#InSession: How to Grow, Scale, and Launch a Studio

What does it take to grow, scale, and launch an independent business?

Visionary Rising sat down with Haley Dolan, founder of Silvermoon Branding, a branding and packaging design studio for wellness, food, and beverage brands, to find out. 

Watch the video here or read more below to learn about what makes Haley’s business unique, how she prices and scopes her projects, and how she used Wethos to launch her independent business.

Getting Started

With a decade of graphic design experience under her belt, Haley was ready to take the leap into starting her own agency. But this wouldn’t be her first journey into entrepreneurship. 

In 2015, Haley and her husband started a meadery together. The two of them managed every aspect of the business themselves — from production and distribution to marketing and taxes. 

Primed with this business experience, Haley was ready to again dive into entrepreneurship by starting her design studio. But she knew she needed to nail down a niche to make her business stand out. 

“When I started Silvermoon, I didn’t have a good grasp on the niche I wanted to focus on,” says Haley. 

However, it didn’t take long to connect the dots. Haley’s first client was Her Wine, a women-owned beverage brand. This client experience, combined with her own experience as a former beverage business owner, made Haley realize she’d found the right niche for her business: providing branding and packaging design for beverage brands — particularly ones that are women-owned. 

“They have a special place in my heart because I think it’s important to see women in a leadership position in the industry,” says Haley. “Our collaborations have always been great and we’ve been so supportive of each other’s missions.”

Scoping for Client Needs

Haley’s own beverage business background and industry expertise allows her to provide specific value to her clients by acting as a creative strategist and helping them make the most of their budgets.

“In everything that I design, I want to think forward to what they’ll be needing next and try to provide the best guidance that I can beforehand,” Haley says. 

One way she caters to her client’s needs is through the tiered packages she offers.

“I have different brand packages,” she explains. “The more high-end ones include a lot of different elements that [clients] might need in the future such as business cards or different pattern designs. It’s nice to be able to recommend different packages based on their actual needs and help guide them through their process.”

Setting up Payments

To ensure transparency around payments and deliverables, Haley knew she had to make her scopes clear from the start. 

“I prefer to scope out my projects in advance,” she says. “I have some projects, like my brand identity packages, that are flat costs and they have a billing increment of 50% upfront and 50% when completed.”

As she’s grown her business, Haley has realized a value-based pricing structure is the only way to truly scale. 

“I’ve tried hourly packages before, and while it sounds great, at this stage in my business, [I’ve learned] I need to promote my value rather than my time — I think that’s the best way to scale a business.”

Using Wethos to Scale

Pricing has historically been murky territory in the freelance industry. The questions around how much to charge, how to structure your pricing, and how to create a scope of work are endless. 

“It can be hard to know what to charge when you first start out, but having the understanding of what other people are doing and that transparency, it saves a lot of time,” says Haley.

To make sure her pricing was in line with industry standards, Haley wanted to compare her prices to other designers without having to search Google for their pricing pages — so she turned to Wethos. 

“Using Wethos’ library of pre-made packages and scopes was so helpful to compare my pricing and my deliverables to make sure that I was competitive within the industry,” she recalls. “I really enjoyed seeing what the industry standards were according to Wethos and being able to apply those to my packaging was really valuable.”

Launching a Business with Wethos

Using Wethos, Haley can confidently scope and price projects while focusing on doing the work she loves. 

“Wethos is a great one-stop-shop for my independent business,” says Haley. “I’m able to manage everything that I need inside of the platform. Wethos allows me to focus on the fun parts of my business, like design, and worry less about the money management part.”

Watch the full video here.

Founded in 2016, Visionary Rising Agency (VRA) is a creative house by and for creators, creative-focused companies, and the people who love them. At our heart, we are a content and strategy studio driven by creators and culture providing authentic storytelling for startups and brands who want to reach diverse audiences.

Ready to launch your independent business?