Now that I was able to dedicate 100% of my time to this endeavor, I set my plan into action. I made it possible for potential clients to purchase my custom Myspace design services right from my little old website with the click of a Paypal button.
The clients started coming in. Bands, individuals, and organizations would see my work on other profiles and wonder how they could get something similar. This is why that little “designed by” link at the bottom of all web work is so essential! A huge percent of my clients would have never found me if it weren’t for that.
I worked day and night on improving my own website’s SEO and rankings, modifying and tweaking that code that made it possible for me to do what I do, and networking through Myspace itself.
There came a time when it was just not possible to charge what I charged and have people purchase the service through my little old website. My service was getting a little more popular and I had no control over the price once somebody purchased a custom design. For example, clients that would purchase the service at a low cost sometimes had me working my little butt off as if it were a job five times the cost. I decided that I needed to start quoting people per page, so with a brand new (more professional) website redesign and quoting system in place, I was ready for the next level.
My SEO was amazing. I was #1 on Google for many years for popular Myspace design search terms and that really helped people notice me. Record companies started to notice my company and I soon found myself working with some of the best artists in the biz, from Lenny Kravitz and Kylie Minogue to Twisted Sister and everyone in between. I found it ironic that these labels that I used to dream of working for one day actually wanted to work with ME now. I even developed a relationship with Myspace. Their development team knew who I was and would give me inside information about changes that were happening so I could prepare.
I offered other design services alongside this Myspace design phenomenon, one of which landed me a country music award for “Website of the Year” in 2007. Yes, I actually have my very own country music award… how random and cool is that??Something I never imagined in my wildest dreams even happened… my work was showcased to Bill Gates. Yes, THE Bill Gates. As a part of the Microsoft Mix ’06 conference, Myspace did a special presentation where they demonstrated (to Mr. Gates) all of the cool things that could be done with Myspace. They showed him slides of my very own profile designs, which I have stored away on a video somewhere.
One thing that I wanted to touch on was something that I believe helped create a better reputation for my company… and that was the fact that I never let anybody know that it was just me running the show. Clients thought my business was a big team effort with an office full of designers, when in reality it was just little old me sitting at one computer screen. I accomplished this by never referring to the business as “I”, but rather “we”. “We” were a team… me, myself, and I. I never showed anybody what I looked like, how old I was, and I never corrected them in emails when they thought I was a boy and referred to me as a “he”. The awful truth is that sometimes I was taken less seriously as a techy 23 year old girl who didn’t go to college. Unfortunately some people still have that mindset, and I didn’t want my sex, age, or education to influence what others thought of my work.
My little business had grown to heights I never expected and when I started making a six figure salary I decided it was time to incorporate. Though I had the company registered and operating as a legit business, there were benefits to incorporating that convinced me it was the right path. See, with a sole-proprietorship, everything you do comes back at you. If something negative happened with the business, it was tied to me personally and could result in losing my own personal assets. With a corporation, that business is completely separate from you. If someone sued you, for example, they would be suing the company, not you, which means that none of your own personal assets could be touched. If I filed bankruptcy, it would be the corporation, not me. Not that I thought something bad was going to happen, but it is definitely a possibility in any business so I wanted to make sure I was safe.
The process of incorporating is kind of a daunting task and expensive to do. Especially when you try to save some money doing it yourself and then have to hire your lawyer to fix what you’ve done…. *ahem*. Anyways, with that all taken care of, I felt safe and even more professional, being that I was now able to add “inc.” to the end of my business name!
I created Myspace profiles for about 200-300 artists a year and business was steady. Of course there were some ups and downs along the way, such as Myspace deciding (overnight) to change bits of their coding which in turn resulted me in staying up fixing hundreds of profiles. Besides that, everything was fine and dandy…. but isn’t that always how things are before the storm?
Stay tuned for part 8!!!
Do you think that people are still judged by sex/age/education in business?