The most successful companies are created when a find sees an opportunity to solve real problems and takes it without hesitation. Today, we’re interviewing Kenny Schumacher from Delesign and we’re talking all things growth, mistakes, early adopters, team values and hiring the right people.
Let’s get straight to it and you be ready to take notes – ideas will pour all over this post!
Tell us about your product: what’s Delesign and what problems does it solve?
Delesign provides a monthly flat rate unlimited design service. We solve the problem of completing design projects by matching you with a Delesign-vetted designer who can complete all your design projects, including graphic design, website design mockups, 2D animation, and motion graphics.
With one subscription to Delesign, you’ll receive 2 hours of daily design work. This allows you to access top quality design talent without having to pay full price wages.
How did you come up with the idea for your solution? How did you adjust it to fit the market?
As an entrepreneur, I have worked with and continue to work with many other entrepreneurs who have complimented my different businesses’ designs – such as our website, social media, explainer videos, etc. This was before Delesign, and they all wanted to work with the designers on my team, as the freelancers they tried working with never worked out well for them, and I figured why not let them?
From there, I knew there was demand for such a service of matching entrepreneurs with vetted senior-level designers. But the entrepreneurs in my network weren’t exactly looking for full-time designers. They had an ongoing need for design work, but didn’t need 40 hours a week. In fact, most of them needed less than 20 hours per week.
Delesign was created as the solution to their needs. With one subscription to Delesign, you’re matched with a senior designer who will spend 2 hours per day on your design projects.
Let’s talk about early adopters. How quickly did you manage to acquire your first meaningful number and how did you get there?
Our early adopters initially came through my own personal network. Delesign was then fortunate enough to do well on Product Hunt, where we finished the #2 product of the day and acquired valuable feedback and a large amount of new clients (many of which are still using Delesign today).
With revenue coming in, this allowed us to invest further in our team and service, which has resulted in continual improvements to the Delesign experience and continued growth to our talented design team.
Our early adopters initially came through my own personal network.
Do you think there was a moment when Delesign really “picked up”? Was there an event that caused a significant increase in your customer number or are you growing in a steadier and more predictable way?
Besides our Product Hunt launch, there was no single event that caused a significant increase in our customer number. We’re fortunate enough to have had steady growth fueled largely in part by referrals from happy clients and organic traffic.
The majority of our traffic continues to come through referrals and organic traffic. Unlike traditional SaaS companies that can scale to having an unlimited amount of users without much strain, Delesign requires a strict maximum client-to-designer ratio. We’re organically growing at a rate that matches the rate in which we are able to recruit and train top design talent, and as we have a very low churn rate, only allocate a very small portion of our budget for paid ads.
Is there something you wish you hadn’t done because it was a waste of time or a mistake that hindered your growth?
There are two mistakes that I can pinpoint.
The first was paying several thousands of dollars for a Product Hunt promotion while we were still young and relatively strapped for cash. Our organic Product Hunt launch performed spectacularly well and resulted in many new clients. Our paid Product Hunt promotion, however, performed very poorly and was not worth the amount spent.
The second was waiting too long before hiring customer support and sales representatives. It’s extremely important for the founder to understand customer’s needs and issues, and acting as the customer support and sales representative for a company is a great way to be involved in this process. However, after a certain point, the founder’s attention will need to be placed on other matters. By spending too much of my time on customer support and sales, I delayed Delesign’s growth.
It’s extremely important for the founder to understand customer’s needs and issues, and acting as the customer support and sales representative for a company is a great way to be involved in this process.
Fortunately, we now have very capable individuals on our team handling the customer support and sales roles, and this has allowed me to focus my efforts on growth.
What can you tell us about your customer retention and customer success strategies? How do you ensure your customers stay happy and come back for more?
We’re fortunate enough to have a low churn rate, and of those clients who cancel, many do so because they run out of design work, and will then renew once more work accumulates.
I attribute this to the strict hiring and training process our designers go through, the ability for clients to access a senior designer without having to pay full-time rates, and due to the fact that our service solves a huge problem that our clients face of completing their design projects.
Delesign’s service provides our clients with tremendous value. While our product may seem like a simple service that can be replicated, there are actually very many intricacies that go on behind the scenes and result in a well-run system of surpassing our clients’ expectations every day.
How about people creating Delesign? What are your team values and what principles do you follow when hiring new people?
Our people are Delesign’s most important asset. We invest heavily in our team to ensure they are happy, well treated, and continue to grow and be inspired while working at Delesign.
Our highest team value is that of effective and open communication, and this flows into everything we do. For every business, effective communication from the members of the team is important. Due to the collaborative nature of design, effective communication is extremely crucial.
Whether it be with internal team communications or for collaborating with clients, effective communication is a necessity. As such, when hiring, we continually test our applicants for this skill. Even beyond the interviewing and application process, our new designers go through rigorous training to ensure they are able to meet Delesign’s high standards and continually strive for improvement.