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INTRO Am I in the right business?

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Dec 12, 2018
I started designing when I was 17. After six months of learning to design, I began freelancing on upwork and soon realized that it was a race to the bottom. I switched to 99designs (similar to upwork but with design contests instead of projects) and started designing book covers. The money I made here was enough to buy a new Macbook pro after saving for four months. But, I never liked the way 99Designs worked because I just won 1-2 contests for every 15 contests I entered. Each contest took me approximately 12 hours of work to design a book cover excluding the time spent in communication. I felt the need to change because I was dependent on 99designs for my income and it was also very draining, so I started designing book covers under the name of "bookcoverstudio".

I was excited, so I didn't even check if a domain was available. I realized this mistake after six months when I wanted to create a website. Soon I rebranded to killerbookcovers, this time I made sure that the social media profiles and domain were available for purchase. I was working day and night designing a lot of book covers, but even then I got paid very little compared to the amount of work I put in. To give you some context, I earned $15000 in the first year, $18000 in the second year and $21000 in the third year. However, every week for the past three years (I'm 21 now), I would spend 100 hours in front of a computer.

Right from my childhood, I wanted to start my own business because I wanted to add value to people's lives and I felt that a corporate life wouldn't help me do that. I love designing book covers, but it's not something that I enjoy doing for 14-15 hours a day. For the past six months, I have been working to create standard operating procedures to hire someone else and create a book cover design agency. But, I feel that I still haven't gotten to the point where I can start hiring. All this time, my primary source of income has been referrals (About 95%), but I'm planning to change it by scraping leads from the internet and cold emailing authors to check if I can help them in any way.

Also, I'm not sure if book cover designing is the right business for me that would help me achieve my goals. I'm proficient in HTML, CSS and a bit of JS too. So, I'm thinking web design/development is a good alternative, where I feel I can provide a lot of value and get paid equally. I read the "Gold thread by Rob" where he shares his experience in web design which I find motivating. I began offering web design services to my clients two months back and I feel I can make more money if I target businesses instead of independent authors.

This is my website I would love to hear some opinion on how I can 10x the business (If that's even possible).

Side note: I got offered to work in Target Corp. as a developer but I'm not planning to take the offer since I feel that's not something which will help me with my goals in the long run.

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