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Episode #09: The Secret of Designing for a Time Period or Style


Creating a theme or design based on a time period or specific style is not as easy as it seems. Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy (and very common) to go overboard and end up looking cheezy. Cathy shares her secrets on how to she designs Funnel Drops month after month with a mixture of the past, the future, and her signature style to create an incredible design that gets people talking.

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Full Transcript:

Hello everyone, this is Cathy Olson and welcome to the secrets of gorgeous design podcasts. I am so thrilled to share with you today because this topic is something that I don’t know that I knew people were struggling with, but I just thought Kinda, I was struggling in silence on this thing and it’s something that might not happen super often to you, but it is happening really often to me now that I’m designing constantly and month after month, uh, for, for these funnel drops. And this topic today is how to design for a specific time period or slash style. This is pretty difficult actually. It’s are probably harder than it looks, I think that people think, oh yeah, you just, it just come up with like a theme, but it’s a fine line between themey and you know, just over the top and cheesy. It’s a real fine line and it’s, well the hard part is, it’s not coming up with the ideas, but it’s coming up with the ideas, making them current, kind of bring him in the current era and making a really sophisticated and professional that is the hardest part.

It’s that balance of the two. So that is what I’m going to dive into today until you exactly how I do this, how I break down this process, tell you the tips that I can give you to making this process easier and pain as pain free as possible. So let’s jump into this episode.

My name is Cathy Olson. I’m part of a group of entrepreneurs who are the founders and creative directors of their businesses who have a discerning eye and a ton of heart. If you ask those get rich quick types, they would say that pretty design isn’t functional and doesn’t sell yet. We are proving everyday that beautiful and thoughtful details do sell and in fact attract unstoppable beauty and wealth. We believe that we can have it all and that sales can be gorgeous. These are the secrets of gorgeous design and we are here to make creativity, lucrative, build gorgeous brands and sales funnels, and to make the world of business a gorgeous place to be.

So funny story today guys. Uh, yesterday I just finally finished up the design for funnel new our, which is our may drop, which is literally dropping in a week, a week from today. And Gosh, you guys, holy cow, I seriously have, I don’t know that I’ve ever had as hard of a time as designing a funnel drop as I did this one mostly because I put it off till the last possible second today was the drop dead due date that I could find like that I could, as long as I could basically take until we have to start coding, we need to at least a week just start coding and testing and all that good stuff. But I waited til the last possible minute, not only because I’m super busy, may has been insanely busy, but really I just was having the worst block on this guy. And so it was super hard for me.

It’s not because I didn’t grasp the concept well, kind of it kind of a little bit. Um, but because there was just so there’s so much I could do with this, right? So fall in the wire does as a little bit of behind the scenes. When Julie and I pick these names, we don’t really have an idea exactly on what they are going to look like. And it’s so funny when you know, we had in the marketer’s hard group, we had you guys vote on which one you wanted us to come out with next for May. And you guys all like overwhelmingly said funnel in the war and it’s like, I don’t even know what you guys think funnel in the wire is, you know? So it’s kind of a funny part about it. It’s like what are they expecting versus what I thought it was versus what Julie thinks it is.

You know? So it’s so up for interpretation. But when originally Joel and I were talking about it, we were talking about film new are like the black and white films and that style. And so I tried to keep pretty closely to that style. But even when you’re thinking about the vintage and kind of retro style, oh my gosh, like there’s so many different ways to go vintage. There’s so many different time periods. I mean there’s, there’s like subcategories of this stuff and it’s actually a lot deeper than I even, I think anticipated. When I first thought about this theme, I thought, Oh, that’s pretty easy theme to totally like wrap my head around. But when I, once I actually started designing it and creating something, I realized it was a lot deeper than I thought. And even when I was starting to design it, even after I had come up with an idea, after I started designing it, I kept it kept going back and forth, back and forth between, you know, something like really like kind of sexy 50 shades, you know, like masquerade.

And then it was getting like really? So then I would kind of distress it and then it would get really distressed and kind of dingy and dirty. And then a lot of times it was just getting really dark and kind of depressing. So it was a, it was a strange theme to tackle, but eventually I got a cool, um, you know, kind of balance that I liked. And the other thing is too with these specifically and with these photo drops is that people love themes, but we got to use this in the real life, right? And we already use this on our clients or ourselves or whatever. So even though people love a good theme, it really has to fit within real life and realistic funnels and what actually people would use, right? It’s like not just, it’s not fun to just collect a bunch and not actually use them.

So there’s also a level of usability that we have to actually, this head needs to be created for actual companies, you know. So it’s a very interesting thing. And I guess I’ll say that creating templates for people is probably like can be a whole other episode, but this episode or really wants to talk about what I was struggling with when I went through designing for a theme and kind of what I learned about it. Um, I do some of these things inherently and I don’t really think about it when I’m doing. Um, and then, um, a lot of people in the group and some other people are talking to her asking how do you design for themes like this? And so that’s why I was kind of inspired this episode and I just want to tell you guys like how you could actually now knowing what I did to, um, yesterday and the struggle, I mean, I spent all day designing it, I want to say at least probably eight hours worth of work designing that thing.

Um, if not longer. I don’t know. I don’t really count. It was just Kinda, I would work and then take a break and then we’re gonna take a break where like pretty much all day from the time the sun came up to the time the Senate went down. So definitely hours and hours and hours spent on that guy. But now that I am, like on the other side of it, I can see a sort of thinking through what I could’ve done better. Uh, what I did that was, that actually worked really well and how I can, you know, give that to you guys. And I really think it’s, it’s a bigger conversation about mashing up styles and I think, uh, you know, there’s definitely things that you can take from developing a fee, you know, looking at a time period and seeing what they used to design back then, but also like reinterpreting it for now.

I think when people are actually asking for a theme, they’re not really asking for it to look like it was created back then. They’re looking like for you to create something that’s in the spirit of that, but you’re still wanting to look at it and design it from, you know, a 20, 19 Lens. Right? We still want it to be an updated modern version of it. So that’s what I want to go through today is really the three way, three things that you can do to really like update it and kind of mash it with, you know, new stuff, what to grab, what to get rid of. Um, and also like how to make it feel like yours. Cause I, that’s the other thing too is I, I do pride myself on being able to design almost anything. I’ll say almost anything, cause I’m sure there’s something out there that I just don’t, can’t do.

Um, but I do love challenging myself and it’s one of the PR, one of the reasons I love doing these fall jobs as walls cause I really get to challenge myself every single month and it stretched my creative muscle so to speak. Um, and I think I get better and stronger at it as well. But yeah, I think it’s really about creating something that still feels like you. Even though I love being this kind of chameleon for my clients and for these as well, I want it to still have like a little bit of a signature signature Cathy on it so that if when you see it you’re like, I get it. Like it’s within the style, but I still see her in this and that’s what I want for you. So the first thing that I will say that you can do to really nail a time period when you get this is really to just study the time period with kind of no biases a first.

So the first step I always take when I’m doing these phone drops, as I create a Pinterest board, I go on to Pinterest credit pictures born and I start pinning things. Um, I kind of, I say this like lightly because sometimes people can overdo it on Pinterest and just start copying a bunch of stuff. I can use Pinterest, you know, pretty responsively. So understand your own limitations there. If you’re going to have, you know, issues with copying and you just really can’t think of anything. Um, I would say try to use it pretty loosely to get some ideas, start sketching and then never look at Pinterest again. If you have, if you have a tendency for that to kind of hinder you. For me, it just really gets me more inspired so I don’t have an issue with it. So I will say that, just a little disclaimer there, but I will always create a type of Pinterest board.

I, we’ll just pin all the things, like all the related things. If you guys have ever done my brand room exercise, you see how I pin things and how I use Pinterest to my advantage and how I actually pin other things that are related to it. And I just keep going and going and going. But they create this whole brand board kind of thing for each funnel drop. And I just start just going crazy and just pinning all the things I can possibly think of. I do it pretty quickly. I would say that this step probably takes me maybe 30 minutes, maybe an hour. I’m not really, never really timed it. Um, but I just kind of get it all out until I feel like there’s nothing left to pin kind of in a way. Um, and then they go back through. Sometimes I actually don’t really, I don’t really use this step.

Sometimes I go through and actually delete some that don’t fit, but for the most part I can kind of tell what goes and what doesn’t fit. And I start to kind of see like things, I start to study it. So I start to see, um, what, what things are similar. So that is the second step that I would do if, um, if I was doing this, you know, if I was you and I was doing this again is really I this second step, it’s a skim over the board and identify elements that are the same. So then now that that’s kind of how I’m studying this time period, this could be a style as well too. So I’ll, I’ll use that kind of interchangeably here. Time periods slash style, right? This is how to recreate it. Um, I look over the board, I try to identify those elements that look the same like fonts, right?

I tried to say what kind of fonts are they using? Are they mostly Sarah’s, are they sand? Sarah’s, um, are they display fonts or the handwritten fonts? Like what am I seeing? And I might see a variety, right? I might see some sand Sarah’s and some Sarah, but where am I seeing them? Am I seeing a lot of sensors in headlines and my seeing him and subheadlines, am I seeing them in Italics? Like where are they using these different things? And I started to basically take notes on what I’ve pinned and start to see these commonalities and start to take notes in the commonalities. So I might write, um, you know, big Chunky Sarah fee had headlines or something like that. Right. So, and that’s just one piece of it that just looking at fonts I might look at like how do they make dividers? Like what, what uh, does this time period, what did, what dividers did they use?

What kind of systems did they use to divide their content? I might look at, you know, is it, is they, are things very asymmetrical? Are things very symmetrical? What side do they go on? What is the relationship between images and text? Is text really big or are the images really big? Like I’m just looking for relationships right there and kind of how did they lay things out? How did they take information and relay it? Right. Um, are there any special treatments they have on anything? Are there drop shadows or backgrounds or um, outlines, like just kind of what, what kind of treatments did they use? What are the photos look like? Like, are they really moody? Is it really high end photography? Is it, um, you know, kind of Grungy, dirty photography? Like usually if it’s vintage, obviously you know, you can kind of see what a vintage photos look like.

Do they have the rounded corners there? Are they distressed? Right. Just kind of really looking through. Um, and seeing that in a lot of times I tried to actually go with the original as must as possible. So I try to actually, so like for example, if I was doing something, um, from the fifties I would actually try to pin things that were actually advertisements in the 50s right? Not like a reinterpretation of the 50s but the actual thing so that I can really get kind of a puritan version or pure version of that design. So usually I’m kind of doing that kind of thing because I can reinterpret it in a modern way and that’s fine. You know, I, I can do that myself if you don’t know how to return. But it in Wa feel, feel free to pin things that are modern as well, but you’ll be able to tell the things that are truly from the period and the things that are recreation’s.

But again, you can kind of be looking at what are the similars, the similarities between things that were the rent, original vintage versions and the actual tie like that. The reinterpreted versions like what did they reinterpret, what looks different and be noticing those things as well. So that’s a third thing would be I want to look at which trends I can disregard or which things I can marry with like a new modern idea. So maybe they used to do something that’s just totally out of style now and how can I update it and modernize it to this era to what actually fits now. So how can I make it, you know, maybe cleaner, easier to read. Um, or if it’s, yeah, like so like something less than it’s fonts. I mean fonts are just so all over the place. Like we have every kind of font that, you know, now we have access to everything, right?

We have access to every holds old font that are kind of ever was. And there’s just, so there’s like no shortage of fonts. So fonts are usually like we have access to everything, but can we get images so look like that. Or do we get like a new image and just kind of, does it have to be like crappy looking cause you don’t like for example, you look at um, old photography and there’s, there’s some issues there. Like there maybe things were blown out or they’re not developed the right way. Well we don’t need to make things worse, right? We don’t need to back them up and actually make them worse. Maybe we can make them look a little bit like there were older but still pretty clear and still great photography for example, something like that. Um, or if it’s like, you know, some kind of a cartoon or I don’t know, something that you see on the advertisement is it can, can we do like a cool cooler version of that?

That would be like more 20, 19. So I, I’m not trying to just make it exactly, exactly, exactly look like it came from that time period. That’s not my goal here. The goal is to get the spirit and the love and the idea and the feeling in the kind of nostalgia, right? That’s really what we’re doing here is when we’re, when we’re designing within a time period, we’re getting getting that nostalgic feeling, but speaking to people today and we’re not because we’re not selling to people then. So we cared about different things then. Right? So from a a marketing standpoint, we’re really talking to people today. So we do want to take the marketing approach from now, right? So what do people care about now? But how can we pull in some nostalgia for these older and cooler, you know, time periods. And it really is a Mashup of the two styles.

So again, I was saying earlier, you know, how do you design the style without it becoming cheesy? That’s, that’s it. You modernize it, right? You take, um, stock of which trends that you can disregard, which ones you can marry with new ideas that actually speak to 20, 19 people, right? Or already in Bonn beyond. And then, uh, lastly, just mashing it up with your own signature style. So was your take on this. So, okay, they designed it in this way. I love that they did it this way. They shaped it like this. But what’s my thing like what’s, what, what makes me unique and all and even in inspired pro in my signature course and inspired pro, we, I teach about signature style and actually how to create your signature style. And one of the things is like, what is the thing that I’m known for that I always do?

It’s Kinda like my, my signature, right? It’s like that’s that one thing. It’s like painters would do like the a couple things differently and then you would know it was them. That’s how people kind of know. It’s the same idea. So how do I take this trend? How do I take modern trends and how do I take my signature style and mash up those three? And that is how you really, really come up with something incredible that’s unique, different has that feeling of the time period, but it still feels really timeless and really you. So those are the three things that you can start doing today to really design and make sure you nail a time period. Number one, study the period. Create a Pinterest board, you know, make, make a whole board of, of original as much as possible designs you can mostly advertising if you want number to skim over the board, identify elements that are the same, what fonts would, dividers, the photos, all those things that they’re using.

Three, which trends can you disregard or Mary with modern ideas and add your signature style. Couple things I wanna let you guys know Inspired Pro, I mentioned it just a few minutes ago, but inspired pros actually going away. Oh my gosh, it’s so sad. I know I’m going to reinterpret it in some way, shape or form in the future. Not right now because I have the inner circle running, but inspired pro. If you guys want to grab it and make sure you do so before May 25th before it’s actually going into its own lovers in of the vaults. Go to TheInspiredPro.com/go in order to grab that for the last, I’m the way it looks today at least.

The other thing is if you guys want to catch one on the war, it’s coming out next week, next Monday, the 27 so May 27th funnel nor drops and it will only be open for five days, nine slash 96 hours.
Make sure you guys grab that. That’s just FunnelGorgeous.com so thanks guys. I hope that was helpful and I appreciate you so much. And of course if you thought this podcast was super helpful and you want more and more this, please share, please share, share, share and make sure you go review it on iTunes. I would appreciate it so much and it gives me that like excitement to do more. I guys see on the next one.

Are you ready to join in the fight against ugly design? Yeah. Then head over to GorgeousDesignSecrets.com. There you will find high end design resources inside or designer tips and an amazing tribe of others just like you.

