On July 21st 2010 I left my last full time job. On July 22nd I was a full time self-employed graphic designer. A business. A service provider. Director, manager and dogsbody. Designer, artworker and coffee maker. Head of creative, finance and marketing.
Redundancy is a scary prospect but I felt an enormous amount of peace about the decision. The cons (financial uncertainty, lack of a ready-made client base to help me out, loneliness) were largely outweighed by the excitement of the pros –experiencing the process from start to finish, investing in my own ideas and pushing myself to succeed. My then child-free marriage allowed me some leeway – the mortgage and other bills could be paid at the end of the month and I didn’t need to match my salary with immediate income. There was flexibility and support which encouraged me to give it a go, so give it a go I did.
The cons … were largely outweighed by the excitement of the pros…
As I understand it, 1 in 3 UK business startups fail in their first three years. Yet by the support of my family, encouragement from my peers, reliability of some key and much appreciated clients and the faithfulness of God here I am, celebrating the end of year four and the beginning of the next stage – consolidation? Establishment? Increased profitability? Hopefully all of these.
Enjoying the ride
These four years have taught me a lot. The first year alone taught me plenty but you can’t stop there.
I’ve created work for some huge organisations, many via freelancing with agencies but most recently (for Macmillan Cancer Support) as an independent and trusted supplier. I’ve designed logos, books, signage, websites, stationery and exhibition stands. I’ve attended and spoken at business shows and networking events. I’ve helped charities find their voice and small businesses find their feet. And because I work from home I’ve had the flexibility to spend huge amounts of time partnering with my wife in bringing up our young daughter – something I know is a huge blessing to myself and them and I must never take for granted.
So here’s to the next four weeks, let alone the next four years.
I could make lists of my favourite 10 pieces of work or updated my top 10 lessons learnt but I’ve got work to do so I won’t.
I’m very proud yet humbled – I’m still at the beginning of my journey and there’s a lot more hard work to do before I can start counting any chickens. But hard work doesn’t put me off and the number of late nights and early mornings slogging away at my desk has proved it and invigorated me. So here’s to the next four weeks, let alone the next four years. I love doing what I do so hopefully I’ll still be here.
In the mean time, please browse the new-look website and see what I've been up to.