Exclusive with Danielle LaBonté, Founder of Danielle LaBonté Designs
Danielle LaBonté is the founder of her boutique branding and graphic design studio, Danielle LaBonté Designs based in Toronto, ON. The studio works to creatively and strategically upscale businesses through high-end branding initiatives. Each initiative is custom to each business so you reach your ideal audience and brand goals.
For more information on Danielle, LaBonté Designs read more with this link.
Here we sit down with Danielle, to know a bit more about her journey as a graphic designer.
Q. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Danielle: Living on my own terms and creating a lifestyle I dreamed of inspired me to pursue being an entrepreneur. It is solely up to me to plan out my days, how much I want to book, and how much money I want to make that month. I enjoy knowing I can go on vacation or if I am sick I can take that sick day. I learned early on in life I enjoy directing and managing, so I always thought in the back of my mind what it would be like to develop something from the ground up to achieve my dream lifestyle.
Q. How did you get started?
Danielle: I started my business in November 2017. I started out freelancing while working a job I was not enjoying. I always hoped to work on my own terms but I wasn’t too sure in the beginning how to make that possible.
I started an Instagram page and I was posting freelance projects, but also passion projects as well. These passion projects allowed me to grow my portfolio. I went back to school to add to my Bachelor of Arts I had achieved in Art History to learn the technical skills of web and graphic design.
I continued to freelance but noticed my business was growing at a rapid rate. I was working for other companies for stability, but soon realized I was over-working myself and my business had the full capacity to go full-time.
I took the big leap and quit all of my stable jobs and my graphic design studio went full-time at the beginning of the pandemic in January 2020.
Q. What was your biggest startup challenge? What steps did you take to overcome it? What did you learn?
Danielle: My biggest startup challenge was facing self-doubt. My brain was telling me consistently questioning if taking the huge leap of running my business full-time was the best idea while everyone around me was working a 9–5 corporate job.
I invested in a business mentor to help navigate these thoughts and help develop a system that automated my business to avoid burnout. That was the best investment I ever made in my business in the beginning. I still have a business mentor to ensure I have an outsider's professional opinion on what I am doing to grow my business on a monthly basis.
I learned it was important to put myself first in an industry of working for others. Prioritizing mental health when running a business is very important since our brains usually do not shut off after 5 PM.
Q. What is the Most Memorable Thing You’ve Done Since you Started your Business?
Danielle: While I was starting my business, I launched my creatively inspiring podcast series Brewing Up Creativity in September 2020. This was such a memorable moment because I was able to create and join a community of like-minded individuals while sparking conversations with other entrepreneurs. Our conversations tackle the good and bad sides of things while running creative businesses. Our ups and downs, how we navigate our everyday tasks, remaining positive, organizing, delegating tasks, imposter syndrome, and much more!
This was a pivotal moment because it allowed me to realize we all have our own personal ups and downs but we all at some point have experienced something similar. This allows everyone to feel like we’re all in something together, versus feeling alone.
Q. What is one book you recommend, and why?
Danielle: I read one book that I think about quite frequently when I was facing a lot of self-doubts when starting my business. It’s called Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis. I’ve listened to Rachel’s podcast series but her book really helped me to shift my mindset on some of the lies your brain tells you and how to overcome those feelings of doubt.
Q. What are your top 3 favourite online apps, tools, or resources and what do you love about them?
- Loom — I love using Loom for explaining design presentations to my clients if our schedules are tight to go onto calls frequently. Loom shows my face while I record my screen showcasing the designs. It creates a link that only those who are sent it can access the presentation and on top of that, Loom lets you know when someone has viewed your video.
- Asana — My top online app for coordinating and organizing tasks with my remote team. This helps me to know what my team has started, what’s in progress, and what’s been completed. Instead of sending follow-up emails throughout my day, it’s an easy platform to see what everyone’s working on and what the status is.
- Google Calendars — It took me a while to hop onto this since I am more old-fashioned and enjoy a good physical planner. However, when coordinating meetings with either my team or clients, this allows each party to plug this into their calendar and notify them when the meeting is going to start.
Q. In terms of legacy, what is the mark you’d like to leave on the world?
Danielle: I’d love to let people know they can absolutely do whatever they want in life. Creativity has been a huge part of my life since I was a toddler and oftentimes creative people are often overlooked in life if we aren’t impeccable at maths or sciences. I continuously work to spread the word about how it is so possible to pursue a skill that you have passion for in life because if you work hard great things will be created and manifested.
Q. In one sentence, what’s the best advice you’d give to someone just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey?
Danielle: Start your idea or business now, don’t wait until you feel “ready.” Most people I know who push a date further away often feel like the goal isn’t achievable and continuously push it off. Businesses’ grows all the time, which means no matter what, whether you start today, tomorrow, or in three months, your business will be imperfect and continuously get better over time and experience.
To keep up to date with Danielle and her journey, connect with her on Instagram.