Last updated on September 3rd, 2020
During these times of the global pandemic, most professionals feel isolated and have gone out of work. Graphic designers are no exception. But they can generate a good passive income if they know how to explore various means including social media platforms. They must also understand the nuances of creating brand identity. Jeremy Mura delivers essential tips on how graphic designers can generate passive income by creating a valuable brand identity.
The pandemic has brought a lot of miseries for people, with many of them losing jobs. They now frantically look for new sources of income. In this regard, those who have a high level of writing and design skills are earning well online. Graphic designers, especially, can earn well while working from home. But not all of them can successfully build a career working as freelancers.
To discuss earning passive income, we at Designhill, the leading creative marketplace, decided to invite experts to talk about the matter. So, the marketplace conducted an AMA session with industry expert Jeremy Mura on 7 Aug 2020. The topic of the session was – All About Passive Income and Brand Identity for Graphic Designers
Jeremy Mura is a multidisciplinary designer who specializes in creating brand identity and responsive websites. He has 1.2 million views on YouTube and has 32k+ students on skillshare. His works with popular brands include Macquarie Business School, Telstra Australia, Skillshare, American Express & more.
Here Is the Video Of The AMA Session With Jeremy Mura
Here Is What Jeremy Mura Has Delivered Essential Tips On Generating Passive Income And Building Brand Identity
Designhill: There are so many myths about passive income. Can you give your brief on it?
Jeremy Mura: So passive income is great, especially in this time where there are world events like COVID. Passive income allows you to generate multiple income streams. I believe, as a designer, you shouldn’t just be working with clients, teaching, doing products. If you do those three things, then you are going to have multiple income streams coming in.
Set up different income streams
It may be that for one month, you didn’t get a client. Still, you have revenue coming in. But passive income does take work upfront, it’s not easy to do it. Once you start to build that flow, the income naturally comes in. I have about six income streams. I make money from YouTube and my courses. I also do graphic design templates and make money from affiliate marketing. Then, I do coaching for clients.
So, you can see by diversifying my income not putting all eggs in one basket. You will have a lot more opportunities. you will have a sustainable business, in the long run, you are e going to be a lot wealthier
Designhill: How to market yourself as a designer to get more clients and portray as a provider of all these services?
Project yourself as a professional
Jeremy Mura: It would be best if you positioned yourself as a professional. So, positioning is key. To position yourself as an expert, you need to niche down. If you are starting as a designer, it’s okay to be a generalist, sort of test the waters on different things. But eventually, you’d have to funnel down like this and come to a point where you specialize in one thing. For example, to brand strategy or brand identity or just to web flow websites, you need to sort of niche down.
But it doesn’t mean you don’t do all the other services. In your copywriting, website, messaging, content, tell your audience about your project in one voice and form. But once you get in those conversations with the client, you can start talking about other things. After you’ve built all this credibility from content and shared your knowledge, they now trust you. Then in those conversations, you can tell them what they need. You can start mentioning or have you ever thought about doing a brand strategy to get a clear idea of who your customers are.
So, you need to think about your voice, your messaging, build your brand, start creating visuals as well that reflects your personality.
Designhill: How to make clients come back to you and recommend your services?
Set up a retainer
Jeremy Mura: We call it a retainer. For example, these days, a lot of clients need content design, whether it’s a character, a video, or a social media post. What tends to happen is they’ll need someone to design into the copy over a long period. So, you need to set up a retainer with them. For example, you can do like $500 a month, you’ll take care of a pet. You want to put it in a package like 20 carousels, each month, we copy the design, the layout, all that stuff, then we hand it off to you. Then you schedule it, or we can do the scheduling. that will cost an extra fee.
You need to build that trust and deliver the value on that first interaction. then mention other services such as we can do a monthly and come up with a package, so you can continue to work with that client. It’s easier to retain a client in the business world than to go out and find a new one.
Convert cold lead into a warm lead
It’s a lot harder to go out to find a new one because that lead will be a cold lead. They’re not going to be a warm lead. A warm lead is someone who already knows you a bit. They just trusted you and came from a referral. But a cold lead is someone that’s out there that’s never heard of you. If you are trying to convert them right away, it will take a lot longer. It is because you will have to make multiple conversations, they will see your work.
