Search



In May of this year I decided to stop dipping my toes in the water and take the plunge. I've learned A LOT since then. Starting my consulting agency, Mollie B. Marketing + Creative at age 25 has been one of the most rewarding ventures of my life but has come with its learning curves too. That's why I want to empower all you other entrepreneurs out there to chase your dreams.


UNDERSTANDING THE RISKS

You'll no longer be able to count on a bi/weekly paycheck

You'll need to guarantee you've got contracts in place to have an idea of how much you'll be making each week/month- understand that some things may not wind up falling in the timeline you'd originally planned for. Sometimes clients have to put a pause on projects if a family, budgeting or personal issue arises on their end.


You may not be the most extroverted person in the world but networking is key. If you're not willing to put yourself out there and show people what you can do, no one will ever know! So be loud and proud, but always stay humble.


HOW TO SURVIVE

Budgeting is essential, I downloaded the app Trim to look at where I was spending my money. I was able to cut out over $200/month by cancelling subscriptions I didn't need and cooking more meals from home I cut costs by renting out my spare bedroom in my loft, saving me hundreds.


Instead of having a membership at a gym I opt for a free workout experience at my apartment's gym and attend yoga classes around the city (often free or as low as $5). I also enjoy going on bike rides and walks through the park with friends.


If you can't yet afford an office, work from home or a local coffee shop. I tend to get cabin fever and crave interaction with others if I'm spending long hours alone working as a solorpreneur, so I enjoy working in public spaces that cost as little as a cup of coffee.


Say goodbye to regular salon and spa days. I didn't get my hair colored for over a year and was letting it grow out with only one cut in 13 months, saving me hundreds of dollars. If you absolutely have to get your hair and nails done regularly, look into bartering your services for your stylist's services or not going all-out for a few months until you get your feet off the ground. However, never underestimate self-care, just be thrifty!


Set goals for yourself. Be realistic. Where do you see yourself in a month, 6 months, a year? Create a vision board (I'm obsessed with Pinterest) and always be on top of trends and new developments in your industry to keep the dream alive and stay ahead of the competition!


GETTING STARTED

6 months before quitting your job: Start developing your brand. Create a logo, website, and social media profiles to start marketing your work for free. Define your business' mission statement & aesthetic. Put your ego aside and be willing to do work for free. Take local workshops to sharpen your skills (like SkillPop for those of you in the NC and Nashville area). These classes helped build my confidence and further define my business aesthetic. Seek mentorship by looking at those who have been where you want to go and have found success.


3 months before quitting your job: Start putting away money if you haven't already and planning ahead. Look into the future and get things in line to have a revolving door of projects for the upcoming months. When I was still working 40 hours a week I would come home at night and on the weekends and put in about another 20 hours.


1 month before quitting your job: You're at the finish line and the beginning of a new journey. Listen to your gut. Do you feel good about where you are financially and is your client base steadily growing? If you need a little more time, be honest with yourself. If others are dependent on you and your income it is best to practice caution. There are so many benefits to being your own boss. If you're ready to make the plunge, start looking into office spaces or decide if you want to work from home. Meet with potential clients and write proposals. If you can land weekly or monthly gigs, that's a score. For example I am currently working with a boutique and each week I pay them an in-store visit to style outfits into flatlays for Instagram and also update social media 6 times a week with what's new, trending and promote upcoming trunk shows. Also, start planning your weekly schedule and make time to work on each client's project. I recommend dedicating at least a couple of hours on each project (depending on urgency) each day. For example: 8-11:30am- Project #1, 1:30-12:30pm-Lunch, 12:30-3pm Personal web/social/email management, 3-5pm- Project #2 When you don't have anyone watching the clock for your arrival, it's easy to sleep in, but the sooner you can maintain a regular schedule with structure, the easier it will be to meet your goals.


THE REWARD

While going off on your own can be scary, when you approach it with a realistic perspective you will be sure to be a success. Being able to say you are your own boss is pretty incredible. It allows you to spend more time with family, friends and vacation more often. You can chose the types of clients you want to work with and say no when you're spreading yourself too thin. You'll feel proud of what you've created and nothing is more rewarding than a gushing review from a business you've helped. There's no looking back, today's your day to start crafting the future you always dreamed of!

Leave a comment below with your best advice for starting a business.





For years, as a creative I struggled conveying what it is I do in the best way possible. Every now and then you'll meet the self-proclaimed "Renaissance man" or triple threat and I always feared that I came across that I was trying to do too much and was confusing my audience. Though a pretty cool chic, I didn't want to appear as though I thought I was the greatest thing to God's green Earth.


I began my career with a Bachelors in Fashion Marketing but before that I had many interests (and still do!). I was a musician, blogger and visual artist, among other things. I was always told growing up that I needed to chose one, but honestly that way of life never interested me. I felt like my talents were limited and I was put in a box. So how would I chose? Ultimately I knew I had a passion for creating beautiful things which led me to teach myself graphic design and utilize my marketing skills to help others in branding their businesses.


You may be faced with the same struggle, or maybe you have narrowed down the services or products you'd like to offer your clients and feel a bit out of sorts trying to bring it all together cohesively. That's why I've gathered a few tips for you to take your branding to the next level.


Establish your target market & connect with them

When we narrow down our target audience this gets a lot easier. I have been lucky enough as a solopreneur to craft a brand that directly reflects who I am and my personal style. When you feel connected on an emotional level to your brand it resonates more with your clientele. When we speak from the heart, people take notice. We crave authenticity. You can have a great idea but if you can't market it, it's a dud.


Taglines & Logos

Your logo should make sense. Whether its a hidden message, telling a story or is simply pleasing to the eye. Chose fonts that go along with the personality of your business. For example, if you look at many tech companies, they use lower case letters which gives a more modern feel. Are you marketing to females? Create a logo that is more feminine. Put your psychology hat on. Get into their heads. When it comes to taglines, think of a short phrase or 3 words that capture your brand. it's not necessary to include your tagline in your main logo, however you may consider have a couple of options depending on where you're using the logo. My business is called Mollie B. Marketing + Creative because I wanted to be able to leave room for expansion. I often use 'Design. Marketing. Styling.' as my 3 categories but also the phrase 'Creativity runs wild here'.


Chose a color palette

It may not seem like a big deal but Instagram is all about what is visually pleasing to your audience. When a follower can scroll through your feed with ease, you are significantly more likely to receive engagement (likes, comments, follows) which can directly translate into a sale. Continue with this theme by translating to your website.


Your website matters

If you think a website is no big deal and social media is the only platform that matters, you're wrong. No doubt Instagram and Facebook are two of the best free marketing tools you can utilize, but people trust businesses more with professional websites. It doesn't have to be complex, but showcase a website that highlights your services, aesthetic and offers ways to get in touch with you is crucial. It's better to not even have a site than one that represents your brand poorly.


Have fun with it

All this branding stuff can see a bit overwhelming, so above all else remember to have fun. Creating a identifiable brand takes work and consistency, but it will pay off in dividends once you've mastered your look!



Need more assistance with your branding? Email me at Mollie.k.Bradford@gmail.com or fill out a quick form on my contact page and I'll be in touch shortly!

  • White Instagram Icon
  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Pinterest Icon
GET IN 
TOUCH

CHARLOTTE

1515 Mockingbird Lane 

Charlotte, NC 28209

WINSTON-SALEM

102 W. 3rd St. 

Winston-Salem, NC 27101

© Copyright 2020