Master your elevator pitch and win more design clients

A couple days ago, we discussed which job title you should put on your business card as a freelance designer.

That got me thinking about how important it is to be able to explain your business to other people quickly and effectively.

The most common technique of mastering how to talk about your business is called an elevator pitch. If you’re unfamiliar with the idea, here’s where it basically comes from:

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Imagine you were on vacation or downtown and you met a potential investor, client, business partner, etc. on an elevator ride. You’d only have a few floors (a matter of 30-60 seconds) to explain your company, make an impression, leave them with a call to action, and hand them a business card. In the business world, they teach you to always have an elevator pitch ready.


So today, we’ll talk about the vital parts of a solid elevator pitch for your design business. Most likely, you’ll be able to use this elevator pitch when you bump into potential clients on the elevator, train ride, grocery store line, etc.

Explain your company

The first task is to effectively and quickly explain your business. You want to be clear, avoid vocabulary that is unique to your particular area of expertise, and make it quick!

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Try something like: “I’m a web designer specializing in sites that my clients can manage and update on their own without any knowledge of HTML.”

Make and impression

Next, you’ll want to say something that they will remember after you both get off the figurative elevator. Try to say something that will set you apart from your competition.

For example something like: “There are a lot of designers out there who want to have control of your site and charge you every time you make a change, but I’m not like that.”

Call them to action

Now you should put your new-found friend on the spot. Invite them to do something. The likelihood that they will ever act on your conversation is ery low unless you specifically invite them to do so.

A good direction could be something like: “So next time you think about redesigning your web site, give me a call and we’ll create a beautiful site you can update on your own.”

Give them a business card

Lastly, have a business card ready. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date and hand them the card sometime during your call to action.

Piece of cake, right?

Well, although all of this might seem easier said than done, developing and using a solid elevator pitch is something you can do today!

It may take time to refine it and make it perfect, but every designer who hopes to grow their client base should work on an elevator pitch today.

IN FACT: Why don’t you let us know what your elevator pitch sounds like by leaving a comment on this post. I’d love to hear what you say to promote your business to potential clients.

Quick Sidenote: Have you heard about Hectic? It's our new favorite tool for freelancing smarter, not harder. Client management, project management, invoices, proposals, and lots more. Hectic's got it all. Click here to see what we mean.

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Millo Articles by Preston Lee

Preston Lee is the founder of Millo where he and his team have been helping freelancers thrive for over a decade. His advice has been featured by Entrepreneur, Inc, Forbes, Adobe, and many more. Connect with Preston on Twitter.
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  1. A lot of typos which is unfortunate because the content is good.

    1. Preston D Lee says:

      We’ll take a look at it. Thanks, Celine.

  2. Michael Schlossman says:

    Hi, I’m Michael Schlossman. I am a freelance graphic communication specialist. My unique experience in all printing methods combined with a thorough knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite for graphic design and web development position me to address today’s ever-changing marketing media formats with confidence.

  3. Love this! I’m in marketing and I’ve always tried to refine a really clear overview of my business with a CTA but I’ve never heard it called an elevator pitch. I like it!

  4. Ashit Vora says:

    Hi, I’m Ashit Vora, owner of a web consulting company named Alfanso ( . We create simple and easy to use software that make people’s life better.

  5. Hi, I’m Genie. I’m a freelance illustrator and graphic designer specialising in print. There are lots of designers that send out print work and illustration jobs. I’m not like that. Not only can I do graphic design, but I handle the illustration and technical print stuff as well. So next time you need to put together some graphics for something, whether you have something already started or need from scratch or give me a bell. Here’s my card.

  6. If I’m correct then I’ve read two books that cover that subject (at least briefly)
    Frank J. Rambauskas “Never Cold Call Again”
    Milo O. Frank “How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less”

    *and it goes for that post also you have made –

  7. Simon Jennings says:

    Never heard of elevator pitch before. Definately concentrates the mind.

  8. Jason Henderson says:

    Thank you, your tips help a lot for any business. Here’s my elevator pitch.

    Hello my name is Jason Henderson and I’m a caricature artist/illustrator. There are many artists out there, but not a lot who can customize to their client’s needs in such a vast array of styles (i.e. caricature, realistic portraits). So, the next time you have trouble thinking of a gift for someone or need a caricature artist for a party., give me a call and we’ll make something happen, either for you or someone else. Here’s my card.

  9. Rey Hauksson says:

    Mr. Lee…
    You have opened my eyes to “elevator Pitching” and I want to thank you for that!

    I have operated a unique packaging design studio that offers each client a one stop shop, starting with the design of a package to product photography and finally the print ready production files for their printers.
    This in fact has landed me great jobs, since my clients do not need to go to many places to complete a project. They send me a prototype or a ready to sell product and the rest happens within my studio.
    So if you or any one you know is looking for some design work to be done, you are more than welcome to visit my web site at http://studiofunhouse or pick up the phone and call 718-805-8888 to discuss your needs and ideas!

    All the best and again, thanks for your article!
    Rey H.

  10. Hi I’m Gwen. I’m the owner of Creative Instinct. We are a small graphic design firm that helps small businesses stand out from their competition through creative logo design, branding material, and website design. Our clients can have their cake and eat it too. We give them great design and service, at a fraction of the cost of other design firms.

    Check us out at!

  11. Chinthana says:

    Hi I’m Chinthana. I’m the owner of Cyber Circus. We are a creative solutions company that focuses on creative design solutions and online marketing. What we do is bring a WOW factor to your website and other branding material and also help place your site on the 1st page of Google.

    Just off the top of my head. I know it needs more working though. Your feedback on this is extremely welcome.

    Your post was a very good read. Thank you for that. 🙂

  12. I am hooked on your articles! All so incredibly helpful!
    I’ve been meaning to put an elevator pitch together for quite some time now. Never had the framework in which to do it though. thanks to you, I now have my elevator pitch!
    Thanks so much 🙂
    Keep the awesome posts coming!

  13. Hi Preston, good post.

    I agree entirely with you, regarding the importance of a good elevator pitch.

    Thanks for the framework you posted. Very helpful.

    I sometimes blog on similar subjects. My readers will be grateful for your resource on how to win more clients.

    Many thanks, Mac.

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