Once you have, for instance, 510 clients paying you 500 or 1000 a month times 10, that’s 10,000 a month. That’s plenty. So, you gotta start thinking like that.
Designhill: How can someone stand out from the rest of the crowd?
Speak from own experience
Jeremy Mura: First, stop copying people. You guys need to teach from your own experience. So my suggestion is that you travel around the world and do different things like travel, listen to music, art. You should read stuff in the tech world, what’s happening, go on YouTube, watch different types of channels, draw inspiration from multiple places.
You can use that imagination creativity to add your flavor to it and mix it up. So, you need to experiment. But if you are only looking at other designers on Instagram, you are most likely going to copy their style. So you need to draw inspiration from all these different places, invest in books, buy courses, listen to different types of music.
Create your brand story
Also, do strategy on yourself. You should dig deep into the personality and think of your brand story, a history where you came from, where you live, etc. Then, interweave your story into all those things.
Additionally, it would help if you used different visuals. So, use textures, different colors, play around with fonts and typography, all these different elements. That’s the key to sting out, you need to experiment. Don’t expect it to happen in one go. Your style develops over time. So from playing around testing, experimenting will make it a lot easier. Do not just depend on focusing and following the same logo designers, illustrators, etc.
Designhill: What’s the key to be consistent and how do you keep yourself motivated consistently?
Be prepared for hard work
Jeremy Mura: A lot of people struggle with giving up too early. You need to exercise patience and discipline. Secondly, just because you don’t see results does not mean you are failing. You need to push past those obstacles and belief systems. If you are serious, get a job at a nine to five or work for someone. But if you want to run your own business, it’s going to be hard work. I work many hours a day, but I love it because I’m building something. I’m helping people, clients, designers. For me, it all stems from the mindset and belief in patience and that you are planting seeds for a better tomorrow.
Have a determined mindset
Also, my faith in God helps me because I know that I have a bigger purpose in life, in my calling, I helped people. It’s not just to build an agency or make money; it also has a positive impact on society and adds value to designers. I help transform business because they’re going to earn more money for their family, they’re going to achieve their dreams.
Stop looking at the natural circumstances and living by your emotions. Then you can indeed have that mindset determination. You will have the drive to keep going no matter what comes your way, you’ll keep pushing through. Like for me, I’ve been doing this for seven years. I started my YouTube channel in 2016 and had under 1000 subscribers for like two, three years. At Instagram, I was stuck at 1200 subscribers for three years, there wasn’t much growth. But I kept going and learning. then now everything’s just taken off.
Designhill: Can you share some of your experiences when you were doing these projects?
Working for brands was super fun
Jeremy Mura: I’ve worked with a few brands. It was a collaboration with an agency, one of my teachers from college. He offered me a couple of freelance jobs. The one project I did was with Telstra, which is a big telecommunications brand in Australia. I was to work on a video they were releasing related to a Wi-Fi booster product. I got to do a bit of animation video, which was cool. So I did the editing for that. That was super fun. I’ve also worked with Macquarie Business School, that’s a big university in Sydney. I was doing a social media campaign for the alumni department, they had around 90,000 alumni in their program and we’re launching a flash mentoring campaign so I got to work on it.
Did projects also for small businesses
I’ve also worked with smaller businesses. I’ve done a whiskey brand, and I’ve done beauty brands like Bulgari hair and craft whiskey. I’ve worked with a few recent clients from America, personal brands like Mac McLeod. They’re small businesses. So they were not well known or anything like that. But those two big ones were cool.
Also, I got to work on an illustration, a few about three years back for American Express, launching a new business card type of thing, like a credit card and looking at his illustration, which is cool. That was in partnership with that agency as well. So that’s just a few of the projects that I have worked on. You can check out some of our websites, a mirror design code calm still needs to update it, but you can see a few projects, a few examples there.
Designhill: Is there a way to stand out with no experience before?
