I’ve got to admit, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I quit my day job and decided to pursue Outlines Design this time last year. All I knew was, it was going to be brutal at times, but also if I worked hard and continued to do the right things, it had the potential to be highly rewarding.
Although it’s not all been plain sailing, particularly in the first few months, on the whole its exceeded expectations, been thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable and my best career decision to date.
When you’ve finished your last 9-5 shift and you walk out those doors facing the prospect of having to fend for yourself in the working world, it’s pretty daunting, and a test of character in many ways.
I just looked at it as a huge opportunity that I would always regret not taking, and that approach pushed me into situations that I normally would have avoided. Things like cold calling (before it was banished), business breakfasts, networking events, sales pitches – you name it, all of which I’d never done or had any desire to do before Outlines Design.
One thing that I suffered from in the early weeks was burnout, and I’m sure many of you can relate to this. For me, I felt very conscious of every moment of the day I spent not working, whether it be project work or prospecting. One lesson I learned was to rein this in and realise that if I continued to do the right things, good things would come without the need for me to work every waking moment.
After the first 3 or 4 projects, momentum started to build and as the portfolio grew, so did the enquiries. LinkedIn was a big catalyst in this, with many of these enquiries coming as a result of me reaching out to people through that.
Some projects were challenging, others were a breeze, but all of them equally as valuable. I worked as hard as I could to ensure that every single client was happy with the end product and that I formed as many long-term business relationships as possible.
It goes without saying that keeping clients happy is fundamental and for me, doing so has been quickly rewarded by referrals and repeat business. This allowed me to spend the majority of the latter part of 2015 focusing on what I love doing, which is designing.
30 clients and over 40 projects later, the goal remains very much the same and the experience, portfolio and network are stronger than ever. The main objective for Outlines Design in 2016 is to continue to grow the client base whilst at the same time, supporting all existing clients with web, brand and design services.