Small Business Highlights

Small Business Highlight: Pixel Flex Design Studio

Wondering how to turn creative talents into a thriving career? Tim Lum, owner of design studio Pixel Flex, did just that. In this Small Business Highlight, learn more about how he started his own business, how he stays motivated, and get some helpful tips from one business owner to another.  

From Lifelong Creative to Small Business Owner

As a self-described visual learner, Tim says that his interests and strengths were always rooted in creativity. “During high school I was introduced to graphic design through a school uniform logo contest that I won. This set my path to my college education in graphic design and web design.” 

Tim opened his own design studio, Pixel Flex, in 2008. His studio focuses on growing brands and businesses through creative design and marketing services. “I’ve been a Registered Graphic Designer since 2012 and it’s been rewarding to partner with my clients and see the business value of design.” 

Like many small businesses, Tim launched his business as a way to combine his talents and passions—while chasing the dream of self-employment. “The freedom of owning a small business allows me to travel whenever I want and have a flexible schedule. Taking control of your own destiny by being your own boss is very hard work, but gratifying at the same time…because sky’s the limit.” 

Tips for Creating a Successful Design Business

Tip #1: Work *on* your business—not *in* it.

One of the biggest struggles Tim has encountered as a business owner?  

“Taking the time to work ‘ON’ your business, not ‘IN’ it. Dedicating time to promote [my projects] on social media helps reaffirm the types of services I offer. I stay active on Instagram and Facebook to keep in touch with clients, and sending out newsletters to my past clients has also been great for referrals and repeat business. [I also network] on LinkedIn for potential companies to work with and post my testimonials for future clients to read.  

Tip #2: Show gratitude with gifts.

“At the end of the year, I like to show my gratitude to my clients with gifts. I like the practicality of pens because it’s something they’ll use and helps [customers] remember my business in the future. I wanted a high-quality pen that can be used to write their next big idea. Ideas start with sketches that turn into concepts. Those concepts evolve into designs that develop into your next product, business, brand, website, or marketing campaign.” 

Tip #3: Find ways to stay motivated.

“After 15 years in business, it takes patience, perseverance and grit to run a design studio. Physical fitness plays a huge role in my motivation, I believe that ‘health is wealth’ when it comes to the longevity of any business.” 

Tip #4: Keep learning.

Tim also adds that staying curious and continuing to learn new things are key for his success. “I like using X (formerly Twitter) to engage with the design community and keep up to date with the industry trends.” 

Want to learn more about Pixel Flex? Check them out on Instagram, X, LinkedIn, and sketchnotes.  

Allison Russo

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