05 November 2010

Taking Care of Business!

So I'm not sure how much I've gone into this, but I'm a graphic designer... and I've recently branched off from the corporate world to start my own business.

I had a completely awesome job in New York designing food packaging— it was so fun! I loved my job and the people I worked with. I was there for about 2 1/2 years, and before that I worked at American Greetings in Ohio, designing greeting cards. I've also done various freelance jobs in between and had lots of internships before I graduated college (seriously, I interned for fun... starting my junior year of high school. I just loved it).

I love graphic design. When I was little, I always used to want to be an "artist." I love that design is art that is paid. I love that it deals with computers & technology, but is so creative. All in all, I love what I do. :-)

As much as I loved my job and working in New York, I left so I could move to North Carolina to be with Joshua when he returned from Afghanistan. I set up an office in the corner of our bedroom, and it's from here that I'm working on starting my own business and branding my company.

It's tough work, let me tell you! I have stacks of business books, dozens of post-its scribbled with notes, and monster to-do lists. This is something that I've been planning to do for over a year, but it's only now becoming a reality. I would love to be able to be successful enough to keep working from my home and to be able to do this when we have children, too. Design pays pretty well, but I hope to stay home with my future kids instead of sending them to daycare!

For the record, what I really love designing is stationery... invitations, cards, announcements, etc. But since I haven't been doing that for long enough yet, my current portfolio mainly features logos, packaging, posters, brochures, magazine spreads, etc.

I guess, in a way, this happened by accident. Ever since I met Joshua (coming up on 3 years ago this January!), I've looked for design jobs here in the Lejeune area. Nothing ever really came up, aside from a few places I sent my resume to and the occasional interview. So that's what I realized— hey, I'm soon to be a military wife and I need a "portable career," so why not work from home as a freelance designer?

Joshua wanted me to be with him and still keep doing what I love, so he was more than on board with the idea. A few months ago, he bought me a beautiful new iMac computer, since my 5 year old Powerbook laptop was slowly on its way out. I was close friends with my boss in New York, and she gave me all the necessary programs I didn't already have. When I left, her and my other teammate's parting gift to me was a brand spanking new Pantone+ swatchbook... any designer's dream.

So I came to North Carolina prepared to work, and that's what I've been doing! I started with my business name... Graphic Grace Design. My middle name is Grace, fyi. Then I bought the .com address. And then...

I finally, finally completed my logo... thanks to my incredible husband-to-be. He has the best input and I value his opinion so much! Especially since I find it terribly hard to design for myself. I'm so overly critical and never satisfied with anything. I go back to it a million times to revise it. So actually completing this was huge! Phew.

After that, I ordered my business cards, and I'm currently working on my in progress website. Web design is definitely not my forté, so I'm taking the time to learn Dreamweaver and design in the process. After all, you can't be a designer and not design your own website! It's just wrong.

I'm working out all the legalities, too. That part is my least favorite. So many lawyer terms and copyright/trademark info and tax business.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to! I'll update again soon when I have the time... I've also been designing our wedding save-the-dates, creating a new wedding website for us, freelancing for my previous job until they fill my position, and getting all sorts of inquiries from newly engaged friends asking me to do their wedding invitations or Christmas cards. So fun!

Those of you who are military spouses or soon-to-be, if you've ever had a dream to start your own business and create your own "portable career"... DO IT! Just jump right in, as scary as it is. It's the only way! 

As always, feel free to email me for advice or design tips if you ever want help!


  1. Congrats on the new website and business! How exciting! The website looks great so far! Proud of you!

  2. Go you! That is so exciting!! Congratulations for stepping out and being independent! Good luck to you!

  3. That is so exciting, congratulations! I would love to start my own business, but not sure in what! I cannot wait to see more of your designs and such (:

  4. I love your logo, very classy. That's awesome that you took that step to start your own business!

  5. Congrats on taking the leap! I hope everything is going well!

  6. that's really awesome... I really don't know what I could do as a portable career. (teaching is somewhat portable..) I've actually always kinda wanted to be an event planner... that would probably travel well :)

  7. Congrats Dani!!! :) what kind of work will you be doing? who will your clients be??? I love talent! :D


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