Start Your Own Studio

The idea of setting up independently goes through many a young creative mind but, for the majority, know-how is scarce, the starting point erratic and the task, therefore, discouragingly daunting. But there's nothing to convince you of your own studio's potential more than the first-hand accounts of the people who've been there, won the awards and designed the T-shirts. Here, 10 such creative experts offer their advice for a strong start-up!

01: Draw up your mission statement
Paula Benson,
"Have a mission and be really clear what that is right from the beginning. Design is rarely a nine-to-five job, so understand what your mission is before you get into it. If you're going to do those long hours and put your heart and soul into it, you need to have a clear mission and clear vision about where you want to go."

02: Keep an eye on costs
Geoff Devereux,
Delete London
"Keep your costs low, double check and third and fourth check that what you're about to spend is absolutely necessary. Is it going to result in further income? Is it going to save you cost? I don't think anything could actually prepare you for how low-fiyou've got to go and how you need to just cobble together what you've got."

03: Hold your ego back
Jonathon Cooke,
Village Green
"Don't let your ego get in the way. Understand what you can and can't do. If there are things you can't do, don't feel bad about it - find someone who can do them. Play to your strengths. I think that's the best thing you can do."

04: Hunt business out
Laura Jordan-Bambach,
She Says
"If I found a website I thought was rubbish, I'd ring and say, 'I think your website is rubbish, can I do something? You don't have to pay me a lot - what if we swap it...' Think about bartering, just get work under your belt."

05: Be prepared to work hard
Sofia Lace,
Enjoy This
"It's a lot of hours. Two weeks ago we were working about 12 hours a day, all of us, and we were working weekends. Sometimes we work normal hours, but most of the time we work late, and we work weekends. We knew it would be like that. We enjoy it."

06: Get your skills covered
Mickey Stretton,
"Make sure you have all the right skills covered in your organisation when you start. If you are three designers, who will do the project management? Who will look after invoicing and the business aspects? You should know this before you start - it could be more difficult once you're up and running."

07: Take it in your stride
Damon Mangos,
Delete London
"You don't need to do it all at once. Business is a journey, and you'll find that there are resources on the way and you can build the ship as you go. As long as you've got the key bits in place and the talent and the drive, you should be alright."

08: Don't give up
Bryan Edmondson,
"You're going to get knock-backs, so don't give up. I think that's fundamental. We had so many missed jobs, pitches, jobs that we didn't get that you feel you should have. It's so disheartening, especially when you need, as well as want, the work. But never give up."

09: Make realistic promises
Rob Corradi,
"Never over-promise. Over-promising is eventually going to make your life harder. If you under-promise and over-deliver, it's up to you whether you work that late night to do that and pleasantly surprise the client. On the flipside, don't over-deliver too often, because then you set expectations that you will do that amount of work all the time."

10: Put everything in writing
Simon Halberstam,
Sprecher Grier Halberstam LLP
"Make sure you have the right agreements between you and your partners or co-directors, so you regulate anything that may happen during the life of the business [and] avoid falling out later through dispute because things haven't been regulated and people are seeing things from different points of view."

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