I have had designers looking to go out on their own ask “How do you do it?” Then other business owners that ask “What really do you do all day? Can you actually make a living at it?” My response to both is usually,  “Anyone can own their own business if they are passionate enough and willing to work their ass off when needed! Always be trying to learn something new. ALWAYS. Plus, quality and helpful connections are of course a very big bonus. ”

Since these questions have come up multiple times here is a quick overview of what happens in the life of this designer anyhow. . . Every day starts and ends with coffee. 

3am OK, so it is finally ready to be sent to the Client… Gosh I hope they like it! Time to sleep? Wait, did I ever send that file off today? Check and make sure then pass out.

8am Get up and ready for an 8:30am meeting. Coffee? Yes coffee will get me going!

8:30am Meeting with potential client at Design Missoula office. Oh my goodness! I love their ideas, I love that I can help shape this! (Conversation with self “You know you are probably busy enough right now”  “yes self, I know but do you see how exciting this project is? I HAVE to do it!”)

10am Presentation to client we spent time into the wee hours of morning putting finishing touches on their project. Yes we have come to a solution and the client loves it! Score!!

11am Celebrate with a giant cup o’ joe while reviewing projects from contract designers, creating estimates or invoices, and sending files to print.

12:30pm Time to eat lunch, meet up with a PR/Marketing friend at a new local restaurant to order lunch. Being the chatting gal she is she starts discussing website with owner. Well, lets all meet next week. “Why the heck not, of course I can meet with you next week!”)

1pm Field frantic phone call from a client about website issues. Walk through troubleshooting techniques with website owner, identify potential issue and put a solution in place.

1:15pm Sit back with a cup of coffee and review logo designs, business card designs, etc. from other designers.

1:31pm Follow up phone calls with clients and touch base with potential new clients about setting up meetings to go over marketing, web, branding collateral. Send off some logo questionnaires for them to get started on.

1:40pm Work with a SEM Search Engine Marketing wizard, Kyle Pucko, developing a plan and a cool new solution to present to a new client. Celebrate with a cup of coffee.

2pm Design a logo for a unique start up business two states away. Send proof off and log in for video conference to discuss logo with said start up.

2:20pm Break into bag of dark salted caramels from my favorite chocolate company (The Montana Chocolate Company) that I keep hiding in the bottom left corner of my desk for just this type of 2:20pm emergency moment and share with office mates.

2:45 Head out to meet with a client looking to have an app designed.

3pm Review projects from other freelancers, respond to their needs, make edits, or prepare files for the client. Then go play with the pup for awhile! Get some fresh air.

3:32pm Too late for a cup of coffee? Naaaaaaa.


4pm Attempt to make plans with friends two weeks from now…..don’t we all feel this way?! Next up on the fun vaca. list go to Jackson with two amazing gal pals!

4:15 Start creating timeline and designing layout for a catalog that needs to be completed in the next month.

5pm Meet with new client who needs a website developed for their winery…. Gosh I like my job!!

7pm Home again to play with my sidekick Corkie (a.k.a. Porkie) the coolest Corgi ever!!


8pm Email goes “ding!” it’s a charity request I simply HAVE to donate to….love our local non profits!

9pm Ahhh quiet, time to start working on the next project in the que and eat some dinner.

11:45 Put on a pot of coffee . . .read a book until passing out about UX (user experience design). Remember, you must always be learning!

Anyhow, that is pretty much the day to day in the life of this ole designer. Sara Kauk – Graphic Designer-Founder of Design Missoula-Coffee Lover!