4 Lessons After 4 Years of Business

January 27, 2020

Today marks 4 years since leaving my 9-5 to focus on building LISH creative so I’m celebrating by sharing 4 things I’ve learned since those humble beginnings.

1. Bigger isn’t always better

When I first started my company, I wanted to work with bigger brands, in a bigger office, with a bigger team…but 4 years later, I’m reevaluating my priorities. I’ve found that in some cases, larger companies come with more red tape, more paperwork, less creative freedom, more layers of approval… etc and it’s really the people working at the brand (not the brand name itself) who make a project great. Great people work at large companies, and small ones too! My mindset has shifted a bit, and I’m much more interested in taking on projects that inspire me, versus ones that have a nice big name to slap on my portfolio.

When it comes to a bigger office and a bigger team, I’m learning that I like keeping those small and lean too. The daily management of people and tasks isn’t something that I particularly enjoy. Keeping operations lean helps me to take better care of people who I do work with, and allows me to pay them more than a traditional agency (one with a lot of overhead) would too.

2. Outsourcing helps you scale

I may not love managing people daily but I truly wouldn’t be where I am today without using contractors to help take over the daily tasks that aren’t particularly in my personal “zone of genius.” When I started to seek the expert advice and help of others, (instead of trying to figure everything out on my own), everything changed. I was able to take on more clients and produce a higher quality of work. Here are the types of contractors who I’ve utilized over the years:

  • bookkeepers
  • financial planners
  • project managers
  • photographers
  • videographers
  • prop stylists
  • art directors
  • wardrobe stylists
  • models
  • makeup and hair artists
  • production assistants
  • editor/retouchers
  • social media managers
  • copywriters
  • graphic designers
  • web designers + more
3. Not every day will be fun

In fact, most of my days aren’t what most creatives consider to be “fun.” 80% of my time is spent managing clients, building relationships, tracking deadlines, monitoring budgets, reviewing contracts, etc. At first, the business-y stuff totally bummed me out- I just wanted to create! I On the other hand, I was raised by a family on entrepreneurs, I studied business in college and I’ve always had a strong business sense. So it wasn’t that it was a struggle for me, I just had to learn how to embrace it and own it as one of my strengths. There are a lot of super talented creatives out there, but that doesn’t always translate into being a good business owner.

4. Know your numbers

It’s super common for creatives to put blinders on when it comes to finances. Knowing your numbers helps you determine what you need to charge, how much you can pay others, how much you can budget for supplies, how much you can invest back into the business and how much you can pay yourself! Being in tune with your bank activity also helps you to stay ahead of any potential fraud that could occur.


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