Fed Up to Made Up in just 3 years.
In 2014 I was fed up.
In fact, I had been unhappy in my job for awhile.
It was one of those situations where decisions were made top down, I didn’t feel valued and I didn’t feel that I could use my talents to help clients as much as I wanted to.
It sure was time for a change, I just didn’t realise I had to fall down the stairs and break my ankle to get the much needed push to set-up on my own.
Given the push
During those 3 months of being chained to the sofa recovering, I knew there must be a better way of using my creative skills. It was my wake up call and a chance to put my ideas into action and create a business I would be super proud of.
Getting started
Setting-up my business wasn’t as glamorous as most people make it out to be.
I put my Mac in the corner of the living-room and quickly got to grips with connecting to all the people I had built relationships with over the last 15 years.
I worked with everyone who needed graphic design services, from logo design to business cards and everything in between.  People would come to me with a squiggle on a piece of paper and I would bring it to life – and that is how the name of my business Squiggle Graphics was born.
Lessons I have learnt
I started out charging by the hour and trading time for money. This could mean that projects that I had under quoted on time, could massively run out of scope, but I would still have to work for the hourly rate agreed.
As soon as I started packaging products for stages that my customers were at, not only did they find it easier to buy from me, but I also found it much easier to sell.
From launching a business, to growing it online, I created a package that would suit my ideal clients’ at every stage of their growth journey.
At first, although I love what I do, I did find it hard to have the confidence to charge what I deserved and always worried about charging more.
After working with a coach, I have got to grips with my money fears and now deliver on the huge amount of value that I offer my clients.
Building growth
Growing a creative business isn’t easy. It’s taken a lot of late nights, weekends and a steep learning curve.
When I have a crappy day, I go for a walk with Obie my Dobie (yes I have a Doberman that tells me when I need a break!) or I go horse riding to take in some fresh air and clear my head.
I also speak to my business buddies on Skype for a bit of good humour. There’s nothing that a good laugh won’t solve on a really challenging day!
Streamlining what I do and putting every task into a very structured process has helped. I simply now have a Trello board for everything!
I also only focus on those clients that I really enjoy working with, the ones who trust in my abilities to help them move their business forward and who work just as hard at growing their ideas as I do.
The biggest challenge I’ve faced
It’s the same one all my clients struggle with …. time.
I have so many ideas going on in my head that I want to be able to do them all now and I get frustrated that there aren’t anymore hours in the day.
What I do now though, is just be really consistent in all my actions and pop the ideas in my percolator that can wait.
What advice would you give other creatives
Never drop your prices. Someone with less experience or fewer clients will always do a similar service cheaper than you. If you don’t believe in your own value then how can you expect your clients to?
Only supply to your clients what they need – if they aren’t at the stage where they need an all singing all dancing package, then tell them. The long-term relationship is far more important than the short-term sell.
Go out and do it – don’t expect it to be given to you on a plate.
Building your creative business is hard work and really competitive. Don’t be afraid of joining forces with other businesses that share your values and can help you grow. We have a moto in our family and that is
“You will never walk alone”
If you meet the right people, you will connect, so just be yourself and you will attract the right kind of people.
Have you had a similar experience that you would like to share? Let me know in the comments below