First clients, origin stories & startup advice (Q&A with Kane & Lisa)
Today, we’re mixing things up with a bit of Q&A!
We get a lot of questions about branding and web design, but every so often we get questions about our business and how it works (especially from our fellow creatives).
So we thought we’d answer some of these for you in a rapid fire Q&A format. Let’s dive in!
1. How did Baker Creative get started?
Kane: Baker Creative started as my freelance design business. I was working for agencies 9-5, and taking on graphic and web design work at night and on the weekends. Lisa came on board in 2016 when we both decided to leave our agency jobs in Vancouver, move back to Australia and turn Baker Creative into a full-time business.
2. Why did you decide to start your business?
Lisa: At the time, I think we both wanted to remove the limitations on what we could earn, what we could create, and expectations about when, where and how often we worked. We wanted to know that when we put in extra hours or made a big impact in people’s lives, that we would be rewarded for it. I think that having freedom to create the business we always wanted to work for was a big motivator for both of us.
I’d also been the 'design client' many times before and had some really underwhelming experiences, so I was determined to make sure that our clients got the service and attention that I always wanted!
3. How did you find your first clients?
Kane: Mostly through referrals from friends, family, and colleagues. I did some unpaid work experience for some local businesses that turned into paid work. To help build my portfolio I also found some clients on upwork (Elance).
Lisa: When we took Baker Creative full time, we reached out to everyone we knew which helped us to get our first few clients (some who are still clients today!). We also put our business cards in cafes and would keep an eye out for work opportunities in facebook groups too. I'd do things a little differently now, but we still managed to find work!
4. How do your clients find you now?
Lisa: Thankfully, finding new clients is much easier these days. While some of our clients come from referrals, most of our enquiries are from people who’ve found us on social media or via organic search (SEO). Pinterest is our biggest traffic referrer, but we’ve also have people come from Facebook and Instagram too.
Most of the time we find people download one of our free resources, hang out on our email list for a few weeks, months (or sometimes years!) while they’re building their business and then reach out when the time is right. I love the opportunity to build trust with our followers this way!
5. What advice would you give to someone starting a new business?
Kane: Don’t be afraid to invest in your business. It’s scary to throw money down on advertising, equipment or professional development when funds are tight. But, if you keep running the same small plays, doing the same things you’ve always done, you’ll never have ‘enough’ to play a bigger game. Be smart about how you spend your money, but don't be afraid to bet on yourself and your business every so often.
Lisa: I think the biggest struggle for most new businesses is finding clients or customers. There are so many marketing channels, it’s hard to know where to focus your efforts.
Personally, I don’t believe you have to be everywhere to get noticed. You just have to pick a few channels where your ideal customers are, have a simple strategy and then show up authentically and consistently.
That last bit is the hardest, by the way. I think people try a marketing strategy and give up on it too quickly. They post a couple of times on instagram, don’t get the number of likes and comments they were hoping for and feel defeated. The secret is to be relentless. Show up every day, every week and eventually, there will be a tipping point where you’ll start seeing BIG results.
6. What do you do to cut through the noise in a competitive industry?
Lisa: We play to our strengths, own our differences and focus on offering value that exceeds people’s expectations. I personally believe there is plenty of work to go around in most industries. If you feel like you’re always having to lower your prices to beat your competition, you're either going after the wrong customers, have nothing unique about your business (unlikely) or you aren’t clearly communicating what is unique about your business.
7. What are your tips for balancing work and personal life?
Kane: While we don’t like to, sometimes we have to work weekends or after hours. Lisa and I live and work together, and work from home, so we’ve had to set some boundaries— small things like not checking work emails after hours and first thing in the morning have helped us to keep work at work.
Lisa: Because we set our own hours, in the past I've found myself feeling guilty for either working too much, or working too little. So, instead of focusing on working 6, 8 or 10 hours, we benchmark our days with the tasks we get completed, which feels way less arbitrary and much more satisfying than the number of hours we sat behind our computers.
More recently, we got engaged and adopted a puppy, so planning a wedding and looking after a golden retriever has definitely forced us to have more of a life outside of work!
Today's post is a little different to our usual articles, and we hoped you liked it! Got more Q's for us? Drop them below! And, if you liked this, make sure you let us know so we know what to post more of in the future.