McKenna, a recent Social Media Intern, got a chance to sit down with Kira Leigh of THERE IS NO DESIGN and ask her question about her journey into entrepreneur and her experiences.
McKenna: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your business.
Kira: I’m a nerdy, full-stack tech creative who writes a lot of articles and creates unique (copy, marketing, design) solutions to help amazing people get amazing stuff done. I personally think of myself as an anime magical marketing girl/business therapist. I run a tiny business with a big heart: THERE IS NO DESIGN. (Shameless plug is shameless: https://www.thereisno.design/)
McKenna: What made you decide to start a business?
Kira: My business is all about being upfront, so if I’m being upfront, I fell into it after years of working for others. I felt like I could do this work on my own, and wanted to own my own schedule and time. I work best at creating solutions, and pushing and pulling at ideas, and that just wasn’t happening where I was. Now I’m here, with a loyal tribe of supporters and wonderful small business clients who really need a helping hand.
McKenna: What was the process of starting your business like? Did you have to get startup loans? Are you a one person team or did you have to help with the business? Did you start with a business plan?
Kira: I just straight-up quit my job after some stuff wasn’t jiving with me. I didn’t take out a startup loan, I networked like a beast on LinkedIn. I’m a one person team. I’ve attempted to contract with other people but it doesn’t tend to flourish the way I want it to, possibly because my clients are small businesses or possibly because my standards for work are a bit…excessive. I had a business plan at some point, but fundamentally, I’m the brand and whatever I decide to do is the right thing in the moment. I’m moving towards consultations right now vs. executable action items, because I think this holds the most value for people.
McKenna: How did you market your business?
Kira: This is a super loaded question. I’m a content marketer and writer by nature, so it seems like it’s fairly easy for me to flit around social media and paster my goofy articles all over the place and that’s what I did! Regardless if people pushed back or not, I wrote things I thought would be helpful, be critical, be important. I’ve only spent money on ads to test them out, and I haven’t had to do any cold emailing or cold calling. I really think content marketing is the best way to get pre-vetted, excellent clients who are chill zone and rad. All of my leadgen is inbound and on me, an it works flawlessly.
McKenna: If a kid walked up to you asking for advice and you only had a few minutes to give them the best tips in entrepreneurship, what would it be?
Kira: When you feel a strange mixture of fear, but determination, in your heart, like just before a rollercoaster ride, you now you’re onto something. When people push back and tell you that you can’t do something, but you feel it in your soul that you can, do it anyways. When someone tries to get you to do something you don’t want to, “No” is a complete sentence. You need to take care of yourself, first.
McKenna: What are your goals an entrepreneur?
Kira: my goals as an entrepreneur are extremely simple: do work I enjoy, for people I care about, and have as much time as possible to spend with my partner, my cat and my Playstation/Funimation account. Write op-eds I enjoy, and make things that are helpful. I’m not after some big paycheck, I’m after ‘meaningful work.’ I’m after making art, writing goofy anime blogs, and being myself.
McKenna: What are some of the biggest advantages and disadvantages of being an entrepreneur?
Kira: The biggest advantage I’d have to say is being able to put the work down when you want to. It’s still a struggle when you’re, for example, running 3 clients’ social media accounts all on your own, writing articles for 2 others, and creating UI spreads for another, but you can entirely not take a gig: that’s possible. In traditional employ, you can’t just say, “No, I don’t want to do this.” As an entrepreneur, you can pick what you do. You can choose who to work with.
Also, everything is kind of on you, at least for the beginning. For people who are afraid of being brave, aggressive, and taking responsibility for the success of outcomes, this is a receipt for disaster. For people like me, this is probably the only role I’m suited for. I can rely on myself, definitely, so this is the best path for me.
Another advantage is being able to schedule days off whenever you want. My partner works weird hours, so being home with him is a top priority.
Another advantage I’d like to point out, is that when you find amazing humans you trust and care about, who trust and care about you, you can make amazing things happen. Entrepreneurs have it rough, and having buddies to work through things with is amazing. I think this type of lifestyle attracts either snake-oil salesmen or the most powerful, kind people in existence.
It’s knowing who is which that counts.
Disadvantages? It can get lonely doing your own thing. It’s also really hard to wrap your head around all the admin/blah, blah work you have to do, but it’s not fundamentally challenging. I think maybe the biggest problem I personally have is trust. I pour my entire soul into the people I work for and with because they’ve made it past my weirdness, we’ve developed a relationship and I don’t go into work as a ‘business person,’ I go into work as a friend truly trying to help people get stuff done. However, in business, this is not always or even often a smart play. Getting burned is common, and having to relearn how to say “no’ is a battle I fight often. You have to be aware that not everyone in this field, in this way of like known as ‘entrepreneurship,’ is going to be there for you. The ones that are there for you, truly? You must go to war for them.
You must protect them at all costs, because being an entrepreneur means taking incredible risks, all the time, to make your dreams come true. You must work really hard to forge alliances with people you care about, and disregard the people who would misuse your time.
Being an entrepreneur is risky business, but I don’t know if I’m really meant to do anything else, and I mean that in a good way.