This month I celebrate 14 years working for myself as Pogo Design.
While it doesn’t seem that long, in many ways a lot has changed.
- My driving motivation to start a business – wanting to find a way my son could attend the local school and manage school holidays – is no longer relevant as he’s left school and become a fully-fledged adult.
- Covid means working from home is now fairly common. Rather than a rare privilege for workers in the right industries with a good level of discipline.
- People starting businesses today really do need a website and a social media presence. While they don’t need a printed letterhead to help them look professional.
The basics still remain the same though. Finding and building relationships with clients. Providing value which in my case means coming up with good ideas and being creative. And service. Being easy to work with, responsive and reliable.
As with anything there have been challenges and rewards. For me, working for myself has involved working out the 3 B’s.
- Balance – working out the balance between work and homelife. Especially if the studio is just there and that thing needs doing, now!
- Being the Boss – you get to call the shots, make the decisions, fix the problems and deal with what needs to be dealt with. This is where having a support network of friends, colleagues and helpful suppliers comes into its own. People to give advice and hold your hand when you have to make a difficult call. Or be your cheerleaders when things aren’t going your way.
- Boom and bust – dealing with the really busy times and not freaking out when it’s quiet. Remember, unlike a job you don’t get paid to pee!
It’s not for everyone, but being brave and taking the leap of confidence have rewarded me with:
- Time – flexibility to spend time with the people, and doing the things, I care about.
- Relationships – I’ve built some great working relationships. Some of my clients have worked with me for over a decade. Also, great friendships have come from my business networks. I get to work with fantastic people and enjoy what I do.
- Growth – I couldn’t have started Pogo without the help and support of many people. Constant change means I’m always learning and evolving.
Have I been successful? And here’s the nub of it, what does success look like?
- Have I won a design award lately? No
- Have I got a flashy studio and a business I can sell in the future? No
- Does my car scream POGO from eye-catching livery? No
But by my measures of success, I’m more than nailing it.
- Did I walk my son through the school gate on his first day of school? Hell Yes!
- Have I made great friends, had the time to visit family overseas, not work school holidays and contribute to my local community? Yes
- Does work support my lifestyle? Yes
- Am I still in business and have I achieved something I didn’t think I could? Yep!
On a final note, and an answer to that burning question, “How many business cards should a new business print?”
Not sure, I’ll let you know when I finally run out!