i don’t often talk about the struggles of starting my own business because i like to keep this blog a pretty positive and inspiring place. but lately there has been something really getting to me and i thought i would share…and ask for your advice!

starting designlovefest + blogshop has been some of the most exciting times of my life. traveling, learning a ton, growing as a business person, finding out what i truly love to doย most (which surprisingly hasn’t been graphic design these days) at the same time, i also have a growing fear of things slipping through the cracks. i never really considered myself a “manager” type and now all of a sudden i am managing at least 7 or 8 people daily between my 2 businesses. believe me, this feels very thrilling for me, but to be completely honest, i have no idea how to do that. i am trying my best to answer all of the emails, give people tasks and deadlines, learning how to give constructive criticism and createย boundaries. and on top of that do my own tasks! it all feels a little like a guessing game right now.

everything happened very quickly, and my standards began growing and growing. which meant i had to ask for help and manage others. listen, i am a creative type. i don’t listen to my own schedules, i procrastinate…i almost always get things done but it’s never in an organized fashion. so all of a sudden i am having to find a way to appear strong and to take on a leadership role. i am still learning how to let go of some of the control (which is probably my biggest battle) and one of the most valuable things i have learned is to put a lot of effort into training because it will only help in the end.

i am not the girl that throws around compliments. i’m pretty hard on myself, which has made me pretty hard on others. it’s not a quality that i love about myself but i am working on it. i used to, if i didn’t love a task someone did, do it myself. it felt easier that way, rather than explaining all of the things that needed to change and then hope the second time was better. no no no. that might help that time but that doesn’t fix anything longterm. now i try to spell out the things that were great, the things i need to see changed and give guidance on the next time. seems like common sense, but i definitely learned the hard way on this one.

have you started a business and feel underwater sometimes when it comes to managing? do you have any tips on how to make this transition smoother? now it’sย my turn to ask for a little advice…i appreciate any of your guidance, your comments always mean so much to me. -bri

(photo source: into the gloss)


Add your own

    First of all, let me just tell you, you are doing it all so gracefully. I admire your workshops and all you have accomplished so far. Looking forward to seeing what’s next. I definitely find that especially at the beginning of a new venture, that feeling of “underwater” comes with the territory. I would suggest seeking out the advice of a trusted colleague or business person. Someone maybe in a completely different field that can provide you with the “business advice stuff”. The stuff us creative types don’t love, but at some point are forced to embrace. Delegating, having a business partner you can truly trust, and hiring people you can count on has been key for me. Not sure if this is helpful at all, but I always love reading your advice so I thought I would try and return the favor. xoxo

    I’m the SAME way. I had an intern for this last summer and it was hard for me to even come up with things for her to do at some points because I kept thinking to myself that it would easier to just do it myself rather than explain it to someone. But, then I realized that I have an unpaid intern, who is volunteering her time to help me and learn, so I put away my control-freak ways and taught her some things. It was a learning experience for sure. Now, I don’t plan to have any interns for the fall, because I need to learn more about how to manage others before I take on that responsibility again. I hope this helps. See you in Palm Springs xx

    chelsea says:

    My best and most simple advice, that I try and follow, is to build your team full of excited and talented people and then let them do what they do best. Basically after a trial period to make sure they are a good fit, I give my employees ownership over their work and I don’t micromanage. If they are not succeeding, I give advice and guidance first and then I am quick to let them go if it isn’t working. It’s ultimately better for everyone. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anni says:

    No advice, because I haven’t figured it out yet myself, but I think it’s normal growing pains of any successful business and with time and trial and error, you’ll figure out what works best for you. Fingers crossed someone chimes in with awesome advice, too, I think the most important thing is just to play to your employees/interns’ strengths and set them up to do well by putting them in situations where they can flaunt their skill sets.

    Emily says:

    Hey Bri, I’m still in the limbo of running my own business part time and also working full time, but I have learned a lot! Two words: project management. I actually went back to school to get a graduate degree in that field because I wanted to consult with creative types on how to effectively manage their projects and priorities … I learned so much, and am still learning every day! I recommend using actual software to manage your tasks and people (and I don’t think this is impersonal — I think it helps everyone!). Try BaseCamp or this new program that’s in beta called GoesToWork (goestowork.com) — you might find a tool like this useful in different settings!

    Shannon says:

    Hey! Managing is HARD! Especially when the responsibility blind sides you. I am 24 and I run a home care agency – I have 3 job titles after my name and manage a huge team of caregivers and clients.

    The best thing that has worked for me is to create a list of what needs to be done. Then determine who knows how to do that task, and then delegate. That way you can see all on one (or 10!) sheets of paper of you are over loading anyone on your team. I am a visual learner/crazy ADD person and having that written out even if it’s just one day or a week at a time I know the repetitive tasks that have to be done daily/weekly are getting done and then I can put “suprise” tasks on people who are not already overloaded with the day to day tasks. Then seriously – make SOP’s. I know standard operating procedures are stuffy and sometimes when you read them it’s like “duh, obviously thats how you open and create a spreadsheet” but really, for something like Blogshop – make operating procedures. What is needed to prepare for each one, who does what, and how to do it. That way of your swamped with something else but you know you have a Blogshop to prepare you can hand/email the files to a team member and ask them to prep it for you. Maybe that’s a bad example but really, taking it all put of your head will help you to feel more relaxed, enjoy your work, and sleep at night. You won’t always be thinking “did this or that get done, and done right” you will know because all of the steps are down somewhere. You know you or your team won’t miss a step.

    And with “managing” people, trial and error for the creative type. And stock up on $5 Starbucks gift cards so that way when someone does something awesome or out of the blue you can reward them, or if you’re too hard on someone or something you can apologize, acknowledge the learning experience for both of you, and mend over coffee ๐Ÿ™‚

    ashley says:

    I do not own a business. I do not manage others. But, I am an employee and I can speak from that angle. I like criticism and I like direction, but it needs to be presented in such a way that my efforts are valuable and appreciative. If the criticism is presented in such a way as it’s a challenge, as opposed to a scolding, I’m game. I like a challenge and I like when I have to work hard to impress someone. I also like to learn, so when criticism is coupled with a way I could improve, I like that too. I also think it’s important for there to be dialogue… even if you know what would look best, it’s nice to ask the employee their opinion and gently guide them the direction you’re going… so they feel like they are part of what is actually YOUR change. I’m a nurse and we do this with the doctors in the hospital all the time. They would chew your head off if you told them how to do their job, but when it’s presented as a “what do you think about…”… suddenly the doc sees your point and makes the decision you wanted him to, but he owns the authority over the decision and thus still feels powerful. Does that make sense? Help your employees become part of the solution so they feel important. Anyway, hope my ramblings help.

