Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in web design but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Drea Gideon, a web designer and developer based in Montreal, QC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I mostly serve wellness practitioners like yoga instructors, reiki healers, and yoga studios, but I have also worked with big e-commerce stores. I mostly build Webflow and Shopify websites for my SME clients. For solopreneurs, I recently launched an offer called "Design Day," which is a one-day intensive to get your website up and running OR optimize your existing website, especially for those who built their website themselves and aren't sure if they did it right.
Tell us about yourself
I started building websites when I was a kid! I taught myself HTML, CSS, and PHP when I was in high school, and I would build my own fansites for fun. I lost touch with that creative part of myself when I went into engineering. I studied electrical engineering, worked in corporate, and went back to do my masters in industrial engineering & sustainability. When I started my Ph.D., I realized this was not the right path for me, and I wanted to work with people and be more creative. So I tapped back into my roots and my early childhood pleasures and started designing websites again. It took OFF, and I got so much business in my first year of freelancing. Now I'm building my agency, and it feels so natural and easy. It's seriously the most fun I've ever had working, and I couldn't ask for a better job.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I would say that I am in absolute awe of my clients. Everything I've done for fun or as a hobby has turned into a business collaboration somehow. The boutique where I bought my wedding dress for my wedding this past year turned into my biggest client of 2022. The yoga studio I've been going to for years hired me to do their website, and it was SO rewarding. I feel really blessed to have such inspiring and amazing clients - we get magnetized to each other in some way. It almost feels surreal that I go to these establishments run by entrepreneurs I highly respect and value, and in turn, they see the same values in me and want to collaborate. It's really awesome.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Making the leap to just go it on my own. I had been holding on to some part-time jobs when I first started freelancing because I felt I needed the stability, but in the end, those jobs drained me and took away from my creativity and free time to dream up what I could create for my freelance clients. Now I feel I have so much more room to grow, even though my income is a mystery each month!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find something that feels easy to do for YOU but hard to do for others. That's where the magic is.
- Charge more. You're not a junior, you bring value to the table, and it's worth it.
- Get feedback. Ask your clients to tell you about their experience working with you and to give you constructive feedback on what went wrong and what went right.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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