Selling Creativity With Russ Perry

So when I think about selling creativity I sort of thinking I think about it as Like the agencies really need to plan For it as like a utility inside of their Business it's like hey this is here this Is what you can access it's available I Have a process I have a system I have a Cost structure that works and it's not Super complicated and we use it when we Use it but when we don't use it I'm not Stressing out that I have three Full-time creatives that I'm like how am I going to keep their day busy [Music] Thank you Hi everyone and welcome to another Episode of the high level Spotlight Sessions where we showcase awesome Marketers doing awesome marketing today I'm excited to be joined by Russ Perry He's the founder Creator and CEO of a Little company called design pickle Which you've probably heard of Russ Thank you so much for coming on thank You and it's been Um a minute since I've been called a Marketer so I hope that I can deliver on That title I still have a few ideas I Send my team every now and again some of Them are ignored but I I love marketing Through and through that's where I got My start Nice and that's let's start there so I Mean design I think is a somewhat of a

Household name in the marketing World Um it has gone through some interesting Evolutions but um I I caught a piece of Your talk in Costa Rica and I was I was Thinking about him like I'm pretty sure He said he had an agency back in the Beginning so so take me back what is the Origin story here yeah and you know it's Funny because I also caught a lot of the Talks there in Costa Rica too and the Thing that I could think of the entire Time at that event it was like damn I Wish I had an agency today because what I what I had an agency you know 10 plus Years ago life was a lot harder there Was a lot less sexy tools out there but Yeah so my um my upbringing really took Kind of three phases in terms of my Professional career the first was just As an employee I worked for uh big Brands uh the the most famous was with Apple on their higher education sales And marketing team helping with big Product launches uh on the on the on the Uh on the at the Arizona State level for Um like the iPod and you know like the Old iPod that had the rotating wheel and All of that Um and so that was super fun I worked For company uh division of LG like most People know their man electronic Manufacturers I worked for the little Way less sexy division of countertops so I became like an expert in in marketing

Solid surface countertops and uh then Took all of that experience and launched My first like branding and design agency And I did that for almost a decade uh Two different forms of that but we were Really focused on Um B2B Brands so designing a lot of Content uh the core Brands themselves And updating you know kind of older Companies that needed to be more Relevant and then all of the digital and Uh in-person strategies for demand Demand acquisition for those Brands so Trade show marketing Um you know early days of HubSpot I was A HubSpot reseller for a while which was A this whole disaster of a story I can Tell you about uh easy to sell hard to Support that's my two cents on that Thing Um but yeah and then and then you know That was exciting but ultimately uh Really made you know just about every Mistake in the book of how to scale how To systematize my agency so it was Always just a huge grind for new Business this new clients and retention So the day came where I just said you Know what Um I have an agency heart I know it Through and through I've been in the Trenches but I got to do something Different and at that time I was doing You know juggling about six different

Consulting engagements to keep keep the Lights on and the Perry home and added That Balancing Act came this need like Hey I need design I need stuff quickly I It's like I need an employee but I can't Afford an employee but I don't want to Go to the marketplaces because they're So inconsistent and actually uh created Design pickle for my first six clients And it was a on-demand kind of graphic Design vending machine you know to Really simplify it and they started Loving it and to the point where they Were like Hey you know that like five and six Figure dollar branding strategy you're Doing Um we don't really care about that but These business cards and these online Ads like this thank you so much for this And that was the yeah that was the light Bulb moment so we launched in 2015 with The brand and the logo that stayed the Same and Um so yeah I gotta jump in there yeah Design pickle is such a fun brand if You've ever seen these guys at trade Shows and stuff they have the by far the Coolest Booth it's like so intricate and It's all green and then there they have A pickle costume and like everything is Pickle themed so what's up with Pickles Ross where this Why are you a super fan

We used to give out pickles too by the Way that's it you know I love that if You're if you're old school you know Problem with Pickles Is We I could write A whole pillar blog post on the problems With shipping and procuring pickles what Can go wrong with pickle juice Everywhere so we no longer do that but The the name actually came because my Agency names were so horrible they were Hard to say hard to spell no one could Ever hear them and when I started my Third business I was like I need a clear name that no one can Forget and no one's going to ask me how To spell it and I love fermented foods I Always joke that designed sauerkraut Really didn't go well and and honestly Didn't know the domain was available it Was like a five minute branding exercise Of like what do I like we're gonna do Design Pickle's a funny thing everyone Kind of has an opinion so um but yeah We've leaned in hard to the pickles it's A it's definitely part of our brand Culture here at design pickles and you Don't have to like pickles to work here You just have to have an opinion on Pickles that's the main reason you just Have to fake it as you shove them down Your throat yeah or we have people who Hate it and they're like the outliers They're like the guy that have you ever Played craps there's like the bed on

