Episode 002: Show Notes
Today, we get to hear from Abagail (one half of TCC). I wanted to learn all about her journey before Think Creative Collective was born. Before the launch of TCC, Abagail had an incredible five-plus years of business and design experience accelerating companies of all shapes and sizes (some that were billion dollar companies!). One of the most amazing stories is how, within 30 days of getting the pink slip, she was able to completely replace her corporate income by turning her side hustle into her full time gig. Whoa.
Listen as Abagail covers the exact steps she took to go from not-so-great clients to owning her own design boutique. Figure out where she decided to invest first to get her business off the ground (without spending a ton of money). Steal the strategies she used to get clients in the door when she had no portfolio and little experience. This episode is truly for anyone wanting to get their business off the ground quickly whether you’ve been laid off or just want want to try something new.
Preparing for that Pink Slip When It is on the Horizon
Abagail was working as an in-house designer when one day, the thing we all fear the most happened — she got the pink slip and was laid off. If you ask her though, she knew it was coming. We always find it hilarious when people say that owning your own business isn’t secure enough for them. One month you can have clients and the next month...nothing. Well, take it from Abagail, who’s been laid off twice — you can never be sure of what’s going to happen next. Since the pink slip wasn’t a total surprise for Abagail, she was laying some foundations before it even came. She starting blogging and putting her words out into the world to let others know that she had something unique to offer.
Making the Most of a 30 Day Window
Before getting laid off, Abagail had been running her blog for a mere two weeks. Once she got the pink slip, they informed her that she had 30 days where she would still get paid and she could still come to work. However, there was not much for her to do there, so she took the opportunity to really put everything into her blog and strategize her next move, which eventually led her into expanding her client list for the design business.
Strategies for Getting Connected, Fast!
When Abagail left her old job, she was able to take a few clients with her, but none that were retainers or could provide any consistent income. She knew she could do project based work and she knew she could do branding, and dubbed herself a website designer (even though she’d built all of three websites in her life). Since she was brand new to the city and most of her clients were from her college town, she was really desperate to meet new people. So she took everyone she could possibly think of who were well connected in the area out for a coffee.
Transitioning Out of the Corporate Life
While working in her corporate job, Abagail spent her days getting up at five in the morning just to make the 45 minute commute to work to get in on time. The time spent at work was restrictive and, although she was able to finish all her work in a couple of hours, she was forced to stay in the office for the full eight hours. This would lead to a lot of distraction, and she took the time to focus on growing her business and blog on the side. Once her 30 day notice period was over, Abagail was very busy with her business and had a strategic plan already in place. Stepping into her new entrepreneur life, she worked tirelessly day and night because she wanted it to be successful.
Justifying Saying “Yes” to Non-Ideal Clients
A lot of people struggle deciding what to agree to and what to say no to, especially at the beginning. Your ideal client is often not yet defined, and you still have to pay the bills after all! When Abagail started out, she got connected with another designer who referred clients to her. Even though she had to pay a referral fee, it meant consistent work, which was well worth the expense in the end. As time went on she was able to show her skill set a little bit more, and as her prices increased she had to move towards clients who had been in business for a longer period of time. This moved her away from her ideal clients, creative women-led startups, and she was working with bigger and bigger businesses.
Where to Focus When Launching a Business
When first starting a business, the biggest thing to really focus on is that one key piece that will bring in the money. If you are just at the very beginnings of your business, do not pursue something that is crazy different from what you have experience in. Focus on what you know, the skill set you already have, and let that be your platform. Even if your true passion doesn’t really fit with your skill set, you can always have multiple things going on at once. Your main business and revenue stream should be what you are already qualified to do, and your true passion can be a side hustle and creative outlet that you can grow slowly over time.
Mistakes That Are Stalling Your Creative Side Hustle
Oftentimes the one big roadblock is that a lot of people make excuses for not wanting to put in the hard work and the hustle. When you are truly committed to making it work, there will be a major fire under your booty and you will be willing to do whatever it takes to reach your goals. In the beginning, that means working more hours, not because you have to but because if you want to get there sooner rather than later, you absolutely have to put in the time. So there is certainly no room to make excuses about not having enough time.
- Learn how to preparing for that pink slip when it is already on the horizon. [00:02:20.7]
- Find out what Abagail did to make the most of her 30 day window, and how she worked to replace her corporate income. [00:06:32.6]
- Understand why getting connected is your first and must-do step for starting your business, and where to start. [00:11:02.6]
- The transition from the corporate life to running your own business full-time can be quite the adjustment. Find out what Abagail did to make this work. [00:20:03.0]
- Understand why when you are first starting out, there is some justification in saying “yes” to non-ideal clients just so you can stay afloat and pay the bills. [0:26:17.8]
- Discover where to focus when launching a business and how to recognize when you are not serving your true, ideal client. [0:31:12.3]
- Find out why the most common mistakes new business owners make includes excuses upon excuses, and how it is causing their creative side hustle to stall. [0:34:36.7]
- Get a website.
- Get a plan.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to people.