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Design Business | Get Your Questions Answered!

Hey Go Media faithful! I am just now one month into writing my book! If you’re unfamiliar with it, I’m writing a book about how to build a design firm. It’s basically my life story up to this point. I’d say it’s half autobiography and half how-to. Rest assured that the autobiographical part of the book focuses on life stories that pertain to building my design business. Specifically, I tell lots of stories about how I’ve failed – miserably. Hopefully these stories will be both entertaining as well as informative. Even if you’re just working as a freelance designer and have no intention of building yourself into a firm, this book will be chalk-full of design business insights and life lessons.

Which brings me to the point of this blog post. I would like to answer all your legal and accounting questions in this book. I am currently scheduling time with Go Media’s accountants and lawyers. But, I don’t know what nagging questions are keeping you up at night! So, if you wouldn’t mind sharing your burning questions with me, I’ll get you professional answers! You can either add your questions as comments below this post, or e-mail me directly at: wbeachy@gomedia.us. If you’re going to e-mail me your questions, please make the subject: “Burning Questions.”

About the Author, William Beachy

I grew up in Cleveland Hts. Ohio and was drawing constantly. As a child I took art classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art and eventually became known as the "class artist." I graduated from The Ohio State University's department of Industrial Design. I have always tried to blend my passion for illustration with Graphic Design. Go Media was the culmination of my interests for both business and art. I'm trying to build a company that is equally considerate of our designers AND our clients.
Discover More by William Beachy

Discussion

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  • Anonymous

    Looking forward to it, I’m looking to work for myself in the near future.

  • http://twitter.com/belle_tragedie Steve Bond

    Book sounds cool!
    Not sure if this is the right kind of question but I’m always wondering about the legality of using song lyrics in artwork? I know you can’t copyright words but, say if you use a whole verse in a piece of artwork in a unique typographical way can this be seen as using someone elses work? Kind of cashing in on someone elses success? Or is it ok to use the lyrics if they are used as part of an artwork in an original way? Hope that makes sense!

  • William_Beachy

    Hey Steve, Great question.  I will ask our lawyer. But I think I know the answer. It boils down to this…   if the band can make a convincing argument in court that your customers are buying that artwork because they like their band – then the band can demand compensation. Basically, you’re not allowed to profit off of them. 

    So, let’s say you made your design, added some Mastodon lyrics and then and went and sold your shirts outside of a mastodon concert. You’d be totally busted. 

    Even if you made a shirt design with mastodon lyrics and sold it at Hot Topic – you would probably get busted. Most of their customers are buying shirts because they like the bands. And it’s likely many customers would assume your shirt IS a Mastodon band t-shirt. 

    If you use very few lyrics and don’t sell your art in any way associated with the band it gets a bit murkier. 

    I’ll ask the lawyer.

  • William_Beachy

    Of course, this isn’t to say that you couldn’t get away with it! It just means it’s illegal. ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mariah-Bargman/37612463 Mariah Bargman

    How did you finance your business starting out? Did you work job to job until you had a little in the bank or did you take out a loan to get started?
    I am currently starting my own design business and am struggling with this issue. I work full-time at a law firm to pay my monthly bills and have started building up a savings from my design work. I have obtained an assumed name, got a Tax ID number and have done all the legal stuff needed to be a real company. Now I struggle with the part of do I keep working two jobs until I become so busy with my design work and build up enough clientele that I can quit my day job or do I borrow some money (which I’m not too fond of in this economy) to jump off?

    • http://lucaslshaffer.com Lucas Shaffer

      Great question Mariah…  .

      A good follow up is how do you hire and retain veteran talent on thin or no budgets at all?

      I’m 18 months into a IT design/development agency with 4 employees but I struggle with competitive salaries and benefit packages of other companies that are larger.

      I haven’t borrowed money yet but I would like to know how you struggled with talent retention/recruitment in the early stages.

    • http://lucaslshaffer.com Lucas Shaffer

      Great question Mariah…  .

      A good follow up is how do you hire and retain veteran talent on thin or no budgets at all?

      I’m 18 months into a IT design/development agency with 4 employees but I struggle with competitive salaries and benefit packages of other companies that are larger.

      I haven’t borrowed money yet but I would like to know how you struggled with talent retention/recruitment in the early stages.

    • William_Beachy

      Hey Mariah,

      My very short quick answer (much more in the book) is absolutely hang onto that day job as long as possible. Loans create a false sense of success. They’re dangerous. Pour your heart and energy into your design business after your day job. When it’s time to quit – you’ll have NO DOUBTS. If your design business isn’t making it overwhelmingly obvious that you need to quit your day job, then it’s not ready to support you and you need to figure out what’s not working right. 

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