It’s hard to believe that it’s two years since I said goodbye to my last remaining day job and went fulltime in my business. Seriously, it’s been that long. How does one block of time feel so short but so long at the same time? But we made it. And to be honest, there hasn’t been a day, even in the most recent times, that I regretted that choice. Working for myself, running my business and blog, is where I want to be. Not to mention, it’s been a successful couple of years. That helps, I’m sure. But there are some changes in the wind, and I thought it was about time we caught up. Stick it out through to the end, some exciting things are happening, and I plan to bring you along for the ride.
The year I found my feet.
The first year of working for myself was all about finding my feet again. Working out what there was, I could do, hustling to make a living and settling into a routine. I had Charlotte in the office every Saturday, and we chipped away at adding clients to my roster, nailing down the reporting process and getting my butt back into blogging. We did everything that year; websites to Facebook page setups, Advertising packages to Workshops. I was busier than I’d ever been. Soon, clients-wise, we were looking for more help and time, in general, to get it done. I remained hands-on, and photography and account management started to shop up as the main things that earned the business money. Luckily, they’re also the thing I liked most, which brings us to year two.
The year focused on account management.
Year two of this going fulltime business was an interesting one, with a September ‘start date’ I was six months into the year when COVID-19 hit; we were in lockdown. For the first half of that second year, we worked on building up my photography work, had a full, scaled up client roster and were booking thousands of dollars worth of ads for clients every single month. We had found our niche. Enquiries came in for the other work, websites and other projects, but for the most part, we stuck with what we knew we could deliver on best. Heading into March, we had our biggest scheduled month of product and lifestyle photography in the business ever. And it had to be cancelled. Social Media Management clients made up 70% of our business, and suddenly, some of them had no income for the coming 6-12 months.
I started to question everything.
We were lucky to have a diversified client base in industries including fashion, manufacturing, hospitality, conferences, tourism and recreation. We were lucky because while we lost some contracts immediately and some needed a scaled-back approach they could afford, we had other industries that sort of sailed on through, business as usual. But it was in that first few weeks of lockdown that it occurred to me that my business needed a foundation that could support us if ALL the client work was to go away. First, I knew we would never specialise or focus on one industry. Too risky. Second to that, I started looking at the offerings we made and how to future proof them. More freelancers added to the books. Less dependence on me specifically being available. But then, the most significant idea of my second year came to me; it was time to shake things up.
Have I told you about Chalkboard Digital?
Chalkboard Digital is the new name of the business formally known as Suger Social. If you’re part of the Suger News team, you’ll know all about how and why my business underwent a rebrand this year. Just a few short months ago, I made a move towards the next phase of my business, and I wanted to move away from the blog and myself personally. Not because I didn’t want the two associated. But because for the next phase to work, it had to be strong on its own. WHY? In October we are launching a digital products shop! It will be packed with products to help you ‘do’ your social media like Canva templates. Plus there will be the tools you need to do that with Lightroom Presets and Stock Photos by me and some other Australian photographers. It will be a home base; a solid, somewhat passive foundation for the business.
And that’s where we’re at!
We have a website that I decided to build on Squarespace (links to everything below). That was interesting, if you have questions, ask away. There have been a couple of blog posts about Pinterest, mostly. I’ve rebranded all the socials, and I even started a YouTube channel. Considering the way my channel has been sitting idle for a year or more now, that’s optimistic, but here we are. I’m hoping that now I can show you a little more of the work I’m doing, I can get back into the studio vlog idea. Show the products as they develop and answer some of the questions I’ve been Googling madly since this process started. Who knows where it will all lead; all I know is that it felt like time to do an update. You are my blog family, and I want you along for this ride with me. Come what may.
find chalkboard digital
Hi! I’m Melissa Walker Horn. Around here, they call me Suger. I’m the Chief Blogger and doer of all the things here at Suger Coat It. Blogging since 1901; I love a casual ootd, taking photos, and writing about things that irk or inspire me. I love wine and cheese, long days at the beach and spending time with my family. I make stuff for the internet over at Chalkboard Digital. You know, living the sweet life.