8 min 42 sec

LA Graphic Designer Influences Influencers

A college graduate takes a chance pitching design work to YouTube influencers, then turns it into a full-fledged agency earning $10,000/month.
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What It's About

A designer soups up branding for YouTube influencers.

Business Model
Skills Required
Resourcefulness & Design
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

For anyone wanting to launch a similar business or freelance method, Dawn recommends setting a limit on the number of revisions you will allow from a client, and if they request more outside of that, charge extra. Make sure you protect yourself so it’s not endless work for one job. Also, understand that everything is a work in progress. Over time, you’ll know what’s working or not and can adjust your terms accordingly.

Fun Fact

When she started this as a side hustle, many of Dawn’s friends thought she was doing it for her own clout (trying to attract the right people, at the right time, change what they think or do). When in reality, Dawn was living into the dream she had from a young age watching Lizzy Mcguire and That’s So Raven and dreaming what it would be like to create for influencers like them.

Notes from Chris

Episode 826
Graphic designer Dawn Lee had an eye for style from a young age. When she was a kid she loved watching Disney shows like Lizzy Mcguire and That’s So Raven. After watching episodes, she would sketch animations and GIFs to post on MySpace for friends to share.

MySpace, in case you’ve never heard of it, was the largest social network in the early 2000’s before Facebook came along. Dawn had no idea that she was creating a future reality for herself from a young age.

She then took the traditional path that many follow—graduating high school, going to college, and earning a 4-year degree. But then, rather than taking the first available job she found, Dawn chose to travel for a while and figure out what she really wanted to do.

She had a design degree and thought she could at least do something with her skills until she figured out what was next.

During this phase she earned a living through freelance design work, making graphics and business cards to support her lifestyle until she found a “real” job. But despite applying for various positions, the “real” job would never come.

After listening to an episode of Side Hustle School, Dawn learned about the world of Merch by Amazon and began designing t-shirts to sell. Between her full-time freelance gigs and the t-shirt business, her schedule was full. But none of these projects felt sustainable.

Like many Millenials, Dawn found herself spending a lot of time on YouTube watching how-to and tutorial videos from top influencers. One day she was on her favorite YouTube influencer’s channel and noticed a disconnect between the content being presented and graphics being used. And she started noticing this as a trend with many top influencers on YouTube. They had millions of followers, but their graphics still had a homemade feel to it.

That’s when she saw a new opportunity arise. What if she could create better more brand-fitting graphics and offer them to top influencers? On a whim, Dawn whipped up a sample design for that top influencer, JENN IM (a Korean-American fashion vlogger with more than 2 million subscribers) and emailed it to her. She told her she wanted to make her brand stand out more by creating visually stunning graphics. To her surprise, she received a response within 15 minutes! And just like that, Dawn had her first client.

When she first started DLD Studio, she was bringing in an extra $1,500 per month. And when she went full time with it, it shot up to $5,000 / month. Her client base began to grow with more and more top influencers on YouTube. She’s now earning $10,000/month in profits and has recently hired a full-time business development partner and part-time creative staffer.

Dawn encourages you to be bold and reach out to who you want to work with. Don’t wait for them to find you, because they won’t. Take some time to create a design or pitch that fits your ideal client’s style or brand, and reach out to them with your mock and offering. Give them something to look at rather than just sending your website and portfolio. Show them you have value to offer in some way they may not have known.

That’s what she did, and those days watching Disney shows and posting to MySpace have paid off.


  • DLD Studio: Learn more about what Dawn is doing over on her 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
"Gear your portfolio and offerings to meet your ideal client’s brand or style. Create something that speaks to their vision rather than sending a generic portfolio or website. Be bold and pitch your concept to them directly rather than waiting for them to find you."
—Dawn Lee #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau