Five years ago I was on a subway headed home, trying desperately to keep my composure as I moved further and further away from the job I then considered my dream. I arrived at my apartment and took my dog to the park where, at last alone, I broke down and sobbed on a somber picnic table, a swirl of panic, disappointment and shame ricocheting through my thoughts. I had been laid off that morning and my career was suddenly an all-consuming black hole of doubt.
Faced with the decision to move cities and rebuild (again) or take a stand and try to avoid having to ever work for another corporation, I decided to open a teeny photography studio, then called LLB Creative. And I was terrified.
At the time, being your own boss wasn’t trendy. At the time, people didn’t understand what I was trying to do. At the time I felt a deep embarrassment for not being a part of the corporate career path that I had studied and trained so hard to be a part of. I faced a constant onslaught of questions: “How are you possibly going to make enough money?” “80% of all start ups fail you know.” “Photography is more of a hobby though, right? Nobody really makes it work professionally.” Needless to say, for a long time I was drowning in a sea of doubt.
What a difference between then and now. Now, half a decade later, after more work than I can possibly describe, that photography studio is called Gooseberry. It is a joyful, bustling place with lively commercial projects, an on-going agenda dedicated to exploring creativity, three full-time divisions (photography, branding and an art print shop) and daily adventures of all shapes and sizes.
I cannot believe that year five is here and because I’m an introspective sort of person, who loves to document life’s various milestones, I thought it would be fun to put some of my biggest business lessons learned through experience down on paper. So here goes, in no particular order: (more…)
The creative entrepreneur’s mind is often colourful and chaotic. Sometimes your ideas explode out into the world, other times they roll around in your brain amidst quiet introspection. This vibrant branding photoshoot brought to life the story of a budding business woman who is destined to stand out. (more…)
On Saturday Gooseberry hosted its debut Tea Talk Business Coaching Event! This is a monthly program that we created to help support, encourage, educate and inspire entrepreneurs to make their dream jobs come true! More than a workshop, our Tea Talks are designed to be group coaching sessions with Gooseberry so you can really dive in to any questions you may have about your specific business, challenges or goals and come away with an action plan.
Our first topic was “How to turn your IT factor into a winning formula: Creating a cohesive and memorable brand that can be monetized” and it was such fun to explore the strategic pillars of building a brand, as well as chat with wonderful business owners about their branding journeys! Here are a few photos and a video from the day if you’re interested! (more…)
Ah, modern day life and the cell phone. It seems like the two are completely intertwined, so much so that our phone is often the first thing we reach for when we wake up and the last thing we look at before we go to sleep. As a busy business owner being overly attached to the phone is a constant struggle – there are emails to reply to, social media comments to make, candid on-the-go photos to take and so much more!
Studies from ivy league universities around the world are discovering a direct correlation between cell phone use (read: addiction) and depression or anxiety, which is alarming to say the least. Over the past few months I’ve been actively experimenting with diminishing my cell phone time without impacting my work productivity and here’s what I’ve found. (more…)
Close your eyes. Imagine sitting in a beautiful sun-drenched coffee shop with a piping hot beverage in hand and eight equally driven entrepreneurs. You’re sitting across from a passionate business owner who owns multiple successful brands and is there entirely to answer you questions and offer guidance custom-tailored for your journey.
It’s an afternoon of chattering about business how-tos, marketing strategies, brand building secrets and getting the whole self-employed dream to a place of stability so you can actually LIVE comfortably doing what you LOVE.
Now, open your eyes, because this isn’t just a day-dream — it’s an affordable real life Toronto business and blogging event called The Gooseberry Tea Talks, now open for registration! (more…)
Last year I had one simple business goal – to sustain. The studio had grown quickly over the previous years and I didn’t want to risk growing too quickly and then becoming unstable. So I decided to slow things down and to make maintaining my jam-packed schedule and improving work flow processes my goal.
I know, I know, not the most exciting ambition to commit to paper, but a necessary one that allowed me to take the time to tweak, refine and nurture the studio and give myself a full 365 days to figure out my next steps to take my business to the next level.
