Can you pitch your design business (well) in 15 seconds?

I’m a person you’ve never met.

Maybe we just bumped into one another in line at the supermarket. Maybe we’re both regulars at the local coffee shop waiting for our morning latte. Maybe we’re riding the elevator together in a skyscraper downtown.

For whatever reason, we introduce ourselves and shake hands.

Now you’ve got about 15 seconds to tell me what you do before we part ways: Go.

What did you tell me? Did you stumble over your words? Did you have to think about what you were going to say before you said it? If your 15-second pitch didn’t roll off of your tongue easily and comfortably, this post is for you.

The Short, Short Version

It’d be great if everyone were as interested in our design businesses as we are, but the reality is most people are going to wander off or interrupt even if they do have 5 minutes to listen, and you’re going to sound a bit egotistical.

Nowadays, too, you’ll be lucky if any person with a few extra minutes isn’t lost in their phone.

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This is why it’s important to summarize your business and abilities as efficiently and engagingly as possible.

Start with the overview.

The first thing your pitch needs is what, overall, you do.

I start out with, “I’m a freelance graphic and web designer.”

Dig deeper.

Give your overview some details. Speak in terms most people (non-designers) will understand. Notice in my sentence below I relate my work to visibility and profit instead of just talking about the projects…making that type of relation is key.

“I work with clients to increase their exposure and improve their sales through a variety of projects such as infographics, posters, brochures, websites, and identity packages.”

Wrap it up.

You have the option of one more sentence. This gives them the opportunity to ask questions – and hopefully for your business card! – or for you to politely return the favor.

“I also write a weekly blog post about the business end of graphic design. What about you?”

Practice Makes Perfect

Spend about 30 minutes to an hour perfecting your 15-second pitch, and then go practice in front of a mirror, your best friend, your spouse, or your pet.

Try different intonations, reword tongue twisters, and smile when you speak.

You want to sound relaxed and confident, not rehearsed.

Other Applications

Not only is your 15-second pitch useful for face-to-face conversations, it’s also a great short spiel for your LinkedIn profile, your Twitter feed, in a response for quote (RFQ) email, or for phone conversations.

What’s your pitch?

Do you have a 15-second pitch you’d like to share with the Millo community? Post it in the comments on this article so we can all hear it! Got tips for how to improve a 15-second pitch? Leave a comment with your best business-pitching tips.

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  1. I totally enjoyed the post. As a starter in the field of marketing..especially web design…i found your tips on the subject worth a million dollars!
    Please could send me some more tips on up-selling & cross-selling.

  2. Hi am having a problem introducing myself when making a pitch to client for website design services. can you assist.

  3. Great post that I have read today! Precise and clear. I prefer starting with the basic premise of pitching ‘to’ a client before taking it any further.

  4. Can u give me a good pitch to approach a customer for website SEO or customised website we have a very small team of 6 people pls help me out

  5. Hi,
    Just wanted to know if this works well for a cold sales call ?
    We are a photo editing service company providing solutions to various Photography agencies and Ecommerce companies.
    I really liked this post and wanted to know if this will work for us.

    Best regards

  6. Thank you for this article. I’m just starting out and I needed to figure out how to approach people about my business without sounding all salesy and scaring them off. Preparing something like this is perfect!

  7. Hi April,

    Do you have any sample? I am newbie in designing sales pitch and i need to know how to write best sales pitch for graphic designing.

  8. I make it short and simple “hi my name is Alexis, I’m a web designer, and I’d like to help you build a website”

  9. Nice article! I end up just saying ” I am a freelance graphic and web designer ” and after reading the article I really felt to work on it and come up with something more interesting.

    “Practice Makes Perfect” section reminded me of a scene from the movie TAXI DRIVER:

    Even Robert realized how important it is to practice before going in public. 😀

  10. Thank you for sharing your insight. I did get some valuable information from you. I just have a quick question for you. Do you know a place where I can see some sample with a conversation script over the phone and then on a face to face meeting?
    I need to put together my script and I don’t know how to make it more story telling and more engaging.

