Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nate Kadlac, Founder of Approachable Design, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Approachable Design creates digital products and live workshops to teach entrepreneurs and creators how to differentiate themselves and their brands by making better design decisions.
Tell us about yourself
I am a former creative director who wondered what my next thing would be after our company was acquired. I took David Perell's Write of Passage course in 2020. I found myself speaking with a slew of people who knew design could be a superpower but didn't know how to build experiences they were proud of.
We all make tiny design decisions every day that gets us stuck. What font should you use for a particular slide deck, or what colors should you use for your website? Many people opt for a minimalist look because it's the least offensive choice. So after dozens of conversations, I wanted to help people make timeless design decisions. Options that only wanted to make you redesign your entire site in six months.
I designed a two-day curriculum that personalized the process, making it unique to each individual. Since that moment, I've been building other small products to make it more accessible and easy for anyone to become a better designer. My goal is to make the world more inspired and creative by embracing our creative curiosity and fighting the idea that minimalism is what we should aim for.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Outside of launching my 7th live cohort in a couple of weeks, my most significant achievement has been tasting the idea that there's a non-traditional path forward in doing something I love. I wouldn't trade that feeling for anything. I only want more of it.
That, and consistently writing my newsletter every week for over two years, has been rewarding in bringing in new students and growing an audience.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Navigating a path to sustainable income. Starting, you're not sure what will resonate or work, so I have taken freelance projects to pay the bills on the side. I'm also married with a daughter, so keeping the lights on is a bit more critical. This has slowed down the process, but I'm more determined to make it work.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Look at what you're great at. Everyone has spent some time developing a skill that others could find helpful. Write out 5–15 skills and pick one or two from that list. You don't have to love it at this point. You're just being curious.
- Take that skill and offer your help to 5–10 people at no charge. Spend 30–60 minutes just listening and answering questions. You're going to learn what people need for free. It's a win-win. It's okay to ask friends, but I'd try to help strangers by posting on Twitter or elsewhere. Just create a Calendly event and let people sign up.
- Hone in on the top 3–5 questions people asked the most, and think about a service you can offer to help them. If you have a clue what that might be, create a new calendar event and charge a small fee to advise the following five people. I set $50 to five people and learned even more since they validated the idea by paying. This will give you enough confidence to listen to your gut and decide whether or not to make it into something. Products and business ideas can come from anywhere, but this has been proven to accelerate that.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.