How I Got Unstuck & Launched My Business + GIVEAWAY
For years I spoke about launching my business website, Die Free Studios, but felt like there were countless roadblocks that always seemed to pop up. Every problem I hid behind was really me second-guessing if I was capable of this huge endeavor, not knowing how to position the business to meet my current needs & future plans, and a lot more muck that was taking up my mental energy.
Below are the reasons i perceived to be holding me back and how I overcame them...
01. No Branding/Logo
Yes, it’s crazy that Die Free Studios creates identities for other companies, but in full transparency, creating that for your own business is nearly impossible. What started out as a few weeks of creating extensive Pinterest boards, sketching, and playing in Illustrator, turned into years, yes years, of second-guessing and hating any logo I started.
How I Solved It:
I decided to launch with something clean, editorial and minimal that spoke to my intended audience and showcased a few of my favorite projects. I took the emotions out of it (as much as I could), made sure all the adequate information was there and hit go. Whatever was done was done and I had an understanding with myself that the website would consistently grow, change, and evolve.
02. not taking risks
I was too comfortable with getting by. Meaning, I had gotten by for years obtaining new clients simply from word of mouth. If things got too tight, I would go out and look for quick jobs to make ends meet. There was no fire under me that pushed me to be better than ok. My days lacked structure and I lacked passion-driven goals.
How I Solved It:
I got to a point where not having a website for my business was no longer just a simple item on my to-do list, but was actually hindering my growth. If I wanted to connect with the high-level brands and individuals I was aiming for, I knew I had to have a web presence. That was where my comfort zone became unbelievably uncomfortable. I knew having something out there would allow me to network more powerfully, show the full range of what we do at Die Free Studios, and attract clients with larger budgets. The fire came from seeing everyone around me doing amazing things (I always stress the importance of who you surround yourself with), wanting more for myself and knew I already had all the tools to create exactly what I desired.
03. Lack Of Direction
I was stuck between where I was and where I wanted to be. The goal of Die Free Studios is to work with impactful brands by developing beautiful thought-provoking visuals on a much higher level. The reality was that I currently found a niche in helping new companies and creative individuals gain direction and develop their websites, which translated to clients with lower budgets. I was stuck because I loved helping people take their initial step into the world of entrepreneurship but I truly ached to do bigger, more meaningful projects for brands that are ready to invest in the way Die Free Studios comes to creative solutions. This kept me in an endless loop of how I should position myself to continue making money now without devaluing the luxury, high-end creative studio that Die Free Studios is.
How I Solved It:
I knew in my heart I wanted to serve a higher-end clientele and stop making excuses about how I couldn't do that yet. I decided to phase out the current clients I had, while doing immense outreach work and connecting with mentors in the same industry. I also stated what DFS looks for in brands on the website and had a style that represented an elevated taste level to get me closer to my ideal clients. This way, I didn't have to say "I only work with high-end brands", but let the design speak for itself..... Oh, and I raised my prices!
*Note: Money Post Coming Soon.
04. money & personal organization
Because my life was all over the place, building my website continued to be pushed to the bottom of my to-do list. My life felt like a constant loop of catching up on late client projects, scrambling for the next check, having a personal life, keeping my mental sanity and Netflix.
How I solved it:
I made the most in-depth to-do list of what I needed to do to get the website done. This meant, selecting projects I wanted to show, making sure I had images for each of those projects, outlining each page I wanted, and more. Once everything was broken down into baby steps, I took 2 days off screaming "eff my client projects" (really not really), TOLD MY FRIENDS AT JIGSAW WHO I KNEW WOULD KEEP MY ACCOUNTABLE ABOUT THE LAUNCH DATE, and got to work. I knew my desire to get it done outweighed my uncertainty and I showed up to JigSaw with an attitude that wreaked stress, then ended up staying up to 3am with my best friend (bless Michel'le's heart) to get it done.
I launched and guess what....no one REALLY cared. I mean, they cared... I got texts, emails and accolades, BUT it was so not a big deal. People checked it out then went on with their lives lmao.
The biggest thing that initially kept me stuck was a lack of community and structure. Literally, at the very time I realized this, JigSaw launched their track series and Lizzy Okoro of BUNCH Magazine, launched her Creative Start-Up Kit. I decided to invest (even though I didn't want to spend extra money), because I knew something had to change.
At JigSaw, we met once a week to step away from our businesses to, in turn, dive deeper into them. We did work around defining what we wanted to pursue, being shameless about it, working on a pitch, and having a new industry leaders speak about different business subjects each week. It was the exact remedy to getting me unstuck. It was like going to the funnest, most productive business school for women.
I also dove deep into the Creative Start-Up Kit ($10 off with code: OFF10) that laid out everything I could possibly need to know about what to do before I launched, how to launch, and the steps to take afterwards to grow my business. Lizzy made launching a business so inexcusable through her kit that I couldn't believe something like this 1. existed 2. was so cheap.
Both JigsSaw and the Creative Start-Up Kit helped me get clear about my company’s position, take powerful action-driven steps to achieving my goals, and were overall invaluable resources.
The biggest things that helped me propel were:
- JUST DOING IT. Put on blinders to all doubts and just DO THE DAMN THING.
- STOP PENNY PINCHING. Especially, in areas that are worth the investment. It’s good to save money and do it yourself sometimes, but when something is holding you up from potentially making more money or simply moving forward, it's best to take the risk and INVEST as that will directly result in you getting further.
- JOIN A COMMUNITY/GET A SUPPORT SYSTEM. I use to be so “above” needing other people but at the end of the day, not having a community took a toll. When I saw that others around me were succeeding because they had mentors and a community surrounding their endeavors, I realized I needed to get off my high horse and ASK FOR HELP, have real conversations about what I was going through, and surround myself with others who were pursing their dreams as well.
Because I know how challenging launching a website can be (and how long this post was), I'm giving away a free website design for those who already using Squarespace and an in-depth website consultation if you aren't using Squarespace for your business. We will spend 5 days diving into your website, making changes where necessary, and overall setting your website up to achieve your business goals. Entries close at 09/08/17 at 5pm.
- Discovery: A walkthrough of your brand, goals, where you currently are and where you want to be.
- Industry Advice: We will root your design/consultation in strategy for growth. Targeting your ideal audience/customer, creating a smart, beautiful and easy website flow, and optimizing your website for Google searches.
- Customized Squarespace Design ...if you already have a live Squarespace site. If not...
- An in-depth consultation of your current website with a personalized pdf of steps to take moving forward with your brand.
- Must have a creative business or be a creative looking to position themselves for hire.
- Follow @asiamdav on Instagram and Twitter.
- Sign-up for my emailing list (I promise to not spam you!).
- For Web Design: Must be a current Squarespace user with all assets in place or organized and ready to go.
- For Consultation: Must have a current link with all your assets in place.
- Fill out the form below to enter.
This giveaway does not include additional fees for setting up your website (ongoing costs, etc.) in Squarespace or other associated other programs. Be sure you are willing to pay before entering the giveaway. Regular Prices. Student Prices.
I do not take responsibility for results (or lack of) from brand strategy or website design. Meant for inspirational/motivational purposes only.