Episode #08: How to Hire a Business Nanny: Real Design Life Series


Today, Cathy’s excited to share a bit of her REAL DESIGN LIFE. Cathy made a big shift almost 2 years ago, and it changed everything and is one of the biggest contributors to her exponential growth… when she hired a Business Nanny. In this episode, she gives you her exact tips in order to hire the perfect person, and how to afford it. This is How to Hire a Business Nanny: Real Design Life Series.

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Full Transcript:

Hey everyone, it’s Cathy Olson here at a welcome to the secrets of gorgeous design podcast. Oh my goodness. It’s been just a little, it’s been some time since I’ve been on this podcast and I’ve had several of you guys asking me what are you going to do is more of a podcast, wouldn’t need to do more podcasts. Such is the life of a full time entrepreneur, right? We always do this, we get really, really excited about something and we go and do lots and lots of it and then life happens, right? It’s kind of one of those things, but I’m excited to get back in the saddle and um, I actually had a really cool idea the other day about this episode and I, it’s actually a little bit of a departure from my other episodes really. I just wanted to talk a little bit about, have a few episodes where I talk about the real life behind being a designer, being a creative, being a marketer, uh, being, uh, Gosh, mentor, all the things, being a mom, being a wife, right?

Like what does it really look like to live this life? So I wanted to talk about this thing that I actually created or for myself as saying that I do that not a lot of people do. And I’m excited to dive into this today because whenever I tell people this in real life and we’re kind of talking about what goes behind creating this thing for yourself, people are like, wait, what? Like this. It’s like, it’s kind of like that record stop or like erm, you know? Um, but today I’m going to teach you how to hire a business nanny. And I know it sounds crazy and this is a concept that the name of it I came up with just last week, but I’m gonna go through this and tell you some of my best tips and tricks. I’ve told this to countless people and it’s changed lives already for the people that I’ve told it to.

So I am excited to share this with you today and pull back the curtain on this real life entrepreneurial journey that we’re on. So let’s jump into this episode.

My name is Cathy Olson. I’m part of a group of entrepreneurs who are the founders and creative directors of their businesses who have a discerning eye and a ton of heart. If you ask those that get rich quick types, they would say that pretty design isn’t functional and doesn’t sell yet. We are proving everyday that beautiful and thoughtful details do sell and in fact attract unstoppable beauty and wealth. We believe that we can have it all and that sales can be gorgeous. These are the secrets of gorgeous design and we are here to make creativity, lucrative, build gorgeous brands and sales funnels and to make the world of business a gorgeous place to be. Okay, so I know you’re thinking a calf, what on earth is a business nanny?

I am. It’s probably not the best idea or or title that I’ve ever come up with. It’s not like one of my better ones, but it kind of makes sense and it’s kind of like when people say, oh, it’s like the Uber of this or the of that. It’s like the nanny of businesses, right? So many of you know my assistant Lexie, she is so awesome. She’s with me for almost two years. And it’s so funny because she, I originally hired her on as a personal assistant. I still call her assistant. She gets kind of mad at me when I call her assistant because she’s so much more than that. But, um, at first she was my assistant, so I actually hired a personal assistant. So what happened was a friend of mine, I was at a retreat in Nashville outside of Nashville at inspired retreat.

My friend Amber Housley puts on every year. And we were talking about one night, like in our PJ’s, I’m one of the other speakers. And I were talking about how do we, you know, how do we run our businesses and who did we hire and what kind of help did we get? So one of the, also the other speakers told me that she had a personal assistant and I thought, oh my gosh, like what would, what kind of lifestyle, what I need to, to lead in order to actually have a personal assistant. And she told me all the things that this personal assistant did, that she did the laundry. You know, she straightened up the house, she picked up the kids from school when they needed to. Not like everyday, but just sometimes ran, you know, Aaron’s uh, anytime you gotta return random things, right? Like just, just really like a mother’s helper, right?

Just, but really not even having to do with the kids. I just kind of like everything else, all those things that were expected to do. That’s a whole other podcast episode. Right? Um, but those are all those other things that we are expected to have somehow fit into our lives when we are running our businesses. Right? So they kept thinking that, gosh, that would be so nice. Gosh, that would be so nice. And I just thought, well, how on earth would I ever afford that? Right? So that was really, if you’re thinking that right now, understand that was me too. And I just thought, gosh, what we’re going to have a bougie person, what I need to be to have a personal assistant. So I started, I don’t know why. It just got more and more in my head. And I kept thinking about it, kept thinking about it, caffeine about it.

I thought, well, how can I really make this work? How, how could this become realistic for me? And it’s one of those things that I’ve been doing in my life really, that it’s like I see things and I’m like, well, is that possible for me? And then what would that look like? And just kind of crunching numbers, right? So initially I came up with the idea of just bringing on someone part time because I thought even part time would be so helpful, you know, to come out, um, to come, you know, I be say say in air quotes home, right? Because I have my office, but I’m always at home. But, um, you know, to come out of my office, basically come home from a day’s work and not have a whole bunch of work to do, right. With the house and dinner and cleaning and the kids and all that stuff.

Right? So I thought, what would that feel like? And I was having an increasingly a hard time with my husband as well, like this was becoming an area of contingent in our marriage because it’s like we would both be exhausted by the end of the day and it was Kinda like, well, who’s doing this? Like, Oh, am I just supposed to do it because I’m the wife? You know? It’s like, oh, am I supposed to do it? Cause I work from home. Like I, I’m, I run, you know, a really successful business. Like I shouldn’t be treated like someone that’s freelancing on the side or whatever. Right? So it was kind of becoming an area of contention in our marriage. It’s like, whose job is this? So that’s when I was like, Gosh, I feel like we would be happier in our marriage if I just looked into this.

So that’s kind of the genesis of, of where this, this came to be. Um, and it totally changed my life. There’s no way on earth I would be where I am today without, um, Lexie, right. Without my assistant. So it’s morphed into something totally different. And that’s kind of where I wanted, that’s where one’s explained to you, the genesis of it because that’s kind of where I suggest people start. But know that it looks completely different now. And so it’s funny, fast forward two years later, almost two years later, I’m actually hiring another business nanny. So Lexi has actually kind of officially transitioned out of being my assistant to being my junior designer and funnel builder. So she’s like actually grown and changed and morphed into something totally different. Um, as our, as our business has grown. So this is why I wanted to share with you, because I’m going through this all over again.

I’m going through this process again of hiring another business and basically to take over for her for what she used to do that I’m going through this all over again and I’m like, oh my gosh. Like I need to kind of explain to people what this is like cause I’m here again. Right. I’m Kinda like back to back to square one, I guess. Not Really Square one. But um, so like I said, Lexi started with me a little less than two years ago and I both to basically post it on care.com and it was for a personal assistant position, which now it looks like now that I’m reposting and I’m actually changing the job out that it looks like they kind of don’t have that position anymore specifically. So I don’t know exactly, I just like re posted it. So you’re going to have to do some research and on where you want to post it.

Like what category? Cause it used to be its own category, it’s not really anymore, but you can still kind of look for like in home care, like kind of nannyish position. Right? Cause I think that those type of people, they’re just caregivers and they just love to help. So I think that there are still around the same type of people that she would want to help you. And a lot of times are just like some younger people in there that really just want to help. Right. And they just love running errands or you know, doing little tasks for people. Just really simple stuff that just kinda easy. So I started out, you know, part time, super part time, I want to say she started about like 20 hours or so, you know, just a few days a week. Or actually maybe she came in every day and it was just a couple of hours.

But her, her hours are pretty flexible because it didn’t really matter to me when the things were getting done, which on her side it’s like oh my gosh, dream job. Right? Flexible hours. You just kind of come in and chill out and do some stuff and drive around. It was like such a cool job for her on her side. Right. So my first tip for you, if you are looking to hire a business nanny is to number one out the tasks that are not making you money that you don’t have to do. So during the day I was losing a lot of time, like going to target or something and returning, you know, little, I don’t know, whatever I bought that like needed to be returned. And actually more likely I wasn’t returning them. So then I was just losing money, which is like basically throwing money down the toilet because I would never go to return something I didn’t need and then it would just sit there and gain, you know, collect dust and it was just horrible.

So little things like that was taking so much time out of my day that I could have been doing like these high revenue generating activities, right. Because I was had to go to target to buy like supplies for school or I had to go return this or go to the post office for that or grab this or grab that. It was just killing my day. Even like grocery shopping. Just little, little simple things I had to do during the day because when I take my kids shopping, it is like a nightmare. So I tried to do any shopping that I have to do or returning or whatever. Uh, when they are not around when they’re in school. So that was like the first thing was I’m just trying to figure out exactly what the tax, that we’re not making me money that I didn’t have to do.

So laundry, nobody’s paying me to do laundry, you know, cleaning up. No one’s paying me to do that. Cooking, nobody was paying like all those things. Um, and then also like things that I really just, that would have improved my life, but I was never getting too. So I also had a list of things. Um, I called it my sh, you know, what t lists because it was just all of the things that were on this list that I just was never in my life ever going to get to. Cause I was always too busy. So I had this whole list of things to get done, like organize the closet, right. Just stuff like that. So I had this whole list of stuff and so all of these things that I knew that would improve my life, but I just never got around to. So that is the first step to figure out what, what the task or that are not making you any money that you don’t have to do and or things that are on your, you know, kind of bucket list, right.

Um, to get done that you don’t really like think you’ll ever get to. The second thing that I did was I actually figured out what quick money makers were that I could train people to do. So initially I didn’t do this. So this is why I’m telling you like now to do this, to do this initially because this would have saved me a lot of time and energy. But originally I just thought she was just going to free up some of my time so that I could make more money during my work time. But really after a while I thought, gosh, it would be great if she knows she’s an employee of low inspired. Like she can actually make me money, like let alone like me spending money, she can actually return on her investment or do we turn my investment in here in her right.

So that’s when I did like identified some quick moneymakers and I had her designing, we have this thing called brand designer for a day and then we have a done for you service. Basically you buy these templates for $27 and then for $97 upgrade we will like actually customize the template for you. So for basically $97 we can customize a template. So I had her doing those for the clients that we’re upgrading. And so every time she designs she created one. She was actually earning, basically, it’s at $97 and so she did a few of these a week and it was like totally paying for her. It was like such a no brainer of so smart on my part. I should’ve done it sooner, but as soon as I figured out I thought, oh my gosh, that is so smart. And all she had to do honestly was take my course.

All she had to do is actually take the brand designer for a day course and it showed her exactly how to do it and then she just practice and practice and practice. And I would give her some tips and pointers, you know, every once in a while. And she got better and better at it. And it got to the point where I just went straight through to her and she was basically making her own money. So it was pretty awesome. So that’s my second tip is to try to figure out if there’s a quick moneymaker that you can train them to do, like when they’re working on your business. So for me, originally she was working, Gosh, I would say probably about 80% on house stuff and 20% business stuff. And then like I said, over the years it’s shifted into, now she’s doing like 5% health stuff and 95% business stuff.

But it’s gotten to the point where she’s gotten so overloaded on the business side that now it’s like we’re growing enough. We need another person. So now she’s going to be 100% business stuff because she’s awesome. And I’ve trained her like for, you know, two years straight. Um, and we’re going to get another person. But either way, you know, just depending on the person, you’re going to have a different percentage too. And then the third tip I have for you is to actually go to, you know, to do it what I did really, um, and, and just go for a personal assistant position, right. And in house. And what I did is I went onto care.com again, I said it’s a little bit different now than when I originally went, but I’m still, I just posted yesterday looking for this new person and um, I’ve already gotten tons of hits.

So you’re looking for someone who will be a personal juicy can call it a personal assistant, can call whatever you want. Obviously a business nannies sounds a little weird. So probably want to go with personal assistant because the idea is that you want them to be eager to help and, and that’s why I kinda call it a nanny cause they, Andy’s have that like they want to take care of your kids, right? They’re like really sweet. They have a certain disposition of just like being helpers and like that’s what they want to do. On this planet is help people, right? So really like, it’s like a business nanny. It’s like helping you. Um, I guess, I guess you could say it’s a mommy nanny too in a way, but really they’re just there to help you, um, get whatever you can’t get done right. They’re just kind of a, another you, another arm, another extension of you.

And so in my care.com ad I basically said, you know, hey, like we’re a fun family of four. Um, I have two daughters, I have a lot of stuff to get done today. I wear, I’m a graphic designer, I work, work from home during the day. I have a lot of things that are, you know, kind of fallen through the cracks and I just need help. Right? I just was like, it was super honest about it. I said, you know, this position would include, um, some, some doing sort of doing some errands, dropping some stuff off, some light cleaning, some laundry, organizing and maybe even some business stuff. Right. When I said, you know, emails and answering clients and stuff like that. Um, so I said, you know, communication, strong communication is a must, a computer. And I forgot what I said, personal skills or something, a good attitude, self, self-starter, don’t need to be micromanaged.

Those kinds of things, which I say all those things because that is the way that I work. I can’t stand like micromanaging people. I’m like, you’re, you’re a grownup. You know, here’s what I like to get done. You go do that. You Go, you go do Ubu and I’m going to be over here doing my business, right? Like I don’t want to like stand over anybody. So I also wanted people that wanted that autonomy, that like wanting to take on a job and like just own it. Right? And just go and go and do it. Go, go out there and conquer. Right. Um, so those are the kinds of things that I put in my ads. So those are the things I suggested to put into yours. But again, it’s going to look totally different for you. If you feel super weird about bringing someone in your home, I totally get that.

And you don’t have to have them in your home if you want them just like running errands and just kind of like in and out and just kind of doing things for you. That’s totally fine if you want them to work from home. I’m doing emails and stuff. I will say the in-person aspect has made every, all of the difference for me. So I have had virtual assistants in the past and so this whole time you might be thinking, well, can I just have a virtual assistant? But I want to tell you that it makes all of the difference having someone in person. And maybe that’s just my personality, I don’t know. But I’m telling you that she and I get more done in a day than I’ve ever gotten done in my business, you know, in 11 years. So it’s, I don’t know what it is about being in person with the both of us in the dynamic of like me being able to walk out there and say, hey, what’s going on?

How’s this working out? Versus just sending an email to somebody. I Dunno what it is, but we just literally like what, what I would get done with a virtual assistant at the same amount of hours. It’s like tripled, quadrupled. Guajira bold our productivity. So I would just say if you’re thinking, oh, I just couldn’t get a virtual assistant for that, just try this. Right. Just try having this part time person come in and help you in person. I’m telling you, it’s game-changing. It’s life-changing. It’s totally different than what you’re used to. Um, but it’s so awesome. I mean, it’s gotta be someone you obviously trust. You know, at first, I didn’t, she didn’t have a house key or any of that stuff. And then as she, as she went, you know, she gained my trust. Um, but with the cool thing is, I wanted to tell you guys is that now how fun is this?

Now that we are hiring this second business nanny and Lexi’s taking on a bigger role, she’s actually going to be the person that they report to. So I’m having her do all of the interviewing, all of the like phone calls, like actually talking to like, cause she’s the one, she’s basic. They’re basically her assistant at this point and they’re going to report to her directly. So I don’t have to deal with any of that. Oh my gosh. How Fun. I’m so excited about it. Um, and she’s super excited to have like that kind of power, right. Um, to feel like she’s a big being a big part of it. So I just wanted to give all these tips you today to just really encourage you to give you an idea of something if you’re not like there yet. That’s totally cool. Like I said, I started off super duper part-time, um, very like kind of low hourly rate, just basically, you know, just as simple.

