Want to get our ultimate Designer Tech & Tools Cheat Sheet? Then head on over to our Resources page to grab it!
As a designer, there are no shortage of tools and technology that we can use to make our lives easier. But staying current can be a real challenge with so many choices!
And while it may seem daunting, or overwhelming, it’s super important to get right – because technology is really what sets the foundation of an easily repeatable process when it comes to your projects; something that the businesses who are succeeding in the industry have nailed.
When used correctly, it can ensure your projects encounter the fewest unpleasant surprises possible. And that is always going to mean less wasted time, energy and money – which is always going to equal more profitability.
Now, maybe you feel like you’re way too busy right now to adopt something new, or, things are currently way to slow to warrant setting up new tech. So, when should you consider implementing technology? Right now.
If you’re not very busy, now is the perfect time to get things set up and ready to go – you have the time, so why not invest in your business? And if you’re currently super busy, it’s even more important – because things may go off the rails pretty quickly. Would you rather work late every single day, or, would you rather sit down, get things in place, and start reaping the benefits? Just block off a chunk of time to work away at it – you’d be amazed by what you can get done in an hour or two each week!
The first step is to take a look at your process. From beginning to end, where do you find yourself consistently getting the most headaches? Where are you encountering your biggest obstacles? What keeps you up at night while you’re working on a project? Those are the things you want to tackle first.
It can be tempting to try and fix everything, but it can quickly lead to you feeling overwhelmed. We see it all the time, a designer is working on learning 3 different platforms or software at once, and not really using any one of them to its fullest. We know, everything can feel like a priority, and it has to be done now, but trust us, you want to choose one that will create the biggest impact & absolutely nail it.
Here’s your new raison d’être when it comes to implementing new technology in your process: implement it 👉 learn it 👉 make adjustments 👉 move on to the next one. And remember, keep things as simple and streamlined as possible! You want the technology to work for you, not the other way around.
With so many choices, how do you know what’s right for you? The first simple question to ask yourself is does it do what you need it to do? And if it doesn’t, are there other options that can integrate with that particular software to fill in the gaps. For an example, here’s Mydoma Studio’s Designer Success Manager, Dixie Willard on what she uses for her calendar:
“I have Google calendar for my calendar, and while it does offer scheduling capabilities, it’s not great and it’s definitely not my favorite! So I also use Acuity, in addition to Google. Google has the main parts of my calendar, it’s where I check and see what’s going on and keep up-to-date, but I use Acuity to make the functionality of my scheduling better.”
The next thing to ask yourself is does it allow your business to grow? You’re not always going to be doing the exact same things exactly the way you are right now. So think about something that’s flexible, and has additional features you may need down the road. You don’t want to put all this time and energy into setting something up if it doesn’t work for you in the long run.
Next, ask yourself does it offer the level of customer support that you need? Do they offer live training sessions? Do they have tutorials, or help articles and webinars available? What about tech support? And what does it cost to access all those things? Are there any user support groups on Facebook or forums that you can turn to for help? Ultimately you want to know are you able to access training, learn what you need to learn, and move on?
Finally, you want to ask yourself does the cost work for where your business is today? And when we say cost, we don’t just mean dollars. The cost is going to include not only what you’re paying for the software or platform, but the cost of the learning curve to implement – meaning, the time and energy you’re going to have to put into not just setting up the software, but learning how to use it.
If you’re wondering where to start on selecting specific software or platforms for your needs, then be sure to head over to our Resources page to grab Dixie’s cheat sheet and glossary of awesome industry tools and technology to help make your life as a designer easier.
Get the inside track from someone who has leveraged technology in an incredible way to supercharge her design business!