My 1st Year in Business
For the longest time I knew I had to be my own boss. My personality just couldn’t take working for anyone I guess. You know how people say that “I’m not bossy, I’m a boss” that’s how I viewed myself.
Although when I left high school I went and enrolled in Psychology a year in I knew it wasn’t for me. My creative side just didn’t allow me to continue with it. So I dropped out and went on to study PR, which I loved from the get go. Whilst doing that I kinda figured out how I want my career to shape up when I was done. So I became best friends with a computer and the internet.
That’s when I started blogging. Some people will remember my blog, Head Over Heels which later became Finish The Look Blog. Blogging for me was a way to get involved in the Digital Space as I saw how the PR & Media industry was shaping up. And back when I started blogging there was just a few people doing it in SA and even few more in Durban.
Fast forward two internships later after graduation and managing a small local brand. I finally decided on venturing on my own.
Although the journey was just not that simple and easy because, before this, I had gone into partnerships twice and they both failed dismally. (One day I will talk about business partnerships)
Some people will ask weren’t you too quick to start your own business seeing that you haven’t gained much experience in the industry?
Well sure, but the creative industry works differently now. And running a business needs instinct more then anything. Experience has nothing to do with it. I believe
So how did I start?
I launched my business July 2016. After being home for 6 months planning for the launch. I sat down and decided what will my business be about, who will it be servicing, how will it be different from anything currently available and how will I attract clients to work with me.
Once I figured that out I then moved on to giving my brand life. I took money out of my own pocket and did a logo and I sat down and taught myself how to design my website and blog.
Soon after I put things out on my social media platforms and sent out an emailed to my immediate family, friends and connections I’ve previously made. Things took shape and eventually I had people enquiring and landed my first client and I’ve never looked back.
How do I make most of my money?
Most of my clients are small & upcoming businesses. Mostly looking for design work. So majority of my profit comes from that, doing websites and doing consultation sessions.
I’ve also had the opportunity to work with Sbahle Mpisane. Where I managed her brand and that saw a great start to my brand as doing retainer work is what I aim to do. So I will forever be grateful for that opportunity.
The only downside about starting out and being someone with little experience, means you don’t have a lot of people who trust your work. So for the past year I’ve had to charge very low compared to other people and also negotiate to fit a clients budget just so I can be able to do the work. As much as this works against you, it also works for you because you get to build your portfolio to showcase what you can actually do.
I’m about to file my taxes and I know I haven’t made any profit and I’m fine with that. I did allow my first year to be a time period where I learn about myself (as a boss), grow my contacts and clientele and also my portfolio. So far my plan has gone accordingly.
The best thing about working in the creative industry is all the people you get to work with and come across. There are quite some amazing people that I’ve learnt from and worked with. It’s also amazing to connect with people through my blog. You guys have left comments, have dm’d me and sent me emails of appreciation on how my blog and content have helped you get started or figured out your next move. I won’t even begin to discribe the amazing & passionate people I’ve met through my consultations. You guys prove to me I’m on the right path and I’m doing something right.
I also appreciate the work I have done. It’s very rewarding to take someone’s idea and transfer it onto a logo or website. The excitement and appreciation I get from you shows me I’m doing well, the opportunity also means I get to grow in my craft.
More then anything is seeing my parents support my dreams. When I first started out they never liked the idea, I think that was one of the hardest things I had to face. Black parents find it hard to even understand anything creative, worse saying you going to work for yourself. I’m so glad that I never allowed that to break me down, because today they see where things are going, as much as they don’t understand what I do half the time they now support and listen to my frustrations every now and again.
One of the worst thing about this industry is that you get to work with so many different people who have their own personalities. Sometimes you work with people who think they know better and try to even bully you. And sometimes you can’t do much because you need to keep your name intact. We all know word travels fast and you can’t tarnish your name just when you starting out.
I’ve had to face the worst clients that you just wish you didn’t even take the job. I’ve even had to turn down work because it was just not worth it. I’m just glad some people show you from the get go that they will give you trouble if you work with them.
Think the worst part of it all is having to chase for payment. I’ve even had to go as far as getting a lawyer to send a letter of demand because months had gone and I still hadn’t received payment from a client. Running your own business means you get to play every single role in the company, even roles you don’t even know how to face.
But the best part of it all is that you face the situation, learn from it and the next time it comes up you handle it like a boss.
What I still need to work on
I’m a very emotional person. Always have been. Always will be. And being a one man show in my business means I get really involved with clients and also because I’m so passionate about what I do, sometimes I get really invested. So I really want to work on this. Not to get emotional when I’m faced with challenges or clients who don’t know how to treat other people with respect.
My other weakness is my finances. I’ve always been bad when it comes to handling my money and I see that it will start affecting my business. So I’m currently working on a system that will make sense to me and help me manage my finances a whole better.
I have quite a few things I want to achieve before the end of the year. I plan to better position my bsuiness now that I understand what is working and what isn’t. I want my business to move into the direction I envision it had now I have a bit more power to do that. I’m really excited because I know things are going to getter better from here.