7 min 26 sec

“Graphic Design for Dogs” Earns $84,000

A graphic designer and pet lover unleashes a side hustle that earns $84,000 a year. Dog-ear this episode!
Animals Creativity Graphic Design Niche Ideas

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What It's About

This graphic designer fetches some niche clients with her pet company specific design firm.

Business Model
Skills Required
Graphic Design & Resourcefulness
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Kaila joined pet-related and ‘petpreneur’ Facebook groups, offering her skills as a graphic-designer-slash-dog-lover to pet companies looking for a new website or fresh branding. She landed several clients through Facebook alone and noticed an immediate growth to her side. But she didn’t want to stop there. Cold emails became her next hot ticket to getting her foot in the door, and she spent a weekend emailing every dog store, veterinary office, dog walker, and dog trainer she could find.

This outreach strategy paid off, to the tune of $20,000 in her first year, on top of her full-time job. Don't wait for clients to come to you—reach out to them! With the power of the internet, anything is paw-sible.

Fun Fact

We don’t want to alarm you, but your dog can smell your feelings. They are able to pick up on any changes in your scent and figure out how you’re feeling based on those changes. So if you get nervous or scared, they can smell the difference from your perspiration. On the plus side, it helps them detect certain diseases. Dogs really are man's best friend!

Notes from Chris

Episode 485
As a full-time graphic designer, Kaila Piepkow knows a thing or two about branding and visual communication. And, after a chance conversation with a photographer, she learned how to unleash her skills into a highly targeted market that fulfilled her craving for a new outlet for her ideas.

Feeling uninspired by her nine-to-five endeavors and needing a new channel for her vision, Kaila decided to open her own design studio on the side. But, since she was already in the business, she knew just how overwhelming the marketplace could be with seemingly endless competition. That being said, she also knew how to stand out, if she could define the right focus for her ideas.

Kaila thought about different audiences to target. Lists were made, and she talked to her friends about it. She even talked to her dog about it! And that’s when it hit her. It was a dog-eat-dog world out there… but there were no graphic designers that targeted pet companies.

The self-described ‘crazy dog person’ knew that focusing on the pet industry would mean foregoing other projects, but it would also be a surefire way to stand out with both her design and the projects she would take on. Therefore, Dox Designs, as she called it, morphed into her new side hustle.

Once she launched the Dox Designs website and put together a business strategy that included Facebook Advertising and a more targeted outreach strategy, she began to earn an extra $7,000 a month on average. That’s right—Kaila is projected to earn $84,000 this year, in side hustle income alone.

Like so many stories, Kaila’s side hustle wouldn’t be as successful as it is now if she had waited for “the perfect moment.” She credits the fact that she launched herself into a specific target market without a plan as one of the main reasons she’s been so successful. Since Dox Design began, it’s paid off in the form of referral clients all around the country and the ability to double her income, working only during evenings and weekends.

Taking the skills that she’s already had has allowed Kaila to work in an industry that she’s truly passionate about—and hopes to turn into her full-time job down the road. She’s also able to combine everything she loves into one life. Dogs, graphic design, the job, her side hustle, and the financial freedom that comes with it, are now rolling over into one great package. That one life she loves is looking quite fetching.


  • Dox Designs: It's a dog eat dog world out there—make sure that your web design has you standing out from the pack. Learn more on Kaila's website!

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"If you don’t know where to start, think about what you love doing—what you enjoy doing in your spare time. That’s the market you can target to help make your side hustle special. Even (especially!) if it’s super niche."
—Kaila Piepkow #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau