How I Started A
Freelance Product Design Business
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hey there! I’m Lorenzo Perniciaro and I am a freelancer in the product design field – Lorenzo Perniciaro Design. I try to give the best exposure to clients product with my creativity.
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
My passion for design was born in high school when I was in art school. Then I took the path to the Academy of Fine Arts where, during the last year, I created a startup with some friends. With them, I moved to London for 1 year joining a few startup programs in the best accelerators like PWC, Microsoft and John Lewis.
I am a lover of football and tennis, video games and of course beautiful designs.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
The real challenge in my work is competition, there are thousands of designers in the world, excellent designers. Making a name for yourself is not easy, you have to start with small projects, and do your best to make your client love you, so start a chain of good reviews that will bring you new clients.
Another important aspect are the social networks – you have to be always present, interact with people and always propose new ideas for inspiration.
Personally, I always try to publish my work on multiple platforms so that my work and my name appear everywhere and create interest in people who look at me or simply create a respectable and inspiring figure.
Who is your target market?
My target is very large, including individuals, small, medium and large companies. Personally I prefer small companies, because with them it is a pleasure to work, they are fresh and open-minded, with the aim of making their project unique and I help them.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
Personally, I’ve never paid to advertise my service, even though it might work. I’ve always aimed to publish a lot on Dribbble and Instagram in order to capture the attention of possible clients. In fact on Dribbble and Instagram, they write to me every day for projects.
Even if I have to admit shouting from the rooftops can be a wonderful idea, I will defo try it!
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
Throughout my work, I always create a relationship of esteem but also friendship with my client. They trust me, my work and my approach. Many of my jobs, in fact, come from my old clients or friends of my clients.
The relationship with the client in the case of the freelancer is everything! It is very important and the basis for creating a solid and profitable network.
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
Being a freelancer, I don’t get to run teams or join teams. Many times, however, when I join a client team, I recognise the desire to bring creativity and freshness to it.
I always put myself on the line and always bring different ideas to the table to make the product stand out.
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
Starting my business today would certainly be safer than what I do. I would have a strategy in publishing my work and I would not make mistakes especially on the payments received. The advice I can give to new freelancers is to create their own style, always be present on the web and publish their ideas, visual concepts, projects, etc.. keeping inspirations from the best trending websites, don’t copy but take inspiration.
On the customer relationship side, always be present, available and listen to the customer hearing their problems and trying to solve them. For the payment of projects, I recommend always asking for 50% before starting the work, so as not to work without getting paid.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I really love being a freelancer, it gives you the freedom to work wherever, whenever and with whomever you want. You help people and their projects. It has pros as well as cons, but surely being the leader of your choices is the biggest pro.
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
In my case working alone because working with a team allows you to grow you as a person and as a professional. You learn from everyone in a multidisciplinary team. This is one of my biggest regrets of being a solo entrepreneur.
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
I was inspired by the many great designers on the web, I follow their live feeds, their podcasts and read their advice. Seeing real people implementing real strategies and advice is the best teaching. You can be inspired and grow a lot from them.
I also worked in a big design company, and even your colleagues, collaborators and bosses help you grow, without them, of course, I wouldn’t have so many projects and I cannot lead these as I do now, with totally different knowledge of different skills.
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
I hope to grow more and more and become an important name in this field. To have a portfolio of big projects and maybe have some stable collaborators to take even bigger projects.