Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kelley Gibson, Co-Owner of Inkling Design, located in Collingwood, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Inkling Design is a graphic design and website design and development studio specializing in WordPress websites that are beautiful, functional, and easy to maintain. We work with businesses of all types and sizes, but our clients are primarily women-led businesses. We assist our clients with the creation of their marketing materials, logo creation, and website design and development. I handle the development side of our projects, while my business partner Andrea Krones handles the design.
Tell us about yourself
A career in web development wasn't the original plan for me. I have a degree in Journalism/Public Relations and started my career in marketing. When I started a job that exposed me to coding, I quickly realized how much I loved it. At the time, I never would have imagined I'd be running my own business, but I'm so happy with where that journey has taken me. I love puzzles, and coding very much feels like I work on puzzles all day (some more challenging than others). On top of that, we work with some really amazing clients who I genuinely enjoy working with and feel invested in their goals and success.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am really proud of how and where our business has grown. This year marks five years since Andrea and I partnered as Inkling Design, and in that time, we have served over 100 clients, worked on over 300 projects, and hired three employees. I could not ask for a better business partner to be on this journey with, and I'm really pleased with how well we work together and how our goals align.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Feeling like you have to do it all. Whether that's saying yes to everything that comes your way, feeling like only you can do the work, or spending a lot of your time in areas of the business that aren't your zone of genius. Empower yourself to be selective about the projects and clients you take on and delegate where you can!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Use the community around you, and if you don't have one yet, find one! The entrepreneur groups we are part of have been an integral part of our success and growth. Entrepreneurship can be lonely and isolating, but we are extremely fortunate to have had so many amazing women by our side through the process and so many others who are further ahead in the process who have helped guide and motivate us on our journey.
- Identify your dream client and stay true to working only with people who fall into that category to increase your happiness in your business. I was extremely reluctant to "niche down" our audience. I felt like we needed to cast a wide net to ensure we had a good client base, but I've come to learn that this is definitely a quality-over-quantity scenario, and you will be happier and provide better work when you truly enjoy the people you're working with.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions! No one knows everything off the bat, and it can be overwhelming when faced with all the things you need to do. I was fortunate that Andrea had already been through many of the initial stages of creating a business prior to us officially partnering together. Without her experience and knowledge of the process, I would have been very overwhelmed and a little lost. As we've grown, we never shy away from asking those around us for input on any problems we're facing or questions we have, and it has saved us a lot of time and energy and made us feel so supported.
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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