I began my business as a freelance graphic designer in 2000, operating part time while working full time and pursuing my master’s degree. I did no marketing or advertising, and all my clients came through word-of-mouth recommendations. I took a break in 2008 in order to complete my degree. When I decided to leave the corporate world, I revived the business in 2012.
Business Topics - Graphic Design, Print Media, Marketing & Branding Support
Entrepreneur Type - DBA / Sole Proprietor
Business Stage - In third year of operating full time
I started working with SCORE before I left my corporate job so I would have all the pieces in place to operate my business full time when I resigned. SCORE helped me fill in the gaps between operating as a freelancer to a sole proprietor. They assisted me with market research to understand my competition, how to set my prices, and which services to focus on first. They helped me in many additional areas: budgeting, elevator pitch, website review, client forms, and brochure and newsletter feedback, among others.
From year one to year two, I doubled my sales revenues, and the business is operating in the black, no losses to report at tax time.
"Kim started with us as a client and moved to being a mentor and a client at the same time, she continues as a client and mentor"
My biggest success to date is operating my business with no reported losses for the first two years. While profits are minimal so far, sales doubled in my second year. My client base has grown to include businesses across the country, as well as the UK and Australia. My professional network has opened doors around the community, and my volunteer participation resulted in the 2015 Best in Class Builder Award from the Southern Tier Meet-up Group. I believe my dedication, enthusiasm and experience are the reasons I was recruited to become a SCORE mentor in 2014. I feel it’s important to give back to the organization that continues to assist me as I grow my business for the future.
I had two SCORE mentors that I met with regularly. Mike’s enthusiasm and energy for my ideas and progress were a key factor for my monthly return visits. He was always excited to see how I was doing, what new information I had uncovered, and his review of my financial picture was invaluable. Bill’s experience and advice kept me grounded and realistic. A main feature of Bill’s mentoring was challenging my ideas, encouraging me to evaluate everything, and consider different perspectives. We didn’t always agree, but that’s OK because I learned something from each exchange.