Black like you can bet against everybody Else like the anti-pickle tribe is Strong at design pickle even internally That's funny no I love it I love it we I Was so pumped when Um everyone thought it would be a good Idea uh to create a mascot at high level Because once you have that kind of Identity and you have a mascot it opens Up so many doors creatively with what You can do with your marketing right Well and I did so much Marketing in B2B Tech and my angle was always like have Fun and make people laugh and it's not Like it's this crazy strategy but I Found that it builds trust immediately And that's like a on an un Underutilized thing in a lot of B2B Space it's definitely used in consumer Branding all the time but like we found And I found with the pickle guy and the Pickles it was like it just broke down That wall immediately and people would Respond in a fun way and then you can Actually be like all right now tell me About your design needs and you've You've created that connection quicker So from day one it was by intention to Have that fun component with it and and To this day you know while we've matured Our brand new we are like much different Company than eight years ago seven and a Half eight years ago I find like you Have a pickle someone's gonna laugh

They're gonna tell you a funny story and Then you can get to business That's great yeah it's like a built-in Icebreaker exactly exactly yeah So so let's talk about You know I saw you use a phrase selling Creativity which I absolutely loved so Um I ran an agency for I think it was Like seven years and we we called Ourselves a full service agency in the Beginning we were Outsourcing Um graphic stuff but by the end we had a Team of two or three full-time graphic Designers Um who were fantastic but we learned a Lot of lessons the hard way and I think You Illustrated a very interesting point Which is Every business has these random kind of Needs like business cards right like if You hit the market and you're like man I'm a PPC expert and no one's going to Beat me at PPC and I'm going to get Laser focused on that and you start Running ads for people I guarantee you At least one of them will be like yeah The ads are awesome but could you by Chance help us with our business cards Yeah yeah like some random request that Comes in exactly yeah and that often Throws people into a bind because it's Like you don't want to say no to your Customers you don't want to risk them Leaving you for an agency who does more

Things or offers more services and Whatnot And but while that's true I don't think We ever looked at it as selling Creativity as a service in general which Is pretty interesting so so talk to me About that idea of kind of that term and And what that means to you Well absolutely and let me identify Another bucket so the bucket you Identified is sort of like the um you Know no offense to create creatives and Creative deliverables but I call it like The junk drawer it's like hey I need This or hey can you do this or the CEOs Do we're doing a holiday party or we're Doing whatever and the problem with These requests is that by themselves They're innocent they don't take a lot Of time you know as a customer service Champion you want to support your Clients and the more they spend the more You want to help them but on the Aggregate it can become consuming and Distracting and really start to eat into It so then there's that and then there's The other side of it which is like I Love this client they they have a great Product but man their brand is terrible Like what they are giving me is awful And like you have the moral imperative To help them like you know by like just Reef refreshing this it's gonna do Better from the visuals from the

Stopping power let's say you're doing Paid ad or whatever it is so the problem With these two things is often they're Never scoped you never really go into The engagement with them but you know at Some in some regard like you're gonna do Them or you're good you want to help and You just kind of feel like you're gonna Be in there so when I see those like the The the the the reality is is that we Never uh as agencies or as previous Agency owners it's like we don't Accommodate for space for those things And we try to jam them in or on the flip Side we come out super heavy with the Client and say hey by the way we need to Do all this kind of stuff for you this To work and the clients like I don't Even understand what you're talking About like I just want new leads like And you're talking about brand standards You're talking about all this kind of Things and so the first thing that I Always like like recognize is like any Agency needs to have some sort of buffer And safety net for these worlds because We know it's going to come it's Inevitably going to make our lives Easier especially the latter example When that Brand's improved but we never Planned from it from a structural Standpoint or a cost standpoint and when We do try to sell creativity not Everyone but typically it's this kind of