I think it was a little bit more than minimum wage. And she, she slowly worked her way up and not really even slowly actually I kept giving her raises cause she was awesome. Um, but you know, then, then we went to full time and then now, you know, she’s, she’s taken on this new position, um, with a much bigger race. So it’s pretty exciting. Pretty amazing. Our business could not have gone anywhere near was like, this is one of my secrets. Like I’m telling you the truth. This is one of my biggest secrets of what has changed my business so much in the last two years is this. So it’s a big deal, right? It’s a big deal for me to tell you this, but it’s also a big deal for me to show you exactly how I did it. So I hope you guys appreciate it and that you actually started thinking about it even if you’re not totally ready today, start mapping it out. You know, do what I said though, like one through three, start mapping out these things and start getting ready to change and shift your life. So thanks so much guys. I appreciate you so much. I hope this was helpful and I will see you on the next one.

Are you ready to join in the fight against ugly design? Yeah. Then head over to http://gorgeousdesignsecrets.com. There you will find high end design resources inside or designer tips and an amazing tribe of others just like you.

Episode #07: The Bulletproof Way of Getting Inspired by Others


Cathy’s getting controversial in this episode as she tackles the topic of “Copying”. Cathy has been copied numerous times (that she knows of), but still understands the importance it should have in any designer’s life. Cathy shares how to get “Bulletproof Inspiration” from others, how to not feel like a fraud when doing it, and how it all helps us grow as Designers.

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Full Transcript:

Hey everyone, this is Cathy Olson and welcome to the Secrets of Gorgeous Design Podcast. I am so freaked out to record this episode right now. I am literally like, hold it. Actually wanted to talk about this topic for a little while, but actually I don’t want to talk about it kind of the same time because I think it’s a racy topic as far as it comes. This is racy as against basically when it comes to design, right? Um, but I, I feel like it needs to be sad and it needs to be talked about. I need to get over the fact that I’m a, I just need to stop caring about what people are going to think when I record this episode and what people say and I just got to be honest and truthful because I think that it’s something that a lot of people do anyways.

Even if they don’t act like they’re doing it. And I want to give you guys permission to do this because it is something that’s really happening in real life and everybody does it. And um, gosh, this, why is it so hard to talk about, I don’t know, but today I’m going to talk to you about copying other people and how every single one of us do it and how you can do it in a way that doesn’t make you feel like a fraud. Right? Today I’m going to talk about the bulletproof way to get inspired from other people. Let’s jump on in.

My name is Cathy Olson. I’m part of a group of entrepreneurs who are the founders and creative directors of their businesses who have a discerning eye and a ton of heart. If you ask those get rich quick types, they would say that pretty designed, isn’t functional and doesn’t sell.

Yet. We are proving everyday that beautiful and thoughtful details do sell and in fact attract unstoppable beauty and wealth. We believe that we can have it all and that sales can be gorgeous. These are the secrets of gorgeous design and we are here to make creativity, lucrative, build gorgeous brands and sales funnels, and to make the world of business a gorgeous place to be. Now before you commence to throwing it, they get me any, like kind of bruised fruit or tomatoes or any of that. Let me clarify that. I have been copied til like kingdom come in my, you know, 10 years of in business. And actually even before that, right in, I’ve been a professional graphic designer for 20 years. Trust me, I’ve been on the other side of it and I’ve been copied, like literally, I mean sometimes like not overtly, right?

Sometimes people were like pretty sneaky, sneaky about it. And then other, other times people are really, really, um, straight up copying and pasting in my stuff. I’ve been through it all and I’ve been on the other side of it and it feels really crappy being on the other side of it. It’s kind of like, this episode is sort of serving for two parts. It’s to say here’s how you do it the right way and here’s how you do it so that you don’t like make everyone hate. You. Also like, here’s how you do it, the respect of way, and if you need to like, just take the word like the word, if the word copying really, really bothers you, then take out that word. And just, I love the word inspiration because it’s obviously it’s more of a positive word and I love that word.

Obviously it’s in my business name, love inspired. Um, but I just, I think that it’s the same thing, right? If we’re talking about copying somebody versus being inspired by somebody, there’s semantic differences, but I just want to. So basically I don’t care what word you use, I just want you to do it the right way is all I’m saying. Right. Um, but again, I’ve been copied and I’ve been in their side of it and some people are really sensitive about it. So I actually want to say to those of you who are really sensitive about it too, I mean, it definitely depends on how it’s happening and who’s doing it and how they’re acting about it. But I, I’ve also seen people overreact to. I’ve had clients that have come to me that have said, oh my gosh, that look, this person totally ripped off this site that we created together and I’m like, but did they, cause it Kinda doesn’t like, so I think I say that because sometimes people are really oversensitive and they think that, um, that you own every line that looks like that or new own, like the fact that like, you can use a frame like that.

I mean sometimes I can tell they’ve been inspired with. That doesn’t bother me at all. Um, so again, there’s different levels of sensitivity and that’s again why I didn’t want to cover this topic because I feel like it’s such a hot topic and there’s such a heated discussion on both sides and I, you don’t agree with me, that’s totally fine. You don’t have to, you know, we can agree to disagree, but um, you know, feel free to message me privately if you want to hash it out. Um, or maybe not. Maybe I’ll just tell you, I don’t wanna talk about it, but either way, um, I just want to give you my version of it because I don’t really, there’s not a lot of people talking about it, so I just figured there needs to be some kind of conversation happening when knowing that this is happening everywhere.

Right? Um, so I have three tips for you today on how to this, this idea of bulletproof, um, inspiration. And the reason I say bulletproof is because two things. Number one, I just wanted to be, I want you to be able to be inspired by others, work into you to recreate it in yours and, but in a bulletproof way, meaning that you’re above reproach on it so that if the original designer were to come across it, which sometimes they don’t, right? But sometimes they do, that’s a problem. But um, if the original designer or artist were to come across it, that they would be like, wow, that’s a really cool adaptation, right? Like, that’s like, you, what you take took my idea and ran with it. That’s kind of the idea of being bulletproof. But also just for legal reasons, right? Because you can literally get sued if you start copying people left and right and just ripping off all of their stuff.

So never do that. Never rip anything off intentionally like that. Um, and just kind of be in, just take it as inspiration, right? Bulletproof inspiration is, is the idea here. So the first thing you can do is make sure that you work on the strategy of the layout before you even get started. I think the biggest downfall that you can do is if you’re copying or mimicking or you know, kind of, um, using your, a design as your muse or whatever the biggest problem is, you can make decisions for the client or for yourself that aren’t the best decisions, but that’s not the best decisions for. It’s not the best solution, right? So if you’re just copying over a layout or something blindly and you’re not even taking any, any of the strategy into consideration, then you’re going to design something that is basically designed for someone else.

Right? It’s kind of like putting on an outfit that was there was totally created for to fit someone else’s body perfectly, right. It’s just not gonna quite work. Right. And that’s the thing. It’s like, I think that a lot of people do. I think a lot of people will pick things based on design decisions and not strategy decisions. And that becomes an issue with a client, obviously doesn’t help them, it doesn’t help them sell to their people, but it also makes it so that the, the solution doesn’t quite fit right. They grow out, grow up pretty quickly and they need something new really quickly and they just, the whole thing was a waste, right. So that’s why it’s also, again, why I talk about doing strategy before and laying everything out, making sure everything makes sense. And I’ve done a ton for pretty much every other podcast I’ve done where I talk about strategy.

But um, I think two podcasts ago I talked specifically how to design it in a strategic way. You want to make sure you do that first. If you are designing in a strategic way, if you are making sure the layout fits the client and who is interacting with a brand and actually like making, making those conversions and actually making sales. If you’re focused on that first, it’s going to be pretty hard to copy after that just by default because you’re going to have your layout and your skeleton sort of already worked out. You have all your planning already worked out, so if you’re trying to like, you can’t really rip a design Spec like exactly copy it. If you have your own strategy and your own layout happening anyways, right? Because it’s going to be in a different configuration anyway, so it’d be pretty hard to recognize.

That’s the first thing that you can do to make sure that you’re using. I’m making your design as bulletproof as possible. Make sure that you work out the layout totally separate without the design first and again you can listen to a couple episodes back where I talked about how to do that and then the second thing that you can do to make sure that you’re not totally ripping or, or a copying someone is that you can look for elements to recreate and not the layout as a whole. You can basically de Lys is what I do when I’m looking at something that I’m, I basically take a lot, a lot of different inspiration, right? I might have like the client will send me all these different sites that they like and I see what is similar with them and I really deconstruct them and I don’t look at them as a whole piece.

I look at them as little sections of stuff and I just kind of use it as a jumping point. It’s basically like if you were to grab a magazine and kind of creating like a collage and you’re just cutting out little pieces and gluing it all together. It’s this new thing. It’s not the same anymore. You’ve changed it. You’ve tweaked it, you made it your own, you put it altogether, you really built this like little Frankenstein, monster layout, right? Um, but then it’s totally yours at that point. So that’s what I really do. I don’t look for layouts as a whole. I don’t look for the sum of its parts. I look at the parts and so if you kind of think of it that way is like, you know, grabbing little little pieces from all different types of designs and actually just looking for the elements to recreate in the, the idea behind the design style.

Then you’ll, no one would ever call you a copy cat ever. Right. Because you’re basically taking from all these little different inspiration sources. I would say you want a good three to four inspiration sources at the minimum if not more. I mean if you have more than definitely you know, you’re pulling from all kinds of sources so you won’t really have to worry about that. But I would say three to four at a minimum and just kind of be bouncing back and forth and just really deconstructing the layout and looking at a piece by piece and just focusing on this section and um, and not the whole thing as a part. So if you’re just looking at, okay, I like this little treatment they did there, I liked the way that they did this, I like the font they chose or whatever it is.

Right? Just deconstructing the elements and recreating those for your own design. And then the third thing that I always do that also makes it so it’s bulletproof inspiration is that I sketch it from my memory, so I don’t like to actually see the layout as I’m designing because that makes it too close usually. So what I do instead is I take lar or take those elements, right. What I was talking about. I look for all those, all those little elements. And I started sketching out ideas on piece of paper. So I take a look at, well, like I really liked the way they use that goal there. I liked the way they laid this on top of that are like that font that they use and then I’ll just sketch it and recreate it from sketches, like while I’m looking at it. Right.

I’m looking at it, I’m sketching it out and getting some ideas and putting it together. But then when I actually jump over to the computer, I do it for my sketch. That way it’s like it’s getting reinterpreted. Your brain is really cool the way it works like that with memory. It’s actually funny. Um, I learned a lot about memory, and I’m not going to go off too far on this tangent, but I learned a lot about how memories work and basically like you, it re, every time you pull up a thought or an idea or a memory, your body re or sorry, your brain reinterprets it every time. So you’re, the memory will literally change every time you remember it because it gets reinterpreted through your new filter. So basically you take an old idea and then it, like filters it through your mind, which is a different place than it was the last time.

I remembered it and it actually changes the memory. It’s never static. It’s never the same memory. It changes every time you recall it, which I think is cool. Obviously just because it’s cool and I nerd out on stuff like that. But I also think it’s cool because when we’re doing this design, we’re now reinterpreting the design, right? It’s not that same thing. We’re not making a carbon copy of that idea. We’re actually reinterpreting it from our memory and from what we drew. Right? So we have this whole little sketched out version below, uh, you know, that we’re looking down at and we’re seeing this new interpreted version. It’s Kinda like, it’s Kinda like that whole idea of the phone, you know, telephone, but it’s, it’s, it’s being reinterpreted several times before it gets to the actual computer and designing it. I love doing that.

Um, it makes it feel like it’s your own and it is your own right, because it’s going through several processes to get there. Those really are the three things that I do and every single time I do these it makes it. My design is like total, totally, it’s a new thing. It’s a new creature, right? It’s a new animal, it’s not the same thing anymore. And I don’t get accused of being copied or any of that, stuff like that. Of course you could always come up with your own original ideas to throw in some original ideas there. Um, but I love, you know, I, I honestly love paying attention to what everyone else is doing because it doesn’t have to be a thing of me copying or whatever, but I think if you don’t pay attention, there’s more of a, it’s more to your detriment if you’re not paying attention to what’s happening in trends and styles and um, if you’re completely ignoring all that stuff and just going crazy like avant garde, like you’re not really stretching yourself as an artist and you’re not growing with everyone else alongside you.

Right? I think that you can reinterpret things that other people are doing and make them different and push them. And actually that should be my fourth thing is that you can improve upon other people’s ideas. If you have, you know, you kind of put this all these like this little like Frankenstein, you know, layout together and it’s become this new thing, it’s become this new creature that you built, but you can also make it better, right? With the WHO says it has to be that way. If it doesn’t make sense for the client, right? Change it, make it better, make the solution better, make it better than they even made it in the first place. And then people were all of a sudden going to be copying you. But that’s another story. But that’s how we really innovate. We take it, we take a foundation built on, you know, other things that other people do and we reinterpret all this information and we’re doing this anyways, whether we do it, whether we admit that we’re doing it or not, this is happening completely on a subconscious level anyways.

There’s nothing we designed that we’ve, that we’ve never seen before. There’s nothing new under the sun. This is happening in our brains anyways. I’m just going with it and getting inspired. So you don’t stare at a blank screen, so I definitely do this when I can’t think of anything when I’m stuck and I’m not, I just need some ideas. This is what I do. I’ve just got to be honest about it. I hope that was helpful for you guys today. See, I just hope that made you feel better at that. If you already are doing this, that you feel better. That it is totally normal. Um, I think you’re totally normal. I think you’re fine and I think this is the bulletproof way to get inspired from other people and just to keep creating and challenging and becoming a better designer. Thanks guys. I appreciate you so much and I’ll see you on the next one.

Are you ready to join in the fight against ugly design? Yeah. Then head over to http://gorgeousdesignsecrets.com. There you will find high end design resources inside or designer tips and an amazing tribe of others just like you.

Episode #06: Creating Catalyst Moments through Real Life Events


Real life events can serve as major catalysts moments… those moments that we get in life that you can look back on and say, “after that everything changed for me.” Cathy shares her secrets on making sure every in-person event you attend is a game changer, and that you make the very MOST of your investment.

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Full Transcript:

Hey everyone, this is Cathy Olson and welcome to the Secrets of Gorgeous Design Podcast. Oh my goodness. Today. So I’m kind of like, it’s a bittersweet topic for me to talk to you today about. And the topic is really something that has changed my business a lot. It’s both exhilarating and exhausting. I’ve just come back from back to pretty much back to back events. So my September’s and falls are always filled with real life events and they are awesome and can be exhausting too and can cause a lot of money if you do them wrong. So I want to talk to you about my top tips for real life events today. So let’s jump into this episode.

My name is Cathy Olson. I’m part of a group of entrepreneurs who are the founders and creative directors of their businesses who have a discerning eye and a ton of heart.

