Always dreamt of starting your own design business?


A couple of months ago we launched a new section of our blog, Creative Encounter, where we talk to creatives of all types and learn a bit about what inspires them and their creative businesses and ventures. Sarita Mann was the first person we spoke to. She shared so much insight with us about her graphic design business and one topic she spoke about stood out to us as something that we thought you guys would find helpful so we saved it for its own post. Starting a freelance or solo design business is something I'm sure a lot of you have dreamed of doing. To be able to handle your own clients, work for yourself and manage your own time is something appeals to a lot of creatives out there. This is something Sarita has delved into and she's the lady with a few words of wisdom for those of you who endeavour to do the same. We asked her "What advice would you give to a designer hoping to work for themselves?" and this was her response.

Get a Website
Even if it’s just registering a domain name. It the best way to refer someone to your work, basically an online portfolio. You don’t need to invest a tonne of money splurging on a web designer if you can’t budget for it yet. Do so later on when you’re more established. I use Squarespace because I love the customizable templates, making each template unique to you. They offer 24 hr tech support and e-commerce. I’ve yet to open up my own online shop but by the years end I hope to cross that off my list so my product is accessible to you from me all across the world.

Appreciate your hustle
We all have a story that goes along with our design aspirations and don’t be shy to share that with people. We all want to learning more about your work if you share it. For me I love documenting it all. You can find me on social media sharing a little about my day to day or my latest triumphs and failures. You’ll be humbled to find how many people are routing for your success and soon you’ll meet them in real-life and become friends. True story!

Don’t fall victim to habit or get too comfortable with your situation
Pen on paper will never fail you but I find it’s sometimes nice to try new mediums to keep things fresh and use the techniques learned with your preferred medium. Maybe take up a fashion illustration night class, a life drawing class at your community centre or a print-making class, whatever peaks your interest. You’ll find that you’ll quickly appreciate the time away from your day to day work schedule but also meet others trying to do the same.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’re always learning from others. 
I recall when I started I had little to no idea what I was doing, and even now I’m still learning. I had a concept, rough idea about my branding strategy and a material choice. Sure I had more than a handful of designs all done for friends but I knew nothing about the stationery industry and I didn’t take myself seriously at first. As a paper lover and collaborator at heart I figured it wouldn’t hurt to fire off a few emails to a my favourite designers about their story and questions I had about the industry. Everyone was very welcoming and helpful, no surprise there. If you are sincere and honest with your intensions people are very receptive to reach out so don’t be shy. Just keep in mind sometimes people are busy with their day to day and they may forget your email, so don’t take it personal. You’re an intelligent human and you got this.

Build relationships
I work closely with the shops here in Vancouver. I’m constantly asking them what they would like me to design for them not because I’m unsure of my work but because I respect that they know their client base and I love to entertain fresh new ideas. What better way than to bounce ideas off one another?