Like high and mighty like perspective Like I am the expert your brand sucks Let me sell you on all of this design Work that you may or may not care about But I care a lot about and it's becoming Like it's like this real high tension of Expectations versus versus deliverable You know when you like really start to Sell into it so when I think about Selling creativity I sort of thinking I Think about it as like the agencies Really need to plan for it as like a Utility inside of their business it's Like hey this is here this is what you Can access it's available I have a Process I have a system I have a cost Structure that works and it's not super Complicated and we use it when we use it But when we don't use it I'm not Stressing out that I have three Full-time creatives that I'm like how am I going to keep their day busy and That's what the typical old school Agency does when their head count is Like they get a bunch of work they hire A bunch of people they don't have a lot Of work they fire a bunch of people Higher fire higher and fire now I'm old School I know today Contractors any other like sub agencies Sure Cool Tools I've taken a lot of it But at the end of the day there's There's not a lot of planning and how do I sell it how do I sell creativity but

In a way that isn't going to create this Huge burden and I can say yes to the Clients and I have a plan to execute it And I'm not like Pissed at them you know like that They're requesting it because it's it's Necessary you have to have this creative Flow all the time well that's Interesting and I want to talk a little Bit more about process and how to avoid Some of the the nightmares that I went Through in my journey around creative um We can tell some of those War Stories But Hearing you talk about it and seeing the Term has me kind of shocked that we Never really thought of that angle right Like we used to sell Um a hosting package for your website That was just the hosting right but then It also included up to 20 minutes of Website edits right and it gets it's Very underutilized but it's there if They need it it makes the client feel Great because it's like oh if I ever Need to change a picture or some text or Whatever they're going to take care of Me and it's covered in in this monthly Thing It makes total sense to also have that For Creative right it's like okay like You had that conversation hey when did You guys have that website built oh like 10 years ago yeah it's safe to say it

Could use a little rewrap right yeah but We don't have the budget for it well What if we just fired up this really low Cost like creative thing and we could Just chip away at it over time right and It's like you guys can you know X each Month we'll we'll chip away at an hour's Worth of this or whatever to me that Sounds like a great idea because I know It would be underutilized and if the Margin works I I think that's a great Way to add Revenue well and that's and That's exactly what I did at the tail Out of my agency was we actually sold The tools and the packages of the tech Which is easy super binary to sell Software and lead generation and Automation because these things kind of Feel real problem with creativity and I Talk about this from time to time is It's super opaque like it means one Thing to one person another thing to Another person but what we did at the End of my agency career Um was what we said like look you have These marketing automation tools you Have these social channels Because by The way there's like way more than there Was 10 years ago you have these Communication channels now you have In-app Um you know in-app messaging and you Know all the things that you do and if They're an econ brand you have all of

The different you know sites and stores And variants of content let's just take An estimate of an of a of a pulse of What we could do every month to keep These things going and we actually Aggregated that out over six or twelve Month contract and then just build a Flat rate I wouldn't call it a retainer But that's essentially what it was of Creative maintenance that's all it was Was creative minions we're just going to Continue to go in and you know you're Not going to see your brand transform Overnight but over three or four months You're going to see that LinkedIn Banner That you forgot about on your home page That's going to get updated and you're Gonna get this updated and then you're Going to see this ad that you did Proliferated across a couple other Variants because we've created you know Versions of it for you so that creative Maintenance became like the web hosting Of what we were selling now I didn't Have any flat rate model of providing That at the time so I had to really Navigate the budget and really dial it In carefully but today if I'm selling Creativity all I do is I just put a Slide up of all the things that need Designs and I just say Who's going to keep this up to date like We can be that person you know let us Help you with that and then yeah

Like I could Envision having a Conversation with a list of things right Like how your business cards looking how You know you guys have flyers in your Office yeah right right you have this Like table tent thingies on the front Desk probably right like yeah yeah all This stuff we could just line it up in Priority and kind of knock away at chip Away at it over time I it's a I could See that going really well a low Pressure because the contrast way to do It Is how we used to do it which is selling It in projects with very rigid revision Request process and that never goes well Right you get like all right you have Five rounds of revision requests you get To three really well oh my gosh and Here's here's the variable where you Make more money is how fast do you need It So if you just have this non-demanding Timeline and you're just doing it great If this new project comes in and you Need it tomorrow or you need a new week It's like okay well then there's some Flexibility in terms of output and Demand that you could have and if things You know are at this casual basis then Fine but when things when the volume Spikes or the things there but by Limiting by removing the revisions and The scope and all of those things you

