Here’s the backstory to help you get started. I was not following Elizabeth McCravy or very familiar with her work prior to hearing about Booked Out Designer. I had heard her on a podcast in early 2020 and what I think happened, was that I subscribed to her podcast at that time, but had never listened to an episode. So, I enjoyed her on the podcast she was a guest on, knew she was a successful Showit website designer who now sells Showit Website Templates, but I didn’t know much more than that.
In February 2021 I had just wrapped up a handful of client website projects. I continued to love all things marketing, website design, and strategy but I was stressed. And I don’t mean stressed, like, take a break and don’t take on so many clients. That wasn’t the issue for me. Rather, I had clients willing to pay $5k for website design & customization but on the back-end I was struggling with the confidence that I could charge that much and then deliver the experience I wanted to go with that investment. To be clear, I wasn’t doubting my ability to deliver what they paid for. I was stressed out about things like contracts, client communication, setting better expectations and boundaries, processes and timelines. Not even so much for my client, but for me. I knew that my clients would respond to my lead, I just wasn’t sure how to do that in the ways I wanted to.
Without going into too much detail about some particular experiences, I’ll add that I was in conversation with my husband around whether or not the business direction I was building toward was sustainable for what I wanted. I remember saying, “I didn’t work this hard to feel the way I feel right now. This is not what I want.”
So here I was, about 1 1/2 years into my business. The hope and vision was that I could work part-time with clients I truly enjoyed, delivering quality websites + marketing. At this point I was wondering if that vision could still be the reality I had hoped for. I spent some time listing out ideas to help me work through this intersection in my business journey. Things like, hire a mentor to work with 1:1, pursue more education, change services… etc.
One morning, while getting ready I pulled up my podcast list and looked for something that I felt would speak to what I was feeling and experiencing. And that, friends, is how I landed on a Breakthrough Brand Podcast episode by Elizabeth McCravy just one day before she opened the doors to her Founding Members Beta Launch.
I enrolled in Booked Out Designer for three main reasons that I remember after listening to that specific podcast episode.
One of the things I had identified as a need for my own business was getting client communication out of my inbox. I just had no idea how to do that. I wasn’t aware of any software platforms that would allow me to do this. I was already using Dubsado as a CRM, but knew it wasn’t a complete replacement.
I was willing to pay the beta investment price for this information alone.
I am now fully set up to be running client projects outside of my email. It is better than I could have even hoped it would be!
Here’s the thing, ME TOO! This is where I had set the bar for my own client processes, but as I’m sure you know, figuring out how to do this best takes a lot of time, trial, and error. You learn so many new things with every single client, but I did not know how many clients it would take to learn everything I wanted. And remember, the stress?
I knew Booked Out Designer would show us more behind the scenes into Elizabeth’s business structure. And again, was willing to pay for the course for this alone. To have everything I needed to know in less time than I could complete a new client’s website? Yes, please.
If there were a island for lonely designers wondering how the heck everyone else is running their business, I was on that island. I didn’t have any close relationships with other designers and as with everything else, I was learning and implementing on the fly. You might be reading this and think “okay, this gal was a mess! I don’t think I’m in quite the same place she was.” So let me add this… my clients were saying that I was an incredible designer, blown away by my research and ability to support them, and that working with me was the highlight of their year. Things were not a mess for them. They were a mess in my mind and in my spirit.
I knew one of the calls Elizabeth was providing inside the course was between her and a client who booked a $11k project with her. If I could watch first-hand how she handled clients of that caliber, I absolutely wanted in. Again, worth the price of the course alone.
These were some other key motivators in enrolling in Booked Out Designer as a founding member. I hadn’t mastered any of these things I just listed out. It came down to deciding if I wanted to spend my time or my money to get the answers I needed before deciding if I would continue taking Abundant Collab Co. in the same direction. I didn’t know what the alternative to that would be. And that was a really heavy feeling. I was clinging to what hope I had left as I enrolled.
When I began my business in 2019 I was shocked that anyone would pay me $30/hr to help them with marketing and Instagram. Within a year I had 4x my service prices. In 2020 I worked with 50% of the clients I did in 2019 but more than doubled my revenue. I was making good progress. I just wanted to be making better, less anxiety ridden progress.
I knew that by enrolling in Booked Out Designer I would have access to more information, resources, and community in less time than if I tried tackling everything on my own. I decided that after more than two years of starting a new career from scratch, I was ready to take a break and let someone else lead me from a place of experience and success. It was honestly the best decision I could have made. My relief after signing up was palpable.
One of the things that surprised me most was how well I ended up getting to know Elizabeth through the Facebook group and coaching calls. I honestly did not expect to have much direct contact with her and I was okay with that. I knew the course content was where I would be getting the bulk of my education and with over 90 lessons, that was going to be plenty. Unlike most other groups I’ve been part of with the course creator, Elizabeth was active in the group on a regular basis answering questions, sending us private voice memos with her thoughts on certain situations we experienced in our business throughout the duration of the course. (Remember: the beta launch meant that the entire course wasn’t entirely built out yet; we knew that when we signed up. Because of this, I believe the content that DID end up in the course is that much better because the founding members helped Elizabeth prioritize what we, as designers and business owners, truly needed from her in the course).
