I know there are a LOT of virtual assistants out there who want to grow their design skills, either so they can offer a wider range of services to their clients or so they can start to charge more for their branding and design packages. If this is you, I want you to know that I absolutely love that!
Because we are freelancers and self-employed individuals, the best thing we can do is to invest in our skills. We have to give ourselves our own raises, and improving our breadth of knowledge is the key to being able to increase those prices and take home a larger salary!
There’s a lot of value in learning these skills because without a doubt, you’re going to use them. Most of the clients you’ve worked with as a virtual assistant have probably already asked you for some help with branding, right? Wouldn’t it be great to blow them away with your expertise in this area?
I know it can seem overwhelming to dive into something new, so let’s break it down into some easy, implementable steps!
First, Get a Good Design Program
I know a lot of people use Canva, and I do think it’s a great tool. However, it isn’t going to be able to do everything you need it to do as a brand designer. That’s why I use Affinity Designer. It’s not as well known as Adobe Illustrator (yet!), but it does essentially everything that Illustrator does at a fraction of the price.
I highly suggest downloading this program so you can get familiar with it and start using it to grow your brand design skills! It’s especially useful for making vector graphics, which Canva cannot do. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry. You’ll learn more about vectors as you learn about brand design!
Then, Find a Mentor
Some things are easier to learn on your own (like knitting or playing the guitar) and some things are pretty tough to learn without a teacher or mentor leading the way. When I was learning graphic design in college, I had some really great professors, but I would have LOVED to have a mentor as well.
In the classroom, there just was never enough 1:1 time to get the personalized help I needed. So, I often turned to the students around me who were a little bit more advanced for advice and they’re the ones who actually helped me improve my skills the most.
I love mentoring aspiring designers because I remember being there myself, and I always want to give back. I don’t believe there should be any gatekeeping when it comes to learning brand design skills! Every designer has their own perspective and their own vision to contribute to the world, so I believe the more, the merrier!
Invest in a Design Education Program
You don’t have to go back to college to learn design. There are so many amazing courses and programs that are made by designers that can help you learn and grow your skills so much more quickly than a full design program at a college or university.
As a VA, you can’t just pause your career while you learn new skills. You have to learn in the in-between moments, on your own schedule! Online programs are the perfect way to get the high-view instruction you need on an expedited timeline.
When you’re looking at options, make sure to look at the credentials of the person who created the course. Look at some examples of their work and make sure they can walk the walk. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before you sign up for something. If they get annoyed, it’s time to walk away. A good design educator isn’t just out to make a quick buck. They’ll want to make sure you’re a good fit for each other just as much as you do!
Have Questions? I’m Happy to Help!
I want to see you succeed! If you have any questions for me about learning new brand design skills, design programs, mentorship, or design education, let me know!
If you found this post helpful, I invite you to check out my design mentorship resources! Here, I share links to my favorite design tools as well as some mentorship and learning opportunities!
If you want to dive in and learn with me in a virtual immersive setting, I have good news! I will be hosting my 3-day Brand Design Love Method Workshop starting on January 17, 2022. It’s absolutely FREE to join and my past students have learned so much!
Karla is an award-winning designer and branding expert. She has designed for brands including BRIT + CO, Discovery, HGTV, Food Network, Facebook, Yale and more. Her specialty is helping elevate brands through well-crafted design.