So, what's it like launching a new business in the middle of a pandemic?
For reals. I can forecast and budget and draw up financial targets until the cows come home, but it's IMPOSSIBLE to gauge a market in the middle of so much uncertainty.
So, what do I do?
Do I play it safe? Do I wait for someone else to seize the day?
Well, apparently not, because here I am, launching a new business (with rather sizeable start-up costs!) in the middle of a pandemic.
Oh, also, in the middle of January. When no one has any money. LOL.
Am I crazy? Well, I hope so. A little bit of crazy makes for a good entrepreneur.
Has the risk given me a few sleepless nights? You bet it has.
Will the risk be worth the reward? Well, fuck I hope so.
And hey, if nothing else, at least I've been promised some growth, by this quote I found on Pinterest.
And that abso-friggin-lutely makes it worth it.
In case you missed the news, that new biz I'm going on about is a new studio space, available for rent by photographers and creatives. Here are some pics:
This studio space is the third new business I've launched during the corona pandemic! I'm certainly on a roll.
In mid-2020, we added graphic design and website building to our offerings - launching Robyn Davie Creative Studio. At the end of 2020, I partnered up with an amazing biz partner, and we launched Blink - a fun, fast and frequent solution to capturing milestone portraits of your tiny humans.
Are you ready to add a new product offering? Maybe launch a completely new biz? Well, that's exciting!
Here are my top three tips:
Do your research. Start polling your client base to see if this is something they need, and will be interested in. This can be as simple as a poll on facebook, or a newsletter sent out via mailing list (ideally ask more people than just your mom, hehe!). Really listen to the responses. Ask them what they'd be willing to pay, and then draw up a strategy around that.
Plan your finances. We all imagine a world in which we launch a new product/service/offering and are instant millionaires. Clients flood to buy what you want to sell, and you move into a mansion within weeks. Dreams, right? But creating something new, launching it, marketing it and marketing it and then marketing it some more (and some more!), is a much more extended timeline. Best bet is to plan for at LEAST three months of having to float the expenses/costs of that service before you'll start to break even. You need to have the funds for that, so you don't get into any hot water.
Make sure you have the skills/abilities/resources to create the thing you want to create. It's FABULOUS that you received a beautiful, expensive DSLR camera for Christmas this year. But that doesn't instantly make you a FABULOUS photographer. It's like chucking some flour into a fancy oven, and expecting delicious cupcakes to emerge 20 minutes later. We all gotta learn, we gotta practice, we gotta study. Luckily there's a HEAP of amazing resources - books, tutorials, masterclasses, blogs, articles. Get studying, make notes, and practice.
Ok, that's enough waffle from me! Bye for now!
Robyn Davie is the CEO of the Robyn Davie Creative Studio brand, based in Johannesburg. Her biz offers lifestyle photography, custom photo book design, graphic design & website building, and natural light studio rentals.
The brand has proudly partnered with the iStore in 2020, and won multiple awards through Admired in Africa. Innovation is at the forefront of what they do - always adapting their product offerings, and aiming to stand out from the crowd with excellent client service, fab design work, and beautiful fresh photography.