Today I’m looking back on how far CreativeIQ has come and what I’ve learned during my time in business. Two years ago, I resigned from a very nice job in government. A great salary, (generally) interesting work, paid holidays and sick leave, and people who looked after things like IT, my work vehicle and making sure there were always tea bags in the kitchen.
I swapped it for some risks. No guarantee of any income, or calling in sick. No teams of people employed to sort out all the things that aren’t that fun (payroll, accounts, admin, etc.)
But that was totally ok because ultimately I found myself with a whole heap of amazing benefits, and life-changing realisations. Here are some of the things I have learned along the way:
#1 Your Zone of Genius is not universal
I tend to assume that the things I find pretty easy and enjoyable are also easy and enjoyable for others, and that no one would ever pay me to do those things. But in fact, many of the things I truly love and excel at, other people loathe, and are not that great at. Even better, they are willing to pay someone (us!) to take care of these things so they can focus on the things they are great at.
#2 Collaboration, not competition
When you hear people talk about business, especially when things are going badly, it’s often about the impact of ‘the opposition’. A sense of ‘lack’ and the perception that there is not enough custom to go around. How draining.
From the get-go, I never bought into this and the people who we collaborate with regularly are of the same mindset. And you know what? We don’t suffer from a lack.
We confuse people – they can’t work out how two businesses doing very similar things can work in partnership, promote each other and even refer entire projects to each other. But it happens because we know who we are ideally placed to serve. And those people who would be a better fit for someone else? We send them to our collaborators.
#3 Businesses evolve
In two years, my business has changed dramatically. In fact, when you look at my initial business plan, around fifty percent of the services I’d identified have gone by the wayside. And all of the business has shifted to a separate brand (you can find Anna Dixon Consulting here).
CreativeIQ has evolved. We’re doing things that our team excels at (and loves) but they are totally outside the realms of what I imagined we could build a sustainable business around. Last night it was actually amazing to have my husband say, ‘I just realised how much of this writing and branding work is on your project board – that was a bit magic, when did that happen?’ Well, there was no magic, mostly hard work. But it’s true, I took a chance (backed up by a lot of planning) and made some changes to allow us to evolve.
Anna heads up the amazing team at CreativeIQ. Most brand and business consultants are either very creative or excel at strategy and analysis. What makes Anna special is her ability to do both! That’s how CreativeIQ was born. She loves strategy and finding creative ways to solve problems.
Click here to find out more about our team.