One year in business. The highs, the lows and the lessons.

Jessica Mullen, Dave Ward & Nathan Fulwood of CreateFuture.jpeg

CreateFuture recently turned one - we made it! And we made it relatively unscathed (many startups don’t). 

At the end of a busy year it’s nice to stop, take stock and reflect on what we’ve achieved. Below are some of my highlights, a few surprise observations, and what I think we’ll need to make year two as successful as year one. 

There are many highlights to choose from so I’ve picked some that have meant most to me personally. 

  • Getting to hangout with two of my best friends everyday. How much they make me laugh. And being constantly reminded - and sometime surprised - at how talented they both are. 
  • Working with established brands such as Expedia, BBC and Penguin Books and brands with ambitions to get there, such as Scuf Gaming in the US.
  • Being asked to solve much bigger, complex and broader problems than we expected.
  • Moving out of the granny flat and into a proper, grown up office (although we miss the granny flat).
  • Working with talent across the globe, and getting our Barcelona base set up. 
  • Hosting our Hip Hop Karaoke night. Yes, this actually happened. 
  • Hitting our budget targets, making a profit and having money in the savings account. 
  • Growing the team and making our first senior hire (we recently welcomed Mark Baillie as Design Director). 

A huge part of what’s made the last year so rewarding has been the amount we’ve learnt. Looking back, here are some of the more unexpected observations I've made.

  • Rookie errors - We made stupid mistakes that we all knew better than to make. Like not focussing on business development when we got really busy. Or expecting a new client to pay their first invoice on time. I’m sure you’ve all been there. Never get complacent, no matter how many years experience you have. 
  • Business as usual - It’s amazing how quickly the novelty wears off. We’ve had to try really hard to keep reminding ourselves that what we get to do everyday is amazing and how lucky we are. And as I’ve said before, you’ve got to keep it fresh and put on that proverbial sexy underwear.
  • Sticking to our guns - We promised ourselves we wouldn’t take work for the money and that we’d only work with certain types of companies and certain types of people (both clients, partners and team). It’s meant turning things down but we’ve not broken our promise. 
  • Bad habits - We’ve already fallen into some bad, old habits such as becoming slaves to our desks, not spending enough quality time together and worrying about what other people think. We got rid of the desks. 
  • Personal stuff - It happens and it makes it really hard to give the business your full attention. There are just some things you can’t plan for. And you have to be there to support each other no matter what. 

So what’s in store for CreateFuture next year? A brand refresh is coming, we plan to do this every year to keep things fresh and keep us on our toes. We’ll definitely be bringing some external advisors closer to the business, as I think it’s time we had some different perspectives and felt some more pressure, and a few more hires are planned to help us do an even better job for our clients. 

If you missed my earlier posts and would like to see our evolution over the year, you can find my thoughts at both three months and six months here.

For anyone reading this who hasn’t met us yet, you’re probably wondering what we actually do (don’t worry, we ask ourselves the same question all the time!). We’re at our best when we’re using our creativity to solve problems for bold, brave brands who want to create a better future. And we do this through design, technology and a little bit of love. 

Do get in touch if you want to chat about the trials and tribulations of running a business or if your brand has a problem that you’re struggling to solve right now. We’re really good at it. Sorry, had to get a sales pitch in there somewhere, I have a business to grow….

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Jessica MullenComment