A lot of times on social media we’ll see fellow designers announcing that they’re booked out for the next six months or that they only have one more spot for the year. Back in the day, when I saw this, it would send me spiraling. I would compare myself to them, doubt myself and wonder if I wasn’t good enough. Why wasn’t I booked out too?!
As designers it can easily become an unhealthy obsession to know what other designers are doing and how they’re doing it. Sourcing any and all details about other designers to compare yourself to them. It’s natural to feel the need to compare yourself to someone else (to a point) and as designers it almost feels necessary to. But here’s what I’ve learned since then, you don’t know that person’s circumstance.
Maybe they are working part time and can only take on 3 projects a year. Maybe they are also tasked with doing home learning and have to split their time between work and home life. Maybe they’re battling with mental health and need more space in their calendar and are cutting back on taking client projects.
Sure, I could charge $200 for a website and I bet I could fill a calendar up pretty freaking quickly. But then I’d be burnt out and broke. In the early days of Quill & Co when my prices where much lower I had a really high conversion rate from sales call to booking and I booked my calendar out much faster. Once I started to raise my prices, my booking rate slowed down drastically. It seemed like no one was booking me and this sent my ego spiraling. I saw everyone else around me working on so many different projects and showcasing dozens of projects in their end of year recap. I thought I was failing but when I really looked at my numbers I was making a lot more money than I had before by taking on a lot less clients.
Which brings me to my point of:
If you’re booked out it means you’re at capacity. Which means there is no more room for growth and scaling – you’ve already hit your max. And while you absolutely don’t always need to be growing or scaling your business if you’re starting to notice that you’re getting “booked out” it might be time to reevaluate your business model. If you’re “booked out” you’re leaving money on the table and it’s time to think about building a team.
These could be dream projects that you want to work on in your own business or it could be dream clients that pop-up. If your books are full and a dream client comes along, you don’t want to tell them that they’re going to have to wait months to work with you. As well as if an opportunity presents its self, or you want to implement new things that would help your business, you’re going to need room on your calendar to make these things happen.
I’m a big planner and often complain to Danny (my fiance) that I’m always living three months ahead of where we currently are living in time. I love to know what I’m currently working towards which means I have things plotted on my calendar. When you’re booked out months and months in advance though it makes it much harder to take a spur of the moment vacation or for unplanned things to come up (life happens). While I love to plan, I get stressed out when my calendar is filling up months out in advance because it takes away room for spontaneity.
If you’re feeling shackled to your calendar or like you can’t take time off from your business without losing income it’s probably time to reevaluate.
It’s important to keep in mind that this system and thought process is what I have found to work best for me. You may find that having your books full makes you feel secure for the next year or so and find my points to be irrelevant to you and your business. That’s perfectly fine! Make your calendar fit your needs, take what may apply to you and leave the rest.
If you’d like to learn more about how I plan my year to make space to work with my dream clients check out this blog post. Or if your calendar is looking a little too sparse at the moment check out this blog post on how to find clients.