Members Helping Members - Educating, Informing, Supporting
In the age of fast food, 4G speed, High Speed Internet, and being able to find anything in seconds with Google, we have all become accustomed to getting what we want in a matter of minutes. I am no different, in the sense that I am used to getting things done and expecting immediate results. I have always worked for others, and have always seen a cause/effect scenario for my actions. In the past few months, however, I have realized that it is different when working for yourself. The things I do today may not have an immediate turn around. I have learned first hand one of the essential principles of long-term business ownership: Sometimes these things simply take time.
No One Said it Would Be Easy
I have always been passionate about art and design, and in the past few years, the web design and development portions have become a part of that passion. With the current state of the economy, however, it hasn't been that easy to land new clients and make the money that I have wanted. Where people used to be knocking down your door to have a website built, many simply don't have the budget to pay you what you are worth (a lot goes into building a website from scratch), or they want to try to build it themselves to save money.
With this being said, it can be easy to become discouraged. Having trouble finding clients can weigh on you heavily, considering that is how you make your money. On the other hand, you should consider a couple of different points. One is how narrow your scope of business is. If you focus on too narrow of a niche market, it may be difficult to pay the bills. My main focus used to be new business owners. While I still build for new business owners, that is no longer my main focus. I focus on small projects for existing businesses, website redesigns or rebranding, printed collateral, and other services, which are all well within my capabilities and expertise. Another point is to think of how you can connect with other business owners and network with them. For my business, one thing I have is expertise, and I enjoy teaching others how to do things. I enjoy writing, so I have been writing articles for industry websites.
I started Creative Beacon a couple of years ago, in the hopes that I could build a website that would bring a lot of traffic and I could make money via advertising. I really had no idea at the time what I was doing. I had a plan and a goal, but no idea how to accomplish it. I wrote many articles and how-to's but it seemed to never really take off how I wanted. GraphicDesign.com approached me to write articles for them, because they had been to my site, and it had come up in Google Search. I agreed and have been writing for them ever since. It was then that I realized that I could write for other sites as well, and I approached other sites, such as Design Festival, owned by web juggernaut SitePoint, CSSMenuMaker.com, and FuelYourCreativity.com.
Make Use of What You Know
Writing truly interesting and useful articles for your industry is no easy task, but with my knowledge and my unquenchable thirst for knowledge, I could put my talent to good use. This has had a two-fold effect on my career. The first one is that it really got my name out there. I am able to help others find the information that they are looking for, while building a name for myself at the same time. The other effect is that I have been receiving business from getting my name out there, and more traffic back to my site, Creative Beacon, which I decided to redesign and roll out once again. It isn't quite where I want it just yet, but it certainly has a better chance, now that I have gotten my name out there.
Several articles that I have written have had thousands of social media shares. That is shares, not just traffic. That means that people like what I have to say, and find my information useful enough to spread it to others. When you truly provide a good service or something helpful to others, it comes back tenfold to you. One article, Making Complex Selections in Photoshop, has over 230,000 social media shares. Others, such as Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts have 5000+ shares and The Best New Features of Photoshop CS6 has over 11000 shares.
Keep Moving Forward!
The main moral of this post is that you should keep your head up, and keep working. Everything that you do today, has and can have an effect on tomorrow. I know it is easy to become discouraged (I am as guilty of whining and complaining as anyone), but if you keep working at it, setting goals, reaching out, trying new things, you will only find success. Above all, you can't quit. You can realign your focus to other aspects, but simply don't quit. Creative Beacon was a massive failure in the beginning, I didn't have any clients, and I had no connections, but I persevered, kept working, and am moving forward successfully. With social media, you can make connections that you never could have made before. There are no excuses, and nothing to whine and complain about. Just be patient, work hard, connect with people, and in time you will have the success that you are looking for.