Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in graphic design but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with James Viola, Founder of Damn Good! Brand, located in Cherry Hill, NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My name is James Viola, and I have been designing professionally for over ten years. Throughout my career, I have worked with global brands, solo artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and start-ups of all kinds.
Tell us about yourself
In 2015, I created "Damn Good! Brand, LLC" to be the flagship brand for my work as an entrepreneur. Damn Good! Brand isn't about big-name chasing or winning accolades. It's about partnering with passionate people to create memorable visual identities and experiences that stand out in an increasingly attention-demanding world.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Streamlining the business side of things with various automatic processes gave me the focus I needed to do the best work I could for my clients. Having all my proposals, contracts and invoices templated and automated has been a game changer. It also has options to help me manage my income, pay taxes, hire subcontractors and a whole lot more, so at this point, it's integral to letting me focus on what I do best: design! I use Bonsai for all my automation. I suggest it to everyone who needs help with the business side of freelancing: https://app.hellobonsai.com/invite/c7997439.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Picking the right projects is probably the biggest struggle I'm challenged with. I want to help everyone who comes through the metaphorical door looking for work, but sometimes the budgets or the timelines just aren't there, and I have to pass on a lot of work. I aim to be accessible to everyone, but I'm most drawn to working with passionate entrepreneurs who value the skills I bring to the table, which will ultimately benefit both of our businesses.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure you've got the processes in place that make doing the "boring" stuff easy.
- Keep an organized calendar, but aim to keep it light. If you're a designer like me, then you don't want to be bogged down with meetings that could have been emailed.
- Set reminders for yourself with your phone for everything so nothing falls through the cracks.
- Bonus: Learn how to manage your energy and work when you're most awake, aware, and "on." Shut down when you can and for as long as you need, but be ready to get back to work when your next energy cycle is due to hit.
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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