Jeremy Mura: You don’t just copy people. On Instagram, a lot of beginners are starting to do Carousels trying to teach right. But they don’t have much experience yet. So you need to focus on your craft first and have work that shows that you are capable of doing the design you are talking about. You need to invest in good mockups.
Do fake briefs on one website. Yeah, fake briefs and brief books are good one. If you don’t have real clients, you can use that To develop a case study to show that work, right? So, you can go work for an agency for a few years to learn the systems, learn how they get clients, the processes they use, how they design, and how they go about the business.
If you get to experience a real-world environment, that’s going to boost your experience a lot. In case you are trying to do it all by yourself, it’s going to take longer, what do I mean? So for me, for example, I finished college, I did two internships. One was unpaid, and then the second one was half unpaid half paid.
Work on your craft
From that, I learned so much because I was working in a real environment. I was working on package design for big companies like Kellogg’s, which was cool like Audi brands, which was awesome. I had my credit director help me out. So work on your craft, develop those relationships, focus on creating functional case studies using good mockups.
Designhill: How can social media and YouTube help in passive income? How can you launch a product series?
Jeremy Mura: It would be best if you told the first question: What are the pathways for a designer so you can do multiple things, you can sell templates. So there are places like you work for the creative market design carts. At a lot of those sites, you can sell design templates. It can be a logo pack or an illustration set, an icon pack, or a grunge texture pack. It can be a website template if it can be Instagram templates like this.
Think like a business owner
You got to think like a business. How can I package my service into a product that sells? You should do the research. One tool I use is going on Quora to look at people’s questions because people ask questions, which helps me get research. Also, listening to my audience helps me do that. But those are a few passive income ways. You can also do courses on Udemy on Skillshare, on Coursera, sites like that, you can do a course if you have a specialty or a technique that you specifically know well, you can teach a course on that. That’s another way.
YouTube is great. It takes a lot longer to develop YouTube because it’s video-based. It takes time for editing, researching, and doing the ideas, but once you get to a certain level, you can start earning passive income from ads. For example, at the moment, I’m earning around 500 to 600 a month on YouTube passively, right that’s because I’ve generated so many videos over the past four years now and it’s just working for me.
Build an audience
You need to build an audience on YouTube. You can sell with a small audience, but it just takes a little bit more time because you have to focus on crafting a message and getting everything right. But apart from that, those are a few ways. How can you launch a product series with illustrations as product copyright? In terms of copyright? Like you can just do a basic commercial license. You can go on sites like the commercial, sorry, creative market; they have some terms.
Designhill: How to get started with your agency?
Jeremy Mura: There comes the point where you sort of, I wouldn’t say limited, but some people say like you might hit like you hit sort of a ceiling, right. So, to grow past that point to make more money because you are limited, you have 24 hours in a day. But if you can hire someone to do some of the design work for you, or like some of the client projects or content, whatever you are doing, it frees you uptime, so you can focus on getting more leads or bringing clients in, right. Eventually, to start an agency, all you have to do is you have to have systems in place processes.
Focus on your services
You need to know what services you provide your positioning, all that type of thing like your strategy as well. Then the best thing to do is like once you have all that in place you’ve got money coming in, then think about hiring someone that’s going to help you grow your team hires someone that is going to like believes in your vision that’s willing to help you, but also someone that is going to learn to grow with you. Over time, they can do multiple things, not just one task.
It takes a bit of time, but you just need to step out and take the risk. A cool tactic is if you are e like, worried, what you can do is get someone on board for like two months, like an intern, try them out, learn from the experience, just, you can if it doesn’t work out, you can say it didn’t work out, like after two months have a contract, then they can move on. So that’s something I would do to correct your agency.
Designhill: How to generate ideas?
Jeremy Mura: When it comes to ideas, as I said, draw inspiration from different places, and develop a habit of writing. So if you start to write like every morning, or find the time where you can sit down, write your ideas down. Whenever you are out, maybe you are traveling to school or to work or get lunch, always have a notepad on you where you can pull out a pencil. When ideas come in your mind, subconsciously or just kind of no way, you can write that down.
