FITC – Design Business Bootcamp Workshop Quick Recap

As part of our FITC experience we attended the ‘Design Business Bootcamp‘ workshop by Daniel Schutzsmith.

Here’s how FITC described it: A complete guide through the process of starting a design business, setting your rates, getting clients, managing projects, marketing your skills, working with employees, and looking to the future for continual growth. You will learn from hands-on activities, anecdotes and advice from several successful interactive studios, and several worksheets that will allow you to keep using what you’ve learned in the workshop when you get back to your studio!FITC Toronto

The Basics

Here is a quick run down of some key things that were covered throughout the day, that might help some of you out!

Are you a freelancer thinking about starting your own design business?:

Reasons you should NOT start your own business
“I want to be a great designer” – if you want to be a GREAT designer, go somewhere and BE a Great Designer
“I want to be Famous”
“I want to be free to design my way”
“I want to make more money”
“I want to have more security”

Reasons you SHOULD start your own business:
“Your service is needed”
“I like People”
“I am decisive”
“I’m cool under pressure”
“I am a self starter”
“I like to lead”
“I am willing to learn”

Start Up Tips

1. Adequate Training and Experience:
Work for as many other studios as possible.

2. A plan:
A business plan can outline for future as a business.
Write the business plan that fits Your business. Don’t use an ‘out of the box’ plan.

3. Start-up finances:
Have capital to start from, or a few clients “in the bag”
Do NOT use a loan or line of credit to use as payroll.

4. Professional guidance:
Rely on professionals to help make the business decisions: lawyer, accountant, insurer

5. A place to work:
Home, co-working, digital wandering all work these days.

6. Tighten down expenses
Likely things will be tough for the first stretch. Streamline your expenses to maximize push and lift to the creation of the business.

Who do you WANT to work with?

Again as part of the PLAN portion of your start up you should take the time to sit down and write a list of industries you would like to work with (real estate, retail, music etc) and also a list of clients. It’s important to WANT to work for your clients, it will help bring passion to your work.
Here’s a bit of a guideline when making your wish list.

Who is an Ideal Client:
Good fit to your company
They appreciate you
They trust your opinion
You enjoy working with them

What’s YOUR mantra?

As part of the PLAN portion of starting your own business it can be helpful to create a mantra that your business will ‘live by’ (and hopefully not die by)


This is really just a small taste of the buffet of knowledge that was served up during the day long workshop. Thanks to Daniel who put on a very informative, captivating session that surely helped those in attendance that were struggling with how to go about taking the next step in their career.
With the recent announcement of FITC San Fran coming in August 2010 hopefully this workshop will be offered for those who attend!

FITC San Fran