Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tanya Gadsby, Founder, Creative Director & Graphic Facilitator of Fuselight Creative, located in Victoria, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We help people find a story in complexity. Our clients are primarily those wrestling with the biggest challenges in our world: climate change and health & human rights. We are also honoured to collaborate with many Indigenous Nations on strategies for self-governance and visions for the future.
We take messy, complex content or discussions, and help reveal story and meaning through graphic recording & facilitation, animations, interactive infographics, and augmented reality (AR) experiences. We do this in close collaboration with our clients, so the storytelling is authentic to their audience and way of work.
We're constantly experimenting with new technologies and methods to create a unique experience for each project. This means working with humility -- we share ideas with clients from the earliest drafting stages and host live "whiteboarding" sessions throughout the planning process to map out an approach. We welcome guidance from content experts on how best to represent concepts... whether it's the inner workings of cell biology or mapping out the future of technology in health care.
Tell us about yourself
I have a background in theatre, which gave me a foundation in collaborative storytelling and being open to using different tools to do this. One of my first careers out of university was in health care. There, I got my start live graphic recording of the patient experience (patient journey mapping).
What keeps me going is constantly exploring the leading edge of visual storytelling. Such as using augmented reality (AR) on graphic recordings, so a "hidden" layer of facts pops up for viewers. Or creating unique Knowledge Walls and building structures at conferences for people to interact with content in a three-dimensional space. Or blending animation styles such as watercolour textures, stop-motion, and metaphors unique to the client's story.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Seeing my creativity make a real impact on people and act as a catalyst for change in the world.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Learning to exist outside of the business. Especially if the business is based on you and your unique approach to this work, it's difficult to carve time for yourself and have a life outside the business. It is absolutely essential for you to deliver your best work and maintain your mental health & well-being.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- People: if you want to grow your team, you must be thoughtful about the people you hire. Especially if your clients expect a certain quality of work or approach (see #3 below). Seek out people who exemplify your business's values (make sure you define these!), and the rest is often trainable!
- Operating procedures: figure out how to translate your way of working into operating procedures that people can understand. This not only serves as a "source of truth" for new & existing hires, but it's essential if you ever decide to bring on a new partner or sell your business.
- Feedback: as you refine your services, test new approaches, and iterate -- ask your clients for feedback. What surprised them about working with you? What would they change for next time? Ask your team for feedback: what did we learn from this tricky client? How did we contribute to the problem? What would we do differently? Self-reflection and feedback is one of the most effective ways to improve and grow.
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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