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From Creative Freelancer to Entrepreneur: Navigating the Transition

In early 2017, I embarked on a creative journey as a freelance design visualizer. Fast forward to today, and I am proud to be at the helm of Flying Elephant Designs, a thriving branding, design, and communication agency with a team of 11 brilliant creatives. However, this transition from being a solo freelancer to an entrepreneur was a challenging path, filled with invaluable lessons, struggles, tears, and triumphant smiles.

One of the most formidable challenges during this transformation was relinquishing control over the final design output. As a designer at heart, I grappled with the need to oversee every detail of a project. Letting go of this micro-management was vital for empowering my team to explore their creative thinking and take the lead on projects. However, for me, it felt like losing control, and imposter syndrome reared its head as my focus shifted from design to business development.

To overcome this, I had to realign with the studio's goals, recognising that as we grew as a team, my role as a leader needed adjustment. I ensured I maintained a connection with my creative side by assigning creative tasks to myself throughout the week to keep my creative juices flowing.

As the company continued to expand, I came to a crucial realisation that every creative entrepreneur must face: the choice between being the creative force within the company or the entrepreneurial driving force. It was a decision that required me to choose one role and find an expert to complement the other. Importantly, I learned that it's entirely acceptable to seek assistance in areas where we may not excel, all in the best interest of the company's growth.

This decision to let go of the need to micromanage was one of the most pivotal moments in the growth of Flying Elephant Designs. It allowed me to trust my team and focus on the bigger picture of business development.

For those of you facing a similar dilemma as a creative entrepreneur, my advice is this: Reflect on your goals, acknowledge your strengths, and be willing to seek help where needed. Remember, growth often requires stepping out of your comfort zone and trusting others to share in your vision. Embrace the journey, and let go of the fear of losing control; it might just be the catalyst for your company's next big leap.

Are you a creative entrepreneur facing a similar dilemma? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this topic. Share your insights and let's navigate this exciting journey together.

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