Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in design services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chelsie Tamms, Owner of Lettering Works, LLC., located in Chicago, IL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Lettering Works is a design studio that offers strategic visual branding for creatives and passionate small business owners, vibrant art products for museums, cultural institutions, and independent retailers, and educational resources for artists looking to turn their passions into sustainable careers.

Tell us about yourself

I bypassed the corporate world after college and jumped right into starting my own business after winning $10,000 in startup funding from a student entrepreneurship competition at Bradley University. I stood out among the participants because I was going to execute my business idea regardless of winning. I'd always wanted to run my own design studio, but I envisioned it would be later in life after years of experience working in advertising. This path was expedited because of my clear vision and goals for myself. I gained experience in advertising as an intern over four years throughout college and committed to turning my greatest passion into my full-time gig in 2016.

I'm not only motivated by the creative work I am able to do but also by the incredible people and causes I am able to support. On a personal level, I work for myself to create a lifestyle that supports me and the challenges that come with having a chronic illness. I had an 11.5-hour corrective spinal fusion surgery at age 14 that really pushed me deeper into my love of art and design. To this day, this motivates me to share my journey in business and art in hopes that I can inspire and empower others to both follow their passions and do what works for them personally.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Selling my art products at the Field Museum because it was the culmination of years of community-centric work on a smaller scale in Peoria and creating artwork that aims to inspire and connect people.

Also, just getting to do what I love as a career feels like a pretty big accomplishment. From creating new product designs to helping build other businesses to pitching my business to some pretty impressive companies, I am so grateful for all the opportunities my business has afforded me.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner is navigating all of the suggestions and feedback that may not align with your own vision or goals. This can be a lot to carry as you work towards building a sustainable business that truly supports you. One of the most beautiful things about being a business owner is the control you have over how you handle things and the options and opportunities that are before you.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Work with people you like. Know that you cannot be everything to everyone.
  2. Recognize that your time has value. Know your worth (and add tax).
  3. Unlock the power of passion projects by investing in yourself and your ideas. The money will follow.

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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