With 2017 gone and 2018 here at our doorstep, I wanted to go over my very first year of business as a self-employed brand designer and web designer here on my blog, and give you more information on my past and what lead me to taking the leap as an entrepreneur.
Maybe it is my personality, or perhaps a God-given desire, but I’ve always wanted to start my own design business. I was never sure exactly what I would be doing, or how I would get there, and the idea of trying to figure out the “business” side of it often postponed the adventure. IRS? Taxes? Gross!
Nevertheless, I tried freelancing on the side as I worked my way through college, for a variety of organizations ranging from Churches, to Construction Companies, and Bridal Stores. After graduation I landed my first “real” design job for a marketing company (which gave me a nasty taste in my mouth for corporations). I didn’t last long in that environment and hastily quit, snagging a retail job in the interim. My next design job was for a medical company here in Houston, where I worked directly with the engineers, marketing, and sales to design graphics, ads, and packaging design for their range of medical products. The company moved locations, and I found my next position at CHI/Biosilk amongst a team of other graphic designers. Once again, my position required many skills such as product photography, marketing graphics, product design, packaging design, logo/branding, and more.
It was while I worked here that I felt the continuous pull to quit and create my own business. I’m a person of comfort, and the thought alone was enough to hinder me and choose to remain complacent. But, by the grace of God, I put in my notice at the end of 2016. My supervisor wasn’t thrilled to see me go, but she wished me luck and in January I sat alone, with dogs for coworkers, and attempted to make it work.
As I’ve already mentioned, the idea of starting my own business was new and scary. It took me many years to take the leap, and it was the best thing I’ve done for myself and life. Corporate jobs were suffocating my creativity, killing my spirit, and bringing me home full of negativity and dislike for other negative folks I worked with. This was not how I wanted to live, nor how I wanted to feel.
I wanted my creativity to flourish, not just copy another companies marketing efforts. I wanted to make a difference in the companies I worked for, and help people understand the importance of branding and design, not just be disregarded and tossed to the side. It wasn’t’ a pride thing, it was a longing to be useful and fulfill something more than a wage-slave. Money came second to helping others and doing what I loved, and it came, by God’s grace alone.
Making the jump was easier for me because of these two reasons: God, and my Husband.
I truly believe that God gave me the desire to do my own thing and leave the corporations. He instilled the creativity in me, and I believe he wanted me to start using it for Him. My first year of employment was full of prayer, and he provided the clients, support group, and finances we needed.
My husband supported me through the entire process, encouraging me to step it up, work hard, but quit the job and ultimately not worry about the money aspect. He knew how much I wanted to do something more, and held my hand while I took the leap.
You may be reading this post to learn more about me and my business, or you may be where I was 1 year ago..contemplating taking the leap and seeing what it takes to be successful.
The first thing I want you to know is that success is relative. There is no recipe for it and its definition varies depending on your own goals and aspirations. The world may tell you that in order to be successful you must make a six figure salary and drive a Tesla, but anyone who has been in a happy and thriving business will tell you otherwise. Is your main desire to help people and you do just that? Is your main goal to make enough money so you can stay home with your kids? Then those are your new definitions of “success”.
Once you take off the pressure of trying to achieve goals that are not for everyone, the more you can enjoy the rollercoaster that is running your own business.
Sometimes it takes a support group helping you, guiding you, and encouraging you through those highs and lows. I’m very thankful to have met a group of women who do just that (blog post soon to come). I would encourage you to find people in your life to be that for you, whether it is your spouse, family, close friends, or an online community, you’ll find yourself in need of their socialization and cheerleading.
I’ve also learned in my first year that this business requires a lot of patience. Patience with the journey, with myself, and with my clients. Not everything will run smoothly, and you have to be okay with that. I will let myself down, I will mess up on projects or relationships, but I have to forgive myself for those failures, attempt to do better next time, and forgive the faults.
I’ve had to learn a lot this past year. Mostly how to work directly with my clients and give them a fluid process from start to finish. I’ve incorporated software like Dubsado (for my project and client management), Asana (to organize, plan and maintain my content creation and to-do lists) Calendly/Google Calendar (for setting up phone consultations and client meetings) and of course a slew of social media apps to help in maintaining that effort.
Increasing my knowledge of Adobe programs and video has also been a goal of mine. Instead of making graphics the “fast” way, I am now always looking to make it the most efficient way in skill and time. Video/Film has also become a side-passion of mine and where I’m constantly learning and expanding my knowledge in the craft.
Instead of a list of resolutions I’ve decided to follow the One-Word path. What this means is that I will meditate, reflect, and choose a word that I want to represent 2018. I’m currently still in search of this word, because it isn’t a light task. Whatever this word is will challenge me, push barriers, and result in growth. Want to join me? I’ve created a worksheet to help us brainstorm and select that one-word for 2018. You can click here to download it.
All in all, I know that this new year will be better than the last. I’m thankful for another day, another opportunity to create, learn, and help others.
Cheers to 2018.
We only take on a select number of projects each year to make sure we dedicate all our attention, time, and talents to our clients.
Interested in working together?