    Noticed your LA blogshop is sold out. Bummer. I would have been interested ๐Ÿ™

    Tara says:

    I think the most important thing to realize is that it’s OK to say no to jobs, engagements, and when people ask you for things. The more stressed you are, the more your work will suffer and your audience will pick up on it. Focus on making yourself happy. Attitude is everything. Sounds cliche, but it’s the truth.

    Joey says:

    I’m actually really glad you posted this today, because I was starting to feel alone. I really admire the work you’ve done, so please know the stress you’re going through is paying off. My biggest hurdle at the moment is seeing past the insecurities my current 9-to-5 has caused me to gain (very unconventional company that doesn’t run a business the way it should be run, with a marketing manager that knows nothing about art direction; if this was a client, i’d be a millionaire off the redesign fees and hourly cost). As a result, I’m having to look past self-doubt and find a way to push forward and create the best I can. Trying to start a business when your peers have killed your confidence is damn near impossible. The best I can do is keep looking at my positive influences, like you, and hope that one day I’ll be able to achieve half of what you have. Thanks for all you do.

    bri says:

    you all have no idea how much i am enjoying these comments! thank you thank you!!!

    Megan says:

    Wow I am so feeling what you’re talking about today. I just started my own business 2 months ago and I am completely overwhelmed! I don’t have any employees to manage and I work from home, but it is SO overwhelming keeping up with deadlines. I get so distracted in the day because there are so many projects going on at once, and then I stop what I’m doing and start replying to emails and before I know it my husband is home from work and I haven’t made dinner. Don’t know how I’ll ever add a kid into this mix.
    But it is SO EXCITING and INSPIRING at the same time.
    I don’t have any advice, because I mainly look on here and other blogs for advice, but I guess just roll with it and learn when to say no maybe. (I still haven’t learned that…)
    And sleep. Get sleep.

    Kat says:

    Trust your talents. That’s all.

    DENISE. says:

    Hi there. I’m a little opposite — I worked in the corporate world for a while before I realized that I needed to listen to my heart and be a photographer. Here are things that I learned in the corporate world & still do as a creative #1. Get a few different email addresses. Have all of your newsletters & subscriptions go to one folder (preferably not on your phone or desktop so you don’t feel anxious to check it); personal is another email; and a work email. I even divide it up more than that. Keeping everything separate helps you prioritize. #2 Your inbox is your todo list. When you are done, delete the email, or file it someplace if you need to keep it. #3 Your assistant can help you manage various inboxes — ie they are automatically cc’d or they just have access. They can handle the things you don’t need to handle. You just need to check in on their replies etc every once in a while. #4 Keep a daily to do list. I find that the visual of a little notebook open on my desk reminds me of my schedule and my projects. What doesn’t get done gets moved to the next day. I like writing it out. Typing it or having it electronically doesn’t feel as connected #5 As girls, we are raised to not be a brat and then not be a bitch. And then as adults when we are in charge, all of those criticisms come up in our head so it’s hard to act like ourselves when we are worried about not being perceived as a bitch. You just have to be respectful when you communicate. And when you hire people, they should know you have a certain level of expectation. If they can’t keep up with that, then it’s not a good job for them. But as long as you are being respectful, don’t beat yourself up for being “a bitch.” It’s OK to let people go. Your brand is YOU. No one is going to protect that like you are. I hope that helps! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Shelly Waldman says:

    Bri I hear you loud and clear. That feeling of overwhelm or as I used to describe it a fishing swimming in mud… is hard to get through. I too started a business, a photography business three years ago while maintaining my part time financial analyst job. Through 2011 a few of my creative friends began asking me for business advice and financial coaching – then encouraged me to start a consulting business. So in January I opened Business Juice, a small business consulting company while still maintaining the photography and financial analyst job. In March I went back to school on top of all of this. I understand overwhelm.

    With all that said here’s my manager advice: you want people who not only can help your business but people who you can teach. You become the teacher and the goal should be to have that employee be passionate about what they are doing, so that one day they can think through the project/problem and know how to navigate just as you would. Having clear job descriptions helps, having open dialog about job performance is extremely important and should be ongoing (at min. once a year) plus recognizing when the employee is making improvements that you’ve talked about. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing, but a simple job well done goes a long way to build confidence and team morale.

    Emily says:

    Hi Bri! I come from a totally different background, but somewhat similar. I managed political campaigns before moving to Dublin a few years ago. I found the worst thing you could have is the person who “is” the business try to run the business. Having candidates in charge of the day to day running and managing the campaign always worked out poorly because it wasn’t their strong suit. They needed to be vision and charisma and general direction, that was their role. It strikes me that perhaps your role is somewhat similar. As the face of the business, perhaps you should think about hiring someone to be in charge of the staff people. I suppose it would still be difficult to find someone to take on that role, but you might find it more satisfying creatively to be able to take a step back and keep working at in the same manner that brought you to the position you’re in today. Managing lots of moving parts could actually be keeping you from being the vision and charisma and general direction your business ultimately needs. Just a thought from across the ocean! xE

    Jordan says:

    This is the hard stuff for many of us! I naturally stink at organizing myself and others, too. I run my own graphic design get-up and work at a church – both places I’m responsible for identifying the right employees and volunteers to work with, training them well for the job and keeping the path growing and healthy. This stuff is pretty dang essential for businesses to stay alive!

    The best training I’ve received in this area is actually from our church. We use a pathway called IRTDMN (Identify, Recruit, Train, Deploy, Monitor, Nurture). It gives tools to include the right people for a specific vision for the long haul that is healthy. If you’d like me to email it to you, I sure can (this is all based on Jesus stuff, but it’s transferable to all of life!).

    And a recent helpful read : Heroic Leadership

    Asking the questions you’re asking is a good thing! You’re digging in the right direction!

    bri says:

    oh man, i should have asked you guys this earlier. such good advice, all of you!

    Stephanie says:

    Dear Bri, thank you for your honest words that reminded me of myself. Therefore let me tell you: Don’t worry. It is only a matter of time until you get used to it. I once got a promotion that meant leading immediately 20 people. The first year I had the impression the shoes I was wearing were beautiful but at least two number too big. But month after month I grew into my shoes. 7 years later I’ve quit that job to face a new challenge becauseI got used to the job. Isn’t that the way live works? Everything that seems to be difficult in the beginning is getting easy with the time? The most important thing I have learnt on my way though – I work in the publishing industry – is to always keep in mind what you really, really love to do. There is quit a lot of seduction on the path of success…
    Good luck!

    Jen says:

    Managing is hard. Feeling underwater…I’ve been there. I’ve learned that delegating and learning to say NO was the hardest thing to learn but what made the biggest difference. Letting go of control of things I used to do was the hardest for me. But once I gave that it up, it cleared my time for doing and dreaming up other things that I had been sitting on. Trust your gut and good luck! You’re doing a great job so far.

