The Design Business Show 133: Understanding Your Clients and Their Why with Nadine N. Bone

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | March 9, 2021
Check out episode 133 of The Design Business Show with Nadine N. Bone to learn all about understanding your clients and their why!

Nadine N. Bone lives, loves, and works in Paris, France. She is a “by-referral-only” web designer & “by-application-only” brand consultant who facilitates the breakthroughs her clients need to create the visuals that represent their brand. Most of these clients want to show up as leaders and thought leaders in their community. They come to Nadine because their web designer is about to fire them!

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

  • How I knew who Nadine was because she worked with Rachel Luna, and how I’ve been a fan of Nadine’s work since we connected back in 2012
  • Nadine talks about how male dominated the design field was when she first started in 2011 and how it was all about databases, WordPress, code and the back end of things, so she wanted to bring a more feminine side to what they were already doing and add visuals
  • When Nadine decided she wanted to make a statement and help improve people’s lives with design she turned to technology and shares there were a few courses you could take at the time to help you level up your design skills and that’s when she started integrating that expertise into her practice
  • Because Nadine does a wide variety of services in her business, she says it’s important to think about a website as a product that makes your business tangible on something that is intangible, which is the internet
  • How people are going to decide in a split second whether or not they like something, so the design needs to be more about storytelling than just fonts and colors
  • When Nadine designs a website and starts off with the HTML, code or core parts of the website she likes to add the storytelling layer with the strategy, thinking about why people are on the website, where are they going next, etc. to help build a foundation where they keep coming back
  • Nadine shares that when she first got started, Rachel Luna was the first person who gave her a shot; Nadine saw that she was launching a book and asked to get together because she had some ideas for it and talks about how she was able to help Rachel reach her goals
  • After helping Rachel with her book, Nadine was on other’s radar who wanted the same experience for themselves and in their business
  • How Rachel introduced Nadine to a lot of influential people and how she ended up working with a 6 figure entrepreneurs and most recently worked with Miss Universe 2019
  • Nadine knows no two clients are the same, so when getting to know them she has her clients share why they do what they do, what their next challenge is, etc. and if there is consistency between what they are saying and what they are capable of doing, it’s probably a good fit
  • When working with a client, Nadine says it’s your responsibility to help them decipher their priorities because sometimes as entrepreneurs we tend to take on more than we can handle
  • Nadine shares that she always does custom proposals for clients because each project is different and because she takes clients by application only, so it’s a lot of returning clients and clients that come from referrals
  • Because Nadine does the design, development, SEO, etc. she likes to really understand her clients so she can personalize every single item on the list for them
  • Why it never worked for Nadine to charge for calls before the proposal is because she likes to build a rapport and have a free-flowing conversation to see if they would make a good fit for each other first
  • Nadine explains that our biggest strength as entrepreneurs is that we can fire our clients, that’s why it’s important we are clear on boundaries, how fast response times are and to ask them what their experience was like working with other designers so we can get a better understanding
  • Because Nadine is more established, she likes to take time with her calls and shares she does close to an hour for sales calls because she treats them like an easy coffee conversation, where they can get to know each other
  • Even though Nadine has a relaxed approach, she still pays attention to red flags that can come from bad attitudes, or from someone talking negatively about people they worked with on a recent project
  • To keep things on track during a call, Nadine likes to have the clients assets available, like their website or brochures so she can go through a critique with them
  • Nadine gives an example of a critique she did for her current clients, who are in real estate and says their brochure was using stock images of homes, so she suggested adding a more human dimension to the brochures, which they loved
  • How Nadine used to take on up to 12 clients at a time, doing a wide range of projects but has since scaled down to taking on 2 or 3 because she just got engaged and is starting to plan the wedding
  • When you first start as an entrepreneur or creative Nadine says the number of clients is important, but when you’re more established having seasoned clients is more important and shares that she works with clients anywhere from 2 months to 3 years, depending on what they need
  • Nadine explains that the creative process is not linear and that people get inspired in different ways — she gets inspired by music, TV shows, video games
  • To stay current on what’s going on Nadine shares that she’s subscribed to the bigger websites like, Fast Company, and award design blogs
  • Nadine wants to remind people that even though we are in a world crisis, it’s important to stay in touch with your why and ask yourself the same questions you ask your clients — why did you start this business, why do you keep taking on challenges, etc.
  • How as designers we think that the only important work we do is going to happen during our peak years but Nadine reminds us that we are creating something beyond that, we are building a legacy
  • Nadine designed a eulogy exercise as a way to be more appreciative of everything you’ve accomplished and everything you’ve survived and shares that sometimes we get so caught up in moving forward in life and business that we forget about the kind of mark we want to make and leave behind
  • How during these times it’s especially important to sit down and think clearly about the difference you are trying to make in the world
  • Connect with Nadine on, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest — email her and reach out to say hello


Links mentioned:

Nadine’s Website

Fast Company

Connect with Nadine on Facebook 

Connect with Nadine on Instagram

Connect with Nadine on Pinterest


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