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Small on Purpose

When I started my graphic design studio 23 years ago, I did not plan for what size I wanted my studio to become. I had a plan for the type of work I wanted to create. At the time, I was working on CD and Vinyl packaging for a small record label. I planned to expand that part of the business and also work on my passion — sustainability.

As the years went by, we grew in size and clients without a plan in place for growth. One evening after a long day of talking to clients about changes and relaying info to the team working on the graphic design, I found myself saying, “I did not go to art school to become an account executive.”

That is when I decided to make a plan for size, and that plan needed to allow me to spend most of my time designing. I also like working with my clients, so I needed to come up with a smart plan that would allow me to be a graphic designer and chat with clients.

Most businesses growth plan involves size. But I knew I wanted to grow based on the type of work, which did not necessarily mean size. After many frustrating hours writing ideas, I came across Paul Jarvis, who wrote the book “Company of One.” His website has some links that can be helpful to watch https://pjrvs.com/about. What I learned was I needed to figure out what I wanted my work life to include and not include.

Another great book to read is Find Your Why by Simon Sinek, and I highly recommend watching his TED Talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0HIF3SfI4 plus, check out his website at https://simonsinek.com/ where you can find all sorts of goodies for finding your why. It was hours of work, but I wrote out a plan for growth as I wanted it, and it meant more hours designing and helping clients.

That is what you want to do, plan for what you want your career, business, work-life to look like, not what the business books tell you.

What we learned is that our clients benefitted by talking directly to who was designing their projects. It allowed a senior level designer to work on their business brand, and that meant a consistent look to all materials created. It also allowed for a quicker turn-around of items that needed immediate attention.

What it meant for us is we could focus on the type of clients we wanted to work with and the type of projects we wanted to create. We have not had to turn down any work that was too big because we now have a fantastic group of talented partners that comes together when needed.