    Molly Alone says:

    this may be silly, but I just had my first art show this weekend and found myself bossing around my two sisters, my best friend and my boyfriend. they were there to help and happy to do so, but all of a sudden i felt myself getting really opinionated, and snapping, and micro-managing everything they were doing – from talking to potential buyers, to setting up, to taking orders. i apologized a thousand times, and was hard on myself for being such a biatch.

    but then i realized that it’s just because i care SO much about what i’m doing. it’s 100% a reflection of me, how hard i’ve worked, and what i want my business to be one day.

    i think you need to remember that no one cares about DLF as much as you do. it’s just the honest-to-god truth.

    what i’ve learned is that the people that you manage understand this. they probably see how hard you work and as long as you convey the simple idea that “i’m just as hard on myself as i am on you”, people are usually completely sympathetic to that.

    and nothing says “thanks for putting up with my silly managerial ways” like a early dismissal happy hour, or a donut & coffee on their desk in the morning.

    hope this helps xx molly

    I actually just listened to a great radio interview called how to be a good boss. You might get a lot out of it! It makes some great points and gave me a lot to think about. It’s long – but you can listen to it as you work/brainstorm. you can find it here: http://www.cbc.ca/checkup/

    Andrea says:

    Hey Bri, I’m in Ashley’s position, I’m not a manager but have worked in different working situations with different types of managers. I’m a creative as well, and have worked (so far) in two completely different work environments with different types of managers. My first job was difficult in that all of the higher ups (besides my senior designer and art director) were not creatives, and did not understand the design process at all. Many times it felt like we were speaking two different languages when we were trying to work out problems. I also always felt like they were always talking down to me and that the work I was doing was practically meaningless, and not nearly as important as what they do, making it almost impossible to ever be motivated.

    My current job is much different and my managers are designers as well, so it’s much easier to work things out. I think the biggest difficulty now is that sometimes we see things differently, by that I mean we can be looking at the same piece of reference but what I get from it sometimes is totally different then what they see, so my end result may be something different from what they were envisioning. This sometimes can be frustrating but if you think about it, it can also be a good thing. It helps to see a project from all different sides, rather than from one direction.

    I know it may be frustrating/intimidating to allow other people into your working life and that it may be stressful and challenging but don’t let it wear you down, and try to see it as a great learning experience. Taking the time to learn where people’s ideas and conclusions come from is a great way to help the process in the future, even if they come up with something you may not be into, you’ll still get a peak into how their minds are working, and this could help for how you direct them later on. And like a few people said above, we (the people who have managers) understand we are going to receive criticism, can appreciate it and take it as a learning experience for ourselves as well. Just remember- it’s all about how that criticism is delivered. I’m sorry if this all sounds like a silly ramble but I wanted to share my opinion. Try to stay positive Bri, not matter what at least your optimism will rub off on those around you and will help make for a happy work environment!Hey Bri, I am in Ashley’s position

    Kerry Grolle says:

    Bri, I’m coming at you from a few angles. As an employee, I have learned to graciously take severe criticism and turn raised voices and curse words into smiles and laughter by the end of a meeting. As a self-employed creative, I have learned to ask for help when I feel lost, and to ask before I get to that manic “I’ll take anything” state of mind (that’s when things get stressful). What is all comes down to is acting out of respect. Intern, employee, partner, boss; everyone can feel the same sense of doubt or despair when information is not conveyed with positive goals and forward movement known, explicitly or implicitly conveyed. Hopefully, you’ll feel renewed by the support of your readers, by your close colleagues and friends enough to press onward in your managing adventure. It may not be easy, but just look at the things that have come from your hard work!

    I’m sure you are your own worst critic, but here’s what I’ve learned- The key to constructive criticism is start with compliments and end with compliments so you start and end upbeat. (The meat is in the middle.) Also, praise is really important to motivate, even in if you’re a tough critic. So you might need to “up” it a bit, based on what you are saying. A big part of being a good manager is having people want to work for you and do their best. But I doubt you have that problem ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have never been a manager myself, but I have worked with many managers. The best quality of a great manager is being open and available for your employees to be able to come to you and ask questions. Being clear and concise gives employees a clear view of what you expect and how they should deliver it.

    You feel underwater!? Well, first you do a great job of hiding it. This year, I was given an assistant in the marketing department and I have found it challenging to manage more than myself… which I have a hard enough time doing as well. One thing to remember is to recognize your employees when they do something right. And always say thank you when someone does something you ask. Little positive reinforcements go a long way!

    Have an AMAZING rest of the week, gorgeous!

    Holly Foxen Wells

    Kim Boswell says:

    I run a non-profit organization and have to manage a lot of people and events. I think the most important thing that I have learned is to not take everything so seriously. When I first started, I wanted everything to be perfect and professional and perfect … and perfect. Then I found out that, no matter how much I stressed, took over (to ensure perfection), wrote memos, changed rules, added rules, and again took over, things usually just happened and worked out. So why take it so seriously and expect perfection?

    As long as the passion and hard work is there, and it always was, things would turn (in the end) how it should have. When things become too serious you find yourself forgetting the reasons why you are doing something in the first place (for fun, for experience, for cash flow, to meet new people, to be your own boss, etc.)

    Now that you are managing people, remember that they cannot read your mind, and they have different ideas and visions than you. When working as a team on something, keep it mind it is a team effort, not just YOUR effort, and so everyones input should shine through.

    Kari says:

    Hi Bri! I recently had a bad experience as an employee that was in large part due to poor management and company organization. I accepted a job (my first out of college!) with a creative agency, but was not given a job title or specific duties at first. They decided they would see where my strengths were and figure it out as we went along. This may or may not actually work at some places, but coupled with a weak management structure, it ended up being a recipe for disaster in my case. My immediate supervisor was hesitant to give me tasks that I was perfectly capable of handling (I think she also thought it was easier to do it herself) and as a result, I had little opportunity to show where I excelled and give my supervisors reason to trust me and my judgement as an employee. The agency had tons of work, and senior managers were overwhelmed while I was dying to cut my teeth on some more real account work. I was ultimately let go after only a month, in part because they were concerned about my efficiency, which was upsetting- because I didn’t feel that I was ever given a chance to succeed. So, after this experience I would say that you should hire great people that you feel you could work well with, train them, and then trust them. If they are anything like me, they will want to learn from you and make you happy, but the only way that will happen is if they are given the chance. And if things aren’t going well, make sure there is nothing that you can do to improve the situation before you kick them to the curb!

