We’re taught from a very young age that putting yourself before the needs of others is a negative quality. But when it comes to creating a successful service or product, that’s kind of exactly what you should do!
Studying numbers and charts may help some businesses “examine markets” and “highlight areas of potential growth,” but when it comes to your average person who wants to make a living building something for themselves, it’s all about keeping it simple.
To illustrate what I mean, I’ll tell you how it worked for me. I didn’t go to college to learn how to be a graphic designer and web developer. When I was a kid, I never said “I want to make websites when I grow up.”
So how did I end up running my own branding and web design business? By solving my own problems.
When I first graduated college in Los Angeles with a film production degree, I couldn’t find work. Let me clarify – I could not find paid work – that I enjoyed – that allowed me to afford both rent plus student loans. There were plenty of internships and production assistant positions, but it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. Ok, you got me, I think I probably fell somewhere on the millennial syndrome scale, where I felt I was entitled to my dream job the moment I graduated.
So instead of wasting my time as an unappreciated intern, driving all over the city picking up coffee for more important people, or working my ass off as a PA, playing the “hurry up and wait” game for 15-hour days, I took an online marketing gig at a record label I could walk to from home.
Though it still didn’t pay well(if you haven’t heard, the music industry is so over!), I loved working at an indie record label. I wore many hats as our resident “marketing person” and very quickly found myself designing custom MySpace pages and WordPress themes. I had dabbled in web development in high school and college when I would create websites for my music(I sing and play guitar!) and my musician friends, so I already had an interest in coding.
So there you have it. The first step toward creating my own business was to solve my own problems…The problem of not finding work I enjoyed. The problem of needing a website and not knowing how else to get one other than to just make it!
I had no idea that there was, and would continue to be, such an enormous demand for the kind of work I was learning to create. By solving my own problems, I was inadvertently empowering myself to be able to solve those same problems for others. (Click to tweet this!)
But clearly, it didn’t stop there. A lot more problem solving came along before I became my own boss.
The skills I learned in my band-website-making adventures and as a “marketing person” later qualified me to become a part of the web team for The Oscars, which then led me to being hired by a leading advertising agency to work on the Volkswagen website.
While working at both of these jobs, I was learning SO much and gaining valuable experience. But after a while, I got sick of commuting in traffic for 2+ hours a day or stuck behind a computer for 9-12 hours at a time with stressful looming deadlines. I knew that that kind of life was not right for me. I also knew there were others out there that felt the same exact way.
So that’s when I decided to quit my job and solve my own problem by helping others solve theirs. These days, I help creative entrepreneurs blend their business into a successful, engaging online presence through branding, web design and development. By blogging about my experiences here, I hope to help others who want to create a business for themselves and are searching for the “answer” of what exactly to do. When I solve a problem that I have, I’m pretty sure there are others with that exact same problem who could benefit from my experience.
Have you dreamt of starting your own business and working for yourself but not sure what to build a business around? Just remember, you have the answer! Solve your own problem first, then ask how you can do the same for others.