Build your design business by supplementing your design skills

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It’s pretty hard to be amazing at everything. Am I right?

Granted, there are a few designers out there who are amazing at Print design, branding, print marketing, HTML, CSS, Web programming (PHP etc.), Javascript, and anything else you throw their way. A “Jack of all Trades” you might call them. But most of us are not so fantastic. It’s more common to find a designer who is phenomenal at illustration but can’t code a web site to save his life or a designer who can make the most gorgeous jQuery web site but can’t even draw nice stick figures. So what’s a designer to do in a situation like this?

Read on, my friend.

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If you want to take full advantage of the skills you have, but find that your clients are looking for that perfect “Jack of all trades”, you’ll find the solution below:

Identify your strengths

The first step in really taking advantage of what I am suggesting today is to identify your strengths. Perhaps you are a great with Photoshop. Perhaps you design logos like Paul Rand. Whatever your most powerful skill is, identify it and get ready because you’re about to capitalize on it!

Find a supplementary partner

Next, you need to identify your weaknesses-most importantly the skills that are constantly costing you clients. You know what I’m talking about: the skills that you wish you had because your clients are always asking “Do you do __________?”.

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As soon as you identify what the missing piece of your skillset is, start searching for a partner who can supplement the skills you lack. For example, if you are an excellent back-end developer, find someone who rocks at HTML and CSS. If you are a phenomenal illustrator, find someone you is equally phenomenal at layout design.

You get my drift.

Work together and build each other

Once you have found a supplementary partner, figure out the best way to work together. I’m not saying you have to start a business together or establish a long-term relationship with them. Just come to terms on how you will help each other be more successful. Offer to help them with their weaknesses in return for their help with yours.

And there’s nothing that says you have to limit your partnership to two people. If you can find a great network of designers, programmers, illustrators, copywriters, etc., you’ll be more prepared to help your clients be successful.

Revel in your successes

I’m confident that, if you give this theory a try, you will be more successful as you move your design business forward. I’m interested to hear what you have to say on the subject and what suggestions, success stories, questions, or experiences you have to share.

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About Preston D Lee

Preston is an entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, and the founder of this blog. You can contact him via twitter at @prestondlee.

Leave a Comment



  1. Great read. I think people with certain skills are more prone to being a jack of many trades. I have an inherent illustration skill and that leads me to more easily create print layouts and design websites (in my opinion.)

    For the other areas that don’t necessarily coincide with design, I work hard to learn those too. So, in this manner, you can work to become more rounded and valuable in your projects too!


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Preston D Lee and others. Preston D Lee said: NEW at Millo: Build your design business by supplementing your design skills […]

  2. […] Build Your Design Business You can’t do it all yourself; this is a lesson that all freelancers and/or graphic design business owners need to learn. This article is a quick-read on how to strengthen your business by learning this lesson and applying it. […]

  3. […] Build your design business by supplementing your design skills […]


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