    Oh man. I have things slipping through the cracks daily. So glad it’s not just me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Noor says:

    I think its just one of those things that you have to learn about as you go and do what works best for YOU. I myself am a designer and I have so much work yet I never hire anyone to work with me bc I am just sure that they would not do things like I want or life and the thought alone annoys me. I am so bad at schedules and all that. I need help too lol

    Little Pink Strawberries

    susieQ says:

    Hey Bri, it seems like you are growing and expanding and that is a great thing! With new responsibilities come new challenges so you should know that its actually good that you are facing these “new” issues. I would say, if you haven’t done so already, definitely seek out a mentor-someone that is much further on than you are, that you admire a lot to guide you during times such as these. That way you always have guidance as you progress:)

    ๐Ÿ™‚ Learning to lead is a WHOLE OTHER skill set. Behaviors and attitudes trickle down from the top. If you’re not leading well your work culture won’t be healthy either. I have enjoyed listening to leadership auto books (while I clean or design) this year. It’s been a HUGE help to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    s says:

    I think it’s about prioritizing and identifying what is a true immediate issue and what can wait. Will a project fail if I don’t react to this email/customer/vendor immediately? It’s definitely hard not to get completely frantic. Most of the time I take a deep breath, stop reacting, and comb through my emails, drawings, pings as the day goes on. It’s taken a few miscalculations to find the groove and confidence in prioritizing… (It’s also important to make sure the team understands what you consider high risk/ low risk projects. My manager relationship is always better once I understand what they consider a high priority)
    As a cheap trick I set a ton of calendar reminders for follow ups/key project dates. It helps keep vendors (and myself) in check and make sure we stay on track. I try to be very clear with key dates and always insist the vendors/internal customers provide ETAs.
    It’s SO hard to give feedback and hold people accountable. I struggle with it often. But at the end of the day it’s me who has to go into the meeting (with my own customers) and under deliver- which I hate more than an uncomfortable conversation with a vendor.

    Suzanne says:

    I run my own clothing line and have been doing it by myself for about 5 years until just a couple months ago. I’ve been needing help but couldn’t afford it. Now I suddenly have to delegate and share duties. I think the most important thing for me is to remember that even though it may be easier to do instead of teach, (not that teaching would be hard for you!) ๐Ÿ™‚ that it will pay off in the end if your employees understand how you operate and what you expect from them.

    Suzanne says:

    I’ve also noticed that I tend to move away from the graphic side of things lately because it’s easier to pass it off to my new employee who is also a designer. It makes me sad, but it’s necessary for right now so I have to learn that I can’t do it ALL!

    Cristine says:

    I am the first and only employee at a vintage boutique. The store is a “labor of love”, created by my boss, the proprietor. For the first 4 years my boss did EVERYTHING herself, ensuring that she could maintain her high standards and vision for the store.
    She hired me a year ago (and I have extensive experience in retail). I am a trustworthy employee, eager to help her maintain and improve her vision, but it’s taken a lot of effort on her part to relinquish complete control. We are both “creative types” which means we often have different ways of doing things. As you know, creative differences can strengthen a business, if managed the right way.
    My boss and I meet once a month (and if I had my way, we’d meet every two weeks!) to discuss what’s been happening in the store (front and back end) and our goals for the near future. These meetings accomplish many things: They give us an opportunity to clarify and correct any general misunderstandings, they provide a chunk of time to actually talk about how the business is doing and reassess where we want it to go, and they are an opportunity for my boss to share her short- and long-term vision. After our meetings I always feel so much more at ease and in-tune with how to do my job well. I know that when you’re burdened by the day-to-day tasks of running a buisiness it’s not easy to “let people in” to your creative vision. I assure you that if you take the time to touch base with your employees about what you’re currently excited about, or some directional changes you’re considering, they’ll be more capable of riding those creative waves with you. And they will ultimately feel a renewed connection to you and your vision.

    L says:

    I haven’t read everyone else’s comments yet but I would like to soon!

    I work at a national magazine -it’s a deadline oriented/stressful environment. I thought I would make a list of my ideal boss/employee work situation. Sorry if it’s kind of long:

    -Sincere gratitude from my boss for all the hours and heart I put into something. (I would say this is THE most important one to me in the entire list)
    -Trust from my boss…so I don’t feel fearful about taking risks.
    -Constructive criticism…if we have mutual trust and respect, I will be able to hear what my boss is saying and will want to do an even better job next time.
    -Tools/equipment/help needed to get the job done well
    -“Permission” (more of an abstract concept than literally) to take days off/vacation. I work in an environment that makes it hard to take our paid-vacation and that makes me feel like a bird in a cage!
    -Conflict handled professionally…it’s not that people can never disagree, but more how it is done (in my experience…)
    -Consistency in processes, deadlines, etc.
    -Communication with changes, expectations

    You know those people that make you WANT to work for THEM. LIke you respect them so much, you would follow them to the moon? That’s the ideal person to manage others, I think.

    I think you will do great, because you seem so willing to learn! This reminds me that being a boss is hard, and I need to tell my boss how grateful I am for their support and trust!

    jimena says:

    Yes! it’s super hard, and I haven’t got the hang of it just yet. But give yourself a break, take a step back and enjoy what you have created. It’s been wonderful seeing you create all this in such a short period of time. You have to have a life in between all the work (and we all can see it is A LOT of work you put in). You’re doing great, girl!

    Andrea says:

    Thanks for sharing your fears – it’s empowering for others to know that we all share struggles in life.
    I’d say take some time to think about what you want out of the business. If you want it to stay a one-woman show, then it can. You just have to be able to live with the limits of it. If you want it to grow and accomplish various other things, you need to share it. You need to grieve the small project (it’s gone, it’s done honey) and you need to make room for a larger, uncertain, adventure with other players. Give it away, so to speak. Time to let go of the old and embrace your new role… and see what happens! I’m sure you’ll be satisfied and happy with the results.
    Keep it simple.

    Sarah says:

    First of all, commend yourself. You are such a creative and inspiring person who is constantly pushing it to the next level, and that’s pretty rockin’. I can certainly relate to wanting things done a certain way and hanging onto those things to make sure that certain way happens. But, let’s face it, they don’t always happen (or happen well) if the time just isn’t there. I am a project manager at a large corporation (a creative in my spare time) and I have learned the hard way MANY times that delegation is not a luxury, but a necessity. You are a MANAGER and sadly, with that title comes less work “on the line,” so to speak.

    One thing that always helps me when I’m struggling with handing something off is sitting down with whoever is taking it on. Explaining my thoughts, approach and methodology. Even going through it together. While it doesn’t necessarily ensure that they’ll do the job I expect, it puts them on the right track. I constantly check in with them, get customer feedback on how they’re doing, etc. Of course, this takes a little more time than just turning them loose, but it aids in peace of mind and is certainly less work than doing it yourself.

    Ultimately, you have to decide what and who you feel comfortable with in terms of distributing work. Regardless, it’s pretty damn cool that your ideas are big enough to spread around!

    Carol says:

    Hi. Yes i felt that way many times. Im from mexico and now living in Costa Rica, if it was difficult in that country its more her to grow a business, not having contacts, everything is new. Managing, well trying. Growing a business is so difficult, but have to try.

    mary says:

    I used to run my aunt’s nail shop (that means making sure 8 other people and the nail salon needs to run smoothly under my guidance). I’m now a college instructor and while it’s not the same as running a small business, it’s definitely a “managing” position in that I have to figure out how to get 50 students to do what I need them to do.

