll block out a bit of time for that. And let’s say I want to post at three o’clock on a Tuesday and three o’clock on a Thursday in the morning. I will make, I’ll write that script, record, edit and do it all in one go. Because like you say, trying to batch that all up, it just becomes, its a, a mountain to climb.

[01:01:41] James: So the only thing I’ll do in advance is have a sort of content list for me to work my way through and I’ll put ideas on there and then I’ll, in the morning of a Tuesday, I’ll go, right, what are we gonna do today? I’ll pick a content idea, I’ll write the script and, cause it’s only a minute, I can do the whole thing in probably about two hours.

[01:01:56] James: So that’s one of the beauty, um, the, the great things about short form video is that the actual. Production side of things isn’t too intensive. It’s probably just under two hours for me to get one of those out, and that two hours of work is worth every penny when it comes to the leads that come in from those videos.

[01:02:14] Josh: There it is, everybody. James Renard. This has been great, man. Super fun. Uh, Josh definitely given me a lot to think about with just social media strategy and TikTok in particular. Um, I’m excited to see you blow up on YouTube here pretty soon once you get that going. Uh, and yeah, man, I’m really excited to see you scale. Maybe, we’ll, maybe we’ll do a round two, uh, once you take the next level in your business to see how you, yeah. I

[01:02:35] James: like what you do. Your brains on that because I’m definitely at an inflection point right now. I’m at a real crossroads. So, um, yeah, we’ll see how things progress next

[01:02:43] Josh: year. Anytime, dude. Let’s do it. Well, thanks so much for your time, James. I’ll make sure we have your website and social media and email us and all the things linked in the show notes. And until next time, man, thanks for chatting.

[01:02:52] James: Great stuff. Thanks a lot, Josh.

[01:02:55] Josh: What a chat. What a chat with James. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. As I mentioned, I really consider this like a masterclass in social media and how to get clients through social media. I am just quite frankly, not the best with social media. Uh, I don’t find it as intuitive. Uh, maybe because I’m at the elderly age of. 36 now. Um, but there’s so many ways to utilize it, which I think is awesome.

[01:03:22] Josh: I mean, it’s daunting sometimes because there’s just so many things you can do. But, uh, one thing I love about this podcast is to be able to pick the brain of somebody who’s doing it very well and hear how it’s helping grow their business and what the tactics and strategies are. So thank you to James for being so open and transparent about.

[01:03:39] Josh: What he’s doing and what’s working for him. Again, be sure to go to his website@bernard.co. B a r n a r d.co. You can get connected there with him, um, through TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, wherever you’re following, or where you’re at, wherever you’re active. Uh, on Instagram and TikTok, he’s at Bernard co.

[01:03:58] Josh: And of course, we’ll have all of these linked at the show notes for this episode@joshhall.co slash 2 6 2. I hope you enjoyed this one. Leave us a comment and if you would share this episode, if you know somebody who would benefit from this, consider just sharing it. You can, you can DM ’em, you can tag somebody, you can share it on the socials where you see this, or if you’re on my email list, go to josh hall.co to sign up or my email.

[01:04:21] Josh: You’ll get all of the podcast episodes and you could just send in, you could, uh, reply and send the email to somebody. Forward it. Forward it. That’s what I’m looking for. Any who thank you to James. Cheers everybody to using your social media to get more clients and making the world a better place.

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