From Freelance Designer to Full-Time on Digital Products w/ Laura Elizabeth
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Today I’m talking to Laura Elizabeth. She is the creator of Client Portal, as well as Design Academy.
Client Portal is a WordPress plugin that gives your clients a place to access their designed files or whatever files you are delivering as a freelancer.
In Design Academy, Laura offers a curriculum for developers who want to learn how to design.
Laura successfully transitioned from doing the freelance thing into doing digital products. We talk all about how to go from zero audience into raising your profile, speaking at conferences and growing your email list, which can enable you to launch and pre-sell products.
[9:19] Case for Client Portal. Keeping the plugin simple and not going into the SaaS model. Annual license vs monthly subscription.
- “Things were always getting lost in emails. I’d finish a project and six months later someone would come and say “Hey Laura, remember that logo you did for us? I’ve lost the files again, can you resend them to me?”“
- “There’s a lot of overhead in SaaS that makes it not worth for a lot of products. So yeah, I’m happy keeping it as a WordPress plugin.”
[14:24] From full-time job to freelancing to digital products. Getting practice from freelancing to make something look good.
- “College hasn’t prepared me with how to make something look good. What they prepared me for was how to think about ideas and how to solve problems. But they didn’t teach me how to make those ideas look like they weren’t done by some amateur kid. So I applied to freelance jobs just to get experience.”
- “To be honestly I felt massively. I could not crack productized consulting at all in web design. Every project just was different.”
[24:02] Building an audience from zero for Design Academy. Getting at conferences, guest articles, an raising a profile. Getting featured in Smashing Magazine.
- “Everyone said you have to build an audience before you can sell anything to them. I spent years just building an audience. All I had was a landing page saying I want to teach design for developers. Sign up to find out more.”
- “Writing is the most vital skill you could possible have.”
[31:01] Selling $10k of HTML templates. Preselling $40k of Design Academy course to accelerate development. How to write copy based on clients’ feedback.
- “You have to make the effort to talk to early subscribers. Having loyal subscribers is really powerful.”
- Laura Elizabeth on Twitter
- Laura Elizabeth’s course, Design Academy
- Laura Elizabeth’s product, Client Portal
- Laura Elizabeth’ website
- Jane Portman – Jane on the Productize Podcast
- Smashing Magazine
- Smashing Conference
- A Simple Web Developer’s Color Guide – Laura Elizabeth on Smashing Magazine