The Design Business Show 108: Personalized Service + Handcrafted Design and Marketing with Sherry Holub

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | September 1, 2020

Sherry Holub has over 20 years of experience eliminating stress and worry for small business clients and becoming a trusted partner for their website, design and marketing needs. She’s an advocate for education, a member of prestigious design organizations, and has judged design competitions such as the Webby Awards.

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

  • Sherry talks about when the internet first became a thing and how it’s crazy she has a job that didn’t even exist while growing up
  • In 1995 Sherry was asked to make a website and agreed because she had background with graphic design and photography
  • Sherry attended the UCLA School of Art and had some graphic design background in the music industry creating cover designs and merch design for DJs in LA
  • Sherry shares the story of her first client and how they are still a client today
  • How in the beginning it was just Sherry but she started bringing more people in, like her husband in 1999
  • Why Sherry expanded her business with only a few employees and why she’s always wanted to keep her business small
  • When Sherry was young her dad ran a business from their home and her mom worked retail so from a young age she was thinking about wanting to be her own boss
  • Sherry explains that design is not all she’s ever done and shares some past jobs she’s had but how in 1995 she went all in with making design work
  • How Sherry’s dad would give her business advice when she first started out
  • When Sherry first started it was just her running the whole operation out of the bedroom of her apartment
  • After about two years in, Sherry started bringing more people in as independent contractors because she was receiving bigger jobs, or projects that weren’t in her particular area of expertise
  • How Sherry’s business model has stayed the same as far as hiring independent contractors and how they have a small home-based office with three employees and three contractors
  • Sherry shares the story of how she hired her husband before they were married after knowing him from school and how they formed a corporation after he was hired
  • How Sherry hired two programmers that didn’t work out so she searched online and found someone to test out for a couple projects which worked out and how she still works with them today
  • Services Shelly offers include, website design, graphic design and support services and says they like to be a one stop shop for design
  • With website design it’s all custom and they code their own WordPress for them but every now and then they do a small HTML website
  • Sherry explains that most clients who come to them are small businesses and explains they don’t have a niche market of clients so they can stay inclusive
  • Sherry noticed overtime that clients weren’t logging into their WordPress site so she decided to make Worry-free Maintenance and support as an offer
  • Sherry launched Worry-free Maintenance for a monthly fee, where clients can call anytime for an update or anything else they need, like stickers or brochures for an event in addition to the maintenance
  • Sherry explains that marketing is built into the design, like figuring out who the audience is, figuring out buyer personas and focusing on what the main goals of the company are
  • Why Sherry is good about working with other marketers on projects because if they don’t communicate, the marketing won’t be as successful or you won’t get the conversions that you want
  • Sherry tells the story of when they had a client hire a startup SEO company and how she uncovered their spammy backlinks
  • How Sherry is very flexible when it comes to working with others because she’s all about anything that will help her clients
  • Sherry explains how they work with other companies to get clients through referrals or outsourcing
  • How pricing can work where clients pay separately for the design and programming work between the two companies or when working with another company on a project, one company is paid and then pays the other
  • Another way Sherry gets business is from referral bases where a company refers them to a project and then the company will ask for a certain percentage off the top
  • Sherry is all about making it easy for the client and typically wants them to only have to pay one person and shares examples of how they’ve worked out prices and payment in past projects
  • Sherry shares that on a custom program project where she’s doing the project management and they bring in a more advanced programmer sometimes the markup can be 25% – 100%
  • Sherry says the best way to test the waters with a bigger company is to work on a small project with them so you can see the personality or dynamic behind the company and then build the relationship as you go
  • One thing sherry hates seeing is designers ragging on clients and projects because she believes it’s your job to help them understand and guide them through this process
  • Sherry’s E-book she wrote on how to work with designers that’s written from the perspective of a client who may have never worked with a designer before
  • One thing Sherry has learned is when you’re working with small businesses is they’re paying you with hard earned so it’s a concern for them that they’re going to get their money’s worth
  • How you should have a conversation right from the start with your clients about who their customer is because that’s who you’re really designing for
  • Sherry’s advice when it comes to offering multiple proposals to a client who may only want to do a small portion and how to explain to them that their best chance of success is with what’s outlined in the proposal
  • Sherry shares a way to get more comfortable presenting proposals is to practice with a friend
  • Connect with Sherry on Twitter, LinkedIn or on her website

 

Links mentioned:

Connect with Sherry on Twitter 

Connect with Sherry on LinkedIn

Sherry’s Website- JV Media Design 

 

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