    I’m like you. I’m a bit of a control freak. I like things done my way otherwise I panic and feel that it’s easier to do it myself. One of the things I’ve learned over the past few years is to back off. In order to do that 1) I need to find a system that works not only for ME but for everyone around me. Asking for the opinion of people you work with helps things run smoothly in that not everyone works the same way. Find a middle ground for everyone that’s involved in this system. 2) Once I’ve gotten that down I tend to back off.

    This is where teaching 50 college student comes in handy in terms of managing. My first semester I expected my students to do exactly what I wanted without laying the grounds of what I expected. I made a system that worked for me and only me but neglected their needs. To say the least, it was a horrible semester for me and for them. I then started asking my students at the end of the semester, “hey, what can i do to help facilitate YOUR learning needs?” I got all kinds of answers and tried my best to find a middle ground for them and for me. Once I figured out that system I came on very strong and said, “this is exactly what I expect.” Then I backed off and let them be responsible adults to meet my expectations.

    5 years of managing my aunt’s salon and 2 years of teaching and I’ve found that works. My aunt’s shop ran smoothly. My students do what they’re supposed to do and I’ve even gotten a lot of compliments on how great I run my class. Not just me or my class…but compliments on the actual structure and “managing” of it.

    Hope that helps! It’s all about 1) finding a system that works for everyone 2) learning to back off and let go of control 3) trust your employees (or in my case employees and students) to execute what I’ve asked them.

    brooks says:


    you rock, ’nuff said. now, for some advice.

    i’m not a small business owner, but my mom is. i also work at an ad agency that has grown from 80 to 200+ people in the last 10 months, so i have been fortunate to watch a few people go from 0 to 1000. it’s not easy! but here’s the checklist of questions i witnessed each of them tackle, struggle with, and improve on:

    1. “do i love what i do?” by now, “bri” is more than just a name, it is a brand. so while you may love what “bri” is doing, do you still love what you, personally, day-to-day are doing? If yes, yay! if no, figure out how to do what you love. someone else can do the other stuff

    2. “where am i going?” not tomorrow, not next week, not on a plane or a bike; where is your company going? in 3 years, what would be just so amazing you’d pinch yourself? pull brands/businesses/people who you admire, and swing for that. write it down in a Brand Manifesto (with words or pictures!) and keep it on your desk/wall/wallet. this will be your north star when making business AND creative decisions.

    3. “how did i do that?” keep a log of your projects. i always do this (sometimes after the fact!) but it’s amazing how much you can learn when you take a second to reflect. did that go well? what should i have asked up front that I didn’t? And when you get your process down [just about] right, it’ll be written up so you can use it as a training tool.

    And that’s it! everything else is just trial and error. And that includes the above.

    you never let us see you sweat–the small stuff at least–and that’s what i love most about this blog. whenever i open it up in my browser, all i can think is “man o man is there a lot of #joy here”


    Hello Bri – I’ve just spent 3 days with you at NY Blogshop. It was awesome and I felt that your style was very supportive and nurturing. Whilst we covered so much content, you managed to keep things fairly relaxed and your attention to detail is impeccable. All these qualities make for an excellent business woman. One of the most important momentos I have from corporate life was the critical value of people. Team building is a time consuming aspect of a managers role, but the better one can build a team of creative, constructive people, the better value you will get from your team. This means setting very clear goals and disseminating the vision for your business to your team. Then creating individual goals and key responsibilities that support the business objectives ensures that people understand exactly their role and how it fits with the business. And people should be measured against their goals at least annually. And a weekly team meeting was important for communication and team building. I used to meet with my team on a fortnightly basis and then meet with them individually on the alternative fortnight. The bottom line is to treat people the way you would wish to be treated, so they enjoy coming to work and they desire to do their very best. You are great Bri and the mere fact that you ask for help to endeavour to improve yourself is a credit to you. Best wishes, Anita

    Jaclyn says:

    Seeing all of the things you have accomplished and how much your talent shows in each project you do I see how managing everything can become very overwhelming. While I’m not running my own full fledged company, but rather smaller collaborations and companies, I’ve always had the same problem with delegating tasks rather than taking it all on yourself. My advice would be to continue seeking creative and talented staff, but those with a business mind as well. I can go on for hours with some of the other creative people I work with, but in the end we have great ideas and a list of fun things with very little direction or realistic list of how to get it all done.

    It’s amazing what an operations manager can do, a person who has the background to manage and leaves you free to connect with clients and create.

    Stay in the Lines

    A. says:

    I think you handle it all seemingly well. However, I think you need to take a few breaths and not spread yourself so thin. Become well versed in a few aspects of your company, before starting other things, as well.

    The one thing that really struck me was your recent giveaway. I think it showed your ignorance to rules and regulations and that’s ok. But, unfortunately, ignorance is not an excuse. Instead, it looked the opposite of professional. Your first response was reasonable enough, what got me upset was your comment about “beating a dead horse.” Professionals do not tell their consumers (the reason for their success) that any of their concerns are outlandish or overdone. Especially when your readers were having a respectful dialogue with you.

    It’s ok to be new to this. It’s ok to mess up sometimes. It’s ok to be criticized. People don’t take time to write you (for instance like this comment) unless they care and want to help. If they or I didn’t care, I wouldn’t waste my evening writing you.

    Owning a business is going to come with people who criticize and critique. That’s life.

    You can do one of two things:
    respond professional & take their complaints into consideration


    get pouty and talk down to them.

    You’re a smart woman. I’m sure you know which route will be most beneficial to you and your business.

    Cheers to going forward and learning as we go.

    Keema says:

    I love how honest you are on your blogs. I’m pretty sure that’s why others and myself can guarantee we’re in for a treat when visiting. I’m pretty sure you’ll be fine. Honesty & consistency is key. Keep true to who you are, even with all the success. -Keema

    bri says:

    A. yes, i agree. i often spread myself far too thin. i made a move without thinking because sometimes that’s all you have time for and it backfired. hard. and to be honest i was embarrassed and hurt and felt very attacked. while some comments were very understanding and constructive, there were others that were attacking my personal integrity. and while i did choose a winner too quickly, which was not professional on my part…that doesn’t make me a bad person because of it. it is not easy to take those comments, and you never know how you would react to them until it happens to you. the whole thing was something that i can only learn from and do better next time. i appreciate your comment, thank you.

    alison says:

    bri, you learn by doing (and sometimes redoing)! rome wasn’t built in a day, know what i mean? ๐Ÿ˜‰ give yourself a huge pat on the back – it’s REALLY hard to be a creative and a business owner. i’m also still trying to figure it out. take some vacations, and some deep breaths – you’ll be fine. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Jason Jones says:

    I find myself thinking back to our conversations in my office and the growing pains we both went through starting out in our careers (I was going through the exact same thing you describe here), but mostly I find it so amazing to see how far you have come and know there are no boundaries to how far you can go and what you can achieve…you truly are an amazing talent and person Bri. All that being said my advice, for what it’s worth, is: 1. try your best to always understand and respect your employees perspective. Try to put yourself in their shoes, when your talking and meeting with them and ask yourself what would you be thinking if I was on the other side of the desk and how would you want to be communicated with if you were them. I really think this is the most vital practice you can do in any business (or personal) setting whether its and internal employee or a potential client. 2. I think the other most imperative thing is to be as open and honest with every employee so you can set and continue to manage expectations. It’s empowering for both parties to always know where each other stands and it develops a huge level of trust between one another which I believe foster’s the best employee-employer relationship possible.

