Two years in business and still learning...
A wedding, one engagement, one baby, a 30th, a 40th, four house moves, two office moves, 62 projects, 23 clients, four countries, a divorce and two referendums.
A lot can happen in two years.
Year one was all about gaining momentum, setting out our stall, building our brand, winning some clients and delivering some projects.
It was also about proving to ourselves that we could actually do this. That our belief that the agency model was broken, and that there was a better way to deliver creative work, was right. That people believed in us. Turns out they did.
Our belief that there was a better way to deliver creative work was right.
Year two has been about growth and testing the fences. Who did we want to hire? What projects did we want to work on? And we did this by doing. Going into our third year we’re a team of six working across our Edinburgh studio and London base. Supported by a network of amazing freelancers and partners across the globe.
Year two was about growth and testing the fences.
Take one of our recent projects 'Sound Travels' for Expedia and BrandUSA. We worked alongside their team to create an immersive 3D audio experience. We brought together an A-team of specialists from London, Barcelona, Jaipur and Seattle and travelled across eight US states - to make it happen.
So here are some of the lessons I’ve learned after two years in business:
Trust your gut - No surprises here but it’s usually right. If a project doesn't feel right at the beginning it probably never will be. I know this already but sometime you need to go through it again to remind yourself.
An existential crisis - Are we doing the right things? Why are we doing this? Who for? Whilst emotionally draining, it’s important to keep challenging and questioning. The alternative is apathy and status quo.
Coaches are amazing - All three founders decided to each take on a leadership coach, to make sure we were getting the individual support that we needed. This has been one of the best investments we’ve made. A huge personal thank you to Amanda Davie.
Self-fulfilling prophecy - We consciously built our processes for a business ten times our size. Monthly management accounts, detailed revenue forecasting, more space than we need. If you act it, you become it.
Remember it's your own business - It’s easy to default to past behaviours and habits. One of which is being an employee. We have to keep reminding ourselves that it’s our company. We can make it whatever we want it to be - for good or bad. And the buck stops with us, there’s no one else to blame now!
Fun, fast and collaborative - if we can’t work in this way, we don’t want to. Because we know we can’t deliver the quality of work we want to and we simply don’t enjoy it as much.
What does next year hold for CreateFuture?
We’re moving (again) into a wonderful space that we can continue to grow into. We’re looking to increase our team with experienced consultants of various flavours. Our refreshed brand will be launched that better reflects who we are now. And we’ll continue to sharpen our focus about the kind of work we love doing and going out and getting it.
Does any of this sounds familiar? Want to share some war stories? Please get in touch!