Career Story: Owner Of A Graphic Design Firm

Owner Of A Graphic Design Firm

Job Title: Partner, Business Director

Type of Company: My company provides graphic design and communication services to a variety of industries.

Education: BA, Music Synthesis, Berklee College of Music

Previous Experience: I started as a project manager at a graphic design agency six years ago, moved to the director of operations at a leading NYC on-demand printer. I left my previous job to launch my own company with a partner.

Job Tasks: I am one of two owners of a new graphic design agency. I spend a good portion of each day exploring new client opportunities, attending conferences, and emailing/calling on those new opportunities in an attempt to grow our client base and hence, our business.

Since we are working towards being as environmentally responsible a firm as possible, I focus the majority of my sales efforts on green, progressive, and innovative companies that need help, rather than big companies that can pay a good deal more for the services we offer.

In addition to that, social networking is a large part of how we remain visible to the world. Maintaining our website, updating our Twitter posts, scouring message boards, and generally keeping our online presence fresh and relative are all key to our success, and hence I work on that daily.

I also spend a good portion of my day managing the actual in-progress projects for our active clients, which means creating and maintaining schedules, writing proposals, billing, and all correspondence between my firm and the client.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best parts: Making my own schedule, working from home, being on the cutting edge of technology within the field, learning about new processes and innovations in the industry and implementing them, meeting new people and exploring new industries and, of course, the creative outlet afforded by the work.

Worst Parts: Being the owner of the company means I lack the security of working for someone else and just getting a paycheck. Navigating the extensive and confusing tax laws regarding business and implementing them correctly.

Job Tips:
1.) Work for an agency first. Learn everything you can, especially in the process/billing side of things. You'll make improvements when you're on your own, but learn what works and what not to do from someone else first.

2.) When trying to get new business, "No" means "not now," "Yes" means "maybe," "Maybe" means "probably not." In other words, spend your time wisely, and go for the clients that have immediate problems that you can solve.

3.) You've ALWAYS forgotten to ask a question. Drill down, ask as much as you can about the company and what they do in the first meeting. That insight will be harder to get later on, and will put you on the right track.

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