The Designer As Entrepreneur

The Designer As Entrepreneur
Jose and Chris talk about what it takes to be a designer and an entrepreneur. They share what motivated them to become entrepreneurs and the challenges that creatives have in making this transition.


3:03 Making the decision between staying at your current job, or going the entrepreneur route
5:19 What do you have of value to exchange that’s not your own time and can be easily replicable?
7:03 Realize where you are placed in the value chain and operate differently to move up
8:40 Reasons Why Designers are uncomfortable with being collaborative and entrepreneurial
12:37 Learn the Creative, Technical, Product & Marketing sides of your business in order to be successful
15:30 How being an Art Director is similar to being an entrepreneur
19:20 Learning the skill of how to advocate/close deals for yourself.
21:56 Weigh The risk versus the potential rewards: What’s the Worse that can happen?
23:14 Why “The Skool” was created

Book Drop:

The Four Hour Workweek – Timothy Ferris

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30 thoughts on “The Designer As Entrepreneur

  • January 26, 2017 at 12:46 am

    to answer jose’s question at 18:24…. the biggest fear that holds me back from being an entrepreneur and doing my own gig full time is the stability in the early stages. I have a family that i want to feel comfortable knowing that money will be there month after month…and i can’t give them that comfort not knowing myself if i’m gonna land that next client or if i’m even going to find that next client ya know?

  • January 31, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Generally I believe that, the more people that are brought up to believe they can do “anything” they choose, it will result in more entrepreneurs and faster evolutionary steps in the human time period

  • February 6, 2017 at 3:53 am

    Any tips if you want to get into creative writing?

  • February 6, 2017 at 4:00 am

    To answer the question at 18:24, my case is very similar to Aaron Robertson’s, plus the fear of screwing things up or getting screwed because of the lack of “business” experience.

  • February 8, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    this is a great topic! I think this is the future that designers should think about. I don’t have a background in art but I do have in business. part of me use to regret not having a chance to get into an art school but since I started a part time 3D animation course, I realised that I don’t want to be spending all day in front of a computer for someone else. and at times I do realise that my background in business gave me a perspective which can work as a competitive edge in this current landscape.

  • February 13, 2017 at 8:27 am

    +The Futur 10:33 – 11:00 So funny! You (Chris Do) just found this secret student yesterday, and I decided to watch this video today. A global revolution indeed!

  • February 19, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Hi Jose and Chris. This is my first comment. Love how you guys encourage us to engage.

    I’m watching all your videos because I want to get into design. I went to business school and majored in advertising where we learned a bit of how things worked but we are not equipped with design skills. I’m a huge introvert and I’m interested in the creative side of the industry, but ad agencies hire literature/English graduates in copy and art school graduates in art, and people like me are seen as more fit to doing the accounts.

    I graduated a few months back and still have no idea what to do right now, so I’m learning about the trends in the industry first before I choose which skills I will learn. Right now I think I want to do graphic design and copywriting (communication design?), and I hear about UI/UX a lot which sounds exciting but scary for non-coders. So mostly the fear comes from a lack of the skills required. In an apprenticeship setup, I assume that you’ll learn more about the business from your mentor, while the design skills are expected. Is this the case?

    Is there a better way to go about this?

  • February 26, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Hey, guys! Thanks for the tips! I am really shy and don’t normally comment on videos, but I do agree it’s a comfort zone. I’m graduating from Full Sail University soon with my DAD BS and it’s really allowed me to explore all my options, but I love digital storytelling the most. I I want to start uploading videos on my channel and let people get to know me better, but right now I am just trying to define myself with a brand. I don’t really want to use my name as my brand, but I’m still hoping I can entertain people with my own content.

  • March 1, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    On a positive note, I’ve started teaching to make use of my studio space. I have no idea how that’s gonna go.

  • March 9, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    I just recently found The Futur, and I can’t stop binge watching. These videos are amazing and very useful for a hopeful Graphic Designer. I am pursuing my degree at the moment and plan to use all the information and advice in my own career. If you have the time, would you be able to point me in the right direction? In 2017, what skills should I be teaching myself during my first two years of my undergraduate career to be successful, as a designer or art director, in this age of technology? E.g. Should I be more proficient in coding, or are there other skills more important to have in your arsenal?

  • March 16, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Holding me back:

    Why I do it:
    Because I can.

  • March 26, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    I think it’s going to work. The process of packaging of what Jose know. I would pay if it’s within our operations cost.

  • April 12, 2017 at 4:34 am

    My fear is my lack of experiences. Being unable to talk to people or to deliver, I think, is worse than the financial risk. That’s the reputation risk. I hope to learn alot from a big corp where I am going to work for while improving on my communicating skills. I guess I want to see if I can prove myself working efficiently for someone before I can handle the responsibilities to be an entrepreneur.

  • May 2, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    I work in a different industry but I think that if you are working in company branding then they will be more impressed with you and want to work with you if you are able to sell yourself effectively. After all, they want you to sell their brand so they will be looking for those skills in you.

  • May 19, 2017 at 2:51 am

    Every time I watch this channel The content in this videos they are like made yesterday bt when I check the time stamp I m always shocked. I love the show I m still in school and I m going to put it into action soon when I graduate.
    Thank you very Much god bless U nd gv U strngth.

