I made one of the biggest steps in my career at the back end of 2008. I left full time employment as a senior designer in one of the top 100 design agencies in the UK to go it alone... to set up my own business, to step out into the unknown and the unchartered. Fuelled by my passion, creativity and experience built up from working with clients, large and small, for nearly a decade, it felt like my time. I had mustered the confidence, finally, to believe in myself and launch my own design agency; United by Design.
Since 2008, it has been a rocky, bumpy, rollercoaster of a ride. One that has been so enjoyable, heart-breaking, joyous, mind bending, tough, scary, satisfying, fulfilling and most days one of the best decisions I have ever made. But... it's so easy to get stuck or lost when running your own business, even when you LOVE what you. To get isolated and keep things in your head. To almost be paralysed by the enormity of what is happening on a daily basis.
The reason I started United by Design was, and still, is because I am crazy mad about everything to do with creativity, ideas and the commerciality of what design can do for business and organisations. I get a thrill about geeking out over type, putting a pencil to paper and fine tuning ideas, pushing the boundaries of creativity and innovating to change the way people think about things. I have trained my brain, educating to become the creative director I am today. Educating, which definitely does not stop in this industry, everyday to communicate and distill the essence of unique solutions, to be different and to ensure success – wether it is creatively and/or commercially.
The other side of things is people! Building a team, working with wonderful people who want to do amazing things – those clients who are looking to make a difference and be successful. I never wanted to work on my own... and since 2008 the United by Design team continues to grow and gets better as I work closely with talented people to do great things. That said owning and running a company is about being on your own. You are the sole decision maker. The person the people turn to and where responsibility ultimate lies, with respects to the team and of course the clients and suppliers you work with on a daily basis.
Setting out on the path of self employment the mindset of a business owner, an entrepreneur I would say is not necessarily as easily aligned to that of who I am as a designer and creative director. The natural position my brain defaults to, due to having been in industry for nearly 20 years, does not come as easily as perhaps it should to do things in a different way, looking at things with a different perspective and acting on things with a different attitude.
Getting almost 9 years in to running a business the roll of a designer or Creative Director, I believe, sits slightly at odds with what I also have to do on a daily basis as the role of Managing Director and owner of a business. As a graphic designer I totally underestimated this different way of working, of thinking and of doing. You are stretched and ultimately compromised every minute of the day.
Although you can use both roles to help inform and sometimes change the way you do things, in an innovated way, the brain and the practical development of the business is affected by trying to do both roles at the same time! I would say it is almost impossible! To effectively grow the business there needs to be more clarity and a change in the way not only how I think but how I act. At the moment the business is not able to financially commit to bring a new director into role. We have to be savvy and agile to keep the business turning with the current resources.
So there's the kicker... how do you make a shift, and a significant one, in the way you think and behave. That magic balance between two very different roles and not compromising yourself or creating that knock on effect to the business you love and want to succeed. Added to the fact that, when struggling with all the things in your head or being clouded by the daily grind, how do you rise above everything to give yourself the time to lighten the load, the pressure and ensure I am no longer stuck in this seemingly perpetual spin – because as we know you become slightly maddened by this!
To break this cycle, to ensure I could step outside of the daily rigours and distractions I needed to take time out of the business for at least a few hours and work on me and how I wanted my role to develop in the business. This would allow focus and clarity to be achieved
This is where the very talented Jules came into frame for me. I have know her for years and been a fan of how she works I decided to book a 'kickstarter' session with her to give me that much needed clarity and find that 'magic balance'. I knew that it would certainly be a challenge and Jules would not hold back in really getting to the core of the situation, whilst also drawing out other things that I could address to help move my own personal development forward, as well as United by Design.
The session was a perfect strategy session that covered so many aspects but fundamentally provided me with some fantastic, practical tools to actively change the way I do things for the better. Jules has an approach that is warm, full of humour and empathy but is not scared to push, pull and pro-actively battle the things that you are perhaps ignoring, scared of or fear. Drawing out the 'best' you and to give you the confidence to really change for the better. Her experience and knowledge ensures the session is enjoyable but she will certainly not hold back. I knew it would not be an easy couple of hours but knew I had to step up and work with Jules – she has such a wonderful collaborative approach, providing an environment that is safe and secure.
Jules worked with me to discover the true challenge and evolve new tools that could help me daily in my approach to running the business and tackling those daily tasks and decisions that needed to be made to significantly move the business forward.
There have been a few things I have read, completed, subscribed to and attended that have helped but the very practical and hands on kickstarter session that Jules has developed is a valuable and genuinely effective way of tackling challenges for you and your business. I can not recommend Jules, and what she does, enough! Whether you need a couple of hours or a course of sessions. You will not be disappointed.
WOW! Thank you Jules.
You certainly have made a difference to me and my business.