Melissa McLin, 35 | Business Observer

The family business concept looks a little different for Melissa McLin, a third generation printer, after she decided to strike out on her own instead of joining her family’s printing business. The other business is still in the picture. 

“I pretty much gave my grandpa the right of first refusal when I came out into the market available to sell printing,” she says of her decision to start MM Print Design after her late grandfather, her mentor, offered a salary she considered too low. So, she decided to create marketing materials for smaller businesses. 

McLin still has a connection with the family business Manatee Printers Inc., in Bradenton. That’s where she gets most of her prints.  

McLin earned a graphic design diploma from Florida’s State College in 2010. She became a national account manager for a vehicle wrap company, where she learned how to run her own business within someone else’s business. The job, notably, didn’t provide a lot of training.

“So I built my own business within that business,” she says. “My clients knew how to submit new orders and what processes were required to get their project to the next steps.” 

It wasn’t until her next job that she realized most of the printing services were outsourced within her industry.

“I started investigating the avenue of starting my own business then,” she says. During the pandemic of 1918, she began a graphic-design business. She created fun items like giant birthday banners and graduation cards. After a year, she returned to Port Charlotte to work at a Port Charlotte print company. “It reiterated that I was totally capable of doing this on my own.”

MM Print Design has become a reality since June 2022. In that time, she’s learned a valuable lesson. 

“Do not discount your services,” she says. “If the client is willing to pay you what you’re worth then they are meant to be your client.”

She found out first-hand. McLin reduced the price of a custom logo to please a customer. The client changed providers mid-project and asked for a refund. 

“If I would have charged them what I was worth, they probably would have never even started the project with me,” she says of the time wasted. 

McLin urges those who are thinking of starting a business to not waste time. 

“Proving to myself that I waited too long,” she says of the biggest win of her first year in business. “I should have done this two or three years ago.” 


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