    Thank you.

  11. Great post! Let’s try this out…

    My name is David Alan Yurchuk.

    I am the Creative Director of DAY Creative Group.

    We make logos and websites for people who like awesome logos and websites.

    [hand out business card]

    Seize the DAY.

    [we both have a good, awkward laugh]


    1. Nice, David! Breaking the ice with humor, even if it’s a bit awkward, is a great way to be memorable and distinctive.

  12. I enjoyed all the useful tips. It’s just before 5am and apparently I think this subject on pitching a great first impression about my design business is very important. Thanks!

  13. Hello, my name is xavier, I am a 3D artist. I work with companies and other graphic designers to create eye-popping visuals for a variety of different applications. And you?

    how is that?

  14. Great article April.

    I agree, that 15 second elevator speech is very important.

    80 percent of my business comes through my email or via the phone as closed business from clients I have built relationships with through BNI (

    I have spent the last 4 years as a member and director consultant with BNI so I am building relationships with on average 84 plus members weekly.

    I have built my business on the “givers gain” mission where I help others grow their business and they help me grow mine.

    I don’t cold call and I don’t have to do a formal presentation. I get new clients and projects from business colleagues who know, like and trust me, my work and my professionalism.

    It may not work for everyone, but it has worked for me.

    I have also found that if you are a member of a professional organization like BNI, chamber of commerce or any association, etc. stepping into a leadership role (typically volunteer like being an ambassador, etc.) helps you be seen as a leader and puts you in the smaller circle of folks who have a larger influence in the community.

    All the best to success to you April and your audience. 🙂

    1. Bridget,

      Whenever you’re networking and meeting at business mixers and various programs, it’s very important to be able to quickly describe your business in an engaging and polished manner. You don’t want to stumble over your words, and you want others there to be excited and interested in your work.

      Thanks for sharing your link and your successes!

  15. This is something I’ve still not got down after 3 years. I think I need to actually write something down and memorize it for situations when people ask “What do you do?”

  16. Sheila,

    Hey, that’s a great pitch. I like the way you tie it to helping your potential client while telling them about yourself and your services.

    Thanks for sharing!

  17. Great tips, as always. Another good resource for help with that is “The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing.” Helped me create my pitch, which I’ll be the first one to share it:

    // I help businesses promote themselves professionally by designing logos and marketing materials which are well-researched, cohesively branded, and effectively targeted toward the correct audience. //

    How do you like them apples? 🙂

    1. Thanks, Mom! Love you back.

      PS – I’m feeling very proud – you haven’t disagreed with me for over a month!!!!

  18. Thanks for the post, I’ve had a few possible missed opportunities in the past due to the lack of a practiced 5 minute pitch. Your post has inspired me to finally get it done.

    1. Mel,

      Good – and good luck in nailing that 15-second pitch! I have often been surprised by where my next client comes from. Having my pitch in my figurative back pocket when I meet someone.makes turning them or someone they know into a potential client that much easier.

  19. Spot on! Yes, we have a small sales team, just a few of us and don’t believe in the lengthly introduction that most telemarketers tend to indulge in. We like to keep ours really short, perhaps one or two sentences before we start talking about the client’s needs.

    1. Morgan,

      Thanks! I agree – you very rarely need a lengthy intro — the 15-second pitch is meant to be a grabber to entice your audience to hear more, or (if they themselves aren’t a potential client) to plant the seed if they know someone who could benefit from working with you.

  20. You just added a new dimension to making a business introduction. This blog post adds more value as you actually mentioned what exact lines you use to make a contact. Really valuable insight, thanks

    1. Deb,

      You’re most welcome, and thanks to you as well! Good luck on creating your 15-second pitch.

  21. Hi, I totally enjoy your posts and more than often you’re totally dead on. Keep it up as I keep them as reminders.

    1. Guylaine,

      Thanks! You’ve made my day! I plan to continue posting as long as Preston wants me around. 🙂

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