  • May 21, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    LOVE THIS!! So relevant!!!!! keep it up 🙂 thanks for being genuine both of you , wow!

  • May 21, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Honestly , its fear of success – that you actually might make it …. and then what ? you’re under pressure to keep it up with the bar that high. Just my thoughts you let me know bro !

  • May 30, 2017 at 8:04 am

    I think the fear for me is Not knowing. The idea of starting out and learning as I go doesn’t sound Ideal (like I don’t want to feel cheated, undervalued, I want to know what I am into and what I can provide. Which I am really happy for. Every time I go online and I look for communities like you, who motivates and share the kind of entrepreneur spirit, the uncomfortable) neither to say that as I go I will not learn as I go because there will be new challenges and setbacks I will meet. That being said it’s also the thought of investing in time and building up a kind of foundation(skills, confidence, communication, business aspect etcs) before I go out and start something. Calculated risks… Once again, always thankful for the great contents you guys put out! 😀

  • May 31, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    The thing that held me back was my career choice as a designer. Meaning – as a designer, I have a failsafe, the client signs off the project or design. Starting a business has risks there is no failsafe if you are your own client.

  • May 31, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Chris, GREAT conversation! i know i’m late on this video.. by… uh… 3 years, lol. Actually after discovering your channel, i’m making an effort to watch all your videos from episode 0. Thanks again for doing these! super valuable.

  • June 1, 2017 at 3:23 am

    Agreed 100%.

    A lot of artists or creative people seem to become dependent on being hired for a job as opposed to becoming a business, and yes it seems to be an issue that starts in school. But beyond that it’s a socialistic issue. The mindset that “I need a great job” and not “I need to start a great business” is the go-to ideal. I’ve heard it said that desperation creates great motivation so maybe, unlike years ago, there’s not much desperation but rather a lot of complacency.

    As an example, if say 5000 people graduate and 100 of them gets jobs the rest have no idea what to do until they get a job. I think business education should be a counterpart to all disciplines. You can’t necessarily teach someone to become an entrepreneur, but you can teach them about business, it may aid in the motivation to create their own business in spite of their skill set.

    Entrepreneurs are not necessarily driven by money which is why I think so many are successful. They are driven by the idea and the potential reward which is greater than the risk for them. Many don’t actually realize how much money they make until they stop and take a breath.

    Personally I often tell people I’m driven by fear, not because I’m afraid necessarily, but because by acknowledging its existence and its risk, I am by default motivated to challenge myself. Good design or any good creative is achieved by contrast. I used that to arrive at a point years ago that failing is not the issue, it is consequence that people fear, but without fear we have no curiosity or caution. We need to accept that fear is a part of the whole process and choose not to give it power.

    Business is tedious. It’s mostly record keeping so it can become quite mundane but it is a good thing to be knowledgeable in. Information is power as they say and having this information helps you to be confident in billing jobs, equating value to clients and even simply being able to communicate effectively with clients.

    The business side of design is why your shows are so great, you speak both on creative processes as well as business. We don’t live on a plethora of thank you bits after all…

    PS: I have OCD, but I don’t think it’s because I’m a creative person. The misconception is that OCD is simply liking balance or visual perception lol. My OCD affects me in a number of ways but in business I’m affected by numbers. Who knew…the rest of my life is plagued by doing specific actions 3 times lol.

    Cheers, good show as always!

  • June 1, 2017 at 3:29 am

    I know I’m 3 years late lol…I found all your content this year.

  • June 15, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Your analogy was basically the plot of MOANA, just a couple years early! haa

  • June 21, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    The fear of not being good enough, the temptation to go back to the comfortable sometimes wins out.

  • June 23, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    The biggest fear I have is, I don’t know what it is…..I’m not even concerned about money, I’ve saved up so much money just so I can get time off and start something on my own, maybe my fear is that I don’t know if my idea will work? or maybe if I fail I wont be able to find another job? (this feeling is really weird coz I know I can find another job..) so I guess my biggest fear is not doing what most other ppl are doing? like sitting at a desk at a job all day and just be satisfied with it?

  • June 26, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    The only thing that held me back was the lack of knowledge, I got out from a design school without teaching us the “afterschol”. I had to search for myself before being an entrepreneur

  • July 5, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    I’m 50 and have just made this decision. My runway is eight months, I already have a great customer and hope that my current employer will become great customer number two. But if not, we have the savings that will give me more than enough time to add other clients. Thanks for the video!

  • September 15, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Man Chris,
    I am so glad I found you. We have a very similar mindset with regard to being business men who are creative. I do quite a few jobs that may seem on the low-end, but I have a couple amazing remote designers who I have produce the assets for me. I work on the jobs I like and I am able to make a profit on jobs I don’t do WHILE providing amazing value to my client.

    My goal is to always make sure my client loves the end result!

    Appreciate the videos my man!!

  • September 15, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    I have to say, I like to design, I want to great a world class design team/studio BUT I also do it for the $$. Maybe that makes me bad, but I want to provide as much value as I can, but I also want to be compensated for what I do.

    I look for ways to monetize my skills and abilities and I don’t feel bad about that.

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