Half way through my fourth year things changed. I had relocated and the focus of my work began to morph. Six months after I moved I realised old business ways were dead. The recession was still biting. The paid creative environment that I knew was getting smaller (and continues to shrink).
Changing the way your company works, after you’ve started it, isn’t unusual or wrong provided it’s not too drastic. Adjusting to suit business needs and markets demonstrates flexibility and a desire to survive and that cannot be bad in a business environment.
But it is a bit like starting over. I feel like I’ve just left university again. It’s not an aspect of change that I like.
For me it’s meant taking a step or three back to save a dream. I don’t want my label to die, but it’s having to change. So I’ve gone back to doing some temp work (as in the early days) to help relieve cash flow problems and get people off my back. And I am looking to hire a PR firm to raise my profile and find the customers I am told are out there.
Social media alone doesn’t cut it. I need experts. I need more time than I have. Especially now that I am once again working for other companies which have no bearing on my own business type. That’s potentially 8 hours out of every day I can’t focus on my business. And that is bad news.
It’s taken several years, a lot of observation and plenty of work to realise what my brand is really about. It’s something I couldn’t have fathomed when I began because it’s required personal experience from inside the industry to realise from my standpoint what the problems are and how I wanted to fix them in my own small way. I discovered I had a brand message. This was a revelation to me.
Transitioning from being a stylist with design and manufacture capabilities to a designer with added stylist abilities is not a huge leap in business terms. But starting an online shop, filling it and selling stuff as the predominant means of income, is. I am not a seller. This is the problem. I can ‘do people’ but I am not a seller in a retail sense.
Before, this didn’t really matter. Now it’s the crux of my business. Admitting you can’t do something and then finding the people who can is vital. And of course that’s how B2B works.
And there are plenty of small businesses that aren’t just one person. In an ideal world I would not be a sole proprietor. I don’t have the infrastructure to be successful at it in that way but it’s the way it happened and it’s the way I always imagined it being so I just got on with it.
I thought 2015 was going to be the year, but really it’s been a transitional year in so many ways. And that’s ok.
Now I have to make 2016 the year.