March 22, 2023
What does it really look like to go from being a freelance creative to an effective CEO of a creative-focused business? How do you build the work culture you want? And how do you balance your detail-oriented personality with the need to let your team members have ownership of their responsibilities?
I cover all those topics and more during my recent conversation with Abbey McGrew, the founder and creative director of Wayfarer Design Studio. We talked about her perspective on design and branding and what it was like for her to go from freelancing to hiring contractors and employees.
We also spent some time talking honestly about some of the challenges that designers and other creatives face when it’s time to expand their business:
- Brand identity: Ideally, your brand identity should be based on your values and what you hope you offer your customers, not what’s trendy.
- Client interactions: There’s a fine line between accepting input from customers and being willing to push back based on your expertise.
- Hiring decisions: If you feel like you can’t do everything you need to serve your clients or grow your business, it’s time to hire.
- Contractors vs. employees: Designers and other creatives often need to provide customers with quick responses on revisions, which isn’t always realistic with contractors.
- Work culture: It’s important to build a work culture that aligns with your values — and you’ll also attract the clients you want.
- Leadership: You must be willing to give up total control and accept feedback and suggestions from your employees.
Hiring and managing a team can be challenging, especially for designers and other creatives who are used to working alone and having full creative control. But with the right mindset, you can build a brand, team, and clientele driven by your values. Grab
Was it hard for you to move from being a creative freelancer to the leader of your business? Let me know — tag @theparadigmm or send me a DM on Instagram! And don’t forget to review and share this episode with any small business owners you know.
Set to Scale: Junior Designer Job Description
Wayfarer Design Studio: Heart-led Logo Workshop
Find Abbey McGrew: Website and Instagram
Educational resources for designers Instagram: @byabbeym