As I approach my fourth year since making the choice to go self employed, I thought that perhaps this is as good a time as any, to recap on my victories that are scattered amongst a host of failures.
Failures are the most important aspect of the journey that I have been on, with out them the victories wouldn't taste as sweet, and the the hunger to feed the growth would not exist.
We all encounter obstacles and challenges in our personal and business lives, but how we deal with them ultimately determines the outcome of our future. Splitting from a business partner, a spouse or losing a client are all difficult to deal with, but dealing with these challenges head on will give you a much stronger opportunity to improve on the future. The primary process I employed when things didn't go to plan, was not to focus on the mistakes, instead, I viewed them as events, events that didn't have the desired outcome. This way I allowed myself to focus on... "What will I do differently next time?" With this approach implemented, I was now focussing on solutions to make things better and not dwelling on the misfortune, not beating myself up.
Likewise, I did't get too excited or exhibit too much pride when things went well, momentum is a cruel mistress and can turn on a six pence. Save your money when times are good, because you'll need it when things dip, and trust me, in the early days they will, so prepare.
Thankfully, I've had more ups than downs and have employed many freelancers along the way. It has always been the aim to grow into a small/medium agency and we have managed to reach that level for months at a a time. However, sustaining this momentum isn't easy, but keeping our clients happy is the primary objective, to keeping our clients and continuing to grow.
The victories have been more frequent as the years have passed, as processes and relationships have improved. The mixture of being both a Creative Director and Freelancer have kept me on my toes and definitely aided me in taking my personal development to a new level.
At present, I have an organic team of 7 creatives to assist on projects, along with steady clients and a good pipeline of work achieved from word of mouth and digital marketing campaigns. The difference in equipment, cash flow and personal life in comparison to 4 years ago is incredible, and to think it almost fell apart and I almost gave up early on, makes this minor success all the more rewarding.
When not with my major clients, I spend much of my time helping smaller clients and start ups to get off the ground, something I feel is particularly important in giving something back and strengthening our local community. If you help people get what they want, you can get what you want, without ripping anyone off or playing games you can get ahead.
So, if you're a fellow creative or a young entrepreneur, don't give up when it's tough, because that's usually the point when things are about to turn around. Keep going, keep hustling and keep learning. One day it's going to be your day, if not, at least you did everything in your power.
Stay Classy people!