If you ask those get rich quick types, they would say that pretty designed, isn’t functional and doesn’t sell. Yet. We are proving everyday that beautiful and thoughtful details do sell and in fact attract unstoppable beauty and wealth. We believe that we can have it all and that sales can be gorgeous. These are the secrets of gorgeous design and we are here to make creativity, lucrative, build gorgeous brands and sales funnels and to make the world of business a gorgeous place to be. All right y’all. I hope you are ready for some real, real talk today because I am just like right in the thick of the aftermath of traveling a ton. So I, Gosh, it’s basically August, September and October of every single year is my craziest every year because it’s Kinda like this intersection of me traveling a bunch for events, for either speaking events or events that I’m attending that I’m paying to attend.

Right. Instead of them paying me. And I also it, it’s like the beginning of the really busy season for love inspired, which is my design agency. So it’s kind of like this perfect storm of awesome business. Um, and, and also it happens like right before all of the holidays hit too. So it’s kind of crazy. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. So I love it. I mean, obviously I can say no to all these events that don’t have to speak at events, I don’t have to attend events, right? Um, and I don’t have to take on all these clients so it’s, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s definitely voluntary, but I will say that there’s ways to do a wrong. So when people kind of get burned out from real life events or don’t want to get to go to a real life event or get it freaked out to go to their first real life event, it’s kind of a culmination of all of these things.

And I think you, maybe you’ve heard some, some like horror stories about people who have gone to real life events and they were a waste of money or um, or maybe it’s just scary period to make that kind of investment in your business because as soon as you go to a real life event, your, your costs start to like, you know, exponentially add up, right? Because you obviously have to take time off of work. You got to, you know, deal with real life situation where if you have children or something, you’ve got to deal with childcare, you know, all of that stuff. And then not to mention all the travel costs that are incurred, flying, eating right, like where are you have to stay, all that stuff. So I know it can be really freaky for people. And actually what kind of made me started thinking about this was that I was interviewed for a magazine about events and about real life events and what they did for my business and it made me really kind of look back at all of the events that I’ve gone to over, you know, Gosh, whatever, 10 years.

And I’m really made me start thinking about all these little different moments in these touch points that really changed my life. There were like the catalyst moment I made an in person connection and met someone that would forever change my life after that point. And that’s happened several times. It’s not just like this one event that I went to write. It happens pretty much. Not Pretty much. It happens yearly every year. Um, there’s probably several people that I meet that I, that change the trajectory of my life so, and I can say, you know, there’s a good handful of people that I can just name off that have totally changed my life and I met them at real life events, so, um, and as such as the people, but the things, the little moments, um, the little [inaudible] and stuff like that too. So I want to today kind of give you sort of a survival guide, I guess of sorts, something that can, that you can use like three things that you can do to really make events work for you and make them worth the investment of your time, of your energy, of your actual money.

Right? And so the first thing that you need to do when you go to a real life event, and also I should say to you, the reason I’m kind of dove into this is because I’m actually throwing my first real life event, um, in February here in San Diego. So I’m really excited about that. So it’s again, I’m also go like, this is coming from both sides of it, from the side of me attending events for 10 years and then also now I’m throwing my, my own event and I’m trying to kind of create these connection points within the event. So all that to say, okay, so my first number one is that you want to focus on getting two things. Basically I’m getting strategy out of it, but also getting inspiration out of it. So there’s a lot of times people, some people will, people go to events, they basically think, oh, I want to get, you know, this thing out of it.

Right? But I think that sometimes those goals are a little too lofty, especially if you’re trying to get something to completely finished before you leave. Sometimes it’s pretty hard to do because what Ha, what ends up happening is, you know, we, we say, oh, I’m going to buy this ticket to this event, got to learn how to do this thing. And then I’m gonna come back and it’s gonna be all awesome. But what kind of ends up, especially if you have implementation in mind, but what ends up happening is you get into a room full of other likeminded individuals and entrepreneurs and we just want to talk to each other, you know, especially the smaller events that were, you were, you do are allowed to talk to each other, you know, and kind of fellowship with one another. We start to talk to each other and that kind of takes over.

I’m like, oh my gosh. It’s like we finally get around people that understand us. And so we just started talking, talking, talking, talking and making these friendships, which is great, but you can kind of leave feeling a little unsatisfied if all you did was kind of talk and hang out with people, right? So this is why it’s really important that you focus on something that’s actually doable within your construct, right? Something that you might think you’re going to have a lot of downtime to work, but probably you’re not because you’re going to end up meeting people and talking to people. So, um, that’s why my two goals are always to get strategy. And to get inspired because either way you’re going to get both of those, whether you have a lot of time, a lot of downtime in between, you know, the sessions or maybe you’re alone and you don’t know anybody.

So you are gonna get a lot of downtime or maybe it’s one of those ones where you have no downtime and slash or you’re talking to people a lot. I’m either way either type of event, you can still get strategy and you can still get inspired. So what I mean by strategy is you want high level strategy, you want to go to an event that someone where someone is teaching something that is basically something that you haven’t tried before, right? Um, of course there’s always going to be situations where you’re like, oh, I’ve tried it that way, but maybe maybe it’s a new opportunity as far as like, it’s a different way to do the same thing. So maybe it’s something you’ve learned before, but there’s some kind of strategy that you were missing or something you haven’t tried. So those are always the things that I’m gathering and basically gathering strategy ideas for whatever, right, for whatever type of event it is.

And then, um, the second part of that is to get inspired. So I think what I mean by getting inspired, it’s not like getting inspired by necessarily the speaker or like feeling warm and fuzzy, but getting inspired by what is possible. So sometimes I get inspired by the people around me and not having anything to do with the people on the stage because sometimes when you’re attending an event or even speaking in it honestly, um, I get inspired from the fellow speakers, but it’s kind of that idea of seeing what is possible with someone who’s in the same boat as you. So sometimes all it takes is just seeing one other person that’s doing something that you’ve been dreaming of doing and to give you that permission to be like, okay, cool, I can do it too. So those are the two things. Those are my goals I guess.

Um, when I go to a real life event is to get strategy and to get inspired. And that’s enough. And if I get those two things or cup, you know, a few different versions of those two things that I’m happy. The second thing that you need is you want to utilize as much as possible time to bounce ideas. So if you are able to talk to other people or if they or if the event has like a group setting where you can talk to other people, bounced those puppies as much as you think those ideas as much as you possibly can because a lot of time this is what we don’t have in our own business. Right. This, you want to utilize this as much as possible because once, as soon as you go home and you’re sitting in your office and you’re surrounded by your dog or whatever, right?

Like there’s no one to talk to anymore and you’re and maybe even do have a couple employees, but that’s just such. It’s like an insider thing, right? It’s kind of in that at that time, at that point you’re just sort of bouncing the same ideas off of each other and you’re not getting any new perspective. So if you at all have any time whatsoever, anytime throughout the event to bounce ideas off of each other, even if it’s like, hey you got can you meet up for coffee and can I bounce some of these ideas that I’m having off of you or hey, can I walk with you, you know, to get a sandwich or whatever it is, right? Like just make some time to bounce ideas off of each other because there’s, they’ll, you know, other people will help you see kind of holes in your idea, but they’ll also just like give you practice to just talking it out and saying it in a different way and explaining it in a different way.

And it’s so, it’s so powerful because a lot of times you write stuff down and it’s just not the same thing as if we bounce off ideas off of other people. So that is the number two thing you need to do. And the number three thing is that do try to take some quiet time without distraction. So, and actually this is kind of what makes real life events really important versus, or really unique. I guess in, in, you know, instead of taking a course online is that you do kind of have that quiet time. They’ll always be some time, even if it’s a really busy packed schedule, especially when I’m a speaker, I’m an event. My schedule’s pretty packed full because I’m basically on the whole time for, for the most part and if I have a roommate too than we really are on because we never stopped talking.

So, um, but if you schedule it or just make sure that you utilize that quiet time because like I said, you will get some, whether it’s on the plane or in a car ride or you know, right before you go to bed or like, or during a break or I don’t care. Even if you’re in the bathroom, um, try to use that time. And if you don’t have a lot of quiet time at, at when you go to a real life events, make some, you know, let your family and your friends know that you’re busy, that you’re out of the office, turn on your out of office, you know, turn off your phone, whatever it is. It’s distracting you from the real world, like back in, you know, where, where you live. I’m just protect that quiet time and be there right before the present and when you are just just take advantage of that chance that you get to like go away from real life for a couple days.

Right. And actually just soak it in and just fill in this space that you’re currently occupying and just be there. So use that quiet time without those, the real life distractions. Right. Because you wouldn’t have distraction at the event, but I mean like use any little moments that you have just on your vacay away from real life to just really think things through and maybe you need to grab a notepad, you know, like I said, make some quiet time. Maybe you have to miss a session or two in order to take some quiet time and just go off alone. That was something that was really, really hard for me in the beginning. And Gosh, I mean it’s still, it’s kind of hard, but I’ve pretty much gotten over at this point. I had this really, really strong sense of Fomo, right? Like fear of missing out.

So I would never miss any sessions, especially like in a bigger conference. I would never miss any sessions. I’d go to every single one and just pack it in, back in and pack it in. But then I realized I’d be so exhausted at the end of the day and I would have never had any time to actually recover and think about what I was learning. So for me, you know, it just took a lot of practice for me because because of my fomo was so bad. But now I will take time to listen to my body. If I’m really tired, I’ll go get you know, some, a breather and walk around or take, grab a notepad and maybe just take some quiet time to think or reflect or just do something. And if especially if I don’t have it, like on a plane ride, like on a long plane ride, I always get that.

So I don’t necessarily need to take it during the event. But if you’re driving or something like that and you don’t really have like a lot of time to just be totally still then, you know, trying to make some time in really these three things are the things that I am making sure that my event is all about. So the event that we’re creating is, it’s for our inspired pro people, so our high end graphic design program, it’s this real life event we call it actually inspired irl, which stands for in real life. Um, so it’s basically like the real life version of it and not just the online version of it, but that’s like what we’re like number one, getting you know, strategy and getting inspired by others and what’s possible. Right. That’s what, that’s the number one important thing to me. Number two, having, you know, making time to bounce off ideas off of each other, to talk to each other, to say, here’s what I was thinking, what do you guys think?

It’s so important. And number three, to have that quiet time without distractions, we’re actually going to have times when I’m not going to allow people to talk. It’s like a quiet time where you go, you go in your own little room. It’s actually at this I’m really cool. $6,000,000 mansion in La Jolla overlooking the ocean. It’s amazing. Incredible. Um, so I want people to be inspired by being quiet and just listening to the waves crash and getting away from other people and actually spending that time. So these are like the three things, kind of like the cornerstone, like pillars of what I’m creating for this event because it’s the three things that I do at every event to make them worth my money and make them, you know, able to be a catalyst for growth, for growth, for my business, right to you, to really utilize these events to and just like spend the them as much as I, you know, the best way that I possibly can in order to make the biggest impact. So those are the three things that you can start doing at your next event to make it worthwhile and to make it amazing and a game changing moment for you. So thank you guys so much. I hope that was helpful and I appreciate you so much. I’ll see you next time.

Are you ready to join in the fight against ugly design? Yeah. Then head over to www.gorgeousdesignsecrets.com. There you will find high end design resources inside or designer tips and an amazing tribe of others just like you.

Episode #05: Sales Funnels VS Websites: When, What & Why


When does someone need a Website versus a Sales Funnel? And how do you know if you need both? In this episode Cathy shares a powerful metaphor that explains the differences between the two and how they fit in to your current business model.

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Hey everyone, this is Cathy Olson and welcome to the Secrets of Gorgeous Design Podcast. I was asked this question over the weekend. I attended an event and I was asked anytime I mentioned what I did or if I mentioned anything about a website or a sales page or a sales funnel, I basically got the same question over and over and over again, so I thought today I would answer this for you to just click kind of clear the air in case you’re not sure what the difference is between a website and a sales funnel. So let’s jump into this episode.

My name is Cathy Olson. I’m part of a group of entrepreneurs who are the founders and creative directors of their businesses who have a discerning eye and a ton of heart. If you ask those get rich quick types, they would say that pretty designed isn’t functional and doesn’t sell.

Yet. We are proving everyday that beautiful and thoughtful details do sell and in fact attract unstoppable beauty and wealth. We believe that we can have it all and that sales can be gorgeous. These are the secrets of gorgeous design and we are here to make creativity, lucrative, build gorgeous brands and sales funnels and to make the world of business a gorgeous place to be. So I was at an event where the people that were there were somewhat familiar with sales funnels, so it wasn’t like, you know, it was an event where I was like, wait, what, what’s a funnel like? It wasn’t like that. You’re right. Um, so some, most of the people actually kind of knew what a sales funnel was, but what the bigger question was, is what is the difference between a web site and a sales funnel? Like when do you need a website?

If you have a sales funnel and if you have a website, do you need a sales funnel? Right? Um, basically, do you need both? That was my big, the big question. Then everyone kept asking me and I kind of, you know, because I got asked that question so often, I sort of started to refine my answer every time it got asked. Um, and got it simpler and simpler. At first I was like, well, it depends. And then like I go off on this big long thing about, you know, my life story with web design and sales funnels, but then by the end it ended up being pretty short and so it’s kind of like I practice this message quite a few times this answer quite a few times so that I can deliver it to you today. So the biggest thing is obviously I think people know what a Web site does, but I don’t think that they recognize like how they fit together and the relationship.

So I want to kind of give you a metaphor about this and I think it’ll help you wrap your head around at least how I use websites and sales funnels. And um, again, I do both for our clients, for our high end clients. We do, um, high, high end custom web design, but then we also do high end and custom sales funnels and we and I, and I also have courses teaching both of those as well, but on a more diy capacity. Um, so really the web design, um, in the, in the website is your digital home. So I think you kind of already knew that, but um, I’d like to take it even a step further and I say the websites are like your, your storefront, they’re your, they’re your, like your, almost like your physical space, like a brick and mortar store, right?

Where people would come to visit you to see, to have them kind of, to get to know you. I mean there’s so many different reasons someone’s going to be on a website. And I talked to a little bit about in the last episode I talked about like the customer journey and how somebody would come in and, you know, uh, basically experience your brand right through your website. And it’s kind of what. It’s actually one of the things that I do in one of my courses in brand designer for a day. I have people create a brand board based on like if you had a physical space will look like so that they basically can go through some interior design, decorating tips and tricks and they pin it onto a pinterest board and figure out what it would look like if someone walks into their physical space.

And the reason I do that is because I think people have a trouble imagining things in the digital world versus the physical world and so I kind of take them to a physical place so that they can separate themselves from overthinking it is basically the reason I do that because I just think that people can pick up or design like an interior space a lot easier than they can kind of pick and choose on the digital space because as soon as you get into the digital space, it’s kind of like the sky’s the limit, right? There’s just anything as possible. Whereas I think if you bring yourself a little bit back down to earth and just say, okay, like what does this really look like in a physical space? And we know that we have constraints and we only have, you know, a 10 by 20 area, whatever, like whatever it is.

