Question: Where is your business located (city & state)? Who are the customers you serve? What products or services does you company provide?
Your Answer: San Antonio, Texas. I would like to cater to small businesses who are also starting out or have been in business for awhile and need marketing materials that I can design and print for them. I would also like to help individuals who just may need some designs for everyday life but who are intimidated by going to a larger graphic design company. I can design anything from business cards to banners and have them printed. I also provide photo retouching and translation services from English to Spanish and vice versa.
Question: When did you start your business? Why did you decide to start your own business?
Your Answer: I actually started my graphic design business in 2012; unbeknownst to me. While attending design school, I interned at a graphic design/print shop and since they liked what I provided to their company they kept me on. There, they wanted me to be an independent contractor which they said it would be really good for me because I would get more on my taxes and of course they wouldn't have to pay employment taxes on me. I didn't know what it was about but because I wanted to work there I agreed.
Tax season came and come to find out that I couldn't deduct a lot of expenses that I had thought and I had a lot to pay back which completely shocked me. Started doing research into what an independent contractor actually is and realized that this turned me into a sole proprietorship--which wasn't really want I wanted. Never really had an inkling to own my own company because I knew that you needed to do a lot of research, involved lots of paperwork, and I wouldn't be able to focus exclusively on my designs.
One of the things I soon realized was that I only had one client, which also surprised me since I would never had thought that the company I worked for was an actual client. So I started the process of becoming a sole proprietorship and started becoming more educated on what it actually takes to own your own company. I learned a lot at the graphic design/print shop and the experience there allowed me to go forward and do things on my own. I was with them for 2 years, but now I am employed by my own company.
Question: Did you quit your "day job" to start your business? How did you initially fund your business?
Your Answer: Quit may not be the right word. The owner of the graphic design/print company and I came to the decision that it would best for me to go on my own. Thankfully, being a graphic designer you do not need a lot of cash to start your business. I was lucky that I had the computer and the software that I needed to get started.
Question: What has been the biggest challenge in running your company?
Your Answer: One of the challenges that I am facing is being the only person in my company. I have to do everything from bookkeeping to marketing to design. I spend most of my time just figuring out how to get my name out there and figuring out ways to attract clients. I am very focused, hardworking, and can provide clear communication and quality products to any clients that come my way.
Question: What’s the best piece of advice you could give to other small business owners?
Your Answer: The best advise that I can provide to anyone thinking about starting their own business is to know as much as you can about the business you are getting into, what it actually takes to run a business, be prepared financially for at least 6 months in case it takes awhile to get your business off the ground and do as much networking as time allows.
I would like to thank Bank of America for providing this networking opportunity for small businesses.