Founder, Studio 1862
Katelyn Dekle is a freelance graphic designer who creates professional, effective websites for other small business owners.
Katelyn Dekle is a freelance graphic designer and the founder of Studio 1862. Her specialty is helping entrepreneurs create websites that are professional, practical, and effective. She’s created websites for all sorts of businesses and organizations (for example, she’s recently worked with a doula, a hair salon, several bands, an auto detailer, and a craft brewery), and she’s especially passionate about helping and supporting other female-owned small businesses. You can find a couple of examples of her work here and here.
She’s been a graphic designer since 2006, after searching for a career that would allow her to do meaningful, creative work.
“Back in high school, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do artwork, but I didn’t know how to make a career out of that. So I asked my art teacher, and he said “Medical illustration is something you could look into,” but I thought that making technical images of eyeballs wasn’t interesting and I didn’t want to do it.
When I went to college, I signed up for interior design, but it was a little more than I expected—there are so many rules. So I talked to the counselor and she asked me, “What do you enjoy doing?” When I listed off a couple of examples (I really liked making calendars and invitations), she said, “Well, that’s graphic design.” She pointed me towards the right path, and I’ve been on it ever since.
In the course of her career, Katelyn has learned she has a couple of specific skills that are rare among people in her field: “I’m incredibly detail-oriented, I like the tedious projects, and I communicate really well.” She’s put all these skills to use at Studio 1862, where she creates and maintains Squarespace websites and offers retainer design work for female small business owners.
Katelyn has been freelancing ever since she started doing graphic design, but she only picked up projects from time to time.
In 2016, though, she says “I realized I really want the freedom and control of running my own business, so I can decide which projects I want to take on and how to do them—allowing me to use my specialized skill set to help people.” She decided to start building her freelance client list, and Studio 1862 was formed.
Like many entrepreneurs, she found that starting a business required learning a whole suite of new skills—which meant that in addition to holding down a full-time job and doing regular freelance work, she was also attending classes and practicing her marketing skills. All her work and persistence allowed her to build a brand, create an online presence, and attract clients without spending money on advertising.
“It really was trial and error. I taught myself everything (because at the early stages, most entrepreneurs don’t have the starting funds to pay an expert to do it for them). It was slow going at first because I had NO idea what I was doing, but I’m learning as I go and I have some momentum now. In the past year, I’ve been seeing exponential growth.”
I learned that this is what I want to do more than ANYthing else. If it wasn’t, I would’ve given up a long time ago. It feels good to help other people, create something beautiful and effective, build something from nothing and call it my own.
Time: there’s never enough of it, and achieving a good work/life balance is definitely a challenge.
All the other challenges, (like not knowing how to market the business, or implement SEO, or find clients, or do your taxes) are all skills you can learn or hire out. But no one can give you more time in your day. You just have to learn how to manage the time you have.
If you can keep moving forward and still make progress (and even the smaller wins are progress!) when life isn’t going right, or feels a bit upside down, then you’ve got what it takes to eventually be successful.
Katelyn signed up for Azlo out of simple necessity—she needed a more convenient alternative to her previous bank.
I actually had a brick-and-mortar account in a town near me, but I live 20 miles from anything. I’m in a really rural area. At the time, they didn’t offer mobile deposits and that was a big deal. I didn’t want to have to drive 40 miles to deposit checks on Saturday. So I thought “There’s got to be a better way to do that.”
Her previous bank was also charging her around $10 per month when the balance was below a certain amount, so the idea of a fee-free online bank held a lot of appeal for a startup like hers. She heard about Azlo in a Facebook group for entrepreneurs and decided to sign up.
“When I applied, I already had my tax ID number and I was a registered LLC, so the application process was like, immediate and I got my debit card within a week or so. I like the fact I can stop the card if I need to, and Azlo has a lot of the technical features that I needed.”