I get this question a lot: what software do I use to create my visual models and my clients’ models?

And while there is a simple answer, unless you’re a graphic designer or you’re already familiar with these programs, they are not a good use of your time as a business owner.

In this video, I’m sharing with you the things you need to think about before you ask the software question and I also tell you what software my team and I use to create visual models.

 I actually get asked this question really quite a lot both in Facebook groups and when people come along to my half-day workshop, this question always, always comes up because people get all inspired. They can see the value in creating their signature system. They want all the benefits and they want to create those visual models, and they’re just like, “Okay, cool. Well, I’m going to go and do this myself. What software do I use?”

Hoooold up. Software is not the first thing you should think about

I just want to take a step back from that and say that the software is not the first thing you need to be thinking about. What’s really, really important firstly is to make sure that you’re extracting your information well. Make sure that the quality of the information that you’re pulling out of your head and the way that you’re structuring it is actually of the highest possible standard before you go into the actual drafting of it.

There’s a five-step process in extracting the information and turning it into a high quality visual model and I’ve got a video for that, which you can check out, but I won’t go into that now. But really, you need to make sure that you’re producing a quality model first before you actually go and put it into … use any software to turn it into the design part of it, polish it and make it all branded and sexy and stuff.

How do you get quality models?

How do we do that? How do you make sure that you get the quality information out? You got to ask quality questions and you need to make sure that that information is being divided into the four different types of models that you need, and you also need to make sure that then you’re not making the common mistakes that people make when they’re actually extracting their models. I’ve got another video on that one.

Firstly, extract well. Let’s make the assumption you’ve extracted the information well. It’s structured well. You’ve actually got up and presented this information to a live audience and got feedback so you can see where improvements need to be made. Then at that point then, you’re at the point of being ready to do the proper design stuff and use the software or get a designer to do it.

Are you a graphic designer?

Now are you a graphic designer? If the answer to that question is no, then I would say is it really a good use of your time to be doing the design work? Because the software that you’re going to need to use to make a high quality visual model has a very steep learning curve. It’s not like using Canva. It’s completely different. If you’re going to be creating animated models with all these different layers and all different … it’s highlighted and rah, rah, rah, rah, rah, the learning curve is huge.

I do this a lot because I’ve been doing this for my clients and for myself for years, but still it’s fiddly. It takes time to do this, right? And actually, I’ve got a member on my team now, now I’ve got Melissa Love who’s doing the graphic design for my clients for me in the team because it is a big job. It’s not a simple thing and she’s specialising in that. She is a trained graphic designer. She can use Adobe Illustrator. There’s a clue. Yes, she is the right person for the job.

I would say to you if it’s going to take you 50 hours, and I’m not kidding, if it’s going to take you 50 hours to get over the learning curve and learn how to use this software, how much money would you actually make if you did client work in that time versus just paying a graphic designer $300 to do the thing for you? Really, truly, just I highly recommend you just pay a graphic designer. Give them your brand guidelines. Give them your sketch of your model and get them to do it for you.

Okay, but what software do I actually use?

But I know some of you are still going to be committed and say, “Actually, I really want to learn how to do this myself.” Okay, so here we go. The software I would recommend you use is Adobe Illustrator, which is what Melissa Love is using on my team. I was previously using another Adobe product called Fireworks and, unfortunately, Adobe has in their wisdom decided to continue that product. That’s when it came to a bit of a turning point for me because I was like, “Well, there’s now a learning curve for me to go and learn how to use Illustrator,” and I don’t want to be a graphic designer. Even though I love creating the models, it’s like I don’t really want to invest the time myself, even though I’m doing this all the time.

If you were going to create four models, that’s 50 hours of learning to create four models, probably not great leverage. For me, if I was going to invest 50 hours, it would be less ’cause I can already use Fireworks, maybe 20 hours, if I’m going to invest 20 hours to do four models per client, say 40 clients a year, four, four is 160 models a year, maybe it would be worthwhile to invest 20 hours of my time, but actually, I’ve now just got Melissa doing it for me.

Adobe Illustrator, massive learning curve and Adobe product is not that cheap. It’s not going to be a great option for you, for many people. There are some other products. Once Fireworks was discontinued, I started exploring what other options before I brought Melissa on board. I had a look at a couple of things and I played around with them, but they really were nowhere near as good as what I was used to with Adobe Fireworks and it’d be sometimes I would be editing one of the models in one of the things.

Gravit Designer was one that was I was using, I use that online, G-R-A-V-I-T, Gravit Designer. I was using that and so you’re actually editing vectors. I would purchase vector stock images from deposit photos and then, I would be editing them in Gravit, for example, but sometimes it would be buggy and there would be some vectors I would just be not happy with at all.

There was another one I was using called Boxy SVG, which was a downloaded app that I’ve been using. I’m on a Windows computer and so I tried using that as well. Again, just clunky. Both I mean Gravit and Boxy SVG, okay, do the job, but I’m not in love with either of them and I’m glad I’m not having to use them every day. I’m really, really happy that Melissa’s doing them all in Illustrator because I know they’re being done well and that’s what I want for my clients and for my own models as well.

It’s not a short answer. It’s not, “What software do you use? And here’s a software, here’s the link, off you go and do it,” because I actually don’t think that’s in your best interest to go down that rabbit hole. You’d be much better off to spend a few hundred dollars, pay someone to do it and be done with it, and you spend that 50 hours of time doing sales and getting new clients on board, much better use of your time.

Anyway, that’s my little rant and long-winded answer to the question, “What software do you use to create visual models?” I hope that was helpful. If you have any more questions or if you found another tool that actually really does work well for people who are newbies, if you’re a graphic designer, it’s going to be a different story, but if there is something out there that people can use who don’t have design skills, then throw it at me. If it’s as easy to use as Canva, for example, but does vectors, bring it. I’m happy to be corrected and updated on my knowledge, but at the moment, that’s the best answer I got for you.


renee-b&W webRenée Hasseldine works with coaches, experts & thought leaders to turn what is in their brilliant minds into powerful signature systems using visual models. Her knack for extracting and unpacking thoughts and turning them into unique intellectual property is sheer genius.

Renée is the author of the best-selling book ‘Share Your Passion’, she is the host of the ‘Leveraged and Loving It’ podcast and a panel member on The Business Playroom TV.

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