Hello! Welcome to this new blog. I’m going to be sharing thoughts on freelancing, tips and advice I’ve learned throughout the years of owning my own business, and some of the process of designing for branding clients. However – I switched my business name, overhauled my website, and have made some big changes in my business, so I thought that for this first post I would explain why I’ve done that, and why those changes have been so helpful!
01 The Problem
I started my business in 2010 as a self-taught designer and developer who knew much more about code than I did about design. It took a lot of time and practice to develop enough skills for me to truly feel like I was good at my profession – which meant that I was then running a business that had evolved and grown over time, without any specific planning and goal setting. What would happen is that I was learning and growing and my goals were changing, but I had no concrete business plan; and my client process wasn’t always solid.
I didn’t have a defined mission statement (or even a defined mission at that!). I wanted to market myself as being able to help anyone with anything within my field, because I wanted the experience and I wanted to help people. That was fine for then – and I definitely did get a lot of experience! But I began to realize that my portfolio was anything but streamlined, and more often than not I was getting inquiries about potential projects I knew weren’t good fits for me, or possibly even them. As time went on I did narrow my work down – I showed my most ideal projects in my portfolio, and began to emphasize branding above other work; but it still wasn’t the solid, pointed business I knew it needed to be.
I think that can be the downside to teaching yourself and starting a business at the same time, or even just starting a business before you have much experience in your field. You will be learning on the go, and that might mean that certain parts of the business will be messy. It’s okay, though! That’s a part of learning, and the messiness passes with time.
02 The Solution
What I finally realized I needed to do was sit down and work through every detail of my business; and truly decide what business niche I belonged in. I needed to regroup, in a sense, and start fresh. All that experience and growth needed to be the foundation for my business – not something I was constantly caught up in and affected by.
For a while I’d been sending detailed client questionnaires to branding clients, and it hit me that I had never answered those questions myself! So I sat down and went through each one. It was a very enlightening moment! All of a sudden I had to get to the core of who I was, what my business was, why I was doing what I was doing, and so much more. Even though I had known that branding was the niche I wanted to belong to, to sit down and really ask myself why this was what I wanted was so valuable. Instead of a general, vague purpose I had a very clear purpose and vision for my business.
On top of that, I went through and totally overhauled my entire client process. Throughout the years of working with people I definitely got a feel for what worked and what didn’t. Some of that information I’d already used to change my process – but some of it I hadn’t yet implemented. So now I took all of it and used it to change how I worked with my clients at every step of the way. I also told myself to make changes that I felt were right for me – not changes that other business owners might make themselves. I didn’t want to flat out copy anyone, especially knowing that one person’s approach is going to be different from another’s. That was so wonderful to accept and use as I worked through each part of the process.
03 Why You Should Re-Think You Business Regularly
I think it’s very important to take stock of your business as a whole on a regular basis, whether it’s every six months, every year, or every two years. You want to take all feedback, all work results, and use that to determine what needs to change as you move forward. A business, especially one that’s owned by a freelancer, is not a stagnant thing, and it showed be changing and growing as its owner changes and grows.
What’s essential is to embrace the entire process of the business development and strategy, not to be scared by it. Working out the details of who you are, why your business exists, what your goals are, and a multitude of other considerations is an integral part of having a solid and lasting business. Yes it takes time and effort, and it isn’t what I’d call easy – but it’s worth it!
So that’s what I’ve been working on behind the scenes, and why I’ve changed my website. And as for the name – well, the old one was too long and didn’t fit me anymore. So it’s Hannah Rose Creative instead of Hannah Rose Beasley Art & Design now, and I’m happy and looking forward to future of freelancing!
Happy New Year!