    Oh, and last but maybe the most important is make sure to take care of yourself personally. Your professional life will have it’s highs and lows and is guaranteed to produce its fair share of stresses, but as long as you put your happiness and health as your top priority you’ll be just fine no matter what the biz world throws at ya!

    Good luck with everything, and I know your gonna be just fine!


    Andie S. says:

    Hi Bri,
    We probably could not have more opposite job descriptions. I am a PhD student doing research under the guidance of a high profile physicist. First of all, I read your blog every day and it keeps my love of design alive- so, infinite thanks for that. Actually, I feel like I relate to you and this post because I too, work on independent projects- I can make my own professional decisions, set my own hours, and take on as many projects as I can handle. But on any given day, I must not only be my own boss and manage my time effectively and valuably, but I must also answer to a very demanding boss who expects good results from everything I do.
    As a boss, the thing you have to realize is that the people that work for you are there to learn from YOU and to be a part of the success that YOU began to create. THE ULTIMATE COMPLIMENT that they can receive as your staff is not a pat on the back from you, but instead the continuing success of your company and your brand, which they helped to create. I can imagine that the hardest part about becoming a boss is making the switch from seeing people as “coworkers” and “collaborators” to seeing them as “assistants” and “staff”. This can also mean taking less of an effort to get to know someone personally, since unfortunately, friendship can complicate business relationships. I don’t think the switch to Boss Lady happens overnight, and every boss has to find their own managerial style- but at the end of the day, you need to stay focused on what your vision for your company is, and stay true to that. The more aware your staff is about what that vision is and how important it is to you, the more you can find yourself trusting in their decisions and letting go of the reins so you have time for other things.
    As far as your independent projects, MAN I know how easy it is to take on too much and spread yourself too thin- only last week did I get majorly chewed out in a meeting for not knowing the information I needed to know to proceed with a new project. Truth is, on some level, I feel your pain and unfortunately, the only thing you can do is hold your head high and learn from mistakes. The thing that all internet critics out there tend to forget (or ignore) when they point out flaws in others that they, too, make mistakes every day. In their own jobs, nonetheless! Its crazy, really, that none of us are perfect. Some mistakes are bigger than others, and so we still deal with the repercussions, and we go on. Only an idiot or someone who has too much going on will repeat the same mistake twice. You obviously aren’t an idiot! So, I guess a little editing might be necessary.
    In all things, stay true to yourself. Because you have a style that is so truly unique that people want to copy you. For pete’s sake, I like POLKA DOTS now, because of you. Bravo, Bri. Bravo.

    Kate says:

    It’s nice to hear this side of your story too! Of course, everyone can feel this way! Especially when it’s something you are passionate about!

    Keep your head up!


    Deeyarah says:

    Bri, You’re awesome and beautiful! Look yourself in the mirror everyday and say it over and over again… and believe it. There’s something very special about you and your boldness to be yourself and share with world. It takes serious guts to step out in the many directions you have. So what if you burn dinner a couple of times or can’t return every call immediately or don’t please every single person every single time? You’re human, take the pressure off.

    Whatever is next… Keep being you, keep being true to who you are and trust your instincts. It’s what lead you to where you are. The other commenters gave some sage advice about management, a lot of good stuff there, and while I have been delegating duties to others since I was in diapers I haven’t always done it the right way. It can ruin reputation and just gets relationships all muddy.

    What I can say that is true all around (employee or manager) is to truly treat people well. People mess up, they don’t always get it right, and sometimes hurt people hurt people. The bottom line is that everybody’s got a story somewhere but while being a smart business woman is great, remember to be merciful, gracious and forgiving.

    You’re marvelous darlin’…


    A. says:

    I respect you immensely for responding to my comment. I can understand how you felt attacked during that misunderstanding during the giveaway. Just know that criticism is hard to sometimes separate into compartments of “criticism of something I did” vs. “criticism of who I am.”

    I am the queen of taking things personally. I am horrible at it. But with a little bit of talking things through with a friend, I am becoming better and better at separating the two.

    Just know that I in NO way meant for you to think I thought you were “a bad person.” Because, Bri, that is not at all what I think! Far from it!

    I think you are a brilliant, and a wonderful blogger. Again, know that people are telling you their concerns because they care about you and know that you care, too.

    Chin up, breathe and remember: we are all learning. we all make mistakes. we all move forward. ๐Ÿ™‚


    Caprice says:

    Hi Bri,
    Your honest words here are both powerful and admirable. I have a few thoughts for ya and am shooting you an email.

    Karen says:

    Two things:

    1. A good friend of mine told me once that a good manager manages themselves out of a job. That has always stuck with me. Having the office/business run itself doesn’t mean you’re not needed. It means you are so good at your job (especially communicating expectations) that everything runs smoothly without you.

    2. When your business is you – you are the brand – it’s a little more tricky to “let go.” But pick your battles. Step in when your brand is impacted, but for the things that are behind the scenes and aren’t critical – let people work in their own way.

    Moorea Seal says:

    Ugh… I FEEL YOU on this majorly. I had 2 interns this summer and boy did I need their help, but good lord I suddenly felt like I was spending all my time prepping and planning things for them and not actually focusing on the things I needed to do, the things that made me hire interns in the first place. I also felt like the easiest things I could teach them and delegate were the things that I loved doing the most… the creative side of things rather than managing the books and such. And I felt pretty bummed that because I needed to expand my business with bringing more people on, I also felt like I had to let go of the things I love most, the things that made me start my business in the first place…
    Their internship was up in mid August and since then I just have been going at a slower pace than I normally go. I need to reflect, refocus, start some things over, change some things, make new plans, and figure out how I can bring more people on to my team without feeling like I just lost the things that make me LOVE my job.

    It’s hard. I SO feel you and I’m going to have to read through everyone elses comments so I can glean a little wisdom too!
    xo Moorea

    The most important aspect of running a team, or even just in working with other people, is to learn how each individual works and use them to their strengths. Be open and upfront about what you are expecting and think about how you would feel if the role was reversed. Try not to micromanage and allow a person to take ownership of a project. When you allow people to take ownership they automatically hold interest in what they are doing. Most importantly, go easy on yourself!

