(Editor: Throughout the month of February, across our Blog and Social Media platforms, we will celebrate Geauga small businesses while highlighting GCPL resources for small businesses. We reached out to Geauga County small business owners and asked them for the story behind their businesses as well as any advice they have to offer other small business owners and those looking to start their own small businesses. This post comes from Joe Zulandt at Ten10 Design.) 

GCPL: When was Ten10 Design founded?

Joe Zulandt: June, 2009

GCPL: What is the story behind your business? How did it begin? What challenges did you face in getting started & how did you overcome them? What challenges do you face in your day-to-day operations, and how do you overcome them? What is your favorite part of owning a business?

JZ: Owner Casey Zulandt earned her BFA in Graphic Design from Bowling Green State University and MBA in Marketing and Management. Upon graduation, she began working at an ad agency in Cleveland as an Art Director. 2009 was not a great year for the economy, and unfortunately not a great year for the agency. Casey and her entire team were laid off. Later that same year, Casey began networking around the clock to find freelance jobs to keep busy while looking for alternative employment. She really had no idea that this part-time work would become so successful. And, out of that, Ten10 Design was born.

GCPL: What kinds of training and education did starting your business require (College, trade shows, seminars/conferences, etc.)? Have you ever used the library to help with this?

JZ: The aforementioned BFA in Graphic Design, which taught how to design, create, and prep files for print, among other things. Everything else was on the job training – learning how to navigate the world of business and all that goes with it (sales, invoicing, taxes, certifications, etc). 

GCPL: What resources did/do you find most useful in helping you to start, grow, and maintain your business (Books, software, training materials, databases, etc.)?

JZ: Talking with other business owners and colleagues in similar professions is most helpful. They can give you more first-hand insight. Business training and networking has also been helpful.

GCPL: What advice do you have for people who want to start a business?

JZ: If you have the drive and passion, go for it! Know that it never turns off – owning your own business is not a 9 – 5 job. It requires lots of late nights, weekends and everything in between, especially as a small business. You are everything: graphic designer, sales, accounting, human resources – all in 1 person! I would also say do what you are good at and hire individuals to do the tasks that take away from being productive (accounting, bookkeeping, shipping, etc.) 

I think a great book for individuals in small business is The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work by Michael Gerber.

GCPL: What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to?

JZ: Right now, I have a 5 year-old-daughter and 6-month-old son, so most of my reading and watching revolves around what they like. We recently read Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.

Find Ten10 Design at their website, Facebook, and Twitter