Thoughts by MIXTURA co-founder and designer @cesargouv.
It's been two years since we (more or less officially) launched MIXTURA. We're learning every day – about how to move towards doing what we love, about how to find and talk to clients, about how not to go broke – and we still make tons of mistakes. There's so many business out there teaching what they've learnt in the past. I thought I'll do it a little different and share my thoughts while we're still on-the-rise so maybe you don't have to make ALL the mistakes we did :).
1. Find your Guru (online or offline)
It took me a long time to find my guru/mentor. Everyone always tells you to get one – but how?? What I only learnt recently is that while a real-life mentor is amazing that's often not possible (those who are great are busy and everyone is looking for their advice). So in the end I resorted to watching endless YouTube videos until I found someone that I felt really speaks to me, someone that merges design and business to perfection and made teaching these skills his mission: Chris Do from thefutur. He might not become your online guru, but check him out and when you find your own, just keep soaking it all in (I watch thefutur's videos constantly while I do my work now).
2. Up your prices slowly
Artists tend to underprice themselves. We lack confidence, never think we're as good as x-y-z and there's Fiver artists charging 1$ all over the place. But recently in a talk someone said "you should always charge something that just seems a bit too ridiculous to you because otherwise you'll never know your worth." And they were right because more often than not (to our big surprise) we asked for a price and the client ended up not even arguing and clearly found it fair. Once that number becomes comfortable, ask for an amount that seems even crazier than the first and that way your worth will rise with your experience and you'll find yourself being able to choose which jobs you want to focus on and not work 20 hour days anymore. Slowly, slowly, we're starting to feel that change and in the last 2 years our prices have changed at least 3 or 4 times. By the way, our prices depend on the specifics of each job and client – no set rates.
3. Plan your finances – put aside a little at a time (not a lot!)
Last year when we started we were ambitious as all new business owners. We didn't want to go broke and we wanted to make bank – quick. So we tried to put aside 40-80% of what we were earning as savings for ourselves and the business. But what ended up happening was we didn't have enough for general expenses, used savings for normal payments and didn't really save much at all. This year, we did some more research and found that by putting away just a little each time (30% for us), the savings grow and you can really live on the rest without digging into the piggy bank.
4. Make a schedule
EVERYONE suggests for you to make a schedule. We've tried tons of different versions: long lists, no lists, mental lists, apps, calendars etc. We did some to do's, sometimes many, sometimes none. In the end what worked for us and started during Covid was
1. A joint long list on the Microsoft To-Do App with ALL the to-do's, competitions, we-should-do-that-one-day tasks and more 2. A chalkboard with a shorter list of what we're focusing on at the moment (split originally into 'Hanna' and 'Cesar' and now split into 'Art Stuff' and 'Admin').
3. And finally, each week-day (take a break on weekends guys) we discuss what's most urgent and give each other ONE admin and ONE art task.
This way things became less overwhelming, we learnt to prioritize and with someone else telling us what to do we felt responsible. We don't always stick to it, but most of the time we do and when we don't we have to wash dishes the next day as punishment haha.
5. Check your analytics
Lastly, check your analytics. We started doing this recently and still aren't checking it nearly enough but there's so much info out there on your audience, when they're active, what they like and don't like. Use it! We personally check WIX analytics (especially our bounce rate and which days most people come to our website), Instagram analytics to know when to schedule our posts, Pinterest analytics to see what people are looking at the most and sometimes Facebook analytics if we're super into it. Try check it regularly and learn from it – one of the best things to do is see when there was a spike in interactions or website visitors and why.
I hope these tips help someone – stay tuned for more on-the-rise insights from us hopefully every few weeks on the blog or possibly, maybe, probably soon on YouTube!