• Karen Hardie with Richard Knight

The Challenges that Owner-Operator Graphic Design Studios face.

Some of the best creative work comes from one or two-person graphic design studios.

However, problems can arise when the creatives doing this great work are also responsible for operations like managing projects and taking care of clients. If this is you, and you need an extra pair of hands to handle operations so you can focus on the creative work you love, I can help.

Know you need some help but don’t know where to start?

Many of my clients have never worked with an Account Director or Project Manager before and so are confused as to where to start. So, for smaller and newer agencies I’ve created a 5-stage onboarding process to make getting started super simple.

1. Offload

With every new client, I like to kick-off with a huge brainstorm session. This is your chance to offload every single issue, worry and niggle that you’ve got going on, so that I can understand the current challenges.

2. Put the fires out

As soon as we’ve had our brainstorm session, I’ll get to work on putting out the fires – the most urgent issues that really need some attention. These might be overdue projects, disgruntled clients, bottlenecks or backlogs. You can leave me to figure it out and smooth things over.

3. Audit

After the most pressing issues are dealt with, I’ll begin auditing your current systems and processes. I’ll use my 20 years of agency experience, to work out what’s going on, and make recommendations for how we can improve operations, make workflows more streamlined and put systems in place to keep clients on board and happy.

4. System Set-Up

If you’re happy with my suggestions, I’ll start to implement the new systems, bringing your team or suppliers up to speed so that everyone is rowing in the same direction and efficiency is maximised.

5. Business as Usual

In the final stage, we’ll identify what support you need going forward, in order to keep things afloat. This might be more of my time, or just a really good VA. We’ll work out what the regular meetings are, measures, and check-in points that you need to have in the diary to keep things running well. And, if you do want to continue working with me longer term, what are the tasks that I can take off your plate so that you can stay in your zone of genius while I take care of operations. It’s plain sailing from here. Phew!

Fancy chatting it over?

If you’re a one-or two person graphic design studio who finds juggling all of the operational tasks that come with engaging and working for clients an unwanted distraction from the creative work, please do get in touch to see how I can help.

What am I like to work with?

“Working with Karen is a dream. Before I met her, I was having to manage all of the day-to-day operations, from managing client communications to planning resource for the week. Not only are these not my skillset (nor things that I really enjoy!), they also completely disrupted my flow which resulted in creative work that wasn’t my best. Now I have happy clients, work that’s delivered on time and the freedom to explore creative ideas without the daily interruptions that come from running a business.”

Richard Knight, Owner & Graphic Designer, xHeight