Right? Like, because a lot of times I talk about designing your office and it’s funny because how I came up with that whole concept of doing the brand room or like the digital or the physical kind of storefront type of deal was I actually, that’s what I did for, to come up with our own brand. I didn’t do it on purpose originally actually. Um, I wanted to design my office and so I hired an interior designer and she had me kind of create a brand board for it. So I did. And um, it was a direct reflection of my style and kind of who I would like want to actually meet in this physical space. Although I don’t meet anybody in my physical office anymore. I did back in the day, but I don’t anymore. Um, I, it was so cool because it was just a physical representation of all the things that were floating around in my head.

But it did give me the, the like constraints in order to figure out, okay, I need to figure out a basic palette color Palette. I needed to figure out a style, I need to figure out some textures and um, things like that. And so it really brought together the look and then it was so easy to create my design, my site after that and my new brand after that because I had this total physical go to guide right in front of me staring at me in the face. Right? Like print it out. Um, so because I did that for myself and I honestly, I didn’t get that from anybody else. I did it on accident. Like I said, I’m so, it’s something that I see that I put in basically every time I have my clients do it. Um, I have like all the workshops I teach at basically to have them do that because I’ve seen it time and time and time again.

It works really, really well for my clients and my students. So all that to say when you create this physical home, it’s so much more than that. I mean, it makes sense that it’s a brand that basically your brand is your digital home. Um, and again, why you kind of create that because people are experiencing it in the same way they would if they just walked into your store, right? Like maybe they don’t know anything about you and they’re kind of looking around and trying to gather some information. Same thing when they land on your website, they’re kind of looking around trying to gather some information about like, what are you about? Um, what are, what are your offerings? Just like if you walk into a store, you look around and say, okay, I’m seeing what all the things that they sell. I’m trying, I’m kind of getting an idea for the vibe.

I see what it smells like in here. I hear the music, I understand what they’re about. Same thing on a website, so a web website and a web design is really, it’s a branding position and it’s your, your physical home and you’re also going to bring all your traffic to it. So a lot of times people will have on their website, they’ll say like, oh, follow me on Instagram, follow me on facebook, whatever. But the problem is you’re actually sending people away from your site and they might never come back, they might go down the social media rabbit hole and never making their way back. So you always want it to be the opposite direction. That’s totally like another podcast for another day, but you always want to be pointing traffic to your, your digital home. So you always want to go from facebook or from instagram to your digital home.

That’s the only thing you, that you really control and that, uh, where you can kind of grab their email addresses and actually like start a sales conversation. So you always want traffic to be flowing that way. But again, it’s your permanent residence is like where you live. It’s where you’re always going to be. So on. So that is like a web design and a website, right? On the flip side, a sales page, how does, okay, how does the sales page fit into this brick and mortar shop that I’ve opened up? Well, a sales page I say, or I’d figured out this metaphor is like a salesperson at your store. So instead of, um, you know, basically just having your services or your products just like sitting out on a shelf, this is a salesperson, the salesperson is going to walk up to someone and start to start a sales conversation and with the goal of obviously closing the sale at the end.

So I love this metaphor and I totally just made it up when I was kind of answering this question over and over again, but I really love it because it’s totally everything that I’ve ever tried to explain. It’s a much easier way to say it because a sales page is kind of a, it’s almost a one to one conversation. So whereas someone goes to a website, it feels like you’re talking to everybody, a sales page, it feels like you’re just talking to one person. So it’s a very focused sales conversation and sales pages are, or and slash or sales funnels. I’m using them kind of interchangeably. Um, I will say, I’ll just take a step back and say a sales funnel is the entire process from start to finish. So, uh, the, you know, for the first kind of the first page where you’re taught either to have a free opt in or you’re actually selling the thing to them, ordering, go to the order form and then checking out and then kind of, that’s the funnel idea.

But a sales page is like the basic cornerstone. We call it the cornerstone page and funnel inside of funnel. Gorgeous. We call it the cornerstone page. Um, so the sales page is like the cornerstone page. It’s the cornerstone content, but again, sales pages are designed for to make those instant sales, uh, decisions. It’s meant to be a focused sales meeting, right? Like if you’re, if you’re a sales person were to walk up to somebody and start having a conversation, they’re having this one on one conversation to see, okay, let’s, let’s, let’s figure out who, what you need and let’s figure out what’s best of best fit for you. And I will say to this can act as a sales person in your business. A lot of times that’s kind of the idea of a sales page is that it can replace it. Not, I don’t want to replace like puts me out of a job or anything, you know, but it does replace the need sometimes for that person.

So sometimes a webinar would be sales, you know, in a, in a sales funnel. So the Webinar basically explains the whole whatever you’re trying to sell, whether it’s, you know, a service like maybe it’s like at the end they just say, hey, you know, apply to to, uh, to work with us and it’s an application type funnel or maybe it’s like a high end program that you’re trying to get them inside of ’em and they book have to book a call with you after. So it basically does like the first half of the sales conversation words explaining everything and then they go to like a real person basically. But Gosh, isn’t, that’s like totally a different situation than a website is right. A website is meant to be, you know, to go and to browse and look around and get a good idea of who you are.

Whereas a sales pages, that salesperson who has a specific conversation that they’re going to have that needs to end up in a sale or not needs to, but the goal is to end up in a sale, right? Um, or to end up, you know, filling out an application or to book another call or another meeting or something. Right. Um, so there’s kind of, it’s a very focused and it’s a, it’s a very linear process, right? Like it, you don’t bounce all around like you do with the website and a website. You might check out your home page and your about page and your services and your blog and read some blogs and you’re just, you’re just bouncing around. There’s a lot to navigate. Whereas the salesforce had, has no navigation. Um, it’s a forced navigation. So you have your step one, step two, step three or step four, but they don’t get to the next page until they finished the first page.

Um, and also the other differences that sales pages are read from top to bottom. I’m almost like a letter that they’re more of a foot because they’re more one to one. Um, they’re, they’re read as like a sales letter, right, like the old school sales that are, you’d get in the mail, which I don’t remember those because not that I wasn’t born then, but I just wasn’t as, I wasn’t at a marketing age, it was getting those direct sales letters, but I know I studied them now because they’re really important because nowadays, um, digital marketing is built on the way of sales letter used to work. But again, I digress. So basically that’s how you think about sales pages. Is there this like focus conversation from top to bottom or if it, if it’s actually a webinar and they’re watching a Webinar, it’s not from top to bottom, but it is from start to finish.

So they’re going to be watching it. I’m still in a linear fashion. As soon as they hit play, they’re going to get all, you know, all of your slides or what, however your presentation works from start to finish, they’re not going to be jumping around and it’s not like a choose your adventure type thing, right? It’s just from start to finish. And then there’s the offer. So there’s like a buildup on the story and so you basically say, okay, there’s, there’s a way to sell that to sell people things like just like you would in person, you have to start from, you know, like a warm place kind of building a rapport, getting them to understand that you know, that, you know, basically building that know, like, and trust and then you start to kind of dive into their question to their problem and then you start to reveal what the answer is and what your, what you, how you can fix it.

And then you open up the offer, you know, offer them, hey, here’s what I’ve got for you, what do you think? And then of course there’s some other things in there like scarcity and um, and trying to close the sale and all that stuff too. But you can see how they’re totally different from each other. And again, how they compliment each other. Like how they can kind of work together your, you wouldn’t, to be honest, I don’t think he would really want one or the other. I think that a really well rounded business has both because you wouldn’t just have a store that you opened the door and say come on in and browse. You would have a store come on and browse and then I’m going to ask you, you know, if you need some help in a minute, I’m going to try to sell you.

Right. So it’s Kinda like the that idea. So I hope that makes sense on, on the, the difference in focus and how they’re used differently, but also how they can compliment each other and they don’t really detract from each other either because some people would only have sales pages and if you only have us, our sales funnels, if you only have a funnel, you don’t actually have a digital home. There’s not like a home base. So that’s that. I would like in that too, like a door to door salesmen, right? Like where you’re just, if you don’t actually have a home base for people to visit, you’re just going door to door knocking on doors or maybe you’re cold calling, picking up phone calls and stuff like that. If you don’t actually have a place to live where they can come and check you out.

Um, so again, you might like come to someone’s door, knock on it and go, okay, I want to sell you this thing. And they’re like, okay, well I’m busy right now, but can I come back and see you in your storefront, uh, later? And you’re like, well no, I don’t have a storefront. And they’re like, you don’t. Okay. Like we’re kind of business. Are you right? It. So I love this metaphor because it really, really is truly like the difference between a website and a sales funnel. So hopefully that metaphor just really brought it home for you and it’s all making sense to you. So I do want to invite you guys, if you are interested in creating a sales funnel for your business, if you don’t have that sales person, right? If you have the sale storefront, but you don’t have the salesperson, I would love you to check out funnel.

Gorgeous. It’s one of our programs. It’s a program I created with Julius Doyon and we have created basically, there’s two different things. There’s the funnel, gorgeous, which is the basic, the kind of the offering and what it is is it’s a design course, it’s a, it’s a sales funnel design course that also includes the training wheels, which are the sales funnels, so it includes four basic sales funnels, like the base kind of funnels in different styles and then every and that actually, oh, only opens. I’m like once every few months to purchase. We don’t have it open all the time, so we have it open every once in a while. Um, and then we close it. The next time we’ll have it open. It’s black Friday for the. We’ll have it open for the four days. We’ll have a black Friday through sale for cyber Monday. But with that said we owe.

That’s like the base course which is called Funnel Gorgeous. But then every month we have what we call her a call funnel asset packs that we drop every month. And those are limited edition designs that you can purchase. And we only have those open again for four days as well. So right now actually just today we opened up the funnel handsome pack and that’s that first September’s pack and so if you do hear this within a few days you’ll be able to grab that funnel, Hanson Pack. If you had to funnel gorgeous.com, you can grab that funnel pack, but if otherwise you can wait for the next one. The next one is going to be November and that one’s going to be the. I’m sorry, October. What month is it? The next one’s going to be for October and that is going to be the mystic pack. It’s all super woo woo and like goddess kind of geometric theme. So I’m excited for that one to drop as well. And so you want to make sure that you get on the list. If you go to funnel gorgeous.com, get on the VIP list. You will be aware of when these drug, when they dropped. So when the limited edition designs drop, the funnel designs drop or when the actual funnel gorgeous course opens you will be the first to know. So thanks guys. I hope that was helpful and I appreciate you so much.

Are you ready to join in the fight against ugly design? Yeah. Then head over to www.gorgeousdesignsecrets.com. There you will find high end design resources inside or designer tips and an amazing tribe of others just like you.

Episode #04: How to Learn Strategy in Design


Designers nowadays also share in the task of selling a product or service. Designers used to very much be behind the scenes, but are finally sharing the limelight. Cathy shares her secrets on what she studied and how she learned to infuse strategy and sales principles into design.

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Hey everyone, this is Cathy Olson and welcome to the Secrets of Gorgeous Design Podcast. I am super thrilled to share this topic with you today. Um, and this is really kind of a, gosh, it’s like a teaching session, but it’s also like why do we need to learn this type session because it’s something that I talk about a lot on this podcast but I don’t really explain, haven’t really explained yet why it’s important for you to learn this. I kind of want to break down what you need to learn in order to shift into like high level, high thinking design, but also why the why behind it. Like why is, why have I picked this approach and why does this approach matter? Let’s jump into this episode.

My name is Cathy Olson. I’m part of a group of entrepreneurs who are the founders and creative directors of their businesses who have a discerning eye and a ton of heart.

If you ask those get rich quick types, they would say that pretty design isn’t functional and doesn’t sell. Yet. We are proving everyday that beautiful and thoughtful details do cells and in fact attract unstoppable beauty and wealth. We believe that we can have it all and that sales can be gorgeous. These are the secrets of gorgeous design and we are here to make creativity, lucrative, build gorgeous brands and sales funnels and to make the world of business a gorgeous place to be. I get that the world that I’m in now is so different than what, you know, like I was kind of raised in the design world that I was raised in. I have like a super odd upbringing. I feel like with design because I, I was exposed to it at a really young age. I had graphic designers in my family and um, when I grew up there, they’re basically, gosh, like nobody knew what graphic standards where it wasn’t kind of one of those normal jobs.

I’m in mostly probably because designers, we’re very much behind the scenes. They worked in agencies and no one ever heard of them. Right? I mean, of course we know that that madmen era where the ad ad agencies were king and it was like, you know, they were obviously people knew what marketing and ad people were I think, but just graphic designers or just kind of these like silent people behind the scenes that will do the design stuff and back then way back in the and you know, black and white days. I like to say no, just kidding. Um, but way back then I think that people had, you know, I guess because they didn’t have much of a voice because designers didn’t have much of a voice. Um, what they did was kind of a mystery. I, I distinctly remember telling people when I was younger that I wanted to be a designer, a graphic designer and people I had to seriously explain what that even was, where it, it sounds so ridiculous now because I feel like everybody, it’s just become so much more mainstream people and more people do it.

Like, Gosh, I mean I wouldn’t say a huge majority of the people that I know of, designers that I know just like colleagues, but also like in, in my, my chorus inspired pro are just self taught designer, so like people don’t even necessarily have to go to school for it anymore. People still do obviously, but a lot of times people don’t. So it was a 100 percent. You used to go to school for it, like there didn’t use to be any designers. I don’t think everybody I knew of one to school for it. But again it was few and far between, there was a very, it wasn’t a very saturated market so I don’t know historically kind of what changed that and why things did, but they did and it became something that people finally, I guess designers came out of the shadows and started being just more visible.

And so when that happened, you know, and people started freelancing and kind of pulling out from behind the, that huge shadow of a agency, right. That kind of agency life deal. They started to kind of put more hats, I guess wear more hats and I think that’s, this is also what happened with me. I think that when I, when I worked at a design studio, I was always encouraged to be very strategic and think about my purpose behind all my designs, but it wasn’t my job to go any further than that. It was basically my job to take what the client had told me and to translate it to design. And I still think that so, so many designers are doing right now and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I’m not saying that like, Oh, if you’re doing it the way you’re doing it wrong, but I think that being a strategic designer is going to just bring in a whole other level of our craft and it just helps you become more well rounded.

And, and I’m not, I don’t even suggest that you become too far into the strategy game to where you’re wearing too many hats either because I don’t think you should be really awesome at it. I don’t think it’s easy to be awesome at everything, right? I’m not saying like, oh, it’d be a one man show and get everything done, you know, be the FB ad strategist and the logo designer and the, you know, I don’t want, I’m not saying that I think that you should be all the things, but I do think that there is a positive, a positive push or gain to be had when any designer learns sales principles and strategy principles. Even if it’s something that you don’t like, you try it and you hate it, that’s all. It’s all good, right? You don’t, you don’t have to be just like me and want to do this strategy, shadier stuff, but it’s cool to learn it and at least expose yourself to it.

And then that way you can make that decision. To see if you like it or not. And I feel almost the same way with coding, you know, a lot of people asked me do I need to be a coder to be a designer? And I’m like, oh my gosh, of course not. Like, this is the, they’re totally two different things, but if you’re anything like, if you’re like, if you’re weird like me, then you might enjoy it. And so I’ve always been, ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been a big test or you know, I would try stuff, see if I liked it, if I did like it, I would kind of try to fold it into the bigger picture. If I didn’t like it, I would never have to do it again. Right? So this, but this is really where I get into, this is where I stand out among the competition among leaders, right?

