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Three Steps to work LESS and make MORE

So it’s the start of a new year and you’re looking to set up a strong foundation for your business. One that streamlines your workflow, saves you time, makes you more money and give you your freedom back. Well, of course, you do!

Hey there, friends. My name is Hope Johnson and I’m thrilled to share my tips for doing just that.

I’ve been an artist all of my life, the left-brain one in the family if you will. But I was raised by two entrepreneurial parents who taught me how to use that right-brain of mine. They helped me apply business thinking to my career as an artist and it’s this business mindset that allowed me to take my business from a hobby to full-time as an artist, illustrator, and educator.

As I grew my business and started a family I knew I needed to figure out to work less, but maintain my income. To do this, I honed in on what I really wanted out of my business. I re-defined my ideal client, I started PRICING for PROFIT and, most importantly, I started streamlining my work (because all those hours you spend in your inbox aren’t worth it!).

Simple enough right? Here’s how I did it.

1. Define your ideal client

Knowing your ideal client is key and there are questions you can ask yourself that will guide you in defining just who your ideal client is.

How old are they? Where do they shop? What are their biggest pain points when it comes to [insert your services]? How can I connect with them on a personal level?

Knowing your ideal client so specifically will guide how and where you market your services to them. Once you start attracting and booking more of your ideal client you will lead yourself down the path to profit. Plus, you’ll simply enjoy your work more! This brings me to step #2.

2. Pricing your work worth

Pricing your work goes hand-in-hand with knowing your ideal client. The work you put into the world will attract your ideal client but you must know your numbers. Your ideal client must respect your pricing, otherwise, they are not your ideal client.

A common industry standard pricing formula you may find is:


In this example, you’re up charging the material and labor involved to get your total. This works for many scenarios. However, as a stationery designer (or any service based provider with a lot of moving parts …where every project is different), I like to use the formula: PROFIT + COSTS = TOTAL.

Profit = the money you want to make no matter what

Costs = ALL materials and labor involved

Add those two things up and you have your total. Every business operates with different tools, different services offered, and in different ways. The main takeaway is to calculate your profit first. This is the money you want to make for simply doing the job.

note: If you are both the CEO and the laborer for your business (I’m my own boss and the printer), then PAY yourself. Your profit is not your labor costs. You can find more detail in my Pricing Your Worth Guide.

3. Streamline your workflow

Like many creative entrepreneurs, we wear lots of hats. Many of us wear ALL the hats. Having a solid system in place for your workflow is key for productivity. More productive days mean more time on your hands. It’s only then that you can finally step back and work ON your business instead of IN your business.

For years, I was at the service of my inbox. Not having a client management program was my missing puzzle piece. From the moment I signed up for HoneyBook I knew my days were about to get a whole lot less involved. By setting up my workflows I could stop worrying about my inbox and start spending more time with a paintbrush or sketchbook in my hand.

From the moment I signed up for HoneyBook I knew my days were about to get a whole lot less involved.

I studied my behavior with a single client and wrote down EVERY. LITTLE. STEP. it took me to get from point A to point B with my client. Then I put those workflow steps into HoneyBook. Now, instead of me manually checking in on each client, HoneyBook tells me where I’m at. I can seamlessly jump from each step and if it’s an email I’ve typed before, well …there’s a template for that!

Hello free time, it’s nice to see you again.

And before you get overwhelmed with the idea of tackling all these steps, check out my Systems, Onboarding and Workflow for Creative Entrepreneurs strategies class where I dive into how I organize the backend of my business. I have been able to build a business where I work about 4-5 hours a day while still earning my “full-time” income and I want to share my insights with you!

Let’s learn from each other, save time and success in business! I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be putting my energy into my creative work rather than my to-do list.

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