Looking back at 2010 – No Grey Creative turns 10
2017 marks 10 years for No Grey Creative. As part of the celebration I’ll be bringing you a series of blog posts with the purpose of sharing my unique business story and also with the hope that you can relate to, learn from and have a laugh at (along with me) my experiences. Here’s a look back at 2010…
Felt like I was back at square one: After leaving the Bay Street office and having to cut a lot of costs I felt like I had taken 5 steps backwards. Work also quietened down, less enquiries, hardly any repeat business. I was beginning to think the last 3 years had been a big mistake and I should search for full time employment and forget the whole thing. But I did persevere and did any kind of paid work that came my way.
Problems with being desperate for work: You attract the worst type of people! I had been exposed to some bad eggs in the past but in 2010 I learned the hard way what an undesirable client really is. I had a lot of the standard non payers, but I also encountered situations such as coming up with a concept for someone in a initial meeting and then them (lying) saying they didn’t like it but taking it to someone cheaper and using the concept. Then I had a couple of clients (predominantly Male) who were rather bulling in their approach to working with me and also one situation where I was actually threatened and belittled over a logo concept I’d designed for them. I would expect this type of behaviour in the corporate career world but I never thought for a minute that a small business owner could and would behave like that. I mean, aren’t we all on the same team? As a young female this was quite confronting.
As a solo business owner if this has ever happened to you, you understand how scary and how alone you can feel without the support of co-workers, a manager or even a HR department to support you. YOU are your only support.
I realised that I needed to stand up for myself, believe that I could get through this rough patch and that I should take these experiences and learn how to handle them better in the future.
A stand out new client of 2010: I was referred by (lovely) existing client to a incredibly inspiring Collaborative Lawyer named Marguerite Picard of Melbourne Collaborative Alliance. Herself and her colleagues were about to open their new Collaborative Divorce Centre in Hawthorn East and were in needs of some snazzy invitations. The invitations led to to more work including logo design, business cards, roll up banners, a couple of new websites and countless more creative work. Marguerite and MELCA are still treasured clients today and I feel so lucky to have found such an inspiring, kind and successful group of women to work with. Thanks gals!
A more serious approach to business: It was time I ‘grew up’ in a way and wanted to become more serious about how I went about running a business. I knew that people around me who ran their business had things like invoicing systems, and assistants and systems and processes. I thought that may change (for the better) the way prospective clients viewed me so I decided to implement a few things:
- Got a 1300 number, 1300 NO GREY (664 739) to make it seems like a more established business
- Got a virtual receptionist to answer the phone so I looked important
- Became a company, previously I was a sole trader
- Started accepting credit card payments to help combat non payers and encourage quick payment upfront
- Xero bookkeeping system
- To save some money for these new items I also gave up the second office I had moved to on Bay Street and opted to work from home until I was able to move into a space again.
Ran my first seminar: The Bayside Business Network was offering opportunities for members to run a seminar about their business. I jumped at the opportunity to apply and I was thankfully accepted. The seminar was based around branding and first impressions and how businesses can implement simple visual measures to seem more credible to their prospective clients.
To promote the seminar I was featured in the local paper, invitations were sent by the Bayside Business Network, I produced flyers and I even ran a Facebook advertising campaign (very ahead of my time).
To my surprise I had 45 people attend the evening seminar at Milanos in Brighton! (to think only 4 years earlier the same room was host to my 21st birthday party) I was extremely nervous and put endless amounts of hours into the content and delivery of the presentation. My hard work paid off and the night was a complete success with now having 45 people know exactly what I do and I had 7 new paying jobs as an immediate result.
Some design work from 2010:
Advertising Campaign for John Blair Honda
Logo design for Easy Peasy Kids
Logo design for Well Balanced Chiropractic
Logo design for Peters McKeown