Everything around you potentially is a piece of content you can create. What do I mean by that? I can write down some tips on how to do life right now like make a piece of content, how to curl lab or how to do a live call, or whatever. How to prepare for it? There are IDs everywhere, and you start thinking as an ID generator. Even if it seems something small, don’t dismiss the small IDs because typically, the ones that you think aren’t going to do well will do well, right. Another way you can do it is you can use mind maps or word maps.
Use words carefully
Always start with words, right, descriptive words, right visual words, do like word clouds, play around. It’s always about connecting dots and making word associations, so you are connecting the dots everywhere. it will spark ideas in automating, then mix that with inspiration. , research reading books. I think you are going to have a lot of ideas to create content or even your services.
Designhill: How to showcase your work apart from a social media and website?
Jeremy Mura: There are a few sites you can use Behance. You can use Dribble or LinkedIn, and everything is digital these days. You can’t ignore your website or your social media.
Designhill: Is there any strategy that one of these designers could apply to get clients during this COVID time?
Change your mindset
Jeremy Mura: You need to change your mindset. First of all, so change your mindset. Don’t let COVID bring you down. It’s just a temporary thing for me. Different parts of the world are differently affected, right? For me, in Sydney, it’s not as bad because I work from home things.
But at the end of the day, you need to start adapting and think of different ways on how you can help clients, okay, so for example, your local pizza shop or bakery, or like your local businesses, you can reach out to them because they might not be online.
Do a lot of promotional activities
So, you can potentially help them get on social media, do some SEO, build a website, create content, maybe do social media management for their page. There are so many different ways. You need to reach out to people. Don’t expect clients to come out of anywhere magically. You need to build relationships and start just talking to people to be genuine. You don’t say, do you have work for me? Or do you have a job for me? Or, I’m going to sell you this. It’s not about selling and serving. It’s about helping. How can I help you with COVID? Not many customers are coming to your shop anymore.
Have you ever considered it like maybe going online? Tell them how you can help get your business online or generate a website to get more customers to buy online. So, you need to start thinking differently and see how you can offer different services that people need. There are opportunities for people to make money right now. Even in COVID, it’s just your perspective. You got to think outside the box and see how you can help people.
Designhill: Could you please talk about your creative process in the case scenario?
Start with brand discovery
Jeremy Mura: My process always starts with a brand discovery or brand strategy workshop. First, I have a quick consultation. If we’re the right fit for the client, I’ll move on to the brand discovery. Then as I do that, I move on to diagnose the problem, what do they need to help their business solve their problems? Then I move on to design, so if it’s a full identity,
I Start with things like the style escape or a mood board. From that, then I’ll go into the design. But I was always objective, not subjective. Then I’ll move on to the logo design. Then from the logo design, start developing the other assets, like whether it be stationery, business card, patterns, banners, it could be a website or templates, pitch decks, like whatever cause for that specific business. Then that’s how I developed that, then go through stages of revisions.
Deliver the work professionally
Present your work with nice mockups of each concept, I’ll have a nice presentation, then we will select one concept, then go through two rounds of revisions. Sometimes, it depends a bit more depending on the situation. Then, I help them implement, design, achieve, and support them. I deliver all the files with the video and give it to them in a Google Drive or a Dropbox. Then from that process, when it comes to a case study, certain questions you ask to sort of get a testimonial.
Also, you’ve got to break down your process. From the discovery, the messaging, or the things you’ve done, you need to consolidate that into a nice case study that shows the design process. A lot of new designers just put a nice image or a mockup. But they don’t explain who the client is, what the challenge was, and how to solve the problem, etc. It doesn’t have to be a lot of text. It could be like a paragraph or three images or whatever. You break down that process from start to finish. That’s how you pretty much do a case study.
Designhill: How to follow any blog or websites diligently to keep in check with the trends?
Jeremy Mura: I do follow a few blogs, and I am on YouTube a lot. I follow the top design accounts. For example, a few of my favorites are Dansky, Will Patterson, Roberto Blake, Sean canal, and others. All these are design channels you can follow because they create content all the time. On YouTube videos, you are going to get new trends. I’m aware of what’s happening in the industry. For me, YouTube is a big one.
Lego Lounge is an excellent blog for logo trends, and it is my favorite. The creative blog is another website, that’s good, too. That’s probably the two blogs that I check out.
