What to do when your business feels wrong
Before I jump into the main point of this post, I should probably give you a quick overview of how my business came about.
You see it was never my aim to work for myself. I left university and headed off into the corporate world and the fashion industry. I spent my days analysing spreadsheets, profiling customers and building up brands. I was right on course with my life plan.... but....I was bored.
As a way of feeding my creative need and for something outside of work, I started blogging. I wrote about the things I loved, I shared dreams and plans, craft projects, and I had fun creating pretty graphics and designing my blog. Soon people asked me to create things for them and so I set up an Etsy shop. It never occurred to me that one day this would become my career. I didn't have a solid background in design, and surely no one really made money from doing something they loved?
But soon, I began to dream about what life might be like if I worked for myself. No more ridiculous commutes into central London, no more dealing with the cut-throat boss and no more watching for the clock to hit 5pm.
And so in 2011 I made the leap...I became my own boss, full-time. This isn't an overnight success story, on more than one occasion I had to take on another job to make ends meet. There were weeks with no work, sleepless nights wondering if I was crazy, hours spent feeling inadequate. But things did pick up and I found myself with a steady stream of clients and projects, and that led me to think about the future.
Which brings me back to the main point of this post.
As more projects began to come in, I started to put a plan in place for growth. I found myself not only offering design to clients, but a full range of marketing services. I started to pitch myself as a full-service agency. I became more 'corporate' in my blog posts, I thought about employing other people.
It seemed like the logical next step - get more work, employ people, grow into an agency, rent a fancy office.
Except I hated it. It felt false. It felt wrong.
I forgot why I was doing this in the first place, I buckled under the weight of expectation, I stopped having fun. And to me that would mean the end. So much of life can be hard, why make it even harder?
Which brings me to today.
I have spent the past few weeks really taking stock. Evaluating my business and deciding what does and doesn't work. Here's what I have figured out so far:
- I don't want to employ or manage people. I want to collaborate. Equal partnerships.
- I am most attracted to working with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. Brands that are passionate about what they do and clear on why they do it. People who are not afraid to take a different viewpoint or push boundaries. Companies who are committed to sharing their story, authentically.
- I am a designer and art director at heart. I have a ton of marketing experience on my CV and I love all things digital and social but designing and creating is what truly lights me up.
- The way I have been pitching myself and my business feels plain wrong. I want to spend my days feeling connected, authentic and creatively challenged and my current business model is totally out of alignment with that.
So, what does this mean?
It means I am going to be spending more time taking stock. I will be taking the time to figure out on a deeper level what I want the future of LP Studio to look like. I will be fine-tuning and tweaking, sharpening my brand and bringing everything back into alignment.
On a practical level I have some awesome clients and projects lined up and I will be focusing on them. I will be blogging about the things I love and that inspire me. I will be creating out of a place of joy and love, because anything else won't be my best work.
As always, I appreciate your support. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you guys out there reading my blog, sharing my work and offering up your support. I am so grateful for you.
Here's to the next phase!