Most modern businesses need design elements and website updates on an ongoing basis.

Whether it’s a series of fresh social media graphics, or a simple website tweaks like updating your “work with me” page, there are plenty of design-related tasks/projects that need to be done for your business to maintain and active and up-to-date visual brand and online presence.

That’s why, for some businesses, it makes sense to work with a designer on retainer.

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Over the years, I’ve done this with a number of clients. And our retainer agreements have worked in a variety of different ways. My goal is always to deliver ongoing design services that will save the client time, stress, money, or (hopefully) all three!

But knowing when it’s time to work with a designer on an ongoing basis, that can be the tricky part.

So, in in this post, I’m sharing 7 questions you can ask yourself to decide if working with a designer on retainer might be right for your business.

If you find out that hiring a designer on retainer is the right way to go, check out my video on Wednesday to learn more about how working on retainer can work for you!

How much time are you spending on design?

Assuming you’re not a designer, if you’re spending more than 10% of your work hours on design-related projects, it might be time to hire someone on retainer.

By spending less time creating graphics, updating your site, etc., you’ll be able to serve your clients/customers better.

And your business will, most likely, be more successful because of this.

How much do you enjoy design-related projects?

They say you the first things you should outsource are the tasks and projects you don’t like doing.

If you dread doing design-related projects, outsource them so you can spend more time and energy doing working on the stuff you actually enjoy.

For those of you who are like me and don’t necessary “dread” many parts of running your business, per se, it might be helpful to notice the tasks and projects you’ve been procrastinating.

Or those that tend to cut into the time you’d rather spend doing something else. For example, I recently hired a VA who has been helping me schedule my social media posts. Scheduling wasn’t something I necessarily dreaded, but it was something I used to do on Saturday mornings when I could’ve been hanging out with my husband.

How many design-related projects do you have on the backburner or on the “to-do someday” list?

Working with a designer on retainer could help you turn your ideas into reality a whole lot faster.

You could get the support you need to finally complete that half-finished ebook, or your online course, or all those blog graphics you’ve been meaning to revamp for Pinterest.

A lot of creative entrepreneurs get stuck they get to the steps in a project that require design or website updates. That’s simply because that stuff isn’t as familiar to them as it is to an experienced designer who is spending all day navigating Photoshop, WordPress and Squarespace.

Hiring someone to handle the design-related work that seems daunting, overwhelming or confusing to you, will help you complete more projects. Plus, you’ll probably complete them in record time.

How consistent is your visual brand and online presence?

Good designers are obsessed with consistency.

They’re typically pretty meticulous and wouldn’t dream of eyeballing your brand colors while creating graphics, or making website updates without checking and double-checking that everything works before the update goes live.

Consistency is key when it comes to establishing trust with your audience.

Having a designer you work with on an ongoing basis means that person will have all your files and brand colors right at their fingertips. And they’ll get to know your style, so they can help you maintain consistency in your visual brand and online presence.

How much stress is design and maintenance causing you?

Even if you already work with designers from time to time, having someone on retainer will save you the stress that comes along with finding the right fit to work with whenever  you want to outsource something.

This happens all the time with my brand and web design clients. We’ll wrap up the project and they’ll come back months or years later for updates or a new project, and I’ll have to put them on my waitlist (which, at the moment is five months long).

If those same clients worked with me on retainer, I’d already have built-in availability for them in my schedule.

Bottom line: if you’re losing sleep over finding designers, or handing this stuff yourself, save your sanity and find somebody you can hire on retainer.

Can you afford to keep doing it yourself?

For some entrepreneurs, deciding to hire a designer on retainer is really just a simple math problem.

Total up the amount of money you typically make in a given week (or month if that’s easier). Then, divide it by the number of hours you work. That’s your hourly rate.

Now, consider what you’re actually getting paid to do. That is, what does your business offer? And what’s your role in providing that for your clients/customers? If designing isn’t something you offer, or if it isn’t part of the primary role you fill in your business, then you’re not getting paid to design.

So, total up the amount of time you spend on design-related project each week and multiply it by your hourly rate. That’s how much money you’re wasting by not hiring a designer, because you could be spending that time doing other things that relate your role, the primary value you offer, in your business.

Do you have projects that would be simple to outsource?

If you did the little math problem I mentioned above, you could take that money you’re currently “wasting” and reinvest it in someone who can handle some simple, routine design projects like blog posts or social media graphics.

Typically, this won’t cost you an arm and a leg. And you can even set up quarterly agreements, if that’s more financially manageable for your business.

If you hired a designer on retainer, what’s the first design-related project you’d hand off? Let me know in the comments!

If you find out that hiring a designer on retainer is the right way to go, check out my video on Wednesday to learn more about how working on retainer can work for you!

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