Designhill: Could you put some light on pricing and its basics?
Avoid hourly rates
Jeremy Mura: There are three key ways you can go about pricing. The number one is hourly pricing. Number two is a flat fee or project-based, and number three is value-based pricing. New designers start hourly. I don’t suggest doing the hourly rate is the worst way to price. This is because, in this regard, if you get better, faster, quicker, and more efficient, you earn less
Start with a flat fee
Secondly, you don’t want to have to be like it’s good for my hours. But then you have to be checking your hours and what the client would want to check for. That is pretty pressure on you. I recommend starting at least for a flat fee or project base.
For example, to do a logo design for $1,000, you get three concepts, two revisions, and maybe a business card design. I did the colors, choose the typography, you get all the file delivery. You got to think in packages when it comes to like a flat fee. Instead of just doing like, one logo, one concept, give them a file, try to do a package, make it worthwhile.
Value-based rates are the best
Make them see the value. Then, always charge 50% upfront. If it’s a milestone project, like a longer, maybe 234 or five-month project, you can do milestones, do 33% and break into three payments, recommend doing that, or 50%-50%. Always make sure you get the money first. Don’t start the project unless you get paid. Secondly, please don’t send the delivery files unless you get paid in order because I’ve heard so many stories that the clients do dodgy stuff they don’t pay.
I’ve had one experience when I was used to a freelancing site. The client wasn’t happy with the work. I offered to help him for free, no extra cost, I tried to help fix it, he was angry and stopped replying to me. Then, I had to email the platform to send the money to me. That’s one negative experience I had regarding the flat fee. Then value-based pricing is the best way to price your work, but it is harder. It takes experience and time.
Value-based price overview
For value-based pricing, I’ll give you a basic overview. You should pretty much price the project, based on the value that the client is receiving the portion of the value. For example, if Nike came to me and said that it wants a custom illustration for a T-shirt design. I start asking high-value questions like how much are you planning to earn from this? Who are your customers? What’s your campaign? It’s all about asking questions. Keep asking why, how, and what, so you get deeper to the problem.
For example, if they’re going to sell 100,000, or 1 million t-shirts, they cost like $10, that’s potentially like a 10 million or $100 million they can make. I’m going to charge a fraction of that. Even if I charge 5% of that, that’s going to be like 50,000 or 500,000.
That’s value-based pricing where you don’t determine the value. The client determines the value and qualifies the value. We don’t say the price, the client sees it by you asking the right questions. They uncover the price by themselves in their mind. You are helping them question themselves. Then they’re seeing the value that you are providing because you are solving a specific problem, that’s going to generate money.
Suppose you got to design a website, a high converting website if it’s going to increase the clients. They’re going to get ten clients a month, and if each client is worth 1000, you will help them get from one client to 10 clients a month, that’s nine k extra on top. So you are going to have to earn nine k times that by 12 months in one year, that’s going to be over 100 gr. For you to charge 10 gr, it seems like nothing compared to 100 gr that the client will earn.
I hope I broke that down please simply it does take a bit of time to get used to it. But that’s the basics of pricing. That’s how I’ll go about the majority of my projects. With a flat fee, you can pretty much offer all service-based things. With value-based pricing, you can only do it when there’s a monetary exchange. You can’t do it for nonprofits in certain other industries. But everything else you can do it for service product based stuff.
Designhill: How do we work on the portfolio, which plays a main role in the system?
Have a consistent look
Jeremy Mura: With portfolios, you need to have a consistent look. You need to be cohesive and have a consistent grid so that all the images are consistent. If you use a bold color in a simple logo, go for that if you use a certain mockup with a shadow. You should have three aims for three deep case studies on your site. Then, you should have other little projects as well. Don’t overload with all your work. This is because I see many beginners sending me all these brochures, flyers, business cards, etc.
But it doesn’t show you up as a professional. You should show a full project even if it’s a fake project. Also, once again, invest in mockups. I buy my mockups from Design Cuts, and they always do bundles. It’s only 30 bucks, and you get crazy bundles. They come out once every three or four months. Mockups should look crazy good.
