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The journey from freelance to building the agency, Team Codesign
It's been a while but I am continuing where I left off. We talk about how I went from freelance to Team Codesign and the lessons I learned in the process.
You can skip to the learnings right at the bottom if you can't read the entire piece.
By the way, do let me know if that happens as that'd be a good indicator for me to improve my writing.
Here we go...
Like they say - Under promise and over deliver, build trust. But seems like I have been missing the whole point when it comes to writing and being present in my own newsletter.
You know my story as a Freelancer, but let’s uplevel today and talk about how I scaled this to an agency.
I started my agency in collaboration with 6 of us and had the dream name, ‘Team Codesign’. Everything was going great; we as an agency worked with multiple businesses and pulled out great revenue, too but..
Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost.
Every movie has a twist, but our life is incomplete without these twists.
After 5-6 months of sheer hard work at the agency, unfortunately, I had to move out with my friend Rumana. We both started a separate design business. How? Initially, we focussed on freelancing websites like Fiverr and Upwork, and we were possibly able to get good gigs via them too.
Our teamwork helped us snag each deal and get amazing referrals from our existing clients. I handled the UX part and secondary research while Rumana did the UI and continuously turned the work into delightful results. This gave us the confidence to again think of building an agency.
Having an extra pair of hands is always good, but not at the cost of skills. So we didn’t rush but we're sure to scale this to an agency. While freelancing, I was also teaching UX at a design institute which was always a pleasure.
This coaching not only gave me the experience but my agency team members too! Mandar was one of them.
(Yahan photos nahi hai!)
And we were all working remotely until I moved to Hyderabad.
Wait, you might be thinking, suddenly Hyderabad kaise? Aana bhi chahiye thaa kya?.
A little backstory, we got an inbound lead organically via our website and eventually, we turned him into our client. And the work required me to move to Hyderabad.
Big Move. It turned out to be the best learning.
I used to work out of a coworking space at 91springboard and started networking a lot. I never realised the importance of networking until this time.
We worked on a couple of projects and then moved to Pune, again continuing from the 91springboard Pune branch. The need for personal branding was never on my To-do.
(But now personal branding is such a common word in freelancing)
And then, how can we forget covid? I was not ready for covid; none of us was. The business tumbled, and we had to let go of a few team members.
This is where building a creative community helped us reestablish pillars for our agency. We regularly upskilled ourselves with books, courses, videos, and mentorships which saved us hours of hit and trial.
Building systems are a crucial part while scaling the business, and thus, learning & implementing simultaneously helped us scale our revenue to 3x and grow a lot as a team or as an individual.
These life lessons taught me the importance of networking and building a personal brand. Your skills with your networking & collaborations will take your business to multi-levels.
Freelancing is all filled with learning, kuch meri kuch aapki. If you have had some crazy learning, reply to this email, and I’d love to read it & keep it noted.
Lessons from my story
1 - When you start something with your friends, establish expectations clearly. Otherwise, things might fall.
2 - Coming back from setbacks is in your hands. Don't sit complaining about what you can't control.
Take a break, acknowledge and start acting on next steps.
3 - If you're building a team, try being the person you would want to work under.
4 - Keep moving out of your comfort zone. That's the way you grow.
Rivista - The app that allows you to get client testimonials seamlessly is out on the play store. So hey, y'all Android users, give it a download.
Feel free to contact me if you want to know how you can use this and what we are adding to it.