Actually make it a lot less stressful on Yourself to manage and then you find Certain things to charge more for Whether it's speed whether it's Um you know past a certain amount per Month that you're doing or hours or Whatever it is you want to manage but You know how it was where you're like You're on revision five of five and you Know you need revision six and you're Just like I don't want to tell the Client it's like 200 more dollars I feel like a dick I Don't want to do this right but like but Then like if you don't do it you're like Sort of sacrificing your business Soul a Little bit like you know and and it just Created this weird tension so now you Can just say yeah sure no problem yeah We'll get it as long as it's not a rush We'll get to it we'll put it in the Queue it's fine we'll get it done like Bring it on inside of that so talk to me About how you guys have evolved because You described the early days as like a Design vending machine which is a pretty Cool way to put it but I know that you Guys have evolved as a platform to kind Of facilitate a lot of the because a lot Of the you know in the early days when I Remember design pickle first came out And stuff Um I think I was still running the HC How old is design pickle eight year

Birthday this January so we're finishing Our eighth year 2015s when we launched Yeah yeah so back then it was kind of Like well it sounds great in theory but I still need a project manager who's Going to continually go back and forth With this person on the other end and so Talk to me about how you guys have Evolved through a lot of that kind of Stuff yeah so the core fundamentals are Have remained the same since day one and Still it's you basically hire a Fractional graphic designer for a flat Rate so I call it like a one-sixth Employee you know you get a designer Dedicated to you starting a thousand Bucks a month and they work for you Every day so everyone is like well how Much can you do what do you get for that How many hours and the answer is like it Kind of depends because if I'm doing 20 Facebook ad variants I can do that in a Day that's pretty easy design work if I'm rebuilding a trade show display and There's all these things that's going to Take longer right so Um but for businesses the value is like Dedicated contact daily output super Consistency in terms of the process and Um how we've evolved over the years is Is expansion of what we designed so we Started with just graphic design today We have that we do custom illustrations Uh we do Motion Graphics we we do

Presentation designs and we're launching Either one or two new Services next year Which I'm super excited about can't talk About otherwise my product team will get Pissed and then also you mentioned the Platform so the early days it was like If you carefully watched one of my Online demos you could like see the Email URL log in without an account send Stuff in like it was so easy to hack Design pickle today we actually have a Huge uh Tech Team and a platform but What has come out of that are things Like design automation so you can set Our platform up with a zapier and you Can be integrating you know requests and File submission and receipt into you Know your own tools like Asana or into Google Sheets or into other platforms Um I've seen super cool hacks with Workflows for like podcasters where it's Like I record this podcast it gets Uploaded to this Google sheet that That's available to the designer who can Make a graphic with my brand on on the Speaker and everything and that file Then is uploaded here so that's been Huge and one of our biggest focuses over The next three months is updating Um how teams work together inside of Design pickle so every account comes With unlimited users uh the caveat is if You have five people sharing an account Things are going to take a while and you

Can you know you can always expand your Your pipe so to speak but file sharing Um much better collaboration tools Inside the platform so imagine you could Kind of stuff it definitely wasn't there In the beginning no way not even close Not even close Um and so we're working on projects Workspaces tagging you know that's all Coming out next year where actually what Our vision is is that this is your Creative hub for the submission the Creation the collaboration and imagine a New team member comes on board they just Get the design pickle account they can See all the campaign assets they can see Who designed it how long it took when They was designed and and so that's our Vision moving ahead is to make this the One-Stop shop for all the parts of Creation not just the request in the File itself Yeah which is great and I think that's Really Eliminates a lot of that stuff in the Beginning where it's like well this is Almost feels just like as much work We're emailing files around and this and That and now it's kind of all in one Place you can collaborate Um we we recently used design pickle to Have uh some custom illustrations made That we're actually going to give away To you guys in a nice new template that

Came out really nice so it's it is Really nice to have access to because Oftentimes if you hire someone they're Really good at some stuff right maybe Graphic design as far as like website Elements and stuff but when you're Talking about an illustration that's a Really a totally different skill set for Yeah as far as an artist or a creative Or and we want to take the headache out Of procuring the right person from you Like like our tool we have tons of AI And technology in the background so if You submit a presentation request it's Going to go to your presentation Designer next day if you submit a custom Illustration it'll go to the best custom Illustrator for that type of Illustration right because that's even Do you want a caricature do you want Like a fantasy R in that you know and so We do the thinking behind the scenes now I will say with the caveat it's still Creativity you know you still got to Provide feedback you still got to work With them uh Um but at the end of the day we pride Ourselves in in supporting our clients Too and that's something that I think is Really important is like you're going to Be working with a company that really Cares about the process and Understanding what's going on Um and so that's another big Advantage

