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This blog was posted here on StartupWeekend Portland website.
Guest post by Jaclyn Hudak, Ready Maker Design, LLC

Startup Weekend is a rare opportunity to try your hand at building a business from the ground up, surrounded by a supportive group of “hustlers, hackers, and hipsters.” Last year was my first time at Startup Weekend, and you can bet I’ll be back again this year. If you’re a graphic designer, here are 5 solid reasons why you should be there too:

5. Build A Business
If you’re a freelancer, one of the best ways to relate to your small business clients is to put yourself in their shoes for a weekend. Can you develop a product that people not only love, but actually want to purchase? How will you attract investors? What is your marketing plan, and is it viable? Learning how to find your priorities here may help you in the future, when clients seem unorganized.

4. Challenge Yourself
Is there an area of design that you wish you had more experience in? Whether it’s design for apps, websites, logos, or packaging, you can join a team who needs you to create something quickly; a great way to dive into a new genre without the pressure for it to be absolutely perfect. Going into my first Startup Weekend, logo design made me squeamish, but by the time the weekend finished I felt like an old pro.

3. Work Outside of Your Box
If you’re curious to test the waters as a frontend or backend developer for apps or websites, or if you have a skill for sales communication that you’d like to sharpen, this is the perfect opportunity to dabble. Startup Weekend is a learning environment and there are always people of different skill levels in attendance. Those attending with more experience are happy to teach others and give advice, and who wouldn’t want advice from a Nike director, or a seasoned Microsoft engineer?

2. Re-Energize
We all fall into a design rut every now and then and experience the pitfalls of being uninspired. If you’re looking for a way to break out of a design equivalent of “writers block,” I will be the first one to tell you that Startup Weekend is the next step to freeing your mind. A rarity in the real world, everyone who attends Startup Weekend is actually excited to be there, to work, and to have a hand in creating something great. Having creative free reign doesn’t hurt either.

1. Expand Your Network
It’s reasonable to say that a designer can never know enough people who are starting businesses. Logos, branding, and website design are just the tip of the iceberg for a blooming business. As we all know, Portland is a big small town, so with the connections you make at Startup Weekend you’ll end up with plenty of people who will be able to recommend your work to someone, or to someone who knows someone after the event ends.

Buy your tickets now here: htttp://swoslo1014.eventbrite.com

Sandra Rœn