Design Business Interview

September 2nd, 2008

A college student recently interviewed me for her class and I thought I’d share with all of you.

1. How did this / your design firm or agency get started? What did it take and when did it begin?

The company started as a freelance business while I worked a full time job. 3 ½ years ago I quit my full–time job to commit to the company. It took everything I had. Lots of time, experience and trial and error.

2. What should a designer know (skills and technology) to get a freelance position in the field?

You must have the Basics of design and art along with good knowledge of all the leading design programs such as InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Dreamweaver. It’s best to get an internship, so it shows you have some experience. There is too much risk hiring someone with no experience.

3. As a business manager or owner, what qualities do you look for in a freelance designer or production artist?

Experience so I can trust them to do a good job. Quality work that is not just repeating what has already been done. Being local is a little important so we can meet up or work internally if needed. Personality is always important as you are working side by side in a small company.

4. When dealing with clients, what are some ways the agency helps the client understand what was designed and what costs are involved?

Everything is written in a clear proposal before work is initiated so there is no missed expectations.

5. How many people does it take to run the agency or design firm?

One. But you need to know a whole lot.

6. What does the agency do to market or sell its services?

Some mailings, a website, enewsletter, networking, and more random things.

7. What size company did you start out as?

Originally, just me

8. Do you have any advice to someone wanting to start to their own design business?

Save at least 6 months salary before. Plan, Plan, Plan. And gain a lot of experience first.

9. What has been your greatest challenge in business?

Changing from a Designer to a business owner. They are very different from each other and it’s easy to underestimate what it takes to be a business owner.

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