Transcript of Sushi Fridays EP002: Three lessons I learned about business

 What is up everyone? I'm your host Andrea Pascual. Welcome to Sushi Fridays. In today's episode, I'll be sharing three lessons I've learned about business. But first... Short story for you. If you listened to episode 1, I may have to take back everything I said about Toronto sushi. I went to Black and Blue Restaurant in Toronto for my birthday dinner last week, and I ordered the bluefin tuna roll.

Tell me why it was the best sushi I've ever had in Toronto in the past 7 years since I've been home. It was so good, but here's the kicker. Black and Blue is originally from Vancouver and I have been to the Vancouver location previously. So, does this mean that That bluefin tuna roll is Vancouver sushi or Toronto sushi?

You tell me because if we consider it Toronto sushi then I may have to take back everything I said about Toronto sushi and I may have to go back to Black and Blue and order the rest of their sushi rolls. Anyway, I just had to share that with you. I thought it was funny because I ate it the exact same day I dropped episode one.

It was a Friday and I was eating sushi, hence Sushi Fridays. Okay, now let's get back to the topic of this episode. Three lessons I've learned about business. And I'm going to speak from a point of view of being a graphic designer, a solo graphic designer, as well as having a fashion product business.

Lesson number one, making a sale is not what it seems. And why are we talking about sales? Because sales drive business and that's what we're getting into today. So. As a service business, for example, graphic designer, solo graphic designer, me, it's not just about posting on Instagram and expecting to get clients.

And that's what I see many new solo creative service biz owners think the strategy is. If your audience is online, how are you going to nurture them so that they build trust with you as a creative service biz? And being online means content marketing because that's what people consume online, it's content.

So, what kind of content marketing are you going to do? Is it going to be blogs, social posts? Are you going to have closed communities? Are you marketing through your newsletter? And if you're a creative service biz and if you're not online, are you gonna market through relationships? Are you gonna go to events or have speaking engagements?

Is your work gonna be so great that you're gonna have referrals, etc, etc? Making a sale as a service biz is not an overnight thing. Clients who I've had previously even told me that they've been following my content up to a year before, before they made the decision to reach out and work with me.

There's so much more to it than saying, I am a graphic designer, I want to work with you and I can do your branding project. Way more to it than that. When it comes to being a product biz, and I can speak on that as well, the same thing, making a sale is not what it seems. In my case, a fashion product. From the outside it looks like launching the best collection, having the best creative direction and creative storytelling and social media strategy is how to make a sale.

All of it is a shit ton of work. No joke, but the lesson I've learned is that it's not enough. You can have a dope site, the best imagery on your site, etc. And if nobody's on your site, how can you convert them into a sale? How can they add to cart? They're not even there to begin with. So from my experience, the strategy wasn't enough.

Things for me to consider, am I gonna use paid ads? Am I going to have in-person events? Am I going to have influencer partnerships? Will I be using SEO to drive people to my website? I am still learning these things and when we're talking about a creative service biz. or a fashion product biz, I think that even the smallest sales should be celebrated because of all the back end and pre-work and strategy that goes along with it.

Number two, second lesson I've learned about business, consider your capacity. How much can you as one person do? In my case, for example, as a solo graphic designer, how much capacity do I have to design aka provide my service if most of the time I'm trying to make the sale? And that leads us back to lesson number one.

Because there is so much involved, how is that going to balance out? And I don't think that's just a challenge for me. I know that's a challenge for my peers and I've actually met smaller boutique agencies where one person just focuses on the sale and the other person and rest of the team focuses on creative. Now when it comes to being a fashion product biz owner consider your capacity. Same thing, and I'll speak on my lessons that I've learned.

I have been sewing at home, after work, and it wasn't until the pandemic where I realized that sewing, and I was sewing by hand most of my leather goods, by the way. So it wasn't until March 2020 when I realized that I was at capacity. I had a makers show that was scheduled for spring 2020. Because of the pandemic, it was cancelled, but as part of the show, it was required that I needed to have my table full for the duration of the show.

A couple weeks before the show, I was sewing so much that I pulled a nerve on my right hand, and I had to go to physio, and the physiotherapist told me, like, you need to chill, you can't be sewing anymore. Long story short, the show ended up getting cancelled, but when I think back at it now, if the show did go on, then my table would only be half full because I tried to sew everything on my own.

Considering your capacity is super important, and if your capacity is capped, how is your business going to scale? This is a personal lesson that I've learned in business.

Lesson number three, learn and adapt. As a graphic designer, I did not know that IG was not the platform for branding and graphic design clients, and the only reason why I started my branding Instagram was to differentiate myself from my personal account and from my fashion product business because I was getting DMs all over the place.

Now I'm not active on my graphic design and branding IG because not only are my views and analytics very low, but most of the people who follow me are designers anyways. They're not clients. And it took me a while to learn this. It wasn't until I started polling people when they would reach out to me. I would ask them, how did you find me?

And the majority is LinkedIn. It's LinkedIn first, referral second, and IG barely ever. Barely. Learning that, now I use LinkedIn solely for brand and design content. That's how I adapted. I think it's a waste of time to be on Instagram if 90 percent of the people who follow me on my branding and graphic design Instagram account are other designers, not clients and family and friends.

And I'm going to talk about number three, learn and adapt from a product biz owner POV. I have learned more in the last two years. than I have in the past 10 years as a fashion product biz owner because previously I was selling on Squarespace. Nobody taught me about e-commerce. Nobody taught me that Shopify is the e-comm selling machine and I'm still learning about that.

Sourcing for production, I did not know anything about that up until a couple years ago because I was making everything by hand, so I was buying leather at retail, I was buying thread and leather lacing, which I used to make my handbags at retail. Nobody told me anything about how production works.

That's something I had to learn on my own, and I'm still learning. And building brand trust in various ways, I'm still learning how to do that for Andrea Pascual. As well, using SEO. I had no idea what SEO was up until a couple years ago, and I know how much work goes into it. Still learning that. Google Analytics, still learning that.

Like, the back end of Google Analytics is a freaking shitshow to me. It's so difficult to understand, but I had to learn it. I need to see who's coming on my page, where they're coming from, etc. And other things that I'm still learning about, how to collaborate with other creators to grow my brand, how to organize events so that I can grow my brand, still learning how to do that and haven't had the time to implement any of that yet, because now that we can go back to lesson number two, consider your capacity.

I personally don't have all the capacity to do that. Real talk. 

So, to recap, three lessons I've learned about business. Number one, making a sale is not what it seems. This is why I think every sale, whether small or large, whether that's signing a client or selling a keychain, needs to be celebrated. Number two, consider your capacity.

How much can you, as one person, do? In my case, if I'm sewing day and night and not putting energy into building the brand or making sales, then of course I'm not going to make any sales. And number three, learn and adapt. Like I said, I've learned so much more in the past couple years than I have in the past ten because of doing things differently.

And even if I look at the past year, there's so many things I know that I can improve on. But I have to still consider my capacity to implement it. 

And on that note, if you are a business owner and you need help with your brand or graphic design, I am happy to help you with that. Please send me a message to  SushiFridaysPod (at) gmail (dot) com. or send me a DM to @sushifridayspod on Instagram. Happy to help you grow your business with everything I know as a fashion brand owner and brand and graphic designer. Thank you for listening to Sushi Fridays. Please subscribe on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. After my experience last week at Black and Blue, I am gonna go research some sushi in Toronto now to prove myself wrong about what I said in episode one about sushi.

My name is Andrea Pascual and I'll talk to you again next Friday.

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