I’m always harping on this. It’s got to be strategic and gorgeous. If you aren’t doing the strategy stuff and you are just a designer, that’s totally okay. But if you really want to make a name for yourself and make your business amazing, then your, the, the product that you have has to be strategic and gorgeous. Whether you’re doing the strategy or not, the end result has to have this involved. Today I want to cover how to learn how to like basically how to make strategic design. They talk about, oh, it’s really important to be strategy strategic, you know, make sure you’re strategic, make sure you, you use sales principles. But I never, I haven’t really talked yet on this podcast about, okay, well Cath, how do you do that? How do you make strategic design? This is why I want to break down to you what I did in order to shift my design and actually put it into a place where it is strategic.

There’s three things I’m going to talk about today about how you can actually start doing this and how you can start learning this. And so the first thing that I want to teach you today on what to do to tattle on strategic design is to study sales principles. If you haven’t had, if you’re a totally from the design world or for totally from coming from an artistic standpoint, you probably haven’t looked much into sales principles and you don’t really understand how sales and marketing works. And so I think it’s really important, again, if you, if you’re going to offer this to your clients or not, I still think it’s important for you to learn. I think it’s one of those, it’s almost like if this was a college, a university, I would have sales principles as one of my prerequisites and have all my students learn, right?

Because it’s, gosh, it’s so important. It’s just so, so, so, so important to what you’re doing. Even though you’re creating something beautiful based on their identity, their identity is just so inextricably tied to the client that they’re selling to. Like I just don’t see how you can separate it. Now that I see it together, I don’t see how it can be separated ever again. What you want to do is, you know, it depends on what kind of learner you are, right? If you’re a visual learner, you know, study, you can study sales principles like via, like youtube or you can take courses on sales, how to close sales, right? Sales psychology, you know, pricing psychology, how to create an offer. One of my favorite absolute favorite people, sales funnel wise is Russell Brunson, from Clickfunnels and even though he is a software person he co-founded Clickfunnels.

He, his whole way, reason of life is to teach people sales and how to sell and offer. He teaches it in a really approachable way to I think is why I really love it. I just think that he kind of breaks it down into more of a form formulaic approach. I think that’s another reason why I was turned off as sales for so long is because, it felt like it needed to be. You just need to be talented or not. Like I, I’ve never been much of a, I don’t love confrontation with my personality type. And so I got fired from lots of jobs where I had to sell, sell to people, which is kind of funny now because I do so much sales now a days. And they, it, it works and I do sell really well now. But I didn’t use too, so I am living proof that sales does not have to be ingrained in you.

And I see the other side of it. My husband is a natural born salesman, like amazing. Shout out to Erik. He’s just so incredibly amazing what a great natural talent. But I never was that person. It’s funny that the things that he does, just instinctively just innately, he just does them already, are the things that you learn when you learn, when you study sales principles. If you’re a reader, you know, there’s lots and lots of books about closing deals, about, you know, setting up sales conversations, how to, how to close sales conversations, how to read people, you know, all that kinda stuff. There’s also on Audible, there’s tons of things in audible that you can check out. I would say if you are going in the sales funnel route to definitely check out Russell Brunson stuff, you know, the, his Dot Com Secrets and Expert Secrets are great places to start.

I don’t really want to say that’s where I started, but that’s it. It made a huge change and impact on me and it’s where I learned a lot about sales, but I can’t really pinpoint it to like specific books because I really just sort of immersed myself in it and I read lots and lots and lots of books and I’m still reading lots and lots and lots of books about sales and marketing so you can kind of pick which ones you want to go with. But again, just really learning the principles about how do you start a conversation with someone and that ends up in a sale. I mean that’s really like the point of, of what I kind of want you to do. And then the second thing is that you can do is to study and test usability. If, whether you are designing, you know, a brand or you’re designing packaging or you’re designing social media graphics or you’re designing a whole website, you really need to see how people use the content and how they kinda digest the content.

I’m actually testing things out. If you’re using, you know, different social media graphics. I mean, a lot of us are doing design for, for things that are going online, you want to test out if you’re doing like, you know, the old school graphics where people were seeing them like via print or magazines or stuff like that. You can still do this kind of testing through like kind of focus work, focus group work where you’re showing it to people and seeing their reaction and stuff. And which one do they prefer, which colors do they prefer? But really, you can do this in real life and actually test, obviously it’s pretty easy to do online. You can do split testing type of things. There’s also tools that you know, you can use for websites. There’s a tool called hot jar, h o, t j a r or sumo also does it appsumo you can kind of see what people are doing on your site where they’re clicking, how far they got down the page.

Where did they go from next? There’s actually saw some software that records people’s clicks to see where they’re going. Um, there’s other softwares that are like called a and b testing software. Even just like with an email email marketing, like if you’re doing some email marketing, you can see which headline did the best, um, between the two. Just just be become a student of learning about usability and preferences really. And just seeing what works because there’s just nothing you, you just, you will totally go in a place where you’re like, okay, this is totally gonna outperform the other one and then you’ll be surprised. I’m just be constantly learning about that. There also are um, lots of books and there’s some trainings and stuff online about how people use things. I will link in the show notes, I’ll link some actual links of some things that, that I’ve, that I’ve loved and books and stuff, but there’s lots, there’s a ton, there’s tons of tons and tons of places.

But again, I would, I would also suggest doing it in real in real time and checking out and seeing what people are using for your brand or for the or if you’re working for another brand who, to see who’s clicking what, where they’re clicking and all that kind of stuff. To just always be a student of that and, and testing how p, how people perceive things, how people use things. Did they understand it? Did they not understand it? Did it, did make it a button? Look this way? Did it, did it make, make it look confusing? Did they understand where to go next? Did they even see the button? Right. I’ve been over the past few years I’ve been really studying this and so I would suggest you do that as well because you learn a lot. The third thing is that you want to pay attention and map out user paths.

I know that sounds like really calm. Like what, what did she say? Winded? What did she say? I said pay attention and map out user paths. And what I mean by that is pay attention to how it’s kind of taking that last thing and taking it a step further about how, what some people call it, the customer journey. Mapping out the customer journey. Thinking about, okay, if someone’s coming to and you can see how anyone’s using something, right? But if a website is the easiest thing to explain and kind of understand, but when they’re coming to a website, maybe they’re not coming in the homepage, right? Coming to the homepage, maybe they’re finding you or your client through Pinterest. They came through a blog post and so it’s really important to map out and pay attention to each of those user paths.

Okay, they came in from here. Would they see all the things that we need them to see from this page? If they came to, you know, through a blog post, would they know what I did for a living? Right? Would they even know my actual offer or if they came through the homepage, would they. And they were totally like cold traffic, meaning they never had met me before. They never had any contact with my brand before. Would they understand what I was all about? Um, would they get overwhelmed where they know where to go? And then you can also kinda even take it a step further and say, okay, if I was in and have like a couple customer avatar types. It’s like you have, you know, you help like a, B and c of types of customers, you know, and they, and they’re looking for different things.

Customer A comes, can he see he or she see exactly where to go from here. Does she have a clear path to get to her, a side and kind of go all those places and then, you know, the b customer, do they know where to go to h, how, how quickly can they get helped and then the customer, how quickly can they get helped and do they understand it? Can they get to their, their area of the site. You really want to map out those user paths and be thinking about exactly where they’re going to go from here and we’ll all the steps are going to take. And so when you’re thinking about these kind of multi, multi entry points points, I guess like just have multiple entry points to be dealing with your brand or, or seeing your brand or seeing the site or using it or purchasing or whatever they’re doing.

You’re able to really strategize all of these. When you’re thinking about these three things, it makes it really easy to be strategic, right? Because you have it all mapped out. Now you know, you know the sales principles, you know exactly how you need to portray the story, you know what you need to talk about in order to convert someone from a browser to a buyer, right? You know what kind of words you need, you need, you know, what kind of story that you needed to tell. You know what kind of benefits and features you need to explain, right? You’re looking in the back end of what an offer is making the offer. You know how to make that right? But then you’re also. You’ve also studied how people use the thing that you’re using. Whether that’s a magazine or a pdf or social media graphic or a website, you understand what makes it easy to use, right?

Functionality wise. Okay, this is what makes a button really easy to find and this is how people are indicated that this is where the search engine, this is where the search bar is a okay, it’s really easy to check out because I have it laid out this way, right? Once you start setting that, then you’ll know exactly what the best ways to go are, the best ways to design it are. And then again, if you are paying attention and mapping out those user paths, now you know how to get somebody from a site into a site, sell them, get them squared away, they want to go and get them out so that they feel satisfied. They don’t leave, they tell their friends, they have a great experience. Overall you’re just studying all these little pieces behind the scene to really, really make your design stand out.

And Oh my gosh, like make your client like so impressed with you because you have thought through everything. And that’s what I think that, our clients really get wowed by is like, oh my gosh, I wouldn’t even have thought of that, you know, but they don’t even expect a designer to know this stuff. But then when I do know it, it’s like, oh my gosh, she’s amazing. Those are the three ways that you can start learning to be more strategic today. And it’s not a quick, easy fix or whatever is not something you’re going to learn overnight, but you just soak this information over time and you just become a better and better and better designer. Thanks guys. I hope that was helpful. I appreciate you so much. If you love this episode, would you hop over and give me a review now that it’s live? I would appreciate that so much and I will see you guys soon.

Are you ready to join in the fight against ugly design? Yeah. Then head over to gorgeousdesignsecrets.com. There you will find high end design resources inside or designer tips and an amazing tribe of others just like you.

Episode #03: When All Respect is Lost


Cathy walks through what to do when your design clients are disrespectful, rude or degrading, and how to fill your calendar with only amazing clients.

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Full Transcript:

Hello everyone, this is Cathy Olson and welcome to the Secrets of Gorgeous Design Podcast today. I’m excited to share with you on this topic because it is one of those taboo topics have not a lot of people are talking about and I think a lot of honestly, a lot of people don’t want to admit that this is happening to them and slash or I think people were just kind of letting this happen and it’s not okay, right? It’s one of those things that we need to do something about in order to elevate this whole industry that we’re in, so I can’t wait to share this with you, so let’s jump into this episode.

My name is Cathy Olson. I’m part of a group of entrepreneurs who are the founders and creative directors of their businesses who have a discerning eye and a ton of heart. If you ask those get rich quick types, they would say that pretty designed isn’t functional and doesn’t sell yet. We are proving everyday that beautiful and thoughtful details do sell and in fact attract unstoppable beauty and wealth. We believe that we can have it all and that sales can be gorgeous. These are the secrets of gorgeous design and we are here to make creativity, lucrative, build gorgeous brands and sales funnels and to make the world of business a gorgeous place to be.

Back in the day when I actually started, well before I started my business, I was a graphic designer for a long time for an agency. But before that or after that, I, when I first started my first entrepreneurial journey, when I first started my business, I was an invitation designer, so I basically was doing wedding invitations on the side so that I could pay for my wedding. I’m on the side of working for an agency or a design agency. We basically took any clients that I could possibly get at that point. I wasn’t charging very much. It was really inexpensive, but I was just kind of doing on the side. It had this like side hustle complex, right? Like didn’t really think what I was doing was worth that much. I didn’t charge enough. And one of the biggest mistakes I made in doing that that I quickly realized is that when you don’t charge a lot of money, you think that people are going to be appreciative, right?

It’s Kinda the opposite of what you think’s going to happen. You think people would be really appreciative that you’re so inexpensively priced and they’re just going to be, there’s just going to treat you like royalty because you’re doing them such a favor. Right? But it’s funny because it’s the actual opposite happens in the he our nightmare clients. And so for the Gosh, the first few years I have these type of clients that were just really not great and it’s not because they were great people, they just were a pain in the butt to work with and took me a while to figure out what this phenomena was because a lot of people experience and are experiencing this. But it took me a while to figure out why people do that. Like why are cheap clients, bad clients and why as started to charge more and more, why did my clients get better and better?

And I finally figured it out, and it’s really has to do with that. When you’re not charging enough you, your clients don’t trust you. It’s when, when you charge a certain amount, there becomes a kind of like, okay, I can leave them alone. Like they’re not, like on the, you know, they don’t have the training wheels on anymore. They know what they’re doing. I can kind of let go of the reins a little bit. It’s almost like a student driver who we see that sign on a car that says student driver. We’re like, oh, let’s see. Are they doing everything wrong? Where as if they didn’t have that sign, we wouldn’t be thinking anything of it. There’s this phenomenon that kind of happens and it’s one of those things you want to break out of as soon as possible because it makes life not in your business.

Not Very Fun. I got this question from a privately from one of my inspired pro students and they asked how, how do you deal with degrading customers? And it’s really sad because this happens really often and it’s like, you know, we’re doing everything we can, but our customers are not treating us with respect and they’re not tweeting for whatever reason. I don’t know for having it, you know, if having a communication breakdown or everything you send over is not good enough or they’re just being rude. And um, I will say that the better the clients I got, the more I charge, the more this improved, but it’s not enough. It’s not always enough. I will say automatically it probably starts to improve a ton and once you start charging more. But again, there are some customers that you know, your clients that you’ve booked and you know, what do you do now?

I just want to tackle that today. And obviously the first thing I would say that the, you want to charge more, the number one thing that you can do about degrading customers are rude customers or just in the less than ideal customers, even if they aren’t being super rude, is that to start charging more. It’s basically going to safeguard this from happening in the future as much as possible, as much as you possibly can. You know you want to. You really want it to make it so that you build this trust factor and that you want to be seen as the expert because as soon as that happens, they’re just going to let go of the reins a ton and they’re actually going to let you work and do what you do best and they’re going to believe you when you say, oh, I created this, or this is, this.

Design is amazing because they’re going to agree with you and say, Yep, you know what you’re talking about. I believe you. Versus you know, questioning every single thing you say because you’re too cheap. That is the first thing that you need to do before you do anything else because it’s a classic sign. If people, if especially if you’re getting a lot of rude clients, it’s a classic sign of you not charging enough. So that is the first thing that you have to do. That’s your first line of defense. The second thing you want to do is that you need to kind of step back. Let’s, so let’s say you are charging enough and you are getting kind of what you’re worth and you’re still having like this one client. So maybe the majority of your clients are great, but then you have this one client that or customer that’s degrading or just not respectful, um, or just not believing you are not trusting you.

Right? The thing I would do in that situation is that you need to do something dramatic to get on the same page. Sometimes it’s just a communication issue, like maybe something broke down in the project and you, they’re just not really, you’re not quite speaking the same language and you just need to get on the same page. Maybe they’re getting frustrated and they’re taking it out on you because maybe they’re there. Maybe they’re nervous, maybe they don’t know what’s going on. Maybe they just need a little handholding. I will step back and I’ll say, okay, let’s get on the same page. And a lot of times that’s just means hopping on the phone and talking through or maybe even meeting in person. Is that something that you can do and just getting human to human and getting on the same page and going, just kind of pulling back all of these like layers and, and uh, of stuff that’s happening between you and just go, look, what’s, what’s happening, what’s going on?

