We had the good fortune of connecting with Kevin Craft and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kevin, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
To be honest, for the longest time, I didn’t even see it as an option for me. Being a full time art director for so long, I had picked up the occasional freelance project here and there, something to do for extra money on the weekends, but never enough to make a living off of. What I did know was I wasn’t being challenged enough, or creatively fulfilled doing what I was doing. I had two options, find a new agency or do what scared me the most, and go off on my own. I was actually at a friend’s wedding when I decided to finally take the plunge.

A lot of people I knew from my art school days were also there (it was my college room mate’s ceremony). They were all in the same boat as me at some point, and had decided to finally take matters into their own hands and work for themselves. All the sudden, starting my own business didn’t sound so crazy after all.

On the plane ride back, I spent quite a bit of time coming up with a “cool” name for my brand (some seems so embarrassing now), but ultimately decided to just use my name.

My last name is Craft, so definitely applies to what I do. It also made more sense to be personable, since my clients are small business owners looking for work with a designer for the first time. I spent the next few months coming up with a business strategy for myself. Who I would market myself to, how much I would charge, and I set up a new website that was more catered towards the kind of work I wanted to be doing.

I wanted to be smart about it and not jump right into my business. I made sure I had at least six months worth of salary saved up in case it didn’t work out, (trust me I had doubts). I looked into how I would get health insurance, and handle other expenses. I even talked to my current agency about taking on retainer work for a few months in the summer to help with replacing me. They were very supportive about it, and happy that I could help. I made sure to go above and beyond for the clients I did have, and reached out within my network to let anyone I had worked with in the past know that I was freelancing.

Another thing I think that I saw a big difference in was putting myself out there. The thing about starting a business, you have to commit. When I was working full time, I didn’t have the time or ability to put myself out there 24/7. I was posting on social media (instagram, dribbble, behance, linkedin) maybe once month if that, and not doing any networking of any kind (I’m a natural introvert so sometimes that’s hard for me). Once I started posting more, and meeting new people at creative gatherings, I saw a big increase in clients contacting me.

Fast forward to now, two years later, I love working for myself and the people I’ve met doing this. It can be hard at times, but nothing beats the unique feeling of accomplishment you get from building your own business from the ground up. I feel very comfortable in the work I do, and taking on new clients each month. It’s opened up so many opportunities, and amazing projects I don’t think I would ever have worked on if I was working full time for someone else.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In my career I’ve worked with all kinds of companies, providing bold designs that have meaning and serve a purpose. I traded conference rooms for coffee shops because I believe a personal approach is vital to a tailor made design. Being nimble and thoughtful has always, separated me from the big guys. I like to think I’m like a design wolf, swift, focused, and a great listener. With me you’re never just another client on the roster, we’re partners in design.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Let’s just get an iced latte and sit outside at Magnolias Sous Le Pont

Alright, so let’s jump right in! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there a person, group, organization, book, etc. that you want to dedicate your shoutout to? Who else deserves a little credit and recognition in your story?
Here are some books that really helped me get my design business in order:
The Psychology of Graphic Design Pricing: Price creative work with confidence. Win more bids. Make more money. by Michael Janda, his podcast is also really great.

Draplin Design Co.: Pretty Much Everything by Aaron James Draplin In Progress: See Inside a Lettering Artist’s Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector (Hand Lettering Books, Learn to Draw Books, Calligraphy Workbook for Beginners) by Jessica Hische

Website: https://kevincraft.co/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kevincraftco/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevin-craft-1590341b/
Other: Dribbble: https://dribbble.com/kevVader

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.