1. Just do it.
There will never be the perfect time, never be a door wide open with the path clearly marked out for you to start your own business. If the time feels even partially right, go for it.
Easier said than done, of course. I took months to formulate a plan, writing down all the steps I needed to complete before I opened my business, planning what a typical day would look like, how I would get projects and so on. These were all helpful things, especially in convincing my husband it was a good idea, however, until you’re knee deep, you can not anticipate what is ahead.
2. Referrals are everything.
I have been very fortunate to have connections from my previous experience, who have reached out and sent me work. Making positive connections with everyone I encounter is key, I own my own business now, and it is critical that each opportunity to connect with someone counts.
3. Organization. Organization. Organization.
I am not a Graphic Designer anymore… I am a Graphic Designer, Accounting, Billing, the Receptionist, IT Support, Project Manager, Business Development, Photographer, Social Media Manager, and Marketer. Just because I started a Graphic Designer business, does not mean that Graphic Design is my full-time job.
There are so many tasks that need to be completed to make this a success, and organization is the key to that success. Thankfully, I was born overly organized. And fulfilling these roles has not been an issue for me, honestly, it has been the opposite. It’s exciting and refreshing to have the responsibility.
It is not news to anyone that knows anything about freelance work, it can be isolating. I ensure that I do not allow myself to sit in the house for days on end, my only human interactions being with UPS, FedEx and my husband. I know that, for me, is a recipe to be driven crazy.
So, to solve this, when I know I will be working from home on any given day, I make a point to either get out and run errands over lunch, take a long walk, or head over to the gym and take a class. I try to make a point to have positive interactions with everyone I come across, the cashier at the grocery store, the instructor at my spin class, etc.
Just because I do not work at a desk job anymore, does not mean I do not deserve to be set up like I do! Having the proper equipment is another key to success. I ensure that all my work is properly backed up, (Back Blaze has been so useful)! I have a solid external hard drive that I use to archive past projects, I purchased a good printer, and upgraded our home wireless router. I have a new powerful laptop, and next on the list is to treat myself to a shiny new monitor so I can be even more efficient.
This also goes to managing your finances. QuickBooks is a tool which I learned over the past 6 months, and it has proven to be beneficial in keeping track of my income and expenses. When April 15 roles around, the last thing I want to do is scramble. I take time to be organized, to know how much I make each month, and keep track the miles I drive to meetings, all these things pay off.
Over the past six months, I have noticed that my best days working from home, are the days which I…
A. Make myself a good cup of tea. (Almost out of mine, open to suggestions on a new one!)
B. Light a delicious smelling candle.
C. Put an upbeat playlist on through our Marshall Bluetooth speaker.
D. Sit at the dining room table.
Why? Because I have found these things create an engaging atmosphere, and set me up for success. I could work upstairs at my desk in the office, which isn’t as supportive as our new dining room set, does not get as good of lighting, and does not have access to the speakers.
Working in silence, enhanced the isolation. Bad idea. Sure, I could sacrifice the candle, but nah. Working on the couch, only lead to feeling like I should open my Netflix app and watch a “quick episode”. Bad idea. Figuring out what works best for me was important, and it took time!
Stay tuned, as I for one, am anxious to see what the next 6 months, and even 6 years running Bliss Creative take me!