How quickly another year has flown by! I am very proud to have been operating as designed by CCC full time for exactly fours years today! One more year and I will have “made it” in business according to Forbes.com as only 50% of businesses make it to 5 years!!!
I thought I’d share some of my key business learning’s from experience…
- Structure your day… to a point
We work for ourselves for a reason – to enjoy life and the flexibility that comes with owning a business! I get so much joy from going for a walk every morning with my Mum and our dog Tyson in the Riverhead Forest. I love the breath taking scenery and find that afterwards I am motivated and excited for the work day ahead. When the opportunity arises I will I fit in a coffee date with a friend or lunch date with my husband! After my design work I’m off riding in the afternoon which finishes off the wonderful day 🙂
- Planning & Lists
Over the years I hae developed some tried and true organisational skills, which helps in keeping my jobs on track, and enables me to consistently follow up on quotes, enquiries and payments. Here are some of the things I do to get myself sorted…
- I print out physical job sheets for each client where I record time spent on their job
2. A regular weekly print out I use is Beck Wadworths ‘An Organized Life‘ weekly planner which gives an overview of the week. Filling it in keeps me on track with the jobs I need to complete day by day and those for the following week.
3. I swear by two spreadsheets. I use google docs and these are always open next to my email in two different window tabs.
The first one “Weekly Billable Hours” is where I enter my chargeable hours. This gives me a total for the day and the week. This is great for accountability. It basically lets me know if I have or haven’t worked enough hours for the week!
The second spread sheet is “Current Work“. This is where I list “Potential Jobs” and what date they became “interested”, “quoted” and then “followed up.” If and when these jobs become “current work” I have other columns where I record the start date, invoiced date, invoice number, amount due, date due and any side notes 😉
Everyone has their niche. The key is identifying yours and using it to get started. From there, by producing good quality work it will lead to your network growing as you are recommended by existing members of that network. My biggest network is the wonderful horse community and I thank them all as they have boosted my success in business hugely 🙂
- Up skilling
I invest as much time as I can into up skilling. For me this is in terms of keeping up with the latest software, trends and changes in the way that facebook and google works. It just makes sure that I am capable of meeting the changing requirements of my clients.
- Handling payments
Be brave ask for deposits before you commence any work, this separates out the dreamers! Plus communicate what your payment terms are in every quote 🙂
Letting my role evolve
I have noticed that over the years my skills have broadened from just graphic design into other interesting roles. This gives me potential for growth in the future – which is super exciting! Here are some of the other things I now do…
- Project lover and ideas creator
- Collaborator – who can help further a clients own brilliant ideas
- Project manager
- Athlete Profile manager
- Sponsorship advisor – for athletes and events
- Events and marketing
- Mentor – providing advise gained from previous clients successful projects.
Aside from my business are the projects Brent and I always seem to get ourselves into!!! Firstly our 1987 Crusader Caravan reno, affectionately named “Blueberry” for her muted sky-like colour and rather round and wide appearance. She enjoyed an interior reno before our 4 week South Island roadie last December and January, visiting friends and family.
Then in February she became a bar at our beautiful friend’s wedding, Donna and Elise 🙂
This winter we moved onto our interior stable/house reno. A complete repaint inside and we now have taken over all of the stables by knocking out a wall and extending our bedroom. Exposing the A-framework, adding more wardrobe space, insulation, carpeting (very luxurious after concrete), installing a beautiful big window that came from our Waimauku bungalow, which Dad made cedar shutters for.
Brent is now getting stuck into making beautiful custom made pallet furniture for our tiny home… The first piece is my work desk which come night time or on the weekends turns into a coffee table.
I thought I better end with some stand out jobs this past year!
I would like to thank my regular and loyal clients that continually recommend me to their friends, family and acquaintances. It is so rewarding to see the cycle of where jobs originate from, so I thank you all for trusting in my abilities – you all know who you are 😉
I hope to see you at the 5 year mark!