We had the pleasure of interviewing graphic designer Kaitlyn Horvath! Read her interview below and check out her work here.
Tell us about yourself and your business!
My name is Kaitlyn and I run my own Design Studio! I’m an alumni of the 3 year design program at Macewan University here in Edmonton where I began my journey into Graphic Design. I have been crafting design solutions that elevate and transform brands for 5 years and counting! l’m passionate about getting to the heart of people and their businesses and reflecting it throughout their brand through beautiful design. My expertise include branding, collateral, website design and more.
What inspired you to start your own business?
After University I started freelancing on the side during my full-time job and I really enjoyed the one-on-one relationship I created with my clients. I worked in fashion consulting prior to freelancing and that’s where I learnt about forming these bonds where my clients would come back to me for personable and quality service. I always wanted to be my own boss, I like the independency so I thought to myself “I really have something here – I’m going to give it a shot!” and that leap of faith is where it all got started!
Is this your full time job?
How do you structure your days?
Monday to Friday is when I run my business. I give myself weekends to relax and recharge (my creatives know that downtime is essential.) Daytime I’m designing, communicating with clients and doing admin duties. But let’s be real, I’m not 100% structured with my days. I get these spikes of energy late-night and I’m wide eyed like an owl till 2:00 A.M. updating my portfolio or working on a project that I’m really passionate about!
Where and how do you work best?
I work from home usually. Sometimes I’ll go to a cafe, plug-in my headphones and indulge in gourmet lattes, mmm. But I work best at home! I can blast my music, open the windows, let the sun and breeze in and work from my beautiful desk. I enjoy taking breaks at home – eating snacks and playing with my two kitties.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Not at this moment but I’ve been working on a little something – stay tuned!
Where is your business based?
I’m based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Building my clientele
Refining my business processes – client management, design execution, portfolio, contract, all that good stuff.
Believing in myself and my abilities to make it a full-time career, which took a lot of guts!
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and attracting new customers?
My clients mostly come through word of mouth/referrals or Instagram! So building lasting relationships with my clients that make them want to spread the word about my work is the most effective way I get new clientele.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
I would have to say boundaries. Shout out to all my recovering people pleasers! Don’t get me wrong, I love making my clients happy and going beyond just “good customer service.” But I had to learn to say no to things that weren’t serving me and giving me unneeded stresses.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I now literally have a ‘boundaries’ portion in my Welcome Package for my clients (it’s simple things!) This just keeps our relationship clear and they might not even realize they’re overstepping them.
How do you keep motivated through tough times?
I have a list of things to check off daily so if I’m unmotivated, I have to check myself and just power on. Even if I’m not feeling it, I’m still running a business at the end of the day. That’s why those two days on the weekend are essential for me to recharge and realign myself.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I would have to say my ability to connect on a personal level. I want my clients to get to know not only my work, but myself as a fellow human! Also your portfolio is the utmost importance in my field and I feel my body of work clearly reflects my creativity, professionalism and quality work.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
I’ve been watching a lot of ‘The Futur’ episodes while I work and they are a gold mine for advice! The most impactful one to me recently was Chris Do speaking about consistency in your to-do list and everyday you increase productivity, efficiency and focus. At the end of the month you do a recalibration exercise to review what’s happened in the month – Have we reached our goals? What did we do well? What could we do better?
What do you wish you had known when you started your business?
I can’t think of anything I wish I had known. I started my business first and foremost because of my passion for design and people. Everything that followed I learnt along the way, by trial and error and advice from fellow business owners.
Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?
The OG’s – Massimo Vignelli and Paul Rand. Jessica Walsh and Stefan Sagmeister. I’m also influenced and inspired by fellow designers, creatives and entrepreneurs! I love seeing others work and passions, that fuels my fire to continue my journey and grow to the best I can be.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Do what you’re passionate about! Trust your abilities, follow your heart, push boundaries and never take no for an answer. Learn from your mistakes and use them to improve personally and in your business!
What business tools/resources could you not work without?
Adobe software for everything. Pinterest and Behance for inspiration. My sketchpad and yearly planner. Instagram. Is coffee a tool/resource!?
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
I’ve learnt that self discipline and confidence is so important. You’re the only one who can hold yourself back from opportunities and improvement. Being confident in myself and stepping out of my comfort zone is something I’m still learning everyday!
Where would you like your business to be 5 years from now?
Jeez, I want to grow in every area – clientele, skills, logistics, all of it! A 5 year goal of mine is to host workshops for biz owners to learn about the importance and value of branding and how to implement it within their businesses successfully.