Alessandra Markantonis is so passionate about graphic design, she started her own boutique design firm. Read more about she decided to become an entrepreneur and launch her non-cubicle career.

As told to Hannah Cohen

For as long as I can remember, I was always happier drawing or crafting than anything else. I’ve always been interested in page layouts and typefaces, but didn’t know what to call it. Finally, I discovered graphic design during my first year of college.

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Why did I call my small business Phillips St.? It’s where I work and where my non-cubicle career started. (And using my full name for my business would be way too many letters!)

Initially, I was surprised at just how much time goes into [starting my own business]! Once I escaped the cubicle 9-to-5 routine, I thought my new schedule would be a breeze. But working from home, I work way more hours than I did at my cubicle career, and usually on weekends as well. Time management is a very important factor to freelance life, which I’m trying to work on.

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Networking has become a huge part of my line of work. Relationships with clients and vendors are key in a successful business. I’m constantly trying to put myself out there and meet new people—which isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially for an introvert.

My favorite projects are the ones that start from an idea and blossom into an entire brand. Whether a company is just starting out or looking for a revamp, there’s nothing more exciting than taking their plans and ideas and creating a visual identity.

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Work hard, be confident. Most people genuinely want other people to succeed. And practice, practice, practice: The only way to become a better designer is to keep creating and keep learning. Design is everywhere and I’m constantly inspired in unexpected places.

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I can be creative every day and make a living. I can’t see myself doing anything else!

This photo shows a head shot of photographer Hannah Cohen

Hannah Cohen is a storyteller, adventurer, and image maker based in New York. You can see more of her work at hannahcohenphotography.com.

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