Like we’re, where are we at with this? Why is this happening? Are you confused? Can I help you with this? I hear that you’re frustrated, but what’s going on? Just really being heart to heart with them in pulling back the layers and just being like, let’s be honest with each other. What’s happening? Why is there something going on? And this is a like you write or something, something like that. If especially if I have some clients that will just totally flip on me, like they were really, really great and then all of a sudden out of nowhere they started getting degrading or, or rude or anything like that. That’s a big sign of something’s going on under the surface and we need to tackle that right away. Um, so that’s kind of what I’ll do there, but we just, we just need to count the same page.

And then really what you would do from there is once you’re kind of on the same page, you need to actually put your foot down and let them know that it’s not okay. That’s what I would actually go. Be really honest. Like, you know, I’m, I’m trying really hard. We’re on the same team here, you know, like we both want the same thing. We want you to have this gorgeous design. We want this amazing thing for you. Um, but we’re not, I’m not feeling the love, you know, like it’s, it seems like you’re frustrated and you’re upset or you’re not liking what we’re doing. Let’s get that. Let’s get, let’s fix this. Let’s turn this ship around and make this better. And a lot of times just just be like, you know, kind of calling it out saying basically saying, you know, in Nice, nicer words that you know, you’re being rude and this isn’t okay, this is not the way that things work in my sphere that is enough to usually kind of shake it up a little bit and go, Oh Gosh, I’m so sorry.

I didn’t even realize I was speaking to you like that. A lot of times just kind of calling it out and just saying, hey, is there something going on because this isn’t normal? Um, or in just kind of putting your foot down and saying like, this isn’t okay. You know, just kind of basically bringing the problem to light is enough for them to go, oh wow. You’re totally right. I’m so sorry. Like, I didn’t mean to do that. I’ve been going through a lot of times we get some apologies and some explanation about what they’ve been going through or something. Or maybe they’re just like, you know, I’m just really frustrated or, you know, or something I’m stressed out about this. Like, you know, people are human and things happen, so you just want to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one.

And then the after. That would be the second thing I would do, you know, to, to make sure let’s, let’s do some kind of a pow again on the same page and let them know that it’s not okay, the behavior’s not okay and that we’re on the same page and like let’s figure this out once you kind of, do you know, the, the mediation sort of way, if it’s still bad after that and they’re not really still not respectful or if they’re not following your protocol, or if they’re just straight up being rude, that’s when you have to get to like strike three and step three and that would be to actually fire the client. Sometimes I give, you know, like again, if it depends on our track record too, if they’ve been super nice and then all of a sudden it’s just gotten really bad.

I’ll do it. Like I said, number two, I’ll do the check in with them, see what’s going on. But then if it gets really far and they’re still that way, that’s when I’m like, okay, this is probably not the best situation. I don’t think we’re a good fit anymore for whatever reason, you know, if it’s a communication issue, if it’s that they just literally don’t like what you’re creating, maybe you’re just literally not on the same page. Whatever it is, it’s kind of time to like, okay, this isn’t working. And I think it’s very, very similar to any kind of a relationship where, you know, it’s not me, it’s you, it’s not you, it’s me, you know, that whole thing. But just being really disrespectful, like overly respectful of them because it’s really know. And I know that’s hard to do when people aren’t respecting you and they’re degrading you.

It’s very hard to be, you know, that that’s sweet and nice person. But, but you always have to do that, you know, you always want to come from the high ground and just kind of say, okay, you know, Gosh, you know, we talked about this. I let you know that this is, that this kind of behavior is basically not okay. You can’t treat me this way, right? Like, I, I don’t. I don’t think this is a good working relationship. I don’t think we’re a good fit for each other. So, and then that’s when you’d kind of go back to whatever your contract stated about canceling the working relationship and I would cite that and basically, you know, say, you know, we’re going to have to move on from here. Whether that’s giving them their money back or you know, sending them to someone to work with someone else or whatever that looks like to you obviously make sure that your contracts pretty solid before you start working with them.

Just in case this does happen, but that’s what it’d be like. That last step, if they, if they really kind of had that heart to heart with them, got on the same page and there’s still degrading you and treating you badly, it’s time to get out. It’s not one of those situations that usually improves after that. Like if you had to see how to talk and that it’s not improving. I don’t, I wouldn’t stick around too long as in the money is not worth it either because again, you know, it really is true though, that you’re not a good fit for them because if they’re frustrated, unhappy, not loving what you’re creating. I mean, you, you’re both unhappy, right? So they need someone else to write. So if all else fails, you’re not the designer for them either. So that’s kind of what I would do in that situation.

And you know what, that’d be the final step. But I think it’s a really important step and I think that, you know, when, when you, if you’re worried about the money, about losing the money, you have to understand like, okay, well my, what’s my peace of mind worth? Right? And how important is it that I am working with clients that love what I’m doing and that I love working for because it’s just not a good situation and it’s not going to create a great, gorgeous design. Right? When you’re working under duress like that, it’s not good for anybody, so it also will open you up for the opportunity to get a better client that will appreciate you and we’ll treat you right. It’s definitely not worth it to stick around in a bad relationship like that. Just like just like any relationship. Right? But this is a choice like you’re not even, you know, you’re not getting married to this person.

You have a choice for them to work with them. This is always like an at-will type of thing. You don’t have to work with anybody. You can always leave and if you can’t, obviously make sure that you can always leave. Make sure that’s in your contract. Those are the three things that I suggest for you to do that, that you, that you need to start doing if you’re not already doing, but if you are having an issue and you and you guys will know, like as soon as we start talking about this, if you start feeling that that pit of your stomach feeling like, oh, I know I need to fire this client, or I know I need to say something and I’m not saying it has to go all the way to firing. Definitely try. The second thing for us, try to get back on the same page on the first.

Try to mediate it out with them before you go to level three. You know, three strikes. I’m try to do that first and see if that helps and see because a lot of times that will, that will really just clear the whole air up and everything will get good after that and you’ll still be able to move forward with some amazing design. And taking those three steps always will help ensure that your calendar is full. Okay? Only on the most amazing clients that you can do amazing work for and create gorgeous things together. Thanks guys. I hope that was helpful and I’ll see you next time.

Are you ready to join in the fight against ugly design? Yeah? Then head over to gorgeousdesignsecrets.com. There you will find high end design resources, insider designer tips, and an amazing tribe of others. Just like you.

Episode #02: The Secrets of Selling High-end Design


Making great money with design is not about raw talent alone. It’s about selling the high-end design. Cathy shares her secrets on how to sell high end design through consultations and on your website.

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Full Transcript:

Hello everyone, this is Cathy Olson and welcome to the Secrets of Gorgeous Design Podcast. Today’s topic is so good. I’m so excited to share this with you guys today and it’s one of those cornerstone pieces that everything kind of goes with and hits the whole idea of how do you sell high end design to people or and slash or how do you make your offers and how do you make your design more valuable to people because that’s really how you raise your prices, right? It has to become worth more. So this is a huge piece that a lot of people were kind of. It’s kind of a head scratcher and no one can see in. No one really can seem to figure this out and I get because he gets. I get this question asked so often, okay, how is this person charging this? And that person is charging that. Like what is the difference in how the heck are they doing that? That is what I’m going to uncover today for you guys. Let’s jump into this episode.

My name is Cathy Olson. I’m part of a group of entrepreneurs who are the founders and creative directors of their businesses who have a discerning eye and a ton of heart. If you ask those get rich quick types, they would say that pretty designed isn’t functional and doesn’t sell yet. We are proving everyday that beautiful and thoughtful details do sell and in fact attract unstoppable beauty and wealth. We believe that we can have it all and that sales can be gorgeous. These are the secrets of gorgeous design and we are here to make creativity, lucrative, build gorgeous brands and sales funnels, and to make the world of business a gorgeous place to be.

There is a huge misconception about talent these days and especially talent in design and being an artist, right? Because I think that people think that talent, that Bingo talented automatically equals that you make more money and the sad reality, I mean that’s Kinda the way it should be, right? Like the more than the heart of that someone works in the more talented than they are, that they should be the highest paid, but we kind of know that to not be true. Right? That’s like a youtube Utopian society that doesn’t exist, so really what, what does make people make more money? What, how do people charge more than the next guy and that is really, you know, kind of obviously, but sad to say that it’s through sales and because a lot of people that are talented or that have raw talent, they just don’t know how to actually run a business.

They don’t actually know how to command these higher prices and I will say obviously talent’s a huge part of it. I think you have to have both, just like you have to have the strategy and great design. You have to be good at sales and go to design. Right? And that’s one of the things that we really focus on inside my mastermind program, that inspired pro. We really focus on both because you can’t be successful without one or the other. If you are not a good designer or you’re not creating a great product, but you’re charging a lot, there’s gonna, you’re gonna have some issues there, right? With a B, basically people being unhappy because you’re not actually providing what you’re selling. And converse the, you know, in the same on the other side if you’re an amazing designer, which a lot of people that are listening to this and are in the industry right now, they’re amazing designers, but they just don’t have the business savvy and they don’t have the sales savvy to actually pull forth that message in order to actually make any great money.

They’re really talented and they’re doing great design and they are missing out. They’re missing the boat and they’re just not sure what they’re doing wrong. And guess what? I’m raising my hand because that was me for really, really long time. I knew, you know, I went to school for design. I’ve, Gosh, I’ve been a designer, like I was raised as a designer. You guys like I have done so much in my life. I was gonna say short life, but gosh, I’m like old now, haha. But I’ve done so much in my life that I should like was so early on it was Kinda like preemptive things. Like just the, the path that I went down, guys, I was doing crazy graphic design stuff when I was a kid and it’s just amazing that, you know, the path that I’ve been on, but now you know, like I’ve been on this business path for the last, I don’t know, whatever, five years plus I’ve been on this strategy and business side pass because I got, I got to be a great designer so early and so quickly.

I don’t want to say quickly I, that was a little over a long period of time, but because I was a great designer and I became known pretty quickly, it served me well, but I also wasn’t charging anywhere near what I should be charging because I had all this talent but I didn’t have the business savvy. I know firsthand what this is like. And it took me a long time to figure out how to finally charge what I want to charge. Because I mean, of course there’s always mindset issues that come with that. You know, about like, uh, especially women, I’ll say too, we have a harder time. I mean, Duh. The whole wage gap, right? We do employee make, what is it like 80 something cents to the dollar that a man does. A lot of it is our fault.

I mean, obviously some of it’s not our fault, but a lot of it’s our fault. We’re not, we don’t ask for raises, right? I mean, we don’t ask for as much money. It’s been proven that if there’s a female, I’m kind of at the helm, not, I don’t want to say it’s been proven because this is not scientific, but it’s been proven in my life that I have of designers and photographers and other creative people that I know of when they were by themselves, they charged a certain amount and then when they brought like if they retire their husband or whatever and they or their husband joined the team, all of a sudden they started charging more. They started making more money. It’s just one of those things that I’ve seen happen over and over and over again. We kind of have those things stacked against us a little bit as far as the mindset piece.

But with that, without, without that piece, right, without the mindset piece, like not even paying attention to that, like let’s pretend that we don’t have any issues with asking for money. How do we actually get the money? Right? It’s one thing to ask for a certain amount and raise her prices to a certain amount, but it’s another thing for people to actually buy it and actually fill our client calendar. That is really what I want to share with you and I’m going to show you, share with you three things that you can do really basically right now to start selling high end design and start booking and closing more high end designs. When I will say as just a little backstory, when I started doing this, I started doing this public a couple years ago, I would say, when I really started focusing on this new kind of system that I’ve developed.

And it worked a little too well at first. I’ve raised my prices significantly. But I started like, you know, really upping my sales game. And I just like, this was like my, what I really focused on for, for a few months to figure out this system. And then I figured it out and I got it, like rolling in. I kind of tested it and tweaked it and played with it a bunch. And then I got it to work so well that I overbooked our business. I was like, boom, boom, boom. It was like everyone was saying yes, it’s like I’d have a call and then it would close, then a call and then it closed, then a call and it goes. I was closing like nine out of 10 calls. And I was like, Oh crap, I didn’t expect that. Well, which I love about now because you know, it’s, you just don’t know what you know until it happens.

Right? I wasn’t anticipating that it would work so well, but that’s what I wanna share. The first thing that, the three things I want to talk about today is basically how to make your, your design more valuable or just, or just to kind of basically tell the story and tell them the message. Because your design is more valuable, what the problem is and this struggle that people have is actually explaining that to people and getting them to see it like they see it. That’s what you need to focus on. It’s not really about proving yourself or saying how long I’ve been a designer. Like no one really cares about you. Right? We’ve heard that before, but nobody really cares about your accolades or you know, your bachelors of Fine Arts degree. Like nobody cares about that. Right? Like nobody cares that I’ve been designing for 18 years or whatever.

Right. They really just care about what, what you can do for them. All of these three things are a very customer focused approach and what you can do for them and why it’s valuable to them. Because I could say, oh my gosh, you know, the Mona Lisa is worth this much money, but like I don’t want the Mona Lisa in my house so it’s not worth that much to me. When you’re talking about value based design, it has to be valuable to them and if it is valuable to them, if it is great offer and it is great deal, and they, they understand the value and they see the value, then they’re going to buy it. First thing you can do is to make you want to make research based decisions. And so what I mean by this is that you want to explain it.

Whether you’re [inaudible], there’s different ways to sell, right? Maybe you’re on the phone call a call with them and you’re actually explaining, here’s what I do and, and why, why it costs what it costs. Or maybe this is on a website webpage, maybe you’re actually selling from a sales page or your actual webpage. But either way you want them to understand that you’re making research based decisions on all of the design. It’s basically a scientific approach to design. That’s what I want you to do once you to take somewhat of a scientific approach and on and, and everything that you explain. One of the features that you agree explaining, explain that they’re based on not on a whim, what people think that design is based on a whim and you might go, you might know that it’s not, but they don’t know that it’s not.

That’s why this first thing, you really have to focus on that I’m making these decisions based on, you know, your, your ideal market, like it did just totally depends on what you’re selling, right? But let them know you’re making those decisions on that you’re making your decisions on like maybe past testing that you’ve done or research that you’ve done or maybe you’re making decisions based on your past experience, right? Your vast experience of what you’ve been through and you’ve and seeing how people react to certain things. And this could be like in the colors that you’re choosing. This could be in the fonts that you’re choosing, like anything, right? When you take the approach that I’m designing in a research based way and I’m making decisions based on like science basically, then they’re going to feel like it’s much more valuable and it’s going to be worth a lot more.

It’s going to last better and it’s going to because it’s going to be a better ROI on their part. All that to say that that’s why they care about this. That’s why they want to make sure that your decisions are backed by something because it will mean that it improves their bottom line, right? That’s not just guessing on a whim, like it’s professional. The second thing you want to do is you want to couple with things with strategy and w and slash or with testing to like Kinda like, like we were talking about on the first one, uh, doing research. But you want them to understand that everything you’re doing that you’re gonna be creating for them or everything that you offer is based on strategy. And it’s not, again, not just not like on a whim, but actually it’s based on strategy, on what you’re creating for them for the future.

Too, so you want to be thinking about and kind of explaining about what their strategy and what and what their goals are. Thinking about when we create for a client, we’re not just creating some really pretty design, we’re creating predesigned that has a great foundation that’s actually going to boost sales or boost conversions or there’s a strategy behind it or maybe it’s a growing your audience. Maybe they want to grow their following, so everything that you’re going to be kind of selling to them, you want to flip it around and say based because you want to do this thing right? Kind of like a goal based thing because you want to fill in the blank, grow your following, right? Whatever it is, we are going to create it, create this in this way because this grows or you know, like you’re following or whatever like that.

So because you want blank, we do blank. So because you want to stand out from the competition, we are going to design something that is cutting edge and you really unique and way more high end than anything else in your industry. Something like that. Right? And there’s kind of off the top of my head. But when you left, when you couple it with the strategy based decisions and and the solutions, then it’s like, okay, wow. I get it. Like everything’s thought through. It’s well planned. Everything is in place for a specific reason and it’s not just, you know, because it looks cool, right? That’s the whole thing. Nobody wants to design because it looks cool because we all know that that’s like flash in the pan. We want design decisions that are coupled with the strategy and that we’re gonna, you know, make sure that is created for a specific purpose.

And the last thing that you want to start doing right now, whether that is in your sales calls or in your website or anywhere where you’re trying to sell high end design, you have to infuse the fact that you care about their success. And I think that this is something so simple and it’s like, well, well, okay, I get, I get it. I, I of course I care. But no, I mean you need to let them know that you are personally invested in their success. This is the difference between, you know, going to McDonald’s and having a personal chef come to your house, right? Like you need to care about all of that. That this is the highest level of service they can get that you care if they say yes or no, right? Sometimes people, I think we’d just throw off, you know, proposals and be like, oh, well let’s see what, see what sticks.

No, you need to care. You need to follow up with them. You need to start following them on social media, right? Like we just, we need to be personally invested in their success in their company. And that is the difference between high end design and not high end design is that we are partnering up. I’m a partner with you in this. We are, we are on the same team. We are going to build this amazing thing that we’re looking for, like I’m a part of this with you. You’re hiring me like as a part of your team. They need to feel that they need to like it needs to. The caring and the love needs to be physically felt from them, that you care about them, that you care about their success, that they’re not just the number, that they’re not just gonna basically be just, hey, we’re gonna work together and they’ll never see you again.

Like they need to know that you’re building relationship and our friendship and that you care about creating really incredible and amazing design for them. That is one of the. If you don’t have a, if you don’t have that, then all of these other things fall flat. Then you’re just selling, right? You’re just selling booking them and getting out of the out the door. But this is what really makes the difference on, you know, high end design is that is this partnership. It’s not, you’re not just a number. It matters to me. It matters to me that we care about your success. You know? And so that’s why all these other things also matter to they, they all go together, you know, you want to make research based decisions on their clients and specific basically making it very custom for them. You want to make sure that you’re making strategic decisions, you know, cold goal based solutions because you want this, we’re going to do this.

And then you want to let them know ultimately you just, you do these things because you care so much and you care about their success and you care about creating the most amazing version of what you’re going to be. What were you going to be creating for them and with them. So those are the three things that you can start doing today that will help you start closing these specifically, you know, whether it’s on your website or through or you do phone calls or whatever. But that’s how you make it more valuable. You make it so that it gets a return on investment, that it’s, you’re, you’re, it’s customized just to fit them and that you care about them every step of the way. So thanks guys. I hope that was helpful. I appreciate you so much.

Are you ready to join in the fight against ugly design? Yeah. Then head over to http://gorgeousdesignsecrets.com. There you will find high end design resources inside or designer tips and an amazing tribe of others just like you.

Episode #01: The Simplest Trick to Gorgeous + Strategic Design


Cathy shares her secret trick to making it easy to create design that is BOTH strategic and gorgeous. The best of both worlds.

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Full Transcript:

Hey everyone, this is Cathy Olson and a welcome to the Secrets of Gorgeous Design Podcast. I am so, so, so excited about today’s topic because it is something that, oh my gosh, so many people need to hear. Um, and I think that it’s one of those things where people have the ones that have figured this out or not telling anybody else. It’s a very juicy, juicy, juicy topic and introduce juicy secret and I’m probably actually going to get some mean messages, social media saying why did you tell everybody that that’s like our big secret. I swear like this is a big one. Um, so I can’t wait to pull back the curtain and spill the juicy beans with yet. Let’s jump into this episode.

My name is Cathy Olson. I’m part of a group of entrepreneurs who are the founders and creative directors of their businesses who have a discerning eye and a ton of heart. If you ask those get rich quick types, they would say that pretty designed isn’t functional and doesn’t sell. Yet. We are proving everyday that beautiful and thoughtful details do sell and in fact attract unstoppable beauty and wealth. We believe that we can have it all and that sales can be gorgeous. These are the secrets of gorgeous design and we are here to make creativity, lucrative, build gorgeous brands and sales funnels, and to make the world of business a gorgeous place to be.

Let’s start this off by saying that if you have been listening to me at all in the past, gosh, I don’t know, six months at least, um, you kind of know that I really harp on this idea of the design has to be both beautiful and strategic and it can’t be one or the other if it’s just beautiful but not strategic. It’s a wasted money, wasted time, wasted space to be honest. Or if it’s only strategic but it’s ugly, it’s gonna, you know, you’re gonna lose your credibility and you’re gonna basically leave a lot of money on the table. Basically, you’re able to charge as much as you want to. So that’s really, really important to have these two pieces that are in concert that work together. But the problem is, gosh, this is a hard thing to do. It’s actually a really difficult thing to do, to be both gorgeous and strategic and hello, that’s the whole reason I created this podcast, but, um, you know, to share this with people.

But I think the reason it’s so hard is because it is so hard to do and I feel like I cracked the code on why it’s so hard because I struggled with this for so long. So I definitely came from the design world. I have a bachelor of fine arts and design, went to school for it, did the whole thing, the whole college thing. Um, I worked as a professional designer in several places and I, that’s, we really weren’t taught strategy to be totally honest in, in college. It’s all about design principles and the look and the feel and the brand, right? Like what are we actually trying to portray by the brand, but the marketing side and the strategy side is a different profession altogether. Um, and it’s funny because even in college when I, we basically had, we took some advertising classes and took some marketing classes, but they, it’s a, it’s like you kind of went one way or the other and you either, you know, started taking these media classes in these press kind of type classes.

Um, and then you would be either a designer or you would be a media like marketing person and you would sort of like head off on your little Mary Marketing Way and the designer people would head off on their design way and we would never see each other. And that’s exactly how it happened and in college. But I think that even now, right? And so the problem, and I think that the reason we struggle with this is it’s because we’re really left brained and right brained. I think the strategy side, although it definitely takes creativity, it uses a lot of that kind of computation. Figuring things out, putting pieces together, organization. I’m seeing the big picture. It’s just very, it’s very left brained. And I’m going to say that loosely because I know it’s probably not technically love rain because I know it’s creative, but I’m just going to say it’s a certain part of your brain.

I’m just gonna call the left for now. And then of course the design side is very like artistic and very inspirational and very just like moody and just how do we feel about things that will get in touch with our emotions are right. It’s a very right brain and actually it’s kind of masculine and feminine as well. I would say that’s probably why a lot more marketing peeps are, you know, um, male, it’s kind of a male dominated career. And then I wouldn’t say that design is a female dominated career by any stretch of the imagination, but the, you know, the really emotional storytelling, um, you know, just kind of get in touch with like how do we feel right now is, is a, is a very feminine trait. The problem is that you have these kind of two sides of these two pieces and they just kind of don’t speak to each other.

They’re sort of different people and the problem with that is it’s cool. Of course you can have sets of people do this, you know, obviously there’s agencies where people two different people do it, but what I think makes you a killer pike powerhouse and what is so cool about nowadays is if you can do both, you’re just a bad mother. Shut your mouth, like you’re amazing. Um, if you can do both, and that’s where I think the secret sauce is and, and, and the, the awesomeness. And I think that although you can have separate, you know, uh, professions and that you can either be a marketer or a designer. Again, I think that you’re this boom, Shaka Laka powerhouse if you can do both. ZThat is what I want to talk about today and how to do it because I don’t think it’s actually as hard as people think it is.

I think people think that it’s like you’re either good at or not, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think there’s actually a way. Actually, I know that there’s a way that you can do both of these things. But what the secret is is in separating them and doing them separately, because the struggle comes in when you try to do them both at the same time, your brain doesn’t know what, which way is up, which way is down, what are we doing? Are we left branding? Are we right branding? What’s happening? I’m so confused. I’m exhausted. I’m done. Right? I kind of developed this approach over time because I wanted to start charging more and I wanted to do start doing more of the strategy and because I was learning the business side, I thought, gosh, why is this not a bigger part of what I do?

I understand the strategy and I understand this marketing and understand the sales, but why I’m. Why is this not a part of one of my traditional background and what I had learned. I just started melding them together in any way that I could. But I got really exhausted. I discovered this I guess on accident, but basically that I just had for my brain, I had to do these totally separately. And it was because when I was trying to shove them together and do them at the same time, I was just getting exhausted and burned out and I just didn’t want to do it anymore. Then I realized when I separated the task it made it so much easier and actually gave me my brain in that space to breathe and understand and just fully go there. Like if I’m in that left brain sales and marketing brain, just go, just, just, just, just run, running the field of sales and marketing.

Right? And then when I was in that really right brain inspired zone, just like fly and just, you know, get super creative and go for it, right? Because they separated them, I was able to really soar and just fill in those spaces as much as possible. I want to tell you three things that you can do today in order for you to just kill it at both, at the sales and marketing and the design side. And just have this like really cool synergy of the two together. The first thing is that I do my left brain tasks first or left brain, like I said, just loosely, is basically the strategy side. When I do all my planning and my kind of type a’s stuff first and I find that I, if I do that stuff, it’s very kind of methodical and doesn’t take a lot of.

It does take creativity, but it’s easier for me to just kind of go through a checklist of things. It’s just, it’s just very linear, right? When you have your strategy, you can write it all the pieces you’ve got all your life. If you get your sticky notes or something, you know, write everything on sticky notes. You can move stuff around. It’s very modular and you don’t. You can just get started. There’s not, you don’t get like too much in your head when it like when you get to design stuff you can get really in your head and not really sure and it can kind of get designer block and all that stuff. But when you’re doing the very left brain kind of compartmentalizing all the pieces together, it’s easier to just get started. I always start there and also because I’m planning, I’m literally doing the strategy right?

Like I need the strategy and need it laid out before I get to the design or else it just falls flat and it’s, there’s no depth there. That’s the first thing you want to always start off with the left brain tasks and just, it also gives you no excuses to delay or procrastinate because you literally have the pieces right there. You have everything you need to get started. There’s no writer’s block designer’s blog, right? There’s no creative block. You have all the pieces there, you just need to put them together. It’s just like taking all the puzzle pieces, putting them together, working out the strategy. And if you guys have seen my website, like strategy packages that I do with my clients, that’s where this all comes from. We do this whole roadmap and we do a whole state architecture before we even get into any of the design.

We think about who are our clients, what are we trying to say to them? How are we selling to them? How are we different? We’re thinking they’re in the narrative and so that’s what I want you to do. I want you to do all of this left brain planning stuff first. Get a huge like you know, like yeah, just like a blueprint of all the things you’re going to build with and just remove all of that creative, creative, artistic like stuff that’s up for debate. Subjective stuff, right? Just remove it all, do it very black and white skeleton boxes and get that left side brain strategy out there and done. And then once you have that done, you have the building blocks. Now, now all you have to do is your second thing and that’s make it pretty. Now you, once you have all that strategy, you can just switch over to your right brain and do all the amazing, cool and fun design stuff.

And you don’t have to think about any of the strategy at that point because you’ve already thought of it. You already know who your people are, you already know what they like, you already know what your story is, you already know what your angle is, right? And you already know the mood, you already know the field, you know, you know it’s all taken care of, and all of that strategy is all laid out for you and you just get to be creative. You just get to be an artist and it’s so much more fun when you don’t have to think about any of that left brain stuff because you’ve already done that. You’ve already done like the math homework right now. You get to do the fun creative writing side, right? That’s kind of what I think about. And so that is how it makes it much easier.

And then the other thing that I wanted to say, the second thing is switching back and forth, um, when you do it that way, it’s exhausting to your brain. So what’s so cool about separating this is that you’re actually putting your, you’re, you’re using your brain in two separate ways at two different times, but you’re also saving that willpower because when you’re, every time you switch your brain from left to right, left to right, left to right, left to right, it gets exhausting because you’re kind of changing gears. It’s likes, it’s like slam on your brakes and then starting your engine again and you’re like burning all that fuel over and over and over and over again and you’re going to run out of steam much like quicker than you would if you were doing them separately. And it also gives you a fresh perspective because then you get to see it the next day.

Or do you know at basically whenever you picked the project back up again and you get to see it with fresh eyes and so you’re not just going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth are going to be way more. It’s kind of like, like not multitasking, right? It’s Kinda like mono tasking and actually separate, but you’re separating the type of tasks so that you’re doing like tasks with task and then your brain doesn’t get so exhausted and you have more willpower and you’re able to get to get through your project with fresh, a fresh mind and a fresh perspective. And the third thing is the reason that this was a really great way to do it. Um, and something that I would always suggest basically from now on, don’t ever do, don’t ever not do this from now on, um, is because you’re making, you’re making sure it’s strategic.

Because when you take this time to separate these items out, do the strategy and then do the design. You’re making sure the strategy actually gets done, but you’re also making sure that the design is strategic design. So instead of trying to do, be strategic as you’re designing and thinking through all those little pieces, kind of in the back of your mind, you’re actually already have that foundation laid and you can make sure that your design isn’t just pretty. That’s the big thing, right? Because you’ve laid this foundation of strategy ahead of time, now we can really do some fun things. We can just kinda go and just get free and do some awesome stuff that nobody’s ever seen before, but it’s not like crazy stuff that nobody’s ever seen before. Right? It’s going to be stuff that is still strategic. It’s still going to help.

It’s still gonna help sell and it’s still going to move the needle forward because we’ve already done that step. So that’s what makes it really, really important to do these separately because you know it’s done, you know, it’s crossed off the list, you know, it’s going to be awesome and you know, it’s actually going to help either your business or your client’s business move and make more money and do all the things they want to do and actually share their, you’re the genius with the world because you know, there’s that strategy behind it and that it’s not just some shallow design that’s going to fall flat in, you know, next week, right? That it has that low, like really strong foundation. Those are the three reasons you want to separate out your task and how you do this, how you make something street, both strategic and gorgeous is you separate them out, you give your brain that time to reflect and just fully dive in to the left and then fully dive into the right and then kind of come together and it just gives your brain that time to, you know, really reflect and to be separate and actually just do its thing and just mono task right and not to have to, you know, have any excuses not to get started or to have you will help you not get overwhelmed, right?

And it’ll help you have that willpower will have to switch back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and then you’ll make sure that there’s a strong foundation and that it is strategic design so that you can make something super incredible. That’s both strategic and gorgeous. Thanks guys. I hope that was helpful. I appreciate you so much and I’ll see you on the next one.

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DesignLapse: The Contract Shop

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Watch my design process on how to design a logo step-by-step in Illustrator in what I’m calling a “DesignLapse”.

This logo was designed for The Contract Shop.