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… and why Startup Training?

When I have told people about my new website and the new direction I am taking with my business by offering more startup training and coaching as well as designing beautiful websites for my clients, the first question has been Why are you doing this? Why not keep on doing what you are doing – you like it and it has been successful, so why not keep doing it?

Well, firstly, I believe that to run a business successfully you have to be very open to change AND you have to be honest with yourself. With my first business, when something wasn’t working, I thought it was because I wasn’t throwing ENOUGH at it, so I kept on hammering away at the same goal, with the same methods, even when it clearly (from the position of 20-20 hindsight!!) wasn’t working. I was incredibly stubborn and I wouldn’t listen to anybody, not even – especially not even – to the little voice freaking out inside my head.

I Love My Work

With my website and brand design business, I LOVE my work. But I also wanted to diversify my income streams a little, because when I work with web design clients, I tend to work with one relatively high-value client at a time. So I find a client, generally by introduction these days, we chat about the project, I start work, I finish the project, and then I either get some hustle on or a new client is introduced to me. So it’s quite linear. But potentially with gaps. And the really exciting clients have an almost infallible habit of landing on my desk right at the times of year when I should be with my family, leading to a lot of “I’m sorry darling – Mummy is working. Can you ask Daddy?”

The old Sarah would have just kept doing it, getting MORE clients and maybe outsourcing more of the work, but STILL spending her summer holidays fanatically checking email on the beach and getting up to call a client instead of going for a swim. The harder you work, the more you will succeed, right? Uhhh… Sarah? Did that work last time?

So when I started feeling that my web design studio was great, but not 100% great, I asked myself what do I like about it, and what do I dislike?

Likes & Dislikes

I like working with people.

I like helping new business owners at the early stages of their work – helping them understand the various steps they need to take before launch, and how the website is only one small cog in the whole machine.

I like designing websites.

I like building them too (luckily!).

I like working with contractors to help me bring off website builds to the highest possible standard – many hands make light work.

I like all the aspects of startup training.

I like the “after care” – hooking everything up, building the Mailchimp campaign, teaching my clients about email marketing, social media, hiring, content strategy and making sure that their shiny new website is never static.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE solving problems.

I don’t like when a project sucks up weeks and months because I haven’t planned my time properly.

I don’t like relying entirely on the next website project for my income.

I don’t like when there isn’t enough time or budget on a project for me to be able to offer all the added value that I think makes my “product” special – the support, training, start-up advice and problem-solving.

I don’t like that I only offer all that added value as a part of a website project, when the clients I could probably help most either don’t need a website from me right now, or aren’t at that stage yet.

The Changes I Needed To Make

So, I decided to change what I do. Not completely, not dramatically – I love the creative process of building beautiful and effective websites and will continue to do so with my lovely web design clients. But I am also opening up the ways in which I work with people to include actual proper startup training and support as a service in its own right, delivered either through 1:1 coaching, webinars or through my debut course, Flourish, which is launching in a few weeks. This means I might work with fewer web design clients in a year, and never around school holidays, but it means I can diversify my income and help more people in more ways instead.

I am really excited about opening up the way I work like this, instead of hammering away at something because that’s the way I have always done it. I feel nervous, because this is a new way of working with people for me, and just as I was nervous when I started building websites for my first clients, I am nervous again now (hello imposter syndrome!) but I know that I can bring huge value to the people I work with and I am really looking forward to the launch of Flourish and all the lovely people I will meet along the way.

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