Occupation: Web developers and graphic designers who specialize in marketing for actors and performers
Business: Roundhouse Designs
City: New York and Los Angeles
Actors pick up lots of jobs while filling in the time and the cash that acting gigs leave a gap for.
Stereotypically, this means working for someone else as waiters or bartenders, but Ryan Foy and Nick Gaswirth realized after making their own websites that they had a slightly better proposition on their hands.
Flexible schedule? Check.
Creatively rewarding? Check. Helpful to their friends and the acting community? Check and check. —Jenny An
Our BHAG is to be the go-to website developers for performers and creative artists in L.A. and New York. Beyond 2012, we want to open a studio where we can photograph clients, build websites and edit video reels in one beautiful location.
What’s your startup story?
We both went to University of Michigan for musical theatre and moved to New York to pursue acting. About thee years ago, we both needed websites for our own performing careers and decided to make them ourselves. After we launched those sites, we had a ton of friends asking us to design their actor websites as well. It grew from there, and now we have over 50 clients.
What are the difference between working directly with creative talents vs. working with large companies?
Working with creatives is so refreshing. The personal connections are so much easier to navigate. Often, our clients are trying to find a way to express themselves creatively online, and it’s exciting for us because we get to play more with creating their online identities.
What is your typical workday like?
We live on different coasts, so we work remotely via Facetime and Skype. We work really strange hours, fitting in work sessions between auditions and performing gigs, so no two days are the same. One of us focuses on the graphic and design elements of a site, while the other focuses on coding.
What skills did you learn in order to work for yourself?
We’ve both become pretty well-acquainted with the Adobe Creative Suite and Coda by Panic. Other than that, client relations is the other main focus. It’s a big change to go from building sites for your friends to charging people real money for your services, and there’s a lot of finesse that goes along with that.
How did you decide that you were ready to go it alone?
Working as performers never will be a consistent or full-time gig, and Roundhouse Designs keeps us creatively fulfilled, and we’re our own bosses. We wouldn’t be able to focus on our side projects in the same way if we were working for a company.
“It’s a big change to go from building sites for your friends to charging people real money for your services.”
How do you meet your clients? Any hints for people just starting out?
Performers work in an incredibly small and interconnected world, so everyone knows everyone and good recommendations go a long way. We’re incredibly lucky to have a great group of friends and clients who help spread the word about our sites.
Don’t be afraid to use the connections you already have to get your business started. People you know personally will always be the most supportive of your new endeavors.
Have you collaborated with anyone or an organization?
We don’t do a ton of collaborations yet, but we would totally be open to working with other creatives on specific projects. We often recommend certain photographers to our clients to get website-specific photos.
Are you open to mentorships?
We’re always open to guidance about new technology and new graphic design skills. Both of us are self-taught in design, and we love learning new things. As for interns, not quite yet, but hopefully someday we will need them!
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