And THAT, my friends, concludes the week-long Designers on Social Summit (DOSS)! It’s been an informative and inspiring week of digital design and business sessions. The goal was to inspire design professionals and provide marketing and business-growth strategies, but what we walked away with was so much more. 

Incredible minds came together in conversation with host Bobby Tsui and a few common themes kept emerging throughout. We’re excited to share with you our top takeaways from the DOSS: (and don’t worry — if you missed the summit, you can catch the replays here. And learn more about Lori Dennis’ session here. 

  • Run Towards the Fire: Lessons in Business Survival

Many of the speakers at DOSS, including Lori Dennis, Rachel Moriarty, Kathy Kuo, Naomi Alon and others, all started their businesses around the recession. This was a theme that continued to emerge amongst the speakers who are all A-players at the top of their field. 

This was a lesson in perseverance and survival, yes, but also in creative problem solving. In times of hardship, rather than retreat and give up, they did what was harder, riskier, and remained dedicated to their passions. The results speak for themselves; Now financially successful and in careers they love, they are routinely asked to speak at summits like the Designers on Social Summit and seminars to give advice to up and coming designers and entrepreneurs. 

The way all of these design superstars accomplished this: 1. They got comfortable getting uncomfortable: Both Kathy Kuo and Rachel Moriarty, self-described shy people, threw themselves in front of the camera, despite their fears. Sandra Funk gave a great piece of advice about defining their niche and doubling down on it. Which brings us to our next point…

  • Being You is Your Best Marketing Strategy

Video is where it’s at for a reason. When it comes to marketing and social media, being active on video-sharing platforms is the most effective strategy. It’s the best simulation we have of being in someone’s home with them, hanging out with them, seeing what they’re actually like. (VR is taking that a step further, so keep an eye out, but we’re not quite there yet on a consumer level). 

Designer Jason Lai put it simply, “anyone with taste can do a design.” It’s YOU they are hiring. And how are you going to make their lives easier? Be someone the client wants to spend a lot of time with? These points were echoed in so many words by a number of the speakers and we couldn’t agree more. 

This takes the concept of designing a home and reframes it and personalizes it. In her session on packaging your design services to maximize profits, Sara Brennan talks about looking for opportunities to

  • It Takes a Village to Build a Business

Ask for Help. Another thing all the top speakers had in common was they sought help to alleviate overwhelm in the form of business coaches and outsourcing work by expanding their teams. 

Rachel Moriarty and Sara Brennan emphasized the ways they depended on their business coaches when they were first starting out. Kathy Kuo, Jason Lai, and Sandra Funk all emphasized the way they rely on their team and business partners. This was a lesson in staying humble and knowing what you don’t know! 

If you find after trying to learn the skills you have it’s just not your thing or you can do it but it takes too much time, it is time to outsource.Time to expand your team. Kate O’Hara of Martha O’Hara Interiors gave an incredibly practical presentation on how to scale your business from soloprenueurship to 10 people to 100, etc. She emphasizes the importance in taking baby steps so as not to bite off too much to chew.

These were just a few of the major themes that continued to come up throughout the Designers on Social Summit that resonated with our team. Again, if you missed the summit, NO problem!