What do you do? 

I provide strategic branding, web design, and print layout for story-driven businesses, organizations, and individuals. I create custom graphic design solutions for new and existing ventures alike.

What inspired you to start your business? 

I was first inspired during my time as a policy researcher and writer. Our team partnered with a designer to amplify our message. I got to see how design can be a powerful tool for telling stories, expanding their reach, and having a meaningful impact. I continue to be inspired by the clients that come to me with big ideas they want to bring to life.

What's special about your business? 

My clients play an active role in the design process. We collaborate from the start, detailing the goals and objectives underlying a project. Are we working to attract your ideal customers, looking to elevate your customer experience, build credibility and trust in your business, or help your business stand out? From there, I create a design strategy centered around ensuring our creative solutions complement those goals, incorporating feedback along the way—the result: strong, authentic designs that effectively communicate your unique message and have a significant impact.

What have been the high and low points of being a business owner? 

Highs – Working with great businesses to bring their dreams into reality and seeing my designs out in the world having a real impact.
Lows – Having to learn (sometimes the hard way) the many challenging skills necessary to run a business, from sales and accounting to client management and marketing.

What is your relationship with SCORE? 
SCORE client
How SCORE helped. 

When I approached SCORE for mentorship, I wanted to grow my freelance operation into a full-service design business. Joel was there from the start to help me write my business plan and define my market. With his ongoing mentorship, I’ve put that plan into action and grown my business with confidence. We’ve worked on the nuts and bolts of my business–creating cash flows, managing subcontractors, and building standard workflows–as well as methods for effective communication and ways to nurture good client relationships.

What's great about my mentor? 

Joel always gives honest input, asks thoughtful questions, and gives me space to learn independently. I’ve learned so much from his years of experience and really value his intuition for consulting. He’s always listening and taking thorough notes and recalling details from meetings many months ago. Most importantly, Joel celebrates my victories and pushes me to think bigger.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business? 

Set goals for yourself. Make some of those goals lofty and others more immediately attainable. Embrace the small victories and celebrate the big ones. Having a mentor to support you along the way can make all the difference.

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Good design starts with a great story.  Designer Laura Hobbs launches her branding and web design business with help from San Francisco SCORE mentor