Why I decided to set up my own business
Firstly, my name is Charlotte and I am the Founder of Colouring Department. I have always been creative, curious and difficult to keep in one place. These three traits are what led to my decision to set myself free from my regular employment. I started out as a freelancer and gradually scaled up to manage a large network of remote teams and an array of international clients.
Reasons why I wanted to work for myself:
- I didn’t want to be chained to my desk . . . I wanted to travel.
- I wanted a more creative career. I needed more colour in my life.
- I wanted ownership and authority over my work.
- I needed greater satisfaction from my work and lifestyle.
- I wanted to meet new like-minded people.
- . . . but most of all I was ready for a challenge.
Instagram vs reality:
It turns out that unlike what you see in Instagram you are not always on the beach with your laptop. First of all, as soon as it gets sunny you can’t even see the screen. However, working remote definitely allows for the opportunity to travel. I have been in many different countries since working for myself including Canary Islands, Italy, Spain, India and many more (not always for work purposes). The more you travel the more opportunities you find and also the more people you find who are making the same steps in their life. You also start to understand where the best communities are for working with other like-minded people. Being totally unchained from the desk was not a full reality but instead, you start to find new desks across the world. I have been working from many great coworking spaces including Talent Garden, CWC, WeWork, Regus and many more. There are now even apps available where you can change your working space on not just a weekly but a daily basis depending on how quickly you get bored with your surroundings.
I previously worked for a tech startup which primarily taught me that I liked the start-up vibe. I also like being able to try out different roles and responsibilities and this is something that larger businesses don’t offer. My role within my old job was marketing and I did carry out some design work for them. However, the creativity side of it was limited and I was gradually pushed into a more marketing manager role which was an abundance of administration and management. Since working on my own I have had the opportunity to carry out the designs myself but also to transfer the design skills to others while also exploring my problem-solving side through UX design. One of the most satisfying parts of the work is having a large portfolio of creations that add a tangible achievement to the work.
Ownership and authority of my work:
I have full ownership of my work and the side effect of that is that you are also fully responsible for the work of others. Initially, managing teams of all different expertise levels were difficult but over time you manage to fine-tune your approach and deliver even higher quality work. It doesn’t take long before you realise you can’t do everything by yourself.
Greater satisfaction from my work and lifestyle
This one is 100% true. My client’s projects are a true representation of my own capabilities and the feedback is deeply rewarding. It is not always an easy road but if you keep going you will get there. In terms of lifestyle, I could not go back to a normal 9–5. I do have a weekly routine but I am not completely sporadic. I keep control over my work hours but I have plenty of freedom over my work location and general lifestyle. I enjoy the flexibility of my work but I also enjoy the work itself which I feel is important.
Ready for a challenge
Yes, I was very ready for a challenge and that it surely has been and continues to be. Overcoming one hurdle at a time.
My advice if you are thinking of starting your own business:
Make sure you are prepared for a rollercoaster cashflow. This might involve preparing some savings before making the jump or having some form of investment or business start-up grant ready. Sales are not always immediate and you have to balance this at the beginning.
Explore different workspaces. In the beginning, everyone tries to work from home. This eventually can leave you feeling a bit lonely and unable to expel frustration. You need to try to recreate the daily social interactions that you had working in an office.
Stay physically and mentally healthy. Working for yourself can burn up your brainpower but you also need to make sure that your body is well worked out as well otherwise you will start to suffer from restless leg syndrome and an increased level of anxiety if you don’t release it. If you are using up both mental and physical energy you stay in a better equilibrium.
Find mentors. You need advice from people who have done this before and mostly from people who have expertise in specific fields. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the “I can do it all myself” attitude but really it’s not worth doing everything yourself.
Keep your social life flowing. When you work for yourself you end up working twice as much as you did before. This can mess with your daily patterns such as working through the night and working into weekends. It’s important to try to keep some form of routine and also to take breaks away from your work to keep your head fresh.
Keep studying. Especially when working in the digital industry things change continuously. You need to keep up to date. I have carried out two degrees and 5 diplomas in the last few years and they have benefitted my business immensely. I read and I carry out research daily and it starts to become a natural habit.
In the end, I was very happy with my decision to jump into the world of business and I continue to improve my skills by taking on new courses, networking often and also spending time developing new services and transferring skills.
If you need any advice or just want to network please feel free to get in touch. Good luck.