In 2015, we ran a narrative about Julia Kelly, an entrepreneur who makes a six-figure revenue as a caricature artist.
The place is she now?
We determined to comply with up her story. How sustainable is her enterprise? How passive is her revenue?
Right here’s Julia, with a follow-up in her personal phrases. Take it away, Julia!
Find out how to Handle Two Profitable Companies (and Why One Wasn’t Sufficient)
— written by Julia Kelly, particular visitor contributor
Once we left off, I used to be working JK Expressions and I used to be a few months away from ending my diploma. I used to be past excited to be finished with my diploma and deal with the enterprise full time – I used to be fairly certain I’d be dwelling the dream!
I used to be in for a disappointment. About eight months after graduating and specializing in nothing however the enterprise, it was hitting document revenues however I used to be dissatisfied, bored, unmotivated and considering severely about getting a “actual” job.
I used to be confused. All the pieces seemed nice from the surface: I used to be my very own boss, had a brilliant versatile schedule, tons of time for hobbies, and good cash.
What was the issue?
It in all probability would have labored for lots of people — there’s tons of benefits to working a enterprise like that:
Main flexibility. Gigs are wherever from two hours to some days lengthy. You present up, you do the work, you go dwelling. There’s little or no scope-creep which left me with loads of time for different issues.
Journey. I’ve been everywhere in the nation for gigs. It’s fairly cool to journey throughout with out having to pay for it.
Creativity. You will be as artistic as you need. Folks must be pleased with their drawing, however you will have main latitude to modify up your type, course of, “look” and many others.
However, it seems that these weren’t the issues I actually valued.
The disadvantages stacked up fairly properly too:
Loneliness: I obtained lonely working the biz on my own. I didn’t have accountability or group. My schedule was getting actually slack with nothing however my very own inside drive to maintain me motivated.
No constant recurring income: For gig work, you’re ranging from zero each month. A terrific month wasn’t a assure of the following month being nice. I worth consistency and predictability and the sort of trade can’t assure that.
An excessive amount of time on my arms: Type of a blessing and a curse. I had been filling up my time with a full course load in upper-division accounting and now I immediately had scads of time to refill. I attempted just a few hobbies, however I obtained bored. I wanted to be busier.
I wasn’t challenged: My ardour wasn’t wrapped up in artwork and I didn’t wish to push myself artistically. I used to be extra serious about different domains unrelated to drawing and cartooning.
It’s not like there wasn’t any development potential within the enterprise, but when I wished to develop JK Expressions into a giant firm, I’d have wanted to increase into different varieties of company leisure, rent a bunch extra folks, and switch into an agency-type mannequin.
For some motive (I came upon later what it was), each time I thought of working a enterprise like that, it didn’t attraction to me in any respect.
After a 12 months of working JK Expressions full-time, I made a decision I wanted a brand new problem, however I wasn’t certain the place to look.
In 2016, it kinda simply fell into my lap.
Beginning a Second Enterprise: Rigits
buddy of mine (Elizabeth, however everybody calls her Bitty) and her husband moved subsequent door to me in the summertime of 2016. Throughout dinner every week or so after they moved in, she talked about that she wished to department out on her personal (she had a full-time job in accounting).
It clicked! She had the experience in bookkeeping and accounting, and I had the enterprise improvement expertise! We already knew that we obtained alongside and labored properly collectively, so just a few weeks later we hammered out a marketing strategy.
We named our firm Rigits (a portmanteau of Distant and Digits). We provided bookkeeping, accounting, and tax prep for small companies who use QuickBooks On-line.
Our first consumer was a buddy of ours whose bookkeeper was taking one other job. Bitty labored nights and weekends on our new firm, and after six months, we had sufficient enterprise for her to give up her job and go full time with Rigits.
Three years in to beginning the biz, now we have over 50 purchasers and 5 workers making up an superior crew of people doing work that’s beneficial, essential, and (for me at the least) enjoyable!
I nonetheless run JK Expressions and do a good variety of the gigs myself. Seems, I’m a lot happier when drawing caricatures is my aspect gig and it’s balanced out with extra analytical kind of labor.
How I Handle Two Companies
The primary and most essential secret’s that I’m not managing two companies on my own.
Bitty manages our workers and does the majority of the account administration. She positively carries the brunt of the workload there. My job at Rigits is to herald new enterprise, make gross sales, and onboard new purchasers.