Well, the new year is here (although I can hardly believe it) and it’s finally time to put my next goals into action – and for the first time ever, I’d like to share the main ones with you, if you’re interested. (more…)
Ah, the end of the year – it’s a magical time! Not only do we get swept away by the excitement of the holiday season, but our creative brains also start thinking ahead to all of the wonderful things we hope to accomplish in the new year. (Hi, my name is Laura, and I’m a goal setter – you?)
In order to give your business the best start in the New Year, there are a number of tasks I always recommend tackling either before you sign off for eggnog and sugar cookies or first thing when you get back. This practical to-do list will help you kick off 2018 stress-free so that you can channel your refreshed energies into new exciting projects. (more…)
Whether you’re your own boss or working for somebody else, we all have those pesky ‘I have to do this but I really really hate this’ tasks that at the end of the day just have to get done. Perhaps book keeping is your nemesis, maybe sending out contracts and invoices isn’t your jam, or maybe returning endless emails gets you a bit down.
Whatever your despised action item is (and be honest, we all have them no matter how much we love our jobs), we’re happy to report that we’ve come up with a tried and true strategy to turn those frowns upside down and restore the fun to work; all aspects of work! (more…)
I remember bringing my business license home like it was yesterday. I poured myself a cup of tea and I sat down at my breakfast bar while the piece of paper that declared I was going to attempt to be my own boss trembled in my hand. Running a business seemed out of reach, mysterious and other worldly. I remember wondering, desperately, how others made it work? What were their secrets? Today, if you’re interested, I would like to share five of my personal secrets for running my business. (more…)
You created a business. You nurtured it. You watched it grow, but then something shifts. You realize, with a pit of dread forming in your stomach, that the brand you worked so tirelessly on no longer suits you and you’re left grappling the question, “How on earth can I rebrand without losing what I’ve already built?”
Rebranding can be an intimidating process, but it can also be a healthy development for a growing business on its way to new levels of success. However, there are a few things that I would recommend keeping in mind to help make your rebrand as effective and efficient as possible. (more…)
I have this trick that I would like to share with you for boosting productivity and making any work day far more accomplished. It is the easiest thing in the world to master and a ritual that is an essential part of my day-to-day. My trick is…. (more…)
Running and relying on your own business is exciting, but also petrifying, which is why today I would like to take a moment and share 21 things that I wish I had known before starting my own business many moons ago. In other words, this is a list of things that I wish my younger self had been told. So here it goes! (more…)
Welcome to the new and improved LLB Creative, which from now on will be known as Gooseberry Studios. Moving forward, the fresh bright and bubbly banner, Gooseberry Studios, will be home to my photography studio, my fine art print shop, my branding services and my lifestyle blog.
This rebrand may come as a surprise to you, because it came as a surprise to me. About a week ago, my websites were hacked and I lost all sorts of content which placed me in a rather pitiful position. But I made a decision… (more…)
If there is one piece of advice that I cannot stress enough to budding and established entrepreneurs alike it’s this: write a business plan. Even if you aren’t actively looking for investors, a business plan is a fantastic exercise to help you understand your company inside and out, as well as its position in the marketplace. (more…)
The tantalizing sense of possibility that lies in the fresh year ahead is intoxicating and it’s easy to get swept away by that warm and fuzzy feeling when setting your goals.
Creating goals that are attainable is something of an art form in and of itself, and while there is no right or wrong way to go about this, here are some tips that I’ve gleaned from my years running my own business that I hope will help you to achieve yours. (more…)
There is a buzzword floating around at the moment on throw pillows, coffee mugs, notebooks and tote bags, and that word is ‘hustle.’ However, being told to simply ‘hustle’ as a piece of advice for success can be overwhelming. So today I would like to offer a few personal tips to help answer the burning question, “How exactly do I hustle to help my business succeed?” (more…)
One of the most important aspects of running a successful small business is bringing in clients, but doing so can be a tricky matter. Here are a few ways to go about finding (and securing) those elusive customers.
HOW TO FIND CLIENTS TIP #1: ADVERTISE MINDFULLY
Perhaps the most obvious strategy is to advertise. In the most basic of terms, getting your business in front of more eyeballs increases your likelihood of selling and there are dozens of ways to go about advertising. You can invest in sponsorship opportunities, print ads, web ads, online giveaways or tradeshows (to name a few) in an effort to connect on and off line with your potential market. (more…)