When you start your own business you inevitably find yourself doing every aspect of running it. You learn just enough Wordpress, Quickbooks, Photoshop, social media, sales techniques, etc etc etc to get your business up and running with all the essentials you need. It can be empowering at times, you feel like you can do it all on your own and you don't need to spend a bunch of cash to hire other people to help you. Disclaimer: that feeling usually lasts for approximately 30 seconds (I've been timing this for myself) and then you realize that you have ZERO interest in doing [insert your own worst-favorite-business-task here] for half your day every day.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners end up wearing many hats, which has its advantages, but I've come to realize that the best entrepreneurs can be honest about what they're NOT good at and what they DON'T enjoy.
For those of you who are trying to figure out what those things are, here are some signs that design may be one of those things and you might just want to look into hiring a designer:
1. You spend an exorbitant amount of time creating promotional materials for your business.
You might not hate working on designs for your business, and you might not even be bad at it. But if you're spending more time (or close to it) working on design materials for your business than working on the business itself, you may just want to hire a designer. As the owner and operator of the business, your time is precious, and what you spend your time doing is directly connected with how much revenue you will bring in. Hiring a designer will allow you to spend all of that would-be design time doing things that will help bring in more revenue for your business, and if you hire a great designer, their work will be directly contributing to bringing you business. It's a win/win - you get more time and if you hire the right person, you'll get more business as well.
2. The thought and/or act of having to create your next _______ (logo, flyer, newsletter, web graphic, etc) makes you want to curl up into a ball and/or throw your computer at the wall.
Too many people try to force themselves into using programs like Illustrator and Photoshop so that they can do things themselves. But if you have minor panic attacks while thinking about or working in these programs, you may just want to hire a designer. Design software can be intimidating and overwhelming, and much of it isn't designed for laypeople to just jump on and make stuff. But that's okay. You can save yourself all of that stress by hiring someone who has mastery of these programs and can create beautiful things for you while you eat ice cream and watch the Bachelorette, I mean, work on your business.
3. You aren't excited about the finished products you create.
Maybe you're okay with Illustrator and it doesn't take you 3 days to make a flyer, but if you find that you're ambivalent about the things you end up creating for your business, you may just want to hire a designer. Hiring someone who makes things look awesome for their job may just take your business to the next level by giving you a clean and polished brand. A great designer will make you something that you are not only excited about, but that helps you achieve your business goals. Don't settle for designs (ESPECIALLY brand materials) that are just so-so just because they are free. In the long run it won't be worth it.
There is absolutely no shame in hiring someone to do things that you are either not good at or not excited about doing. In fact, there is great wisdom in it, because chances are that the more time you can spend doing the things you are good at and excited about, the better your business will be.
In conclusion, here's one sign that you may NOT need to hire a designer: If you find yourself getting excited about the things you can create in Illustrator and getting comments from outsiders like "I love that logo!" or "Your website looks amazing!" then you may just not need to hire a designer to do those things for you. If creating design materials for your business is life-giving for you, that's great. My advice to you would be, what in your business is sucking the life out of you and can you get someone else to do it for you??