Meet William Scott. He’s the 25 year old owner and CEO of Scott Creative,a creative services/design studio. William spoke with me about his life as an entrepreneur, his company and why “Print is not dead!”
FBE: And where are you from?
WS: I’m currently living and working in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s a wonderful city to live in with a booming art and music scene, great food and a Midwestern outlook on life that anyone can appreciate. It would be nearly perfect if we could just skip over those winter months.
FBE: What’s the concept behind your company?
WS: I founded it with the belief that all businesses, regardless of size, can benefit from the power and influence that visual communications bring to the table. While you can see firsthand the effect good design and branding plays in larger businesses and organizations, using effective visual communications isn’t always a priority for the small business owner.
This happens for a lot of reasons, but I believe that the two main factors for this are ignorance on the business owner’s behalf, as well as the assumed cost for these services. Scott Creative aims to educate small business owners about the influence effective design plays in their marketing and branding strategies as well as offer a cost-effective alternative to larger advertising agencies and firms.
FBE: When was Scott Creative launched?
WS: I started thinking about trying my hand at freelancing a little over a year ago, but at that point was afraid to take the necessary steps. I don’t think freelancing is something you can just ‘dabble’ in: it has to be all or nothing – it’s the only way to gauge your success. I had a comfortable nine to fiver and things were going well. Then, last September, the small publishing company I was working for had to make cutbacks, and there went my job. About two weeks after, I started my own business and I haven’t looked back since.
FBE: Like many creative people, inspiration can be pulled from anywhere, where do you pull your inspiration from?
WS:I found inspiration in a lot of areas. There are a wealth of incredibly successful designers and artists worldwide who had the courage to work for themselves, set their own rules and see how things work out. Look at Shepard Fairey, for example; the success and attention he’s received in the past few months. He started from close to nothing and today he’s one of the most influential, successful designers of our time. There’s also Modern Dog Design Co., with similar beginnings and dozens more worth mentioning. It’s success stories like these that inspired to take what’s essentially a leap of faith. Either you have the right attitude and skills to run a creative business, or you don’t, but there’s really only one way to find out.
FBE: Why the name Scott Creative?
WS: I realize it’s not the most intriguing name, but I wanted something simple, something with a ‘less is more’ attitude, something that would draw attention to who I was and what I do. ‘Design’ can be many things, but ‘Creative’ says something a little different. I think it defines me as a person as well as the services my business provides.
FBE: Do you have a staff within your company?
WS:At this point, I handle all the design-related work for my business, but this can change from project to project, say, if I’m in need of a photographer or copy writing. Those are two areas of communication I can provide, but not at the level a professional with that set of skills can produce.
FBE: Tell me about your involvement with “Food & Spirits Magazine”?
WS:I like to call it my ‘Craigslist Success Story’. You’re always working on building your client base and one day, looking through the classifieds on Craigslist, I came across a post by the publisher of the magazine, who was in need of a designer. We met, discussed the project over coffee and now, three issues later, I’m fortunate enough to still be working with him. It’s an opportunity I would have easily missed which has led to an outstanding working relationship. It’s a wonderful, enticing magazine with some real potential.
FBE: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
WS:At this point, I would say my biggest accomplishment has been the chance to teach others about the role design plays in the business world overall. For the past two years, I’ve been serving as an ad-hoc professor for the University of Nebraska Omaha’s marketing department, teaching upper level marketing students about the importance of visual communications. It’s been a really rewarding experience that has reinforced my personal beliefs and ideas. It’s also afforded an opportunity that I believe all creative professionals should take: educating the community about the role our trade plays in our lives, our culture and our professions. It’s my hope that through influencing these students, they will in turn influence the greater community about the importance of my trade.
FBE: How has the economy been to your company? Have you come across any difficulties?
WS: I would have to say yes. Everyone is in a tight spot right now and when business starts to take a hit, marketing and branding strategies fall by the wayside. These business owners think they’re saving money, and maybe they are, but recognition starts to suffer. Finding new clients is always a challenge and during these times it’s even more so. But instead of closing up shop, I’ve told myself I’m going to see this through. I’m hoping a positive attitude and a belief that things will take a turn for the better will pay off down the road.
FBE: What other projects are you working on?
WS:I’m currently working on a brochure/sales piece for an architectural firm that I’m very excited about. I’m also working on a branding campaign for a country club here in Omaha as well as some additional publications. I’m also working on launching my website, http://www.scottcreativedesign.com and plan to have that finished within the next month.
FBE: What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of going into business for yourself?
WS: As I’m finding out each new day, working for yourself is a rewarding and challenging experience. The biggest two advantages are that you set your own hours and you choose who you want to work with. You are also accountable at every level of your business. It’s not a situation where you can put the blame on someone else if things go wrong. You enjoy all the success as well as any failures. There’s also many disadvantages. If you’re in my line of work, you can almost immediately say ‘goodbye’ to the regular paycheck and the sense that you can walk away from your work at the end of the day. If you can learn to cope with the disadvantages, it can be a really satisfying experience.
FBE: Where do you estimate you and your company will be in the next 5 years?
WS: Five years from now, I want to have grown Scott Creative into a design studio recognized for its integrity and effective work history. I’d like to get out of my basement and into an office space and hire a couple like-minded individuals that share my passion for design.
FBE: Overall, what advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
WS: When it comes to working in this day and age, let’s retain the courage to do something different, go the extra mile and even when things are tight, relish in the fact that did something for ourselves.
FBE: How can the viewers contact you?
WS: The easiest, least expensive route would be email(firstname.lastname@example.org).