Sole trading, with a team
I, somehow, have managed to land myself a ridiculously amazing team of people, who are talented in their chosen fields and genuinely invested in the success of studioFRWD. I am a sole trader, with the support, knowledge and encouragement of a team. Who knew?
In late January, as a fledgeling start-up, some costs were beginning to roll in. Wanting to ensure I was doing things properly, I started the search for someone who could give me some basic advice on business accounting. Having no clue where to start, I googled, and at the top of the results was RBK Advisory (who obviously has excellent SEO… more on that below). I liked their ‘feel’ immediately, which is important for me. RBK appeared to offer a plethora of in-house services, working collaboratively with others to provide everything they didn’t. I was in!
Sitting down for my initial meeting with RBK, I met Jason and Teva. I was expecting some basic business advice on bank account set up. What I got was an hour of their time with a solid plan for moving forward, highlighting the support I would likely need, including website development, digital marketing, legal and financial, plus a realistic expectation of a soft launch date. The term ‘SEO’ was used, more than once. I sat there, nodding and taking notes, with zero idea what this SEO thing was (I googled as soon as I reached my car – Search Engine Optimisation! Aha, the last hour now made more sense!). I left that session with so much more than I knew I needed, not least of which was the knowledge that I’d found my people, and I was no longer on this equally exciting and terrifying journey alone.
That afternoon emails started rolling in. Jason was introducing me to the various professionals needed for me to jump in with both feet, so jump I did.
I spoke with Steve from Ven (web design, development and SEO gurus), and Victoria from WLKR Digital (all things digital marketing, and then some). Ven and WLKR often work collaboratively, making it sensible to meet with them together. It was in this initial chat that Steve first used the term ‘Team Pru’. I was yet to discover just how important this team was going to be for me, and the success of my business. I did know by the end of the meeting that both Victoria and Steve ‘got me’, and that I was in very safe hands. Thankfully, they agreed to take me on ;).
During the last few months, with the world in lockdown, Team Pru has been busy! Matt C (there are two Matts, just to keep things interesting) from RBK Legal is an absolute gem – from trademarks to a new will, I’m covered (it feels very grown up to have a solicitor). Luke from Inovayt Finance has more patience than anyone I know. He is also really good at all things financial, which is probably important considering how neglectful I’d been on staying up to date on this front…
Matt M, the graphic design magician, somehow created branding I love with very little initial direction from me – he could totally moonlight as a mind reader. Some personal branding was also needed, and the very talented Michelle (Jarni Photography) managed to capture who I am so well that I found it difficult to reduce the proofs to a sensible number – miracles do happen, it seems!
Victoria brought the lovely Nicole on board, and they spent many hours developing and implementing studioFRWD’s marketing strategy. Victoria has been doing more hand-holding than is reasonable for an adult to need – editing blogs, coaching me in the mysteries of Instagram and vlogs, writing the copy for my website.
Steve’s team – Andy, Tania, Maya and Jean-Luc have also been generous with the hand holding and information sharing throughout the design, development and optimisation of my website. It is more fabulous than I dared imagine.
Ready to roll…
And so, the journey continues… I may have had one or two moments of mild panic while trying to absorb enormous amounts of information on things I had zero prior experience in – blogs and vlogs, branding, more SEO chatter, mission and positioning statements, and the like. I have questioned my sanity on more than one occasion. ‘What am I thinking? Can I actually do this?’ As the panic eases and reason once again sets in, I remind myself that I now have Team Pru. Their knowledge and skills more than cover any gaps in mine. I can do this!