Homepreneurs is fortunate to meet some very talented entrepreneurs through this blog. If appropriate for this forum, we love to share their success stories. For this post, we were able to interview a web designer – Lindsay Coats – that we’ve worked with on other website projects. I have seen Lindsay’s work and can attest to her ability to manage projects, work within a budget, and deliver the requested product on-time. Lindsay not only has creative talent, but she is people-oriented and essentially an extension of your business.
This superior customer service combined with a self-motivated and can-do attitude has made her successful and constantly adds to her clientele. We sat down with Lindsay and asked her 11 questions to see what makes her design business a success:
1) Why did you start your own business?
I had a professor in college, Dr. Gary Ernst, who was very influential in my decision to start my own business. He guided me in the basics on opening my business and gave me the confidence to know that it was even possible.
Over the years, I have had four different home-based businesses. In every case, I started my own business because I love to create… and you can only create so much for yourself before you get bored!
With regards to my current business, Stellar Edge PR (formerly Lindsay Shannon Design), I began self-learning web design while working for my parent’s greenhouse in 1996. It was fairly early in the days of the Internet so things were not nearly as polished and complex as they are now, but it was thrilling to put something together building up all the different pieces and learn as I went.
2) How long has your business existed? (When was it formed?)
I worked as a freelance artist from 1999-2007. During this time, I was also employed outside of the home but did web design on the side to earn extra money and fulfill my desire to create. When my son was born in January 2007, I had to make a very important decision – go back to work or officially start my own business (Lindsay Shannon Design). It was a big risk, but it has definitely paid off in so many ways.
Stellar Edge PR launched in April 2011 when I took on a partner, Sin Van V, and expanded my services beyond just web design.
3) What industry is your business in?
Stellar Edge PR is a public relations company. We provide a full-service offering of event planning, marketing, design, promotions, social media services, and public relations.
4) What are the greatest challenges you face?
One of the hardest things about working from home is balancing my schedule. With two small children (ages 3 and soon to be 5), it is sometimes a struggle to manage everything. Also, it’s hard to shut off. With email and everything being so accessible, it is hard to NOT work sometimes.
5) What advantages does self-employment provide?
One of the main reasons I started my business was to have the ability to be home with my children. I have spent the last 5 years watching them grow and I love that I was able to be there for all their milestones. Yes, it involved a lot of late night working, but it’s all been worth it. Now that they are older, I can focus more on my business while still allowing myself time to enjoy my family.
Another advantage is the capability to work from virtually anywhere. My parents and my husband’s family all live in different states so it is wonderful to be able to go visit and still work when we are there and not have to worry about being back to work on Monday.
6) Do you have any tips/suggestions for those considering entrepreneurship?
Prepare yourself for months of hard work and not a lot of payoff. There are a lot of things that must go in to a business before you can get anything out of it – marketing, website, business cards, accounting software, materials/inventory, etc. depending on your industry. These are up-front costs that are hard to avoid, but they will allow your business to run smoothly and successfully. Also, think about the future. Even if you plan to start small, keep possible growth in the back of your mind and as you make decisions think, “How will this change or affect my business if I’m more successful?”
7) Do you use social media at all (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)?
Yes. Social media is an important part of marketing and branding any company. It’s interesting to interact with my clients on a different level and create a community of people who have similar interests. This allows for exchange of information and a wonderful opportunity for networking and referrals. Lindsay and StellaredgePR have a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/stellaredgepr and Twitter page: http://twitter.com/#!/stellaredgepr
8) Where do your greatest number of customers come from? Word of mouth, networking, social media, advertising.
99% of my work has come from word of mouth. My biggest goal has always been to be an affordable option to working with a major marketing firm. I pride myself in working within a budget and truly becoming an extension of someone’s business allowing them the opportunity to implement a true marketing plan without having to hire someone internally. When you do that and do it well, people talk.
9) If you could change one thing when you started, what would that be?
I wouldn’t change anything. Everything I have encountered along the way has been a learning lesson and has made me the successful business owner I am today.
10) What are the rewards of self-employment?
Personally, I am able to fulfill the drive to create and I enjoy helping others with my skills. Also, I am happy that I can help provide for my family while still doing what I love.
11) What sources do you use to fill in your knowledge gaps? Why?
I have a network of professionals that I have worked with in the past that I am able to consult when I have questions about certain projects. Also, now that I’ve taken on a partner, we are able to bounce ideas off of each other to create an even more dynamic package for our clients. In addition to my human counterparts, I can always count on Google!
Lindsay Coats is an owner of Stellaregdepr, a growing company that specializes in event planning, marketing and design, promotions, and PR and social media. Stellaredgepr is on the Internet at these sites:
By Dion D. Shaw
Dion D. Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs.
Homepreneurs. New Day. New Opportunity.
© Homepreneurs 2011