We actively build creative communities

The numbers are similar across the globe: the majority of creative businesses employ less than five people. Many less than three.

That means creatives don’t have a huge number of work colleagues. In fact, many leave uni to work solo. Added to that, design education leads many designers to believe we are competitors in a crowded marketplace. We’re not really.

Every creative has a different heritage, family life, education and career path. We all have something different to offer clients. Sometimes it’s aligned, sometimes it’s complementary. We’ve a lot to gain by getting away from our computer and out of the office to talk with other creatives.

DBC aims to build vibrant creative communities, not just through paid mentoring and coaching, through free events both on and offline.

Roundtables

Business of design roundtables are like learning on steroids. They’re faciliated monthly online discussions with other creative business owners and managers.

The groups are curated, we selected between 4-7 non-competing creatives for each group. They’re online because the advantage of zoom is participants can come from right across Australia – recently we’ve a roundtable with people from Perth, country NSW and Noosa 🙂

Each month we start with a wrap up of the month gone, each of us sharing insights/challenges/wins with each other. There is no set agenda, discussion can be hijacked by anyone needing many heads to solve a specific urgent issue, but generally we discussion is centred around a process or activity to help manage your business.

Topics covered have included:

:: Business direction and positioning / Sustainability and viability
:: Client sectors / competitors / pillars of excellence
:: Business models and their profitability / employees vs partners / workflow and profitability
:: New business / business development / marketing / strategies for growth
:: Using LinkedIn to build relationships
:: Pricing models
:: Managing others / employees, contractors / responsibilities and delegating
:: Pitch decks / capability docs

The online sessions are two hours per month but the slack conversation is constant.

If you’re interested in booking a seat, just email.

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The round table has been invaluable to me professionally and personally. It helped me to step up from a sole trader to a business operator mindset. The combined insights from Carol, Greg, and roundtable participants have broken down what seems a large undertaking into achievable micro-steps. Most importantly, the support that the monthly catch-ups have provided has given me drive to push forward.
Georgie Batt, Founder, Creative Director, By Georg Design

In the past few months I have learnt more from the DBC round tables than I have in the previous year of being in business. Not just from Carol and Greg but from the fellow designers ‘at the table’. It’s a non-competitive, safe environment. I’m definitely re-signing … my only regret is not joining one of their roundtables earlier.
Julie Schroder, Studio Hoopla

Breakfasts

We know owning and managing a creative business studio can be a lonely existence, but it doesn’t have to be. Creatives have much to gain by gathering, talking, and sharing challenges.

That’s why we started the Business of Design breakfasts … making a date to meet and talk with other creatives. It’s also the chance to talk about and work on your business rather than in your business.

The breakfasts began in 2017 after we changed the business model of Mackay Branson design and I (Carol) was working solo. Greg was building the Design Business Council.

I relished the autonomy after many years wearing the responsibilities of employing others. And I loved the ‘theatre’ or ‘hollywood’ business model where I hired the right creatives for the right project. What I missed was the trade of knowledge you get when a group of creatives meet. The comfort of chatting ‘shop’ with a group of designers you know well. So I emailed a bunch of creatives and suggested they meet me for breakfast … and they did.

Those same creatives, plus a bunch of others we’ve picked up along the way, have been meeting monthly for breakfast in Melbourne  since then. Our group includes graphic designers, content creators, writers, photographers, podcast producers and strategists (in no particular order 😉

Sometimes we have a guest speaker – an expert in a field of common interest. Other times we discuss a topic or share tools and skills one of us has found and we think may be of interest to others. Often Greg or I will share an insight we’ve uncovered in research or through our creative business coaching or mentoring.

Pre the pandemic we were also meeting in Sydney or Perth, but sadly that’s no longer the case. Doesn’t mean you can’t set one up though … want some tips? Email and we’ll talk you through what works for us.

Want to find out more? Simply email Carol .

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Once a month it’s worth every effort to outsource morning commitments and join Carol and Greg’s design breakfasts. For us designers working solo or in small studios the wealth of industry knowledge that Carol, Greg and the extended bunch bring to table is invaluable. I always come away feeling enlightened, reassured, entertained and inspired!

Kate Vandestadt, Vandestadt Design

UNseminars

UNseminars are where views of the audience are as important as the presenters.

We pick a topic that’s been on everyone’s mind, and then we find a couple, or a few, people to share their knowledge. But that’s just the start. The objective of our UNseminars is that everyone participates. It’s a discussion. We are all experts in our field.
The ‘experts’ share their thinking to start the discussion.
The aim is for everyone to leave the event wiser.
Unfortunately, our Unseminars are on hold due to COVID.
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Previous UNseminars.
2020–21
Worldwide pandemic scuttled plans
2019
#1: Design Interns: opportunity or exploitation?
#2: What do client’s think?
#3: Can designers work a four day week and still make money?
2018
#1: Designing your mental health
#2: CX,UX, WTFX. Where has design gone?

Join our design community

We produce a weekly newsletter about the business of design. It’s written specifically for Australian designers. It’s an easy way to stay current and learn skills and tools to help you manage your business better. It’s a great way of joining our commuinity.
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