For the month of January, I am featuring Business Women. Women who have started their own business and would like to share their journey of how and why they chose their enterprise. These ladies offer insight and encouragement on starting a business making it a reality and not just a dream.
Today, I am featuring Eileen McKenna. She works in Graphic Design and Marketing. She also has a Painting and Illustration blog.
- Tell a little about yourself and your business.
I live in the suburbs of New York City, not far from the beach, with my husband and three kids. In college, I majored in business, and then went to work at an ad agency. Even though I was working at an ad agency, I longed to be in the art department. So, I began studying graphic design at the School of Visual Arts. This lead to a 20+ year career in graphic design and marketing. I started working independently in September of 2014. The services I offer are mainly web design, and email and social media marketing. I also draw and paint and blog about it at www.mycreativeresolution.com.
- Why did you decide to launch the type business that you did? What was the brainstorm that motivated you forward?
During earlier freelance years I worked one on one with many clients, but at the time once a client had a website they were good for at least 5 years. This was way before the time of social media and blogs. Websites were much more static. It was a challenge to always find new clients/new work especially when I had very small children at home.
In 2014 when it was time to leave the marketing agency I worked at, I was ready to take the plunge and work for myself again, with a new approach. With email and social media marketing, there is repeat work I can offer clients. And the nature of websites has changed. Clients constantly need updates made. Even during periods where I don’t have any new clients, I have the repeat business. I love building these ongoing relationships – getting to know a client and their business. It’s so fulfilling!
- How did you launch your own business? Other than, money, what were your first steps?
I read a lot of books and listen to many podcasts. I love learning about other entrepreneurs and other small businesses. One thing, I learned was that people that have hired you in the past are the most likely to hire you again. I let many previous clients know what I was doing. Some hired me right away. One waited almost a year – but became one of my biggest clients. I also told my friends what I was doing, because I knew that previously referrals were a huge part of where my projects came from. I’ve realized that people cannot hire me if they don’t know what I do. Facebook is a great place to share the different projects I work on. And I’ve gotten hired because of these posts.
- What would you do over or change?
I can’t think of anything I’d do over, even though things haven’t always gone perfectly. I’ve realized that every misstep is just an opportunity to learn and grow from. And I try hard not to repeat these mistakes.
- What encouragement would you give other women in starting their business adventure?
Go for it!
Take advantage of all the advice and resources online.
Join a networking group.
Be flexible. Listen to what clients are asking for. I’ve added services to fulfill a client’s need and it’s deepened that relationship as well as expanded my business.
Graphic Design and Marketing: www.eileenmckenna.com
Painting and Illustration blog: www.mycreativeresolution.com
Thanks Eileen for sharing your experiences and journey with your business. I believe you painted a great picture of becoming an entrepreneur. And, I agree with you about listening to people. It can develop lasting relationships.