You talk about the early days the early Days if you had a problem it would just Be like You know we're not sure like we're not Even sure how this is working and today You know it's like we have like we have Like this fancy customer success Management uh Team we'll get on a call With you and they'll talk about Automations and they'll work with your Process and I'm just like my like I Can't even believe how mature we are Inside of that but our vision is like we Don't want you to stress about Creativity like it's like even going Like I go to Fiverr sometimes to do Audio editing stuff and that's where I Get my and it's like always a stressful Process like who am I gonna get do I pay Five dollars or five hundred dollars Like I'm not sure the price range here Nothing's every five dollars not anymore Yeah not anymore So what kind of tips do you have around The process because you know I think you Guys have done so much to make it easier But you could still screw it up right Like if I'm promising next day Turnarounds and all of a sudden I get Requests from four clients I'm Immediately in a bind here so talk to me About the tips that you help people with When it comes to you know as somebody Who's new getting into selling

Creativity yeah so when so I am like 100 Biased for design pickle because that's My company but when I give these tips it Doesn't matter what it is and who you Use because technically if you think About it a full-time employee is also a Flat rate designer right like they're You pay them every month flat rate and That's what you get a certain amount of Output from them so I think the first Thing you have to do is narrow your Deliverable scope period Senior full service agency and doing Everything might sound good on a Marketing standpoint but you've gotta When it comes to creative creativity Give a scope of work that you can Confidently do and what that scope is it Depends it depends on your supply of Design Talent OR services or whatever it Is so you have to match that one to one Because the mistakes I made sell big Creative project a oh how am I Going to do it and then this process Costs time and money and really eats in My margins and now creativity is not Profitable creativity is super stressful And really taking up a lot of my time so You got to match what it is your Marketing and what it is you can Confidently provide inside of that so Whether it's a service like ours a Awesome freelancer you know a Marketplace model where you're putting

Together people and have that in step And narrow in that scope of sale ideally And typically I imagine for some of your Clients it's going to be in lockstep With the digital tools you're selling And supporting so what's that content That those tools are hungry for and That's what you can provide and then the Second piece on that is Teach and Define the process for your Clients on how it is you receive and Deliver requests so you are the captain Of your creative process ship if you Don't sit them down and be like okay When you need design stuff here's what You do you know do you call do you email Do you slack do you signal whatever it Is like you could you could make it up Whatever you do here's a Google format You pick but you have to codify your Process to receive requests from your Clients and they know exactly what the Expectations are the number one mistake I see people make is that you guess what The number one tool they use to receive Creative requests from their clients Email Bingo email hey this is what I Need There's no format there's no Specifications there's no process Whatsoever and so then you're like well You forgot this or what about this and It just is creating this unnecessary Back and forth so design pickle we have

A super defined request form you log in You pick your request type all the Specifications are there we do that Because it makes sure that when we Receive the request we know what to do And the same goes on your end for the Client so you know Define your process Prior and have it set up with your Clients they will love it though because They know that like they know exactly What to do they know exactly what the Expectations and then the third thing is Super simple before you go to three let Me reiterate on that because I think That's a great point and it so if it's Design pickle that you're working with And they're telling you exactly what They need to start you should just Mirror that right whatever is yeah like It should just match on both ends and That's a lesson that we learned the hard Way over and over again when we were Offering white label Services is people Will go promise things and then come Back to us and be like well why would You like we would never promise that why Wouldn't you have talked to us first or So just align your intake with their Intake and everyone's on the same page There totally it yeah you don't need to Reinvent the wheel it's just just match It up and the third thing and this is a Bit of a bit of a nuanced one is you Know manage your costs and manage your

Delivery timelines appropriately now we Offer a pretty reliable system of Delivery and like very reliable in cost It's the same price every month delivery Times is is Dependable but is always Variable based on the request type the Complexity and things like that so Typically it takes about 30 to 60 days For a client who's using us actively to Like if I do this widget this is how Much it takes if I do this widget this Is how much sake then those things are Pretty reliable so what you need to do Is just make sure you understand that From your own provider and then you can Sell on the other end accordingly with The right expectations understanding What's going on in the back end Um where I always got messed up as an Agency is I would promise delivery Timelines to the client with Undependable delivery timelines for my Providers yeah so then I was meeting I Was like trying to keep this promise to The client and stressing out because my Creator was taking so long or I wouldn't Hear from them or they're you know There's all these things so just make Sure those new things are matched up and By the way I don't recommend copying our Value proposition feel free agency is Watching this to charge by the hour Charged by the revisions charged by the Project don't try to be unlimited flat

