Sep 6, 2013

7 Steps to Successful Studio Start


How many steps does it take to successfully start a studio? There is no magic formula, but the journey to starting our studio in Florence, Italy certainly involved hundreds of steps, literally and figuratively speaking! Keep reading for the story of how we started our studio in Italy with steps we took to make it happen.

How about a custom map to record your memorable moment?

1. Have a Clear Vision
Once upon a time, on a dark and stormy Florence night, two graphic designers huddled beneath the steps of San Miniato and looked through the rain to a clear sight: starting a business together. We both shared an ambition for entrepreneurship coming from professional and academic worlds where we held freelance and leadership positions. As the thunder roared overhead we did not know the details ahead of us, but our shared vision was clear.

Are you ready to be independent, to run your own business? Take this question seriously, look around for advice, and know what this will entail. Here are two great resources to help you: The $100 Start-Up: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living and Creative Inc. The Ultimate Guide to Running A Successful Freelance Business.


2. Start Planning
We forged our way forward over cappuccinos, espressos, and wine, quickly adopting the motto Failing to plan is planning your failure. While we saw many great sights in Italy, a lot of our time was spent in Renaissance-era buildings researching the foundations of our studio. Take advantage of the awesome resources out there, sometimes just a quick Google search away.

From top left: Stairs up to Piazza Michelangelo, stairs in Boboli Gardens, stairs to San Miniato, Duomo stairs.
3. Step Up Goal Making
Starting a studio can quickly become overwhelming, so why don't you start with one step at a time? Make goals for each month, each week, and each day. There are sophisticated ways to stay organized but we found the simple pen and board list-making technique tromps any gadget. We often casually discussed goals while roaming around Florence (see the favorite places here), always with a sketch book in hand to jot down ideas.

4. Celebrate the Journey
Make sure to take a break from all your planning to celebrate simple moments. Mark an official "Studio Start" date and invite your friends for a celebration! Even if you don't have an office yet, stay focused on what you do have and make it fun. Keeping your mood elevated is crucial.

What better place to start a journey than overlooking the birthplace of the Renaissance?







5. Know When to Say No, When to Say Yes!
Your mentors are important, yet ultimately you know what is best for you, so take all advice with a grain of salt. Always jump beyond your comfort zone without losing sight of your limits. If you make a clear back-up plan from the beginning you will know how to make important decisions.

For us, starting a business as a romantic couple may have gone against starchy business advice, but that story is for a future post. We said no to this advice and instead took 463 steps to say yes to our future!

Love is serious business, especially on top of the Duomo!

6. Don't Fail to Fail
This is great advice from Google. You may find a previous mistake leading you to new great heights, so don't be afraid to take risks. If you need more persuasion to take risks, we invite you to check out this great blog about risk-taking: Advanced Riskology. When all else fails, you should have a Plan B nestled firmly in your comfort zone to fall back on.

7. Stay Connected
Staying connected across continents in this small world is important for starting your studio, unless you deal 100% locally. Our first clients were not even in the same continent as us, but we connected with them through friends. Keep your relationships healthy, and most of all, stay connected to your dream.

Greetings from Andres and Karla, storytelling designers!
























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