“Managing several clients at one time became overwhelming and I knew I needed some outside guidance…” – Kerry Rowe
Kerry Rowe of Kerry Rowe Design has had an exceptionally interesting experience with her business. She’s spent 9 years as a design consultant, engaging in both project-based work and ongoing consulting with her clients. In the last few years, however, Kerry has transitioned from having 1 or 2 clients with big projects to more clients with smaller projects. This change created a turning point for her business, and that’s exactly what led her to seek out some expert guidance in improving operations, or as some may say – the business side of her business.
“Managing several clients at one time became overwhelming and I knew I needed some outside guidance. I found GROW’s events listed with the Grand Rapids Business Journal and decided it was time to attend an Intro to GROW session to learn more,” Kerry says. After that, she signed up for one-on-one business counseling with GROW’s Program Manager. “GROW motived me to take my business to the next level. They’ve helped me become more organized and encouraged me to be legit in regards to the administrative and promotional aspects of my business.”
Separating Personal and Business “Stuff”
Kerry explained that while she has a true love for her design work and the consulting she does, she struggles with the business side of things, and that’s where one-on-one counseling really helped. Even though Kerry already had established an LLC some years ago, she was encouraged to further other aspects of her business. With GROW’s help, Kerry was able to better understand the legal reasons for doing things and how important it is to separate the personal from business things, including a separate bank account for the business. In addition, Kerry was introduced to several time tracking, invoicing, and admin package options to help her streamline and simplify these functions. Before connecting with GROW, Kerry’s business was 100% referral. After talking more closely in one-on-one counseling, she created her own website using Squarespace. “I was intimidated thinking about making a website, coming from the design world, but it was so much easier than I thought it would be,” Kerry said. “It really helped put my stake in the ground.”
Ask for What You’re Worth
Another thing one-on-one counseling helped Kerry realize was that she’d been undercharging for her services. “I learned that there’s always room to grow and how to better value my work,” Kerry says. “It’s nice being able to talk to someone objective about managing rates and all of the other things that roll around in my head!” She added that GROW provided her with some other outside research for going rates, and analysis of things she didn’t consider.
Providing Direct Connections to Resources because Time is Money.
We were also able to provide direct connections to other resources. Rather than having to seek things out on your own, GROW can shorten that curve and get you linked to the right organization, people or resources right away. In particular, Kerry benefited from introductions to specific resources from the Grand Rapids Public Library, SCORE, and the SBA.
Networking Is Important for Yourself and Your Business
“I’ve been on my own for 8 years. I have a strong professional network, but I can still miss the camaraderie of working with a corporation or other people in the “office”. So, I especially enjoyed the networking opportunities GROW offers,” Kerry says.
What Advice Would You Share with Others?
When it comes to advice for other entrepreneurs Kerry says the biggest thing is do not hesitate to reach out and ask for help. Reach out to your network, reach out to GROW and let them connect you to specific resources. And remember that legitimacy is what’s going to establish you and your business. Understanding the difference or separating consulting, at least with an LLC and separate financial records, really sets you up for success and being seen as a business, not just a one-person show.