Golden Hour Paper Calligraphy and Custom Wedding Invitation Design

fine art design for the modern sophisticated bride


Starting a Business

Madeline KellyComment

The first thing I have to say is "Whew!". Oh and thank goodness for the internet, so many people that have gone before me, and the ability to take risks. For as long as I can remember I have been enamored by beautiful letters and creating and what a dream it is to try and make that dream into a business. 

Starting a business comes at an interesting part of life. I am almost 2 months married (yay! marriage is awesome!) and my husband is in the midst of applying for graduate programs. I had done what many like to call a "hobby business" over the last year by doing calligraphy and design jobs for friends at cost. It was a joy to do so and I learned a lot about lettering, digitizing, and editing on a computer to make my hand drawn things into something that could be easily printed. 

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago and I found myself at a fork in the road and the dream of starting this business had a moment to take hold. The perfect harmony of free time, skill, desire, and encouragement from so many around me pushed me to start working for myself. 40 hours a week. Asking questions. Pushing my limits. And ultimately seeing how much work this was going to be and how much joy it would bring.

I had daydreamed before about starting a company. I knew that what Wedding Paper Divas was charging people was ridiculous (paper like theirs is inexpensive!). I knew I could practice calligraphy and grow in that skill. But that wasn't enough. What about taxes? Registering a business name? Contracts? Website design? Building relationships with printers? Start-up costs? 

That is why I say "Whew!". It's my thank goodness I have had the time to read through and try to the best of my abilities to understand tax information for a small business. My "Whew!" of surprise that I made it through this research phase (which I am certain will continue) and actually enjoyed it. And my final "Whew!" of relief that maybe this is something I can do after all.

What's your dream? Have you ever wanted to start your own company? What is stopping you? Here are some resources I found extremely helpful and want to encourage you to push forward, research, and maybe soon enough you will be saying "Whew!" too.

Barnes & Noble: go there. read these books. 

  • Start Your Own Business, Sixth Edition: The Only Startup Book You'll Ever Need (written by the staff of Entrepreneur Magazine)

  • The Girl's Guide to Starting Your Own Business (even for you guys out there!)

  • Entrepreneur Magazine


  • Free business advice, programs, and resources
  • Free mentorship! Yes, free. I was paired with a retired Certified Public Accountant who was able to help me understand taxes, the difference between sole proprietorship v. LLC, and ask me the hard questions.
  • Find out more at

Other business owners

  • They don't have to be related to your idea! I've talked with a landscaping company owner, a land developer, and my mentor from SCORE that I mentioned above. Brainstorm who you know who started their own business and reach out. Ask them how they started, what was hardest, or that random question you have!
  • Reach out to others in your field. I did this with one calligrapher who's work I adored and seemed similar to what I wanted to pursue. Send the message - even if they don't have time to help you our they will feel honored that you would even ask. Heck, you are here, send me a message. I'd love to hear about your dreams and help you reach them!


I am so grateful for this opportunity and look forward to sharing some of my story with you.