“Everyone who achieves success in a great venture solves each problem as they came. They helped themselves and they were helped through powers known and unknown to them at the time they set out on their voyage. They keep going regardless of the obstacles they meet.”
—W. Clement Stone, businessman, philanthropist, and author
So — I did a thing… I started my own business. Nearly by mistake, and thanks to a timely layoff. Here’s a little bit about why I started Soul Creative.
For me, owning my own business isn’t about making tons of money. I had that in my “past life” with my now ex-husband, the tons of money part. (I’m sorry if this next part offends you, but this is part of why I started my business…) I worked hard as a college professor, freelancer, but I didn’t make a lot, he did, and he kept me down and I let him because I didn’t know that I could actually do good things, am talented, and can make a difference in other people’s lives.
I wanted to help people achieve their goals and I was comfortable with working from home since my last job allowed me that flexibility.
I love what I do and I hope to make enough money doing it to travel with my friends and my dog, spend time with family and friends, and pay my bills. That’s it.
Soul Creative was started almost by mistake. I was laid off last year the day after Mother’s Day. At the time I was in Greenville, South Carolina where I was visiting my old stomping grounds and spending time with old and new friends.
That day, in particular, I was with my friend Andrew’s wife and kids. You see, Andrew passed away suddenly on February 10 leaving 6 biological children and 2 stepchildren and a beautiful wife named Jessica. She was celebrating her first Mother’s Day without her husband and I was celebrating my Mother’s Day celebrating her.
The Turning Point
When I got the news I was laid off, via email, (which I’m actually grateful for because it gave me time to think and not just REACT), I updated my resume, sent a few emails to some key friends in Lancaster and headed home from Greenville.
When I got back… I interviewed for some jobs, but they just weren’t a good fit. I had an eclectic work background in all things digital marketing, and couldn’t find something where I could use all of my skills. Only parts.
I met with a woman who I instantly bonded with that needed some help with content for her website. Once I took a look at it and learned her story I knew I wanted to work with her and do more than just write some content for her. She had a booming business, but an outdated look and feel so I suggested branding, a logo redesign, and a new website. She agreed and there I was …. in business!
It’s been a good year — making my own money, working with amazing clients, and hiring my widowed friend Jessica as a designer and editor — my first team member… has been awesome!!
It’s not been easy though. I’ve cried, I’ve nearly given up many times, I’ve freaked out, had a panic attack, doubted myself, made mistakes… but I’ve also learned a lot.
Here are some things I’ve learned in my first year as an entrepreneur:
- Listen More – Talk Less. There are so many people who just want to be heard. I’ve learned to deeply listen to people to really interpret what they are saying. That keeps my ego and motives in check.
- Treat people like you’d like to be treated. The good old golden rule still applies today.
- Be flexible and understanding. When people start out in business — they’re going to to make mistakes.
- Admit when you’re wrong. No one likes to hear excuses like “I’m really busy”… every client wants to believe they are your ONLY client, or “It wasn’t my fault”. When you are the owner — everything is up to you to check and be on top of.
- Find your niche and stick with what you’re really good at and like doing. That makes it fun to go to work every day.
- Networking is very important. Don’t discount it, try to make it to at least one networking event a year.
- Know your limits. If there is something you aren’t totally familiar with, don’t say that you are. (I learned this the hard way when trying to “people please”.)
- Put everything in writing. Be clear in your contracts and hold yourself and your customers accountable.
- Don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth. I also learned this the hard way, but I’m working on it!
- Be open to advice and criticism. Get out of your own way. If you’re anything like me, you DON’T know it all!
So, that’s the story so far — Soul Creative is about love. It’s about going above and beyond for our clients and providing services at affordable rates.
We work hard to learn WHY people are in business, what they are trying to achieve and what difference they are trying to make. Then we create a visual, digital, and online presence that reflects it. With Soul Creative you get personalized service and one person working on all parts of your marketing plan!
Thanks for making this a great first year for us!