For JK Expressions, I’ve an incredible digital assistant who’s been with me for over two years. She’s slowly taken on increasingly more of the executive duties, bookings, and e-mail communications for me.
Over time, we’ve discovered a few methods to method work that minimizes how a lot time I’ve to spend on it.
Optimize your communication type: E-mail is my scourge. A cluttered inbox will stress me out faster than anything. Due to that, I encourage my assistant to textual content me for fast questions. If there’s an even bigger query, I’ll name her on the cellphone. Something to scale back my inbox is totally value it for me. When e-mail is down, Jules is joyful, so I’ve optimized my communication round that precept.
When doubtful, delegate: There’s so many tiny duties I do within the day that aren’t one of the best use of my time. However as a result of it’s sooner within the second to “do it your self”, these duties pile up. The hazard is that you simply’re spending the majority of your day on the pressing, however not essential, duties. To mitigate that, I’ve tried to kind the behavior of delegation. The simplest approach for me to do that is to document a display seize the place I do the duty whereas narrating it. The duty will get finished, and now I’ve directions ready-made handy over. Recording a fast video has eliminated the limitations to delegation and allowed me to make it a behavior.
Make the robots give you the results you want: There are just a few key items of expertise which have allowed me to automate what was very time-consuming duties. As an illustration, writing emails – I’ve a number of dozens of e-mail templates accessible in my inbox for nearly every thing: gross sales, comply with up emails, continuously requested questions, requests for referrals, notifications, onboarding, you identify it! If I’ve to make use of any kind of copy greater than as soon as, I’ll make a template for it.
Listed below are among the instruments we use to collaborate and cut back my workload. I’m not an affiliate for any of those instruments, I simply use them day-after-day they usually save my sanity!
Zoom: I take advantage of this for display sharing with purchasers and our distant crew. It may be a lot simpler to clarify by doing as an alternative of getting a number of backwards and forwards over e-mail, so display sharing has been actually helpful for me. I additionally use it for recording display seize movies that I take advantage of to delegate duties.
Yesware: A Gmail plugin that shops categorized e-mail templates and units reminders if you happen to haven’t obtained a reply. The templates combine fantastically with Gmail and make comply with up a breeze. I by no means must set calendar reminders to comply with up with somebody – the e-mail will boomerang again to me on the date of my selecting.
Hiver: One other Gmail plugin that permits my assistant and I to assign emails to one another, depart notes and feedback on an e-mail, and “shut” the e-mail when it’s dealt with. We’ve in all probability lower down our inside e-mail threads by at the least a 3rd.
Through the use of these instruments and rules, I in all probability spend lower than an hour a day on JK Expressions except I’ve a gig.
The entire gig course of is automated, too. All I’ve to do is verify my calendar, the place my assistant has put all the knowledge I must get to the gig and make contact with the consumer. She creates invoices and contracts, writes weblog posts, books different artists, collects timesheets, and retains every thing working easily. I couldn’t operate with out her.
Discovering Alignment Between Work and Values
I wouldn’t suggest beginning a second enterprise to everybody who’s feeling uninspired or going by means of plateau of their predominant enterprise. However it was the correct determination for me.
The most important enchancment has come from working in a crew. Having a enterprise companion—and now a crew—is such an exponential enchancment from working in (relative) isolation like I used to be with JK Expressions. I’ve folks in my nook who’re simply as invested within the success of the enterprise as I’m. Bitty helps to steadiness my weak factors and retains me on observe. It generates a ton of momentum and retains me striving and pushing.
I additionally knew I wished to have an even bigger impression on the world, and I wasn’t motivated to do it with a caricature firm.
Don’t get me mistaken—it’s completely potential to have a serious impression with that kind of enterprise and loads of folks do it. However JK Expressions wasn’t the way in which I wished to depart my mark on the world.
Within the 12 months that I ran it completely, I saved making an attempt to “clear up” why I used to be proof against rising the enterprise.
Lastly, I trusted my intestine and began one thing new.
After Rigits obtained some traction, it grew to become clear to me that we had what it took to tangibly enhance folks’s lives and companies on the earth of finance and accounting, and that’s what feels proper to me and motivates me to develop the enterprise.
So I assume I’ve come full circle. Drawing caricatures began out as my aspect hustle, grew to become my predominant hustle for some time, and now it’s again to my aspect hustle.
It’s been a wild journey—actually by no means one which I’d have guessed. It could be an odd journey, but it surely’s mine, and I adore it!
— written by Julia Kelly,
in her personal phrases,
as a visitor article for Afford Something