Rate graphic design to your clients you Don't have to be use that as your secret Sauce if you want to use our service or Have a contractor vendor that does it Just make sure your supply is known it's Fixed it has the reliability to sell Into it whatever it is you're doing and I by the way love Conceptualizing and modeling all of that So I don't know how you communicate but You can find my email out there I won't Say it but you can just search super Easy and find it if any of you watching This want to brainstorm how to sell and Pricing models and all of that I nerd Out of about it so that's something I Get super stoked about nice well so let Me ask you a question can I because this Is what I would always recommend is when You get something that you're like you Said once you get into a flow of like Okay Facebook covers I know that they Turn these around in 48 hours every time So maybe I'm gonna say it'll be done Within a week right always give yourself A little padding just in case Um but if you get something you haven't Done before can I come to you guys and Say hey this is what I got here's all The stuff what do you guys estimate on a Timeline here because I'm not going to Promise it until I hear from you guys Right so it did I mean we we're about to Hit 1.5 million requests this week so

Chances are we've seen it before chances Are there's something in there and Usually your first request is Understanding and dialing it in and the Timelines will always get better so I Would just say for the most part you Know like look unless you're doing 100 Page catalog as your first request which I never recommend typically the design Deliverables you're going to get a first Draft in a day or two and Max maybe same Day you know like between that same day To 24 48 hours and then it's like how Many revisions how good is it like where Where is in the brand and those Timelines contract over time to be very Very tight and and frankly for our for Any designer not just design pickle Designers but the more repetition the Better the process in the system can be So if it is something new if you're Selling something new my best Recommendation is is just have a Generous enough timeline for your for Your clients when you're going into that Sales conversation Um but sign up for the service in Advance test it with internal Deliverables get a feel for the service Understand what's going on eat that cost Which by the way is not a lot and then You can be confident in terms of your Quoting and estimation to the clients Because every no no and this goes for

Any creative service provider no request Is similar based on the brand the Complexity because you might have one Client who every time is like I love it Post it and then other clients who's Like I just showed it to my wife my Brother my in-laws my like I need 400 Revisions and you know you so everything Will be different from a timeline Perspective Yeah and that's really the name of the Game right because once you get into the Flow of knowing how long things take There's real Arbitrage in that right if You're selling 500 social media Banner Packets and you know that you know You're getting them back in 48 hours but You're you're selling it as you'll get It in a week you know you can really Kind of Stack projects up and you know You've you've paid off your thousand Dollars to design pickle in day two Exactly whatever and you know what I Mean so there's a real opportunity when You get good at this especially if you Go back to the low-cost retainer model Where people aren't even using it but They're just exactly because they know That they want to someday Um it can really become profitable and Here's a shocking thought you promise a Week and you deliver it in three or four Days right it's called over it's called Under promise over deliver which I know

Is agencies sometimes it's hard for us To do but that's the beauty of this Thing is like you know you could quote Average timelines the clients are gonna Be like okay cool I'm not sure sure that Sounds fine and then you get it off the Press faster you're like hey by the way We got this done two days early the Client's gonna be like oh my gosh you're Amazing yeah they don't know so you can Actually stack in extra client value add Once you feel that system out but your Cost theoreticals are right on I mean Think about how does one client pay for Your provider of creative services and Then anything other than that within a Certain volume of output is profit and That's that's coming back to that Selling mentality but you only can do That with a defined deliverable set Defined process and fixed cost providing Provider model of creative Services yeah And I mean if you're not selling Creativity right now It might be hard to conceptualize but It's not linear right like I don't feed In one project and then I can't get Another one going until after the first One's done no it's like things go for Revision and while that's being you know While the the Creator is waiting for the Feedback they're working on the next Thing and the next thing and so once you Kind of figure out the rhythm you're

Like DJing these creative projects right You've got like five one goes to the Client and you get the other one going And yeah exactly exactly but like the First one you sold is covering your Costs and now the the other four are Just profit you just have to make sure That you're you know you're getting your Time frames right so right people are Happy Um but it can be very creative once you Kind of get into the flow of it exactly What I would say so I saw you use a Phrase Um thrive in the unsexy side of design Is this what you meant by that getting Good at like the business the Arbitrage Of creativity you know it comes back to My old school days so I've I tried to Thrive in the sexy side of design and This was like Big Brand launches at Dreamforce Salesforce conference like You know you know Banner buyouts of tech Crunch all this cool stuff and I made no Money and so when I got into the like You know like there's the the adage of Like you know the only people who made Money during the Gold Rush were the People selling picks and axes and the Supplies like sell the supply sell the Design side of the stuff that people Need not the stuff that you think they Need or you're trying to sell them on it So the great part about it is so many of

