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Thinus D's story on... timing and planning

Early on in his career, Thinus got dropped in the deep end as a junior designer who quickly found himself swimming when his senior design colleague left. This became the playground where he grew up as a designer. “Most of my experience can be attributed to this moment where in a short period of time I had to figure things out and learn on the job.” His next career leap was met with great timing as shortly after landing this job his employer landed a very big account, enabling his design team-of-one to expand and a business that continued to land big new business accounts. Thinus was fortunate to experience what real business growth and all its phases felt like.

In a twist of events that followed, a move from Namibia to South Africa, Thinus found himself transitioning from employee to freelancer. Followed by another turn in the road in a move from Potchefstroom to Cape Town, Thinus took up employment once again with a newfound opportunity. He has found that working as an employee again, and as in-house designer specifically, has been met with limitations and that one way of improving and adding value to his employer and himself, is to expand his skills and his experience outside of working hours. Once bitten by the independence of being a freelancer, Thinus knows his ultimate fate and we find him amidst the phase of realising his destiny as that of a Creative Entrepreneur. First steps are underway in the form of moonlighting and Thinus finds himself juggling until the scales tip into full entrepreneurship. Hard working, fun, easy to work with, open to new ideas, and adaptability are the character traits that continue to carry Thinus through this challenging time.

As he focuses on building a client base, he talks to the fine line between pushing a client away and helping them learn about the value that comes with the creative process. There is always a learning curve involved, some education that comes each time when working with a new client. He advises us to share our thinking with clients in order to reach an understanding on whether there is even a fit to start off with. And when there is a green light, being responsible with how we handle payment with perhaps some payment upfront in order to even the risk between both parties.

“We cannot sit still and become stagnant. The industry is changing, we need to adapt. We are moving into a digital realm and the prominence of what was before is no longer. Learning new ways is crucial in order to keep moving forward. AI is creeping in at a rapid pace and we cannot ignore it. The faster we can adapt to the tools coming our way, the better we will do in the long run.”

Building up clients is not the only area of focus, growing within one's domain (and as a Creative Entrepreneur) is essential: “It isn't just about switching on a light bulb, it takes time, development, and a whole lot of aspects to get to the point where you put the paint on the canvas. That's what is often misinterpreted. With all this experience it should take quick right? But that's not how creativity works.”

Thinus is still mustering up the courage to take the leap to transition into Creative Entrepreneurship full time. As many can relate, the final hurdle is giving up the feeling of security that comes with being an employee with a stable monthly salary versus independence which comes with security being all on you - no hustle, no pay. A harsh reality which keeps many of us from moving forward.

We support his frankness, non-hasty and steady transition to soften the inevitable risk. Thinus is moving forward, building up that client base in his moonlighting capacity and saving funds until such time he can make the leap responsibly.

“Somehow my reputation is out there and people have talked about me for a while now. Clients I have worked with in the past, references I have collected over time, I am called upon here and there via referrals and return business without having to market my services.”

THIS is how Thinus will ultimately be able to transition, through genuine word of mouth and good quality work. We now join his circle and have the opportunity to help Thinus transition. We are fortunate to be part of this crucial step in his journey. We thank him for his open and honest sharing, we know there are many Creative Entrepreneurs waiting in the wings for their debut. Thank you Thinus for reminding us all that we are not alone as we embark on this scary part of the journey.

“Solving niche challenges Founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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