Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in graphic design but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Leanne Knight, Founder of Authentic Vision Media, located in Waltham, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a graphic designer for thought leaders. I partner with women who are on a mission, sharing their expertise, knowledge, and passion in order to create change in the world. Through graphic design services, I help these women bring clarity and uniqueness to all of their marketing visuals, not only to save them time but to increase their confidence in everything they share so that they can focus on their life-changing work.
Tell us about yourself
I always loved making pretty things for the internet, but it wasn't until the pandemic hit in 2020 that I finally had the chance to make this my full-time work. Having worked in the Live Events industry since I was 16, I had a moment of pause in 2020 to think about what else I could offer the world. In August of that year, I started offering digital marketing services to anyone who would hire me. I joined a mentorship program for social media managers, which led me to niche down to social media management, and then eventually, I niched even further to just graphic design.
I've always had a love for typography and quote graphics, but now I realize they're more than just "pretty things" for the internet. They're life-changing. Quote graphics were the loving guidance I needed when I was struggling in my early 20s and had no one around me to counsel me. I was struggling in my marriage and dealing with some toxic relationships, and I remember finding a quote on Tumblr that said, "Don't let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace." (Dalai Lama) It was exactly what I needed to hear at the time: that others could act how they would and that I could still practice holding my own peace regardless. Over the years, I've saved hundreds of quote graphics from the internet. They were accessible and potent, and they offered perspectives that I wasn't getting from my friends around me.
Therapy, books, and other forms of education can be more personalized and lasting than quotes from the internet, but it all started with having my eyes open to new perspectives. This is why I believe it is so important for thought leaders to share their ideas in an easy-to-digest and shareable way on the internet. I can help them do that. And it's my privilege to have a part in changing our culture through their ideas.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I feel like my business existing at all is my biggest accomplishment. I NEVER thought I was the type to start a business, but when it became clear it was my next step, I took it. As I mentioned earlier, the pandemic put a huge pause on my previous career, working in Live Events, and as I explored new career paths, business ownership was a clear way forward. Every job posting that interested me required experience and education I did not have. If no one else would hire me, I would do it myself.
In my two years of business, I've served over 30 clients and met over 100 other female business owners. I've helped my clients launch programs, and I've shaped how several brands show up on social media. I have made money every single month since I started. And what's more, I feel like I have full agency over my time, the type of work I get to do, and my earning potential. I know that business ownership isn't for everyone, but I encourage everyone to consider the possibilities it can bring.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, the hardest part of being a business owner is that all the work falls on me. My business doesn't run if I don't show up to work. New clients don't appear if I don't go meet people. Money doesn't come in if I'm not making sales, and work doesn't get done if I don't do it. And friends who don't own businesses, and are used to the 9-to-5 life, don't get it. That's ok. I have plenty of business owner friends that do.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- You CAN do this, and you don't have to go it alone. In fact, I'd say it's impossible to go it alone. There are a million people out there waiting to meet you and cheer you on. So take the first step and just do it.
- To expand on my previous point: meet as many people as possible. Be in the habit of showing up to new places and groups. You never know what a new connection could do for you: bring you your next idea, next client, new business bestie, or some other amazing, unimaginable opportunity. Be open to what the universe might bring into your life by giving new things a try.
- You can make money being exactly who you are, doing exactly what you love to do. Don't feel like you need to fit into someone else's box. Spend time discovering what makes you unique and what makes you light up. This is the key to creating a profitable, life-giving business.
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.
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