The things we need to be successful Marketers require creative content so That's a given you know whether it's ad Channels social channels but you don't Have to go out there and do the Big Brand in the here's your crazy cool Super Bowl ads and all these kinds of Things it's like you can make a lot of Money doing boring things like like uh You know a podcast cover That things don't people don't typically Think of that you guys see day in and Day out of like oh that's a good idea That that person's out there selling Packets of this thing and that's genius So podcast content and all the related Marketing content to Market your podcast Episodes every week that's one of them Repurposing content for social media Usage so you create this like this Interview here creating the sound bites Creating the graphics creating the ads Creating all the stuff that can be Distributed through your channels for Awareness Um internal Communications now this Depends on the size of your organization But we so frequently forget about the Comms we're using to communicate to Existing clients or our employees or our Partners things like that Um you know there's there's a whole World we live in which is like the the World of educational design and Trey

Training manuals and boring stuff like That so yeah yeah you know there's There's just these things that that Require if it's like a repetitive Ongoing thing that requires visual Pieces there's a chance you can sell Into that and Supply that for people Um inside of it but it's it's again the Ego in me you have to be okay doing the Boring things but that's where you can Define the process you can understand The cost structure you can mark that up You can make more money on it and your Margins are predictable inside of it the Big swings the big crazy ideas the huge Fun stuff very exciting to do super Unpredictable in terms of output and Cost and that's where most people lose Money when they sell creativity yeah It's really interesting I feel like You know a smart young uh entrepreneur Could probably go look at like um a Design pickle portfolio or something and Make a list of all the stuff they see And just start cold you know emailing That to businesses of like hey here's Stuff that we redesigned for people all The time like could we help you with any Of these things and and I would look at It and be like oh you know what we Haven't talked about that in a long time That thing looks like crap I saw that Letterhead last month and I meant to say Something to someone but you know what I

Mean I feel like you know everybody has Little design things that they could Improve um but it often just kind of Goes overlooked or forgotten and I think Number one quiet the number one client We have number one client design pickle Client and they're they keep us under NDA because they don't want their Competitors knowing but I can tell you What they use us for outbound sales we Design sales sheets for them with their Product mocked up on it and they cold Email these they have almost a hundred Design pickle accounts A hundred design pickle accounts we're Doing hundreds of these outbound sale Sheets every single day for them so Meaning they're they're taking the Target of the email and working some of Their elements into the design so they Sell a product and basically they will Find a list of Brands they'll steal Their logo off the internet put their Logo their prospects logo on their Product and cold email them a design Sheet hey here's our name here we make These products here's your logo it looks Cool on our products you should buy our Products and they've gone from 5 to 10 To 20 to 30 to 40 accounts because we Basically fuel their sales motion with Custom creative content not sexy same Thing over and over and over again but They've found a way to monetize design

And guess what all of their other Competitors are sending generic blank Stuff and they stand out with super cool Really Creative Design custom and They're killing it well you know one of The things I just thought of was we Recently launched our new template Library inside of high level and yeah Soon we're gonna our customers will have The ability to add their own packs of Let's say social media content so I Could see you know going out and writing 365 uh social media posts for plumbers And then going to like design pickle and Having 365 images made and then selling It as something I customize but I just Take it back to them and say okay here's Their logo so like updated on the little Cartoon dude's hat or and then here's Their brand color so shift the colors to That like you could make a real business Out of just that you know delivering Packages so easy slightly customized put Tennessee here and put Nebraska here you Know right and you just go after it yeah And because those types of models They're Regional they don't they don't Compete if you're doing similar stuff And we see that a lot in real estate Actually with our real estate clients we Have huge brands that customize all Their stuff for different agents in a Localized way we're the work engine that Does all the customization because what