Hopefully, you guys can see my screen. This is a gorgeous farm design for packaging food. They are case studies. They got imagery of the studio to be personable. For example, let’s click on this. Also, the Pentagram is great. You can see they start with what they did a bit of the background. You scroll down and see that they explain some of the brand stories. Look aT this amazing, crazy mockup, it just looks real, and it comes alive.
Using high-quality mockups
As I’m scrolling, I can see those high-quality mockups spam the logo, but they’re adding messaging. They’re adding key elements, brand assets, and how it translates. As you can see, the great solid work into the design, exploration, some of the stuff how they came up with some other artifacts, their logos, the packaging, and some brand imagery. You can see like it’s just high quality. If your work looks $5,000, then you can charge $5,000 if your work looks like $100 like it’s looking low quality, no one’s going to pay a lot of money. So, make your work look good.
Pentagram is another famous studio where you can look for a great design case study. They put quotes from the project. It would be best if you made your work look expensive because then you can charge more. But you gotta be able to prove those results and deliver on those results. Show the work that you want more of if you are a logo designer, show just logos. You should use nice mockups and see how it integrates with the brand.
If you are a brand identity guy, show brand identity, don’t be doing illustrations websites all this other stuff. Just share that only and they’ll see you as a specialist.
Designhill: Can you suggest some books to read?
Jeremy Mura: Some design books are my favorite ones. One is Identity Designed by David Airy, which is a great one. Aaron Drapkin’s book Pretty Much Everything is another good one, Michael Beirut has a great book called How to. He works at Pentagram as well. There’s another good book by Michael Johnson. It’s called Branding In Five and a Half Steps, and It’s like a red book.
Then, if you want to learn a bit about strategy, read Creative Strategy and the Business of Design, by Douglas Davis. If you are just starting design, I recommend Thinking with Type, by Ellen Lupton. For personal development stuff and marketing, the Miracle Morning is good.
This is Marketing, by Seth Godin is probably some of the top books that I recommend. There’s plenty more I have on my shelf every day. I have a video on my YouTube channel. You can go watch it see some other books, but hopefully, you enjoy that big list of books.
Designhill: What are your thoughts on brand identity?
Jeremy Mura: When it comes to brand identity, show that it is more than the logo. This is because a logo is not going to transform a business. It is only a great first step and one part of the business, the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more like the brand assets, website, business card, letterheads, flyers, and brochures like print materials. Then, there is web stuff, social media content, banners, email, signatures, and stickers.
Develop an identity, not just a logo
Like many thumbnails, there are so many different things. You want to sort of develop an identity that goes beyond the logo. So, use colors, texture patterns, mockups, etc. because you want to give the full experience. I’ll see if I can show an example of a recent project and how I present a project? So I can show on maybe from last year?
Here is a logo for a beauty brand that I did in 2019.
You can see this is a summary presentation file and the attributes positioning that I did in the strategy session. Notice the style scape we picked then, and there’s the personas direction one. You can see a simple minimal logo for a beauty brand that sells styling creams for curly hair. You can see the love heart, and I liked that logo mark.
It was a neat logo, showing you a black-white and the color palette in horizontal, and different versions they can use. I give them all these logos and some patterns they can use. It was a small one.
Then, there is another logo that I did for the Craft Whisky Society. As you can see, I showed them goals, brand traits and values, and competitors. I showed them the batch design of the logo, responsive, and many mockups. Then, there is this final logo.
So, these are the essential tips that Jeremy Mura had to offer during the webinar. Pay utmost attention to those pieces of advice and implement them. You can certainly help yourself earn a decent passive income during these hard COVID times.
If you are a graphic designer or artist, you can earn passive income also by winning a lot of design contests. It would be best if you visited Designhill, a leading creative marketplace where thousands of new design contests are launched every day in different categories. Use your skills and experience to win those contests and attractive prize money.
Graphic designers can regularly earn passive income using their skills to explore social media, and if they know how to create a brand identity. The expert, Jeremey Mure, emphasizes building an online presence for your skills with a portfolio, using quality mockups, and convincing clients of your design abilities through your professional approach.