February 5, 2024

Why I started my own business

My Layoff

I got laid off in December of 2022. I wasn’t bitter at all because my boss was preparing me for something like this. We were a small company, and a lot of clients didn’t need design work. I was living in Bangladesh at the time, enjoying my married life, and booked my Thailand trip. I tried my best to enjoy it, but the thought of having no income made it hard to sleep every night.

Everyone was getting laid off in tech, and life in the US was getting expensive. I decided to stay back in Bangladesh and work on my dad’s business, a marketing agency he acquired. To put it gently, the way people work in Bangladesh is an absolute clusterfuck, and it didn’t fit me. I still sucked it up and busted my ass day in and day out because I wasn’t going to let anyone call me a nepotism hire. I backed everything up with my work ethic. I got shit done despite everything being stacked against me. That’s who I am.

What do I do next?

I was still applying for jobs and doing interviews. I did 15 of them during 2023; ultimately, it led nowhere. I was wasting my time. With every layoff, competition was growing. I work in tech. I’m expendable. I would do myself more justice if I worked for myself. I was closing deals and working with the clients really well while also reading Andy Strote’s “How to Start A Successful Creative Agency” because I wanted to get better at this agency stuff. I become really good at Webflow, copywriting, branding, and sales. Combining that with my skills as a Product Designer, I can help entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses.

Taking control of my life with Fractal Grid

Fractal Grid is my 1-person studio for building websites for evolving businesses. I wanted a cool name for my company. Thankfully, the domain was available. I had a good collection of web design work from 2022-23. I bought a Framer plan for a single-page website for $60/year and a domain and email from Namecheap for $42.33/year. That’s about as much I want to spend because lord knows when I will get my first client. I will create invoices in Stripe and proposals on Docs or Notion.

Then, I worked on a rudimentary copy to launch the website. I set up Ahrefs and Hotjar on the free plan to monitor my site’s traffic and how people use it. I plan on making gradual updates to the site. Currently working on the section about the web design process, start to finish.

Getting my first client

I don’t have one yet. I launched my company in January. I know I won’t get any inbound leads. I have to go and seek out businesses that need a website or a redesign of their website. I am not selling just a website, I want to sell the strategy work required to create these websites because it will help my clients understand their own business better than before.

Right now, I am targeting local companies near me. After researching their company and if I can help them, send them an email. Then, I will follow up a week later via call. I will improve this process as I go along.

I am still a Product Designer, by the way

My decision to switch to websites doesn’t make me any less of a Product Designer. I got my start from a Udemy course about building websites with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. If anything, being a user experience-focused web designer is like having superpowers. I get to do research for every new company, its competitors, its audience, and the market. From there, I can use that to work on sales copy and a stellar design and bring it all together to create an awesome website. You can’t even do that in most UX and Product jobs.

If you have read this far, thank you.

2023 was depression-filled, and my only moments of happiness were being with my wife and going on date nights. I am now back in the US, and I miss her immensely.

Hi, I'm Nabil

I'm a Houston-based Product Designer. I enjoy working on new problems, doing my research, and trying my best to understand the concerns of the business so I can help them grow their business through design.

Photo of Nabil holding a Zoro doll