Three Things I'd Do Differently
Someone recently asked me “If you were to start your business over now, what would you do differently?” and it got me thinking— what would I do differently? If I could go back to the beginning, I probably wouldn’t actually change much because I’m so proud of where I am now, but there are definitely some tidbits I would have loved to be let in on. So if you’re new to the entrepreneur journey, I hope this helps you, and if you’ve been around for awhile, I’d love to hear your top three changes you could make to your own business.
1) Research average industry pricing and charge what you’re worth from the beginning.
Portfolio work is vital to growing a business in the creative industry, but because of that, I was willing to design websites for $200 when I first started out and worked hours and hours on end making nothing. If you don’t value your work, then your clients won’t either and that was definitely a lesson I learned the hard way.
If you’re just starting out in the creative industry (or any industry for that matter), I’d encourage you to do your research before you send estimates to clients. Do the math of how long you think something will take you. For example, websites take me a minimum of 15-20 hours to create, so on the first paid website I designed, I was making less than minimum wage.
Secondly, research the industry. If you’re a graphic designer, look at other graphic designer’s websites and see what their price range is; if you’re a photographer, a virtual assistant, a copywriter, or anything else, do the same. Charge below average if you’re just starting out, but not drastically below average.
2) Spend your free time creating personal projects for fictional companies.
This goes right along with number one, but is so important and how many creatives get their first clients. Create fake projects! It’s as simple as that. If you’re a designer, dream up types of companies you’d love to work with and create branding for them. If you’re a photographer, ask a few friends if you can use them for a styled shoot. Get creative.
3) Determine your target audience and brand yourself accordingly.
Ask yourself what type of people you’d like to be working with 2-3 years from now. Identify their age range, life stage, gender, profession, hobbies, likes and dislikes and anything else you can think of. That is your target audience. Next up is branding. Think through what kind of a logo, color scheme, website and tone of voice, will reach that audience and build your brand based upon it. My best encouragement would be to scrounge up any spare change and save up to hire a designer, but if you can’t make that work financially (we’ve been there, too!), look for pre-made Etsy logos that you feel will resonate with the target audience you’ve identified. Put your personal preferences aside and focus on your market.
Related: Business coaching