Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in creative design but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mike Rohde, Founder of Rohdesign Studios, located in Milwaukee, WI, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My small side-business focuses on teaching people around the world how to become sketchnoters, with products including two bestselling books and in-person and online workshops for individuals, companies, and schools. This work led me to an opportunity to illustrate the best-selling business book REWORK and many others.

Tell us about yourself

I am a user experience designer who found that taking text-only notes was a frustrating burden for me, so I ran an experiment taking visual notes in 2006 that I ended up calling called sketch notes — and that name stuck. After lots of experimentation, I had an opportunity to write two books on sketchnoting which led to teaching and illustration opportunities.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Staying in business for 10+ years and being able to publish two best-selling books on sketchnoting are my most important accomplishments.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The financial part of running a business because I love doing the work I do. But I have found great accountants who have helped me get a handle on this aspect of the business.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Find something you can do for the long term and experiment with ways to expand that area.
  2. Find or develop a community around your business area and be a leader in that community.
  3. Partner with other people in your space with a long-term, growth mindset.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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