Four questions with ZoCo’s Lacey Picazo
How should she answer these questions, as entrepreneur or designer? That was the question. The fact she could respond either way is part of what makes ZoCo Design founder Lacey Picazo so special. So we encouraged her not to choose but do both as “a designer turned entrepreneur” which leads us to answers that are as insightful as they are unexpected. Just imagine what she’ll have to share at Flight in Akron on December 2. To register for the conference, visit launchleague.org/flight and to find out more about ZoCo, visit zocodesign.com.
1.) What do you wish you knew when you were getting started?
When I first started my business, swapping my role as a freelance designer for that of an agency founder, I had no idea how many things would become priorities in the business for me above design. Project work is rare in my role now, and I focus my energies instead on managing a team, HR, contracts, legal and winning new work.
2.) Can you describe hitting a big roadblock and how you got out of it?
Which time? Failure is frequent for founders, but we just don’t talk about it. I think early on, my most common mistakes are just ignorance in not knowing what I don’t know because my background isn’t a business owner (I need what kind of insurance? What is this law I’m not compliant with?). But so long as we are resilient and consult with mentors to fill knowledge gaps, we can figure it out.
3.) What talent, skill or ability do you think is the most valuable tool in your toolbox?
Like many other designers, I’m a dedicated creative problem solver. I live for finding breakdowns with communication, perception, and visuals and strive to make stories more intuitive. This is obvious as a creative, but I’ve found that there’s great synergy for designtrepreneurs — both roles, creative and founder, have us looking to understand and solve problems for users while promoting or selling something. Designers just work through these problems for a dozen companies at one time vs. for just our own.
4.) Is there something basic or fundamental that you think too many people enter your field without knowing?
For my specific industry, most agencies are founded by designers who don’t realize that once they grow their teams above 4–5 people, it becomes rare that they can be as involved in the actual creative work that drew them to the business to begin with. You have to love all the elements of running an agency, not just the creative, in order to feel fulfilled as a founder.