New gen bosses is a new series created to guide and inspire more people to go out there on their own, either as new business founders or freelancers. And what better way to do that than to ask the ones that already succeed at it? We want to know about big fuck-ups and even bigger successes, and the risky decisions they had to make along the way. We want to be the last little push you needed.
Job title: Founder and Creative Director
Industry: Design services
Company founder or freelancer: Founder
Company name: Pitch Studios
How long have you been doing it: Almost 4 years
Location: Between Melbourne and London
What pushed you to start on your own?
It really started from an innate desire to work for myself. I always felt as though I didn’t fit into certain professional environments (too much pressure, never feeling like I could express myself) and wanted a flexible lifestyle. I had worked in environments that didn’t value life outside of the job and for me, that was never particularly inspiring—especially in a workspace that encourages open creativity.
I was never really able to picture myself inside a large organisation, where approvals and feedback took days to receive. It was too messy and I wasn’t into the politics.
What was the very first thing you needed to do to set everything up?
A combination of the first client and a good portfolio. I was lucky in the fact that Pitch Studios (a long time ago now) was a digital publication and we’d built a lot of contacts through that alone… which of course led to our first commissioned project.
Having the portfolio was also somewhat simple, I had personally grown my freelance practice which eventually moulded into the studios’ practice.
What was the riskiest decision you had to take?
I’d say most decisions are pretty risky. We haven’t and don’t take on retainer clients which in itself is rather risky. But overall it’s these risks that make the work more exciting, all-encompassing and fuels our passion for the work we do.
What was a skill you didn’t foresee needing that you had to learn?
People management. For client (and personal) projects it’s really important to us that we engage in our community and by doing so, you inevitably have to learn how to manage a team and share a vision.
It’s a skill that we have to learn in order to be successful but it’s a skill that’s still overlooked.
Everywhere around us, new gens are founding businesses and redefining their careers. New gen bosses is here to inspire those who might want to do the same, this time with extra tips, some lols from those who have been there, done that, and £20 in your new ANNA business account if you dare to take the leap.
At what moment did you realise that this was going to work out?
When more inbound enquiries came in and we were doing less outreach or new business meetings. Obviously these meetings still happen but it’s settling when the work comes to you.
What did you spend your money on?
A studio space and emerging technologies so we could experiment, play and iterate.
What was your biggest fuck up?
Probably too many to count!? In all seriousness fuck ups happen in almost every project, they are inevitable (we are only human). Agreements don’t get signed, money doesn’t get paid. All you can do is embrace the learning curve and iterate for the next one.
What was your biggest success?
I’m really proud of the video we made for IAM Weekend 19 titled Virtual Gap Year, where we worked with creatives from all over the globe and managed to meet an incredibly tight deadline. We still get DMs to this day from people saying how much they enjoyed the concept and visual interpretations of the theme.
What do you know now that you didn’t know then?
Out of 10 job enquiries, you’ll probably only end up doing about 2 of them.
What are three tips you would give someone who wants to start on their own?
One: It might sound lame, but really understand who your business services or who your customer is and write a business plan. Figure out why you want to do it and write a manifesto. What do you believe in? What defines good work? Does the world really need more X products?
Two: As a creative person, business is often seen as something that gets in the way of creativity. But it’s almost always more important than the creative side. How can I effectively make money off my work if I don’t have a strategy in place?
Three: I’ve worked with a business development coach over the past few years who’s helped me understand the bigger picture. Would highly recommend (if you can afford it).
Feel like you’re not one to forget to sign an agreement? There’s only one way to find out. Take the leap, open an ANNA business card completely free of charge for the first 3 months and get £20 in it, too.
Want to discuss taking the leap with other new gens? You’re in luck! We’ve created New Gen Bosses, a Facebook group to continue and expand the conversation started through this new series.