Slowing Down to Birth Beautiful Things

Early in April, it had been two weeks of lockdown in South Africa and I was starting to feel restless and frustrated with the non-stop loop of bad news. I had for a few months prior to lockdown being struggling to figure out the direction of my business. Yes, drawing pretty girls was cute but I wanted more for the business. I wanted to create impact. These thoughts on repeat in my head was worsening all the emotions swirling from the state of the world.





I decided it was time to SLOW DOWN, prioritise truly important things, focus on learning to do things exceptionally well and restructure what currently exists as my business. I had been frustrated because I had an inkling of what direction I wanted the business to go in but I was scared of publicly declaring to be doing something I was a newbie at.


There was also the pressure I was feeling towards having to constantly create content once I declared I was going in this new direction because I had been doing a lot of reading and following leaders or emerging leaders in this field. I was looking at the level of content they were delivering and seeing just how perfect their feeds looked, how they had it all figured out.


I mean, already as it, it is exhausting being on Instagram. It has become a more challenging space to operate in and there's always one person who just seems to have it all figured out and is doing amazing at what they do. For a newbie, intimidated does not even begin to describe how I felt.


So, here is what I did. I decided to "shut it all down", to cut off the noise. I deactivated my personal account, kept my business account going and just illustrated non stop as I tried to explore this new direction that made my heart jump for joy. In spending time reflecting on and evaluating my love-hate relationship with Instagram, I realised that the "illusion that your business is growing when your Instagram is growing, that your popularity means profit for your business and that once you are not achieving that growth, oh well, your business is not doing well" was one I needed to lose fast!


In re-evaluating my business(es) over the past decade, while yes, most of my clients had come or came from Instagram, I identified that connection and relationships I formed with those clients is what kept the referral going. Instagram is simply a platform to share, connect and yes, market what I create but I am learning to dissociate from the thought that my work is "good" because of the amount of likes it receives. I am prioritising the relationships formed in my DMs and the community being built, the same community that showed out for our launch. That is what is important. I knew then that I had to take my business out of Instagram. This was the guiding thought behind creating my website. I wanted a world where my business can still exist, free of algorithms or glitches.


What really matters are the connections, creating a sustainable and memorable business.


So, I chose. I chose quality over quantity. I chose relationships. I chose how people felt about my business. How they spoke about Design Shoppe when I am not there. The referrals and recommendations they make. The experience I am able to create around it. The organic growth that comes from client after client, project after project. I chose to focus on building a reputation of doing an incredible job, by delivering a distinctive job every. single. time.


I have a reminder every four months to switch off from Instagram now, to recharge, evaluate and make changes where necessary. My hope for you, especially business owners, is that you do not wait till you feel a burn out coming to turn it all off but to figure out ways to set yourself up for success by creating timeout to reflect on the business you are building and switch things up where necessary.


Till next time, with love,

ÌníOlúwa.




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Design Shoppe is a creative studio specialising in personal, commercial and corporate illustrations based in  Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg, South Africa 1791 | designshoppe1@gmail.com  

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