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How many hats do you wear in your graphic design business?

If you run a home-based graphic design business, the title of this podcast episode, “The Many Hats Of A Home Based Graphic Designer”, shouldn't be much of a mystery.  However, if you are not running your own business yet, the many hats I talk about may come as a surprise.

Let me ask you a question. When did you decide to become a graphic designer?

Did you know from a young age? Did you know another graphic designer and aspired to follow in their footsteps? Did you enjoy art class in high school so much that you decided to pursue a career in the arts and chose graphic design?

Maybe this is your second career. Maybe you got tired of the mundane job you were doing or maybe your company got downsized and you decided to look for something different.

Maybe you didn't even go to school for graphic design. Maybe you or a friend had some event to organize and you decided to make the poster or flyer for it yourself. After doing so you thought “I like doing this” and decided to have a go at it on a permanent basis.

Regardless of how you got here, you are a graphic designer. And if you are also running your own design business you know that you are also so much more.

The story of how I became a graphic designer, even though I had no intention of becoming one, is on the About Page so I won't retell it here. What I will tell you is that after graduating I worked for 15 years at a local commercial printer in their design department. While there the bulk of my job was, you guessed it, designing.

It wasn't until I left there and started my own graphic design studio that I realized just how many hats one has to wear to run a successful business.

When I was at the printing company there were people there to answer the phones, collect payments from clients, pay bills, make sure the delivery van was serviced, make sure supply levels were always up to stock and so on.

My role was to sometimes talk to clients about their jobs, and to design them. In an 8 hour day, I could potentially spend 6-7 hours of it designing.

You probably know where I'm going with this. When I finally started my own graphic design business there was nobody but me to do all those extra tasks.

All of a sudden all those many hats were on my head and it was a little overwhelming. So for the benefit of those who haven't started a business yet, I'm going to list a few, but definitely not all, of the many hats we home based graphic designers have to wear. For a more in-depth description of the following list please listen to the podcast.

The Many Hats of running a home based business

  • General Manager
  • Accountant
  • Secretary/Receptionist
  • Logistics
  • Cleaning

The Many Hats of procuring new clients and work

  • Sales person
  • Public speaking
  • Marketing
  • Estimator
  • Interviewer
  • Human resource
  • Sounding board

The Many Hats of dealing with clients

  • Art director
  • Presenting
  • IT Support
  • Customer Support
  • Troubleshooter
  • Delivery man

The Many Hats while working on design jobs

  • Graphic designer
  • Web Designer
  • Researcher
  • Page Layout
  • Code Writer
  • Search Engine Optimizer
  • Copywriter
  • Editor/Proofreader
  • Time Tracker

The Many Hats after completing a design job

  • Bookkeeper
  • Archivist
  • Customer Support
  • Networking and Follow-up

These are just a few of the many hats we home based graphic designers have to wear.

Running a home-based business is not for everyone. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make it succeed. But the rewards are tremendous. And, in the end wearing the many hats involved justifies itself. When I was working at the printing company I was making an hourly wage working 8 hours a day.

When I started my own business and charged my own rates all it took was 3-4 billable hours per day to exceed the salary I was previously getting. And that left me lots of extra time to try on all those many hats.

Did I miss any hats?

Are there any hats you wear in your graphic design business that I didn't list? Let me know what they are by leaving a comment for this episode.

Questions of the Week

Submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.

This week’s question comes from Gretchen

A question that's been bouncing around in my head for quite some time now, is how can I determine the results of my work aside from being a ‘nice design.' It's a little easier to quantify when creating things such as websites, but I mainly do print design. It seems like there are just far too many variables. I would like to add something more concrete to my portfolio descriptions.

To find out what I told Gretchen you’ll have to listen to the podcast.

Resource of the week the Four Week Marketing Boost

The Four Week Marketing Boost offers quick and simple tasks focused on improving often overlooked or neglected parts of your marketing material. After completing this four-week plan you will be in a better position to win over new clients.

And yes, this guide is totally free!

This is another way Resourceful Designer helps you streamline your graphic design business and allows you to get back to what you do best, designing.

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I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

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