Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in graphic design but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Miguel Carvalho, Founder of Miguel Graphic Design, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a graphic designer freelancer that does brand identity, logos, client consultations, website design, and website building. I have customers from around the world on a really broad aspect of businesses, from online services to clothing brands and many others.
Tell us about yourself
When I moved to grade 10 in school (in Portugal), I knew I wanted to do something connected to computers, but I missed the deadline to apply for a professional computer programming course. The only class that would make me able to work from a computer was graphic design. I did not understand the subject well, and at the beginning, I didn't like it. Soon after, a spot opened in the other class for a computer program, and I told my teacher that I was thinking of dropping off to move to the program. She said that she wasn't allowing the move because I was the best student she had in years, and she could see a bright future for me on the field. That stuck with me, and eventually, I started to do a few gigs here and there until I decided to start freelance, which made me able to meet customers from around the world and make their vision a reality. My motivation is a little of everything. When I am designing, I am not stuck to other people's visions; instead, I am able to show what is truly going on in my brain, and I make those ideas come to life and meet my customer's criteria. Another big motivation is the fact that I am able to see my work being displayed and spread around the world. That, for sure, is a part of me.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment was being able to expand my business overseas and make my work accessible and visible from any part of the world.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest thing for me is to say no. I try to satisfy every one of my customers, even if that means that I am doing something that prejudices me. One example of this is when a customer has an idea for a webpage design for example, but then they change their minds after I lost hours making their vision come to life; I will make those changes mostly for free because that is who I am. I know I need to make some tough choices sometimes, but I really want to please everyone, and that makes it hard for me.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
My top 3 tips would be: study! I am not talking about school, but if you can, follow that as a career and take as many courses as possible, so you will be one step ahead. When I say study, it is mostly trying to find work that other well-successful professionals made and trying to see how and where that work got implemented.
Don't be afraid to fail. I know this sounds cliché, but it is true! If you fail, it means you have tried, and failing is a step toward becoming better. No person had ever made anything perfect. Even Steve Jobs had a few failures, so much so that he got fired from Apple, the company he founded. Failure is a step forward to success.
The third tip is your family and friends are your best help. I know it is boring when family and friends ask you to do something, like a business card, a website, or even an event card, but these things can reach potential other customers, and to be honest, there is nothing better than a free advertisement.
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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