    Chick Tyler says:

    Oh, Honey. I started my own business out of college where I run social media accounts for business. It may be stressful managing others but remember, working alone can be doubly stressful!

    The only advice I know to give is to always let your workers know that you appreciate them and the work they do. If they feel needed and appreciated they will also be more inclined to have some patience if you come down too hard by accident!

    Stina says:

    Managing people is a skill in itself and requires a lot of time to be dedicated to it. I was given advice about managing staff and delegating tasks a few years ago by someone who had successfully risen through management and had seen a huge amount over his 35yr career. It was painful to hear at first, but managing is a job in itself and needs a lot of time to be given over to it, the downside of which means if you are in the creative industry you may find yourself doing less creative stuff. For example if you set an employee a task, explain it as clearly as you can to them, going over any processes they are unfamiliar with, try to think about it from their point of view and cover as many elements you think they need to know. Give them a realistic deadline – perhaps allow longer than you would take to do the task yourself, managing tasks successfully involves planning and scheduling. Rather than wait until the employee has completed the task, only for you to find they have done a number of elements wrong or not to your liking, check in with them at stages; give them a chance to get stuck in to the task and then drop in with them to check if they have any questions and you can have a nosy at how they are going and point out any initial errors – whilst praising any good points to keep their spirits high! This can be done casually so it wont feel like an art school crit. Once they have settled into the task drop in with them again so you can check progress mid-way through and again correct any errors/give praise. By regularly checking in on them they will feel supported by you as a manager and you will hopefully become approachable and they will come to realize they should raise any questions with you mid-way through a task rather than at the end. Regularly checking in on tasks avoids having to go over a long list of errors or criticisms. Hope this is helpful, good luck!

    Oh, I totally see myself in you here! I’m a project manager of a creative team and even though we are employed (not freelance) it’s a hard task sometimes. I’ve got two tips that really made a change in my daily working life:

    1. You can’t be friends with everyone! That’s not why you or they are there, so stop thinking about what they think and get on with work. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, but work first.

    2. You can delegate to delegate! Find one or two people that you trust. You know that they will get things done, and delegate to them to delegate tasks to others = more time for you and your own tasks!

    Good luck! /Hanna

    It’s like I was reading my own thoughts. I know exactly how you feel because I am the same way. Especially when it comes to explaining how I want something done. If they give it to me and it isn’t what I thought I usually just say “thank you” and then I fix it myself. It’s a bad habit because then it just adds one more thing on top of everything else. And as far as getting things done but not in an order…girl, I understand completely. My husband, who is my business partner, is a structured, always crossing things off his to-do list in the same order he wrote them down, kind of guy. Me I tend to bounce around. But it will get done.

    Opening a business is one of the toughest, most challenging, and most rewarding experiences. There have been many nights, since we launched http://www.drakemen.com two months ago, where I only get four hours of sleep. But I love it. I love the challenge and I love when it pays off. Keep doing what you are doing. I am slowly figuring out that asking for help, explaining something a second or third time, isn’t bad. It actually helps me in the long run. Running a business is like learning how to walk. You have to figure out how to get up, keep your balance, and then forge ahead. Of course, there will always be bumps in the road but that is the great thing about this process.

    *This went on a little longer than I expected! But I find myself in the same position as you. Trying to manage your business life and still find time for-you-time without things slipping through your fingers. Just try to take a few minutes a day to walk outside, go running, or surf the web. I do and it really helps. It gets my mind free of work related stress and I feel energized when I get back to the tasks at hand.

    You will do great! http://www.dylandrake.blogspot.com

    EmJ says:


    Did you gather your own logo inspiration from this book? Just stumbled upon it in Amazon.

    This is refreshing to hear. YOU ARE SUPER. That is all.

    Sylvie says:

    YOU DARLING GIRL. When I attended BlogshopLA in July, it was out of curiosity + admiration. CURIOUS TO LEARN more about Photoshop. ADMIRATION OF YOU. As someone who has been on both sides of managing + being managed, Iโ€™ve experienced this: when youโ€™re hard on yourself, let the good, kind words of others ring true about your work ethic. Your being shines through every contribution + effort. You canโ€™t control what people do especially when itโ€™s YOUR vision that is being meted out. Gathering advice from trusted sources is the way to keep swimming โ€“ and you are doing just that! Itโ€™s good to let someone(s) know when something isnโ€™t working. If it is true, let that just be. Kindness in truth is more palatable than nastiness. In the long run, it ends up being a teacher. LIFE happens quickly and you will come to see that stuff falls through the cracks no matter how benevolent your intentions are at work or at home. There are 2 things my sweet mother encouraged all her children to do: LOVE + WORK HARD. Love comes in the way of compliments not only received but given out. Generously. And working hard has myriad rewards. You really do see laborโ€™s fruits, but the best thing is – you share the fruits with those you love. And, well… you love lots! I think THAT is where you have my admiration. You impart that through your blog and you have inspired me to grow mine in ways that need to be a LOVEFEST in DESIGN. So there you go. Take heart, Bri. All the little human things that happen as you grow your business can be tons of frustration. But guess what? YOUโ€™RE DOING SWIMMINGLY! Sending you much love.

    Anna-Rosa says:

    Oh I m so releaved right now. I do the exact same thing. When someone does not do the thing he is supposed to do the way I want it to be, I do it! It always feels easier. You re so right!! My studies need a lot of collaboration, so I end up with loads of work to do and so little time. Well the best thing is to trust people believe in them and, exactly as you said, when they don’t do the job right you just point them the good and the bad stuff and you hope everything is going to be better the next time. We can’t be control freaks with everything. It’s not healthy, overall!

    ArianeK says:

    My last job was basically to make my boss’ work-life easier. Technically I was a project manager, but in reality I did anything and everything that needed to be taken off his plate so he could function better and focus on the stuff that was most important (and that he was best at).

    My point being… sounds like you need a right hand (wo)man! Seriously, I bet even part time help would make your life so much easier and focused once you found someone good and got used to delegating!


    Krista says:

    First of all, you must be doing something (a lot of things!) right as your blog and blogshop is so beloved and growing! The only advice I have is something I’ve learned in medical training for giving feedback to people, since you said you don’t naturally throw compliments around. When you have constructive feedback, give a feedback sandwich: a compliment, something they could improve, and another compliment. That way you’re getting more compliments in and your feedback!

    Erica says:

    you’re amaze. one of the (many) reasons i keep returning to your blog (aside, of course, from the amazing photograph & striking overall aesthetic) is that you’re so candid. your life definitely DOES look magical โ€“ not gonna lie โ€“ but i appreciate the posts where you pull back the curtain & show us what it’s really like. NOBODY’S life is all-glamour, all the time. but you’re pretty much the bomb for being so honest about that.

    on another note, i’m still trying to convince 4 of my artsy friends to rent an office space with me. wah wah.

