Things don’t always go as planned.
Ain’t this the truth? After the birth of my second daughter 10 years ago, I decided to take a temporary leave of absence from my career as a graphic designer to focus on being a stay-at-home mom. A year and a half later, I welcomed my third daughter and, therefore, extended my leave of absence a little bit longer. My end goal was always to return to work. I loved my work. I loved the exciting environment of an ad agency. I loved being around others who were passionate about what they did. I looked at the future and planned to return to work once my youngest child was in school full time.
But in my line of work, I knew I couldn’t take off for 5 or 6 years and expect to go back. I decided to stay connected by picking up some freelance jobs here and there. My early client list included friends and former co-workers. Work was sporadic at best. But that was ok. I was busy with three children at home. I hardly slept let alone designed, so for the meantime, I was content with my business being not much more than a hobby to keep me busy until I could get back to work.
It wasn’t until about 5 years ago when things started to pick up. I began getting more work and growing my client list. It was never my intention to be a solopreneur. Yet, when the time came for my youngest daughter to start school, I realized that the business I’d not been paying much attention to had actually been growing all along. Now that I’m celebrating 10 years, I’ve been reflecting on the lessons I’ve learned over the years that have helped me get to where I am today. There are many reasons why my client list has grown from 3 people in 2006 to close to 200 businesses today. Yet, the following lessons stand out to me as the most significant ones that helped shape Erin Sweeney Design into what it is today.