On Wednesday afternoons this summer, brand designer and illustrator Angela Soliz is opening her door to other entrepreneurs and business owners for office hours.
And it's free.
The mini consultations are part of a new Industry Expert Series hosted by the YWCA Southern Arizona's Women's Business Center.
"Office hours are a no pressure way to get questions answered for people who need design for their business or people who are freelancers interested in the field of design," Soliz says.
She says she did design in-house for a real estate company and began freelancing two years ago. She made it full time in January.
The office hours complement the work the Women's Business Center already does, giving entrepreneurs and small business owners a chance to ask specific questions — especially while they're just starting out.
"Oftentimes, our clients who we serve are under-served in the business community either because of language barriers or they don't have the resources to access really powerful coaches that charge quite a lot of money for their services," says Desiree Maultsby, the deputy director of the Women's Business Center. "This levels the playing field."
Born and raised in Tucson, Soliz says the Women's Business Center helped her launch her own design business.
"I'm one of the first people in my family to run a small business," she says. Access to another freelancer to ask questions would have helped, she adds.
That's why she wanted to do these office hours.
Since she began offering office hours in June, she has chatted with fellow entrepreneurs about when to hire a designer for a logo, how to use brand design to stay competitive and how to use programs like InDesign and PowerPoint.
"A wide range of businesses are coming through — translators, boutiques, service businesses, food, transportation, all kinds of things," Soliz says.
She'll have office hours until August 28.
Maultsby says she hopes to find other experts for legal advice, tax planning, and questions related to human resources, management and insurance for future office hours.
Currently, office hours are free and open to the public.
"When I hear women in these office hours talking about their own business, they're talking about freedom and wanting to make a better life for themselves and their kids," Soliz says. "They're talking about a better quality of life, and that's crazy brave. ... I just feel really grateful that I get to do this."