What It's Been Like Starting a Creative Business
In a word: Amazing. Seriously - you should try it.
After my twin sister and I graduated from Georgia Tech in December, we went out into the world to find “real jobs.” It didn’t take us long and we soon started those jobs. #1 We felt satisfied. #2 We felt validated. And #3 we felt like we were “adulting” in accordance with the implied guidelines. The only one that lasted was #3.
It seems that the things that fall under the proper “adulting” guidelines include working 9 to 5 in an office, being told what to do every day by a boss, and generally not being the decider of your own fate, your own creative goals, or your own daily tasks. And as much as those aren’t the worst things in the world, that’s just not the ideal day-to-day existence for me. My ideal existence involves making things and telling stories for awesome people.
I think the real hidden secret of adulthood is that… you can pretty much do what ever you want. It can be dangerous, risky, and sometimes it can feel like you’re floating alone without a life raft. But it can also be freeing.
I’m not one to settle. I think it’s because I believe that the power of great design can solve almost any problem. So I decided to apply that theory to my own career and find a way to spend my days making things and telling stories for awesome people.
I listened to the misery inside me and without a plan - I quit. It was terrifying. I had a bit of an identity crisis that came and went. But there was this very strong drive inside me to make my own side hustle work so that I wouldn’t ever have to go back to what I was doing before. And after freelancing a bit I dragged Katie Lynn into it.
Usually, she’s not so receptive to my crazy ideas, but it turns out “adulting” wasn’t what she’d hoped for either. It helped that we were still used to living cheap from college and neither of us had loans to pay off. So off we went. Only a little bit terrified.
I have to back up a little, though, and give credit where credit is most definitely due.
When we were still in school, Katie Lynn got a graphic design internship with Mavenly + Co - a company that’s mission is to help women pursue the work they truly want. Soon I finagled my way into doing some freelance filming for this incredible company. And we both drank the Kool Aid - so to speak.
Day in and day out we were meeting women who were starting their own businesses and they were often businesses that were serving a community of other great women. We started making connections and friends. I definitely don’t think we could’ve taken the leap of starting our own business without seeing the vibrant community of female entrepreneurs in Atlanta.
I’m sitting writing this blog post from The Lola’s new space. The Lola is an Atlanta women’s club that I found out about when they were on a panel at Mavenly + Co’s conference. At the time, The Lola founders were plotting their takeover of Atlanta, but did not yet have a space of their own. They did amazing things by building a powerful community and network of women (all without having their space or full funding yet). This seems off-topic, but it’s not.
Genuine, authentic networking with people and businesses near and dear to us was the key to our success and still keeps us afloat. I kind of hate to call it “networking” because it sounds like we were doing it with the soul purpose of growing our business. Yes, of course, that was an incentive! But we were also searching for like-minded people who understood what we were going through. And we found em!
We get a lot of work through our “networks”/social groups. And that’s really the best advice we can give. Find your tribe. Find what matters to you and follow it to your tribe.
But, what has it really been like - the day-to-day of starting this creative business?
It’s been fun - I own a business with my best friend and we make cool things.
It’s been scary - we don’t ever really know what tomorrow’s going to look like or if it’s going to be a slow month where we test how low our bank accounts can go.
It’s been challenging in the best possible way. We’re constantly learning new things and adapting and growing with client needs.
It’s still very early in the life of our business, but it’s been useful and encouraging for us to hear the stories of others, so we felt it was important to share this.
If you’re thinking about starting your own creative business or if you have just started your own creative business and you could use a little community/understanding then go ahead and find us on Instagram @mushaboom.studio. Send DM’s with questions about invoicing or systems - I know it’s the tangible advice I was always asking others about. Or pick our brains about whatever you need!