You don't want to be is the marketing Manager in there for five hours a day Sure you know doing all this I mean our Creatives are so passionate about the Job and the experience and the the work That we're doing and so we can take that On and allow you to focus on strategy Concept other stuff that you can be Selling into your business Is there a project that stands out in Your mind that was like the craziest one You guys have ever done Um so I think of the crazy clients not Necessarily the crazy deliverables Probably the crazy deliverables I can't Necessarily talk about because they were Probably inappropriately we didn't know About it we had to kick them off the Platform but I do remember we had clown Tech which is one of the world's world's Largest leading clown training academies Uh you were a client for us for a while Um we have had we have had all sorts of Um all sorts of weird products you know From Wellness to Sexual Health to all Sorts of things I mean I've seen every Product for a body part imaginable come Through our system inside of that you Guys do that kind of stuff like Packaging design as well yeah light you Know like we will lay out packaging you Know kind of like this if you're on Amazon you scroll down on the product And you see the layout of the package

And all that kind of stuff that's that's Within our wheelhouse Um I'd say one of the most meaningful Projects that I've come across and I'm Sure there's many more is we did an Entire permanent mural for a park Recognizing Um recognizing Fallen firefighters and That was like a really cool meaningful Project super custom Illustrated you Know permanently put up in a park so There's weird there's meaningful there's Cool I mean like I said we've done you Know million and a half requests so They've they've been in there there's Something there's something for Everybody yeah yeah for sure well I my Last question was what's next for design Pickle I know you teased a couple of Things that you can't talk about is There anything that you can talk about That's coming down the line so what I Can talk about is a real push into just Really robust file management you know One of the things that I joke about is You know like the last big innovation in File management was like Dropbox and Google Drive just like their existence You know we haven't really seen anything Left since that so something we're Really asking ourselves is what about The lifestyle cycle of an asset you know How do we learn if I see a design file What are the assets that have been used

Where else have they been used if I Update this there's usually all these Things that I'm not thinking of that Also are related and correlated so we're Creating this web of of connection Um that we're going to be launching a Prototype version of next year but and And then how do we better support teams With collaboration that's not sexy it's Not new it's not crazy but typically you Have people collaborating in email Project management if they're really Slick there's some sort of feedback Annotation tool they use but that's also A third-party tool and we want to bring All that into one space so as a client You can work with your designer you can Send things out for feedback collect That think about what it is you want the Revision process to be because if I send It to my team I don't want them to do Everything you know I gotta well that's That's interesting I'd love to to press You a little bit on that are you guys Thinking of it in a cause like on one Hand I'm like my brain's like oh whoa That would be really cool if like my Client could actually communicate pass Their feedback straight through but on The other hand I'm like oh that could be Dangerous at the same time how do you Guys think about that when it's an Emergency in the middle yeah yeah so we Still want to respect the the because

Not all clients are created equal in Terms of their ability to provide Feedback so we think about it whether It's internal with teams or with our Agency clients that use it with their Clients Um it's more like a Um a pull you know like a like a Purgatory of request feedback yeah Collect and go through but then the Actual details and specifics and what Makes it and what doesn't is still on That user to be able to push out Um so but you guys could potentially Replace the tools that agencies are Using to gather that feedback and it's All Incorporated in the car that's Pretty cool because I think a lot of Agencies pay for like a an Envision or Something where people can leave Feedback on a design and they're and They're super robust and amazing Companies and really big but like for That specific use case yeah you really Just need 10 or less percent of what That tool does to accomplish the goal so How do we put that into our process Allow clients to save money Um and then like I mentioned new Creative Services we got two that are Fighting for for prominence of what We're going to lock in and um and super Deep improvements to our API and our Automation so we really want to make

Design pickles service layer the ability To get creative outputs even more Accessible in the tools that you use so You don't even have to log into design Pickle you can request receive files Manage it all inside of the apps people Already are integrated with that's cool And you you mentioned that you guys are Already in zapier as well right we are It's you know it's work in progress It's A it's an early version we're deep into The updating the API right now but it it Gets the job done a lot of clients use It functionality is real straightforward I think we have like four or five things You can do Max and then that's it so Very cool awesome well if you guys Haven't been there before Is the URL Russ thank you so much for Coming on to chat with us awesome thanks So much love what you guys are doing and When I mentioned earlier this is not a Plug for you guys by any means but it's Totally going to be a plug is like I wish I had high level when I was still Working because like that what you do That was one of the things I thought of When I saw your guys's company at the Event was like It is so easy to be an agent like darn It why can't I have had that back in my Day so I I am jealous and I'm so excited To see where you guys are headed and Thanks for letting me be a part of that

These youngsters have it so easy these Days right exactly you don't even know [Laughter] To buy URL [Laughter] Exactly all right well thanks again for Coming on and thanks for watching guys We will see you in the next one [Music]

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