On some level, every entrepreneurial designer creates things for themselves.
If you work in a large industrial design firm – or ad agency, or packaged goods company, or probably anywhere listed on a stock exchange – your design work is dictated more often than not by client needs. They set the parameters and you work magic in the spaces that remain.
But if you are an entrepreneurial designer or have your own line (of… anything) you call the shots, set the parameters and pay for every prototype.
There’s a cliche – right or wrong – of art/design school students who create imaginative but impractical designs. They may be amazing, but they’re not mass-produceable or production friendly. Whether that concept is accurate or not, I’ll tell you one thing for certain: once you start paying for your own prototypes and production runs you become focused on brass tacks pretty fast.
So as you dig deeper into being an entrepreneur-designer – whether you are exploring it as an option or navigating the process of making a living at it – you discover that you are client, designer, focus group, bookkeeper and check-writer all in one.
There are NOT fewer parameters when you are an entrepreneur-designer… it’s just that you need to be disciplined enough to come up with them AND enforce them.