There’s a difference between a training that gives you ideas, information, and concepts to try and one that gives you a step by step process that you can take and model toward your own business. Guess which one BOD is? Because I was in a “resting” period in my business while I sorted things out I was able to spend a lot of time focused on the course content as it was delivered. Throughout each of the 10+ modules I was able to write down immediate action steps I could take, and how to take them, to achieve the result I was aiming for. And then I did the the things I wrote down. And I wrote down a lot of things.
I don’t imagine it an exaggeration to say that I was able to implement more changes within the back-end of my business during the course than I could have in a year on my own. I updated contracts, set up new workflows inside Dubsado, updated my client questionnaires, recreated client processes, cut my project quote time down by 50%, and even redesigned my own website using recommendations Elizabeth provided specifically for designers.
As a founding member, can I say that?
Being able to connect up close with so many other designers in a private space was an actual dream. On each coaching call we would hear what other businesses were working through and growing to, listen to Elizabeth’s feedback and coaching, and then share collectively in the chat together. The amount of insight, lessons, and ideas that came from those calls was beyond anything I could have imagined. The amount of “mistakes” I’ll avoid as a result of listening to those conversations is gold.
The Facebook group is truly a community of designer genuinely willing to help and support one another. We exchanged advice on tough client situations, services and pricing, design feedback and so much more. I’ve heard so many of us talk about the group and the friendships that have come from within.
I don’t imagine for a minute that I am the most talented designer in the BOD group. No way. The group is full of incredible talent and skills. Somehow though, being in this community I found myself comparing less to others’ work and feeling far more validation in my own business and practices than ever before. As an online business owner it’s easy to lose focus or feel you’re always trailing someone else’s success. This group is such a welcomed place filled with community rather than comparison or competition.
The exercises, insight, guidance, lessons, community… all of it, it really is as good as it sounds. My business is forever changed in the most positive ways. I know all about the pains of trying to decide when to invest in our businesses, and wondering which option is best, worrying if the courses or coach will live up to our expectations.
You want to know the benefits that come from the course, but you also want to know, like, real details so you’re not disappointed when you get inside of the course. Or worse, spend hours consuming the content and realize you didn’t get nearly as much as you expected for what you paid for. I’ve been there. I’ve invested in multiple courses, coaching groups, and programs each of the last three years. I feel confident putting my name and recommendation behind this program.
While I can continue to do my best to explain the benefits and my love for BOD, I realized that Elizabeth and her team have already done a really incredible job putting all the information together over on her website. If you haven’t checked it out yet, that’s where you should go next. There are time-sensitive bonuses and the doors for the course only open for a few days at a time. So if it’s open now, don’t wait. And if registration is closed, SIGN UP for the wait list. Seriously. Don’t even give it a second thought. You want to know before she opens the doors again.
Every business is different. And basing your potential on someone else’s success has many variables. But, for the sake of transparency and showing you that the results you can expect are real and tangible, here are a few of my own favorite wins since enrolling in the course.
2. I’ve partnered with another designer to complete the branding design work for her website clients. Partnership, collaboration, and community — building a business without them is going to be really, really hard, y’all.
3. I’ve reduced my project timelines by up to 50%!
4. I’ve reduced client call time by more than half!
5. I have repeatable project workflows so that I can work more easily and reserve that brain energy for other areas of my business.
6. I built an entirely new website from scratch in just 4 weeks! Previously I was only completing Template Customizations (detailed ones! and with new pages, but still, it was a template and I had to give designer credit on the footer of every project I did. No matter how many changes I made, or having written all the copy myself)
7. I won the Booked Out Designer Case Study Contest! Why this matters? Because I needed a major shift in my confidence to do this! And that confidence came from the BOD course!
Elizabeth invited me onto her podcast, The Breakthrough Brand, and you can listen to the entire thing on Episode 126. (It airs July 13, 2021). When I read the episode title, it gave me a moment’s pause. Was I really to the point in my business that the episode title stated? And then I remembered that was the exact story I shared with Elizabeth and that I’ve now shared with you. Speaking those words to my husband, “this isn’t what I wanted…” and wondering where to go next. And to have the hindsight I have now, just a few months later, is really an incredible feeling. I hope you are able to find the same thing, or whatever else you’re needing, inside of the BOD course too.
A farewell note: After completing the course, Elizabeth offered the opportunity to be an affiliate for her program. I already had this blog post planned. Honest to goodness, cross my heart. I spent a good amount of time putting together thoughts and insight that I believed would be of the most benefit to anyone considering the course. If this post (or my podcast episode with Elizabeth) was helpful in your decision, you can use my affiliate link when you sign up. I’d be so grateful if you do, thank you! Be sure to say “hello” inside the Facebook group once you enroll. I’ll see ya in there!