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Samantha's story on... courage

Samantha studied politics, she was never going to be in the creative space but a short-term opportunity in copywriting threw her into the advertising industry.  Having flexed her creative muscles at some of the biggest advertising agencies in their time, she moved client side to explore creativity in-house.  An opportunity for her to build a business in-house with the funding being supplied by the client themselves - a great training ground for what would follow in the future.  

After attending an inspiring talk, Samantha left feeling determined to embark on a new path: to become a digital nomad.  As a freelancer, Samantha was constantly being brought opportunities from her clients looking for complementary services just outside of her branding expertise.  Having connected with fellow digital nomads, she was able to extend her services through facilitating collaboration.  From freelancer to Founder, today her business is a collective of digital and through the line creatives from around the world working together to develop memorable brand experiences for businesses of all shapes and sizes, helping them build exciting and innovative brand stories.  

“We all talk about the balance between life and work but we bring life INTO work.  Why not experience life, cultures, places, and bring all that creativity and inspiration back into the work that you do.”

Samantha has truly built a business of the future.  One that is not location-independent, and is never going to be brick and mortar.  Her team is spread across the world, where you may find one copywriter in Hong Kong and a website builder in Uruguay, spanning time zones, a sustainable business that truly never sleeps.  With creativity not typically functioning in a nine-to-five behind the computer setting, Samantha has purposefully created a business that accommodates the creative discipline.  One that allows for flexibility in terms of travel and the digital nomadic life as a means to access high levels of creativity and work fulfilment.

“I like to have the opportunity to go after new work and find exciting projects to work on.  As an employee these kinds of opportunities are not readily accessible.  It is important to me, who I am going to be working with and for.  Being an entrepreneur means I can set the rules and change the rules.  It gives me more control over the work I do.”

Samantha goes on to explain that in the role of employee, there are often specific acceptable ways in which to approach work.  In many corporate cultures where one is encouraged to think the same, this can be very limiting for those who are naturally thinking out of the box. Having met many people along the way who align with her views and work, she is constantly encouraged that she is on the right path.  

Samantha talks to us about three critical areas of vulnerability for entrepreneurs: finance, marketing, and talent.  When one has a cash flow problem it doesn't necessarily mean failure, many times it simply requires financial acumen and expertise which one cannot expect every Founder to inherently have.  For this, she has brought in expertise as a means to protect her client relationships whilst getting financial relationships sound via an expert.  In terms of marketing, when you are not clear on what you stand for it is very difficult to create an internal culture and furthermore to become a business that resonates with the outside world.  Businesses, like people and markets, change over time and to remain relevant we need to evolve our messaging and brand to evolve with the times. On talent, one of the greatest business assets, we are constantly vulnerable to the coming and going of people.  To circumvent this, Samantha developed an outsourced business model where her team are all independent.  This gives them a high sense of autonomy and duty to themselves as a contractor and also enables the hiring of talent fit for purpose.  A business built around the digital nomad who freely intertwines their experiences into their professional life, bringing heightened joy to work.  

Her advice to Founders a few steps behind her: 

“If you are looking for a partner in business, make sure your skills are complementary.  If you are not going to have a partner, find a network of people who are also entrepreneurs, fellow solo founders who as a collective can learn and support one another”.

Samantha had a business partner with the same skills as her and for a long time it stagnated the business because they were good at doing some things while other important aspects of the business were overlooked.  Ultimately this meant they were in an echo-chamber and they didn't know what they didn't know. When the business relationship ended it was difficult but it very quickly resulted in big growth for the business when Samantha started bringing on collaborators who had the missing skill-sets required for growth. She therefore urges those who are taking the bold step to start their own venture, to pause before they make a decision on who they will partner with.  Starting a business certainly is a big undertaking and it can make us feel like we are ill equipped to do it alone.  Choosing a partner in business is a decision we cannot afford to take lightly.  She strongly believes in finding a partner who can bring complimentary skills to the business and to err on caution when