    Hi Bri!

    I have been a long-time follower of D<3F and always enjoy everything you share with us ๐Ÿ™‚ I, too, struggle with managing people and sometimes, myself. I think it's a life-long thing. I assume I'll never get to a point where I'll decide that I have learned "enough" about being a leader or what it takes to be an effective one. People are always coming and going in our lives – both personally and professionally, and since everyone is different… as a manager you'll have to constantly adhere to new personalities. I recently left a job in higher education, where I helped lead and develop college-age staffs. It was crazy and awesome – and insanely fulfilling. What helped me the most was the one-on-one time I was able to share with my staff – learning about their life, their passions and even the stuff that gets them down. I found that when I had a good handle on their personality and what makes them tick, everything else came naturally… compliments, and even criticism (constructive, of course). I also pinpointed leaders that I (personally) looked up to and emulated their skills – I'm sure you can think of a handful of people that you admire – what did they do that spoke most to you? That influenced you? What can you take from them and mold to fit your leadership style? That's a good place to start, though I am willing to bet that you are doing a much better job than you are giving yourself credit for ๐Ÿ™‚

    Another great way to learn about the people you work with is to have your staff(s) take StrengthsQuest, an amazing survey that is creepishly accurate in breaking down a person's psyche. I found that knowing my own strengths, as well as the strengths of my peers, helped us be more productive!


    Apologies for making this so long… it's a topic I am passionate about! I hope this helps!

    -Sarah Williamson

    Helena says:

    Hey Bri, I think it’s important to have others do what they’re good at and what they’re passionate about themselves. Everyone is talented, just in different areas.
    So I guess if you work with people who are very hard-working and passionate about what they do, then they should do a good job at whatever it is they’re doing. And if you find you just won’t work out together it might be better to say good bye..
    Other than that I can only think of a saying which goes something like ‘you have to be passionate about your subject in order to make someone else feel passionate about it too’.
    Basically just being a role model.

    You mentioned that it is not web design that you really love doing these days – what is it then? I’d really really love to know!


    I learned so much just from reading all these comments! lol.

    ali says:

    Oh gosh Brie. I hear you about the graphic design thing. Funny I do not find it as rewarding as I thought it would be either. Sorta why I started my blog as a more creative outlet. But it is so nice that my blog is “my dog and pony” show, it makes it rewarding. I too come from a background in publishing. I am just starting out with my blog and can not imagine taking on as much as you have taken on at such a young age and so quickly. I can imagine it is a little overwhelming.

    I missed your class this fall I waited too long! I hope you come back to New York in the spring and teach the video class. Keep up the good work!


    Michelle Schumaker says:

    You should think about hiring an assistant manager. Someone that doesn’t have all the stuff going on that you do and can make sure things do not slip through the cracks. Someone that has no problem delegating and having an objective viewpoint so they know when it’s appropriate to be hard on others. I manage a high end men’s salon in Manhattan and my boss just wants to be a hair stylist. My job is to hire/train and sometimes fire assistants and receptionists. I pay all the bills and run the actual business side of the business. He said of his vacation a few weeks ago, it was the first time in years he could relax because he knew he could trust me to run the place in his absence. Maybe out of the 7-8 people you have working for you, there is a really bright star that knows you so well and what needs to get done that you might not think about. Someone that you completely trust.

    yamile says:

    Bri, reading your post just hit home so very very close, I’ve always worked freelance up until a couple of years ago when a couple of friends invited me to join them on a new advertising agency, 4 years later things did not work as expected and in 1 week our office will be closing.
    I am now faced with the decision of picking up where I left off 4 years ago or trying to work my way in to the corporate world.
    Needless to say I am at a loss for words, ideas and general inspiration.

    Having your own business is the greatest thing (but some days it is also the most awful), I think it is one of the bravest things one can do, dare to dream you can make your own way, tracing the path as you walk thru it.
    There is a lot of sacrifice involved in every area of ones life, if success happens and you are still happy, well is that not the ultimate reward?

    You ask for advice…. but the reality is reading and responding to your post has been cathartic for me.

    Thank you!!!

    stephanie says:

    first, awesome picture
    second, this post feels like you read my mind. my best friend and i have been talking about opening our own business for YEARS and besides one another, we have no one’s support. literally. not even our families. we have no idea what we are doing, and not having any kind words of encouragement doesn’t help. i’ll always have your site subscribed, it’s a daily reminder that it is possible. thank you for that.

    Omnifocus has saved me (you can get a free trial online to test it out). I am a film producer, mother, wife, friend, blogger, jewelry designer (blah blah) and like you/so many creatives, wear 50 different hats. Yes, I love making lists (especially love making them look pretty ๐Ÿ™‚ but I started spending too much time merging lists/editing list/losing the lists (sigh). Omni is great cause not only does it easily keep things organized, users can attach emails to each task in your to do list, set due dates/reminders, has great shortcuts so its fast to use, and it’s all online and integrates seemlessly into online routine (or at least it did for me). I promise I don’t work for them, just wanted to share the ways this app has massively helped my process. Good luck!

    Alicia says:

    What have you found you truly love to do (you said it isn’t graphic design anymore)?

    Nik Rivers says:

    The best advise I received about this (ironically yesterday while speaking with an entrepreneur coach) Document Your Procedures. It didn’t make sens until he went into detail. Basically, you should right down what you do -step by step- so that when the time comes and you have to ask others to do the same tasks there is some sort of foundation or outline explaining what needs to be done and to what level. Like, be as exact or anal as you actually are about those tasks so that you can be clear about your expectations. It then becomes a template for how to do that job and what is expected AND it may cut down on the “if you want something done right you have to do it your self” moments that many business owners experience as they take on help. I plan to put this advice into action. Hope it helps you as well. Good luck!

    Anonymous says:

    Hire a project manager!!!

    It makes everything easier and they’re sole responsibility is create and maintain tasks for employees.

    Maybe even hire an intern who is studying communications, project management, or business to help created deadlines and hold people accountable.

    Annette says:

    I would read The E-Myth Revisted: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, by Michael Gerber. I usually turn to books and this was one of my favorites. There’s lots of solid and practical advice. I hope that’s helpful.

    Marisa says:

    Bri, if you need any help, I’m here! ๐Ÿ™‚ You sound like the perfect person to work under if you’re really wanting to gain true, honest feedback & experience (which I am). Critique is hard to learn to take, let alone GIVE, but when you find someone whose critique you can trust, it makes all the difference in your growth as a designer. You can be that critique-giver to young eager designers like me. Your honesty will take you (and your “students”) a long, long way! Keep it up. ๐Ÿ™‚

    xoxo Marisa

    ใƒ•ใƒฉใƒณใ‚น hermes hermes ใƒใƒƒใ‚ฐ http://www.bagneither.com

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