If anyone had told me back in 2006 that I’d still be running my own design business in 2021 with close to 200 clients from across the country I’d of told them they were nuts. My plan was always to go back to work. I loved working. I loved going into an office each day and being surrounded by creative people who were full of passion and ideas. Though deciding to stay home after I had my second child, I always looked at it as a temporary situation. I’d keep my foot in the door by doing freelance work, then when my youngest went to school full-time, I’d go back to work. Funny how life never turns out quite as we plan.
I sometimes wonder if the fact that I moved from the only place I’d ever lived to a brand new place, a small town in a new state where I didn’t know a soul, contributed to my sticking with it. With young children at home and my trying to become acclimated to a new community, I used my experience as a graphic artist to get to know people. I wasn’t thinking much about growing my business at that point. I joined a club and took over the design of their newsletter. I fell back to something I felt comfortable doing which helped me to feel more comfortable around the people I was doing it for. I joined the PTO and designed a logo and numerous flyers for my children’s preschool. I used design to try and become a part of my new community. Word of mouth led me to meet the most influential person in the growth of my business about a year after I’d moved to MA. Tricia White worked with the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network. Once Tricia learned about me, my business literally skyrocketed. I began getting emails daily from small business owners referred to me by her. The more work I got, the stronger my skills became. The more I was able to teach myself, the more my business grew. The more it grew, the more confident I felt that I could keep it going. I sometimes wonder what life would be like if it hadn’t been for those referrals though I can confidently say I wouldn’t be writing this post today.
So 2021 marks 15 years since I started Erin Sweeney Design and my experience has been nothing short of amazing. I’ve met so many incredible people along the way. Small business owners who, after years of doing what they hated, finally bit the bullet and followed their passion. I’ve enjoyed learning about these companies. Meeting people with an idea and watching as they turn it into a profitable business is an awesome experience. I’ve had long time clients that I now consider friends. Great friends. In addition to my clients, I’ve met many wonderful women through networking groups who have been such a strong sense of support to me. No one ever makes this sort of journey alone. There have been countless individuals who have helped me get to where I am right now.
Working with small business owners I’ve learned that the world of self-made business owners is truly an amazing place filled with the most inspiring individuals you’ll ever meet. Being able to have my own business for so many years, and meet so many talented people, has been a blessing in my life. I am lucky. Not much makes me happier than hearing a client say to me at the end of a project or after helping them sort something out, “What would I do without you?” However, in all reality, my response, though I may not say it out loud, will always be “No. What would I do without you?” So thank you to everyone who has helped me along my journey. I hope to be celebrating more anniversaries for Erin Sweeney Design for years to come.