Starting a Design Business in College! Interview w/ Lauren Eskin
Meet Lauren, the founder of Logos by Lauren! Learn about how she started her design company while in college and addressed a problem she could solve for small businesses!
Lauren thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us! To start off...
Tell us about you!
First of all, I’m so excited to be speaking to an audience of girls considering or pursuing paths in entrepreneurship! Starting your own business is such a great way to learn about yourself, meet new connections, and create professional opportunities. I’m a senior at Penn State right now, and I’m actually graduating in a few weeks in May! I’m studying finance and economics, and I’ll be working in management consulting full time beginning in the fall. For about 4 years, I’ve been running my freelance graphic design business, Logos by Lauren.
It's amazing that you're still in college and you've already been in business for almost 4 years! I'm sure young women would love to know...
What first sparked the idea for your business?
Like many business ventures, this began as a hobby for me! I designed tee shirts, birthday cards, and other fun projects for family and friends, and the transition into running a business was very natural. I realized I had a passion for design, I made an effort to constantly learn new things and improve my craft, and eventually began monetizing my services!
That makes perfect sense. Many entrepreneurs take something they love as their first inspiration, but a transition often has to happen.
How did you go from a hobby to a business?
My network grew very organically at first, and I was gaining new clientele through referrals only. What made my business “real” in my eyes was when I began to create an online presence through my website and social media platforms. That’s what took me from “Hey, I’m Lauren and I know how to make a logo,” to, “I help small business owners build their brands through strategic design. Here’s how you can work with me.” Eventually I packaged and priced my services, created an effective workflow, and really started to get my name and my work out there to my audience.
I love that it's something that's been fun for you for so long and it grew into a business. Now that you're an entrepreneur....
What's been the best and most difficult part of running your business?
The best part by far is seeing the impact I’m having on small businesses. They need quality, professional designs that won’t break the bank, and I’m delivering. The most difficult part is that design can be a really crowded space, so I need to make myself stand out among tons of other designers to land the clients I love working with.
The passion and the love for what you do certainly shows through in your work, but sometimes money can be an obstacle for new entrepreneurs.
How did you get the money to get your idea started? Was money a big factor?
Fortunately, there was not a significant investment upfront to get into design, but I definitely believe in spending money to make money in smart and calculated ways. The first tools I used were the Adobe Creative Cloud tools which I had access to for free because I was a student.. But even before I make any financial decision in my business, I consider what the costs are, and if the benefits I expect to come from it will outweigh them. Since I started my business, some of my significant costs have been my website hosting and E-commerce fees, subscriptions to design tools that allow me to do my best work, and paid coaching as I improve my business strategy, skillset, or workflow.
Got it, you started with only what you absolutely needed. Then when you were ready, you used your profit. That's a great way to do it, and with that start, you must have developed your own style. So...
What do you feel makes your business special & how did you acquire these design skills?
There are a few things that I think make Logos by Lauren a really special business. The connections I have with my clients are authentic, and I genuinely want to help them succeed. Most of my clients actually stick with me for years. Rather than just designing branding together and moving on, I become their “go-to” graphic designer as someone who knows their brand, cares about their business, and has the skills to create beautiful work for them.
I also think my design style is completely unique. I don’t have one specific industry I work in, and I don’t have one formula I use to create logos or branding. Working with me means my clients will end up with totally original, strategic, and effective branding that stands out from their competition and works for their business.
Those themes around being unique and differentiating are vital to entrepreneurship, and there's so much more.
What lessons has entrepreneurship taught you?
As a business owner, there’s a lot of pressure to do everything yourself. It took me a while to learn, but one of the best lessons I wish young entrepreneurs would figure out sooner is that the best way to succeed is by surrounding yourself with a strong network. I have people I learn from, people I delegate tasks to, and a network of clients with unique skillsets that I can lean on for support and guidance. The best way to build a network is to come from a place of genuine connection and support. Instead of assuming everyone is your competition, ask yourself how you can help each other succeed.
Networks are huge and I'm so glad you've seen it pay off with your business. Now within the entrepreneurial journey, there good days where you feel on top of the world, but...
What or who keeps you going on the hard days?
Designing branding is such a rewarding business, because I get to see the results of my hard work every day. My clients are out there thriving, and my mark is left on each business I work with. Even on days that I have total creative blocks or no motivation to sit down and get to it, I remember how much my work impacts these small businesses in my network.
Seeing the impact that your work has and being able to provide service that really helps. I love that and think it's so important to highlight that motivation and the love for it is so powerful.
We're coming to the close of our interview and just want to finish with our favorite question...
Why do you believe we need more women starting businesses?
Not only does entrepreneurship teach young women so much about professionalism and responsibility, but the businesses we’re starting can have real impacts. We as women have so many talents, and we too often doubt ourselves or doubt the need for our talents in the world. You have something unique to offer, and someone out there needs your skills or products. Don’t keep them waiting!
What a powerful note to finish things off with! You all can connect with Lauren and her business using the links below. Find her on instagram or at her website, and if you need a logo you've got somewhere to go!
Connect with Logos by Lauren!
Stay happy, healthy, and innovative!