Responses to a recent interview about running a small business: graphic designer.
What was the inspiration to be a business owner?
I started running my own business for the freedom and flexibility of choosing my own hours and getting to have a variety of projects to work on.
Did you get financial backing or did you start from scratch?
As a document designer, I didn’t require much to start. I already had a computer. I purchased a licence for Adobe Creative Suite (as it was called back then), one of my best investments. I also paid for a couple of other things including business name registration and a domain name.
Anything you have experienced that could help others
build their business successfully would be appreciated.
Something that I really appreciated in the first decade of running my business was my ability to pivot. There were a few times when I decided to try working with a new type of client, a new industry, project vs hourly based, and even niching in a couple of different document types. Each step I took allowed me to try new things and get better overall at running a business. It became easier to see just how much value I provide to my clients, across industries. It helped with big picture thinking and getting used to seeing all the tiny details. I am glad I didn’t get stuck thinking about only one particular outcome or treated changing document niches as a failure but instead as growth.
Challenges or roadblocks that you have overcome?
A particularly big challenge to overcome was a mindset shift. Moving from thinking of what I do as freelance to being a business. It might not sound like much but it is. Once I valued what I do enough to see it as a business, I noticed clients started to as well. We think in terms of long-term investment of the documents I make. How they improve the bottom line over time. With that mindset shift, it is easier to move to a value-based pricing model and not the limiting hourly rate model.