Small Business, Big Execution

So you want to start a small design business, huh? *dramatic music swells*

GOOD! It’s super fun! The best part? You learn something new each and every day. Whether you want to or not. Typically, when starting out, you have to get a bit crafty with how you use what little funds you have. Hopefully I’m able to help you discover a couple of ways, or inspire ideas within your own business-savvy brain that can help you accomplish the big, while having access to little.

How To Display Your Work, Without Displaying Your Bank Balance

If you’ve gathered a nice little handful of designs you feel proud of- you want others to know about it. You want to display them, you want to be able to point and say “I did that!” The best way to go about this, with the budget I had (and the aesthetic I didn’t want to compromise), is to utilize cheap services out there you wouldn’t normally consider. Not the expensive services tailored to what you’re needing. For instance, I used Walgreens photo center to print out glossy 4x6 prints of my logos, then purchased collage picture frames that would accent the pieces nicely. Since I went with a black and white theme- black frames really made it pop.

You Won’t Have Strict Hours, And That’s Okay

Running your own business encompasses more than you’d think. On top of doing great work and keeping your clients happy, you also have to make sure the bills get paid, take out the trash, have coffee meet ups, go pick up supplies, have lunch meetings, return phone calls, deliver products to clients, and contact the electric company to get street lights outside your building replaced. It’s a full basket and often times 9–5 just can’t contain it all. Not to mention that creative types are often running on a whole other time schedule. I, for example, don’t drift to sleep until the wee morning hours, so it’s not unusual for me to arrive at work after 12:00pm. Just remember- it’s your business. There are no “normal hours”. Make sure you work the hours you’ll be the most productive. But, occasionally, yeah, you have to meet a client at a time that seems ungodly- gotta make that money, boo.

Print Things Out

We live in a digital world. There’s no escaping that. But what I have found is that if you hold something in your hands, you can totally learn by osmosis. At least a little bit. When you can sketch something out, or mark through something you have more control of it. I am in no way saying “down with digital”, I spend 82% of my time digitally connected. What I am saying, is that balance is key. If you need to break down an email or alter a brief, print it out. Then recycle.

That’s a couple things I’ve learned over my time as a business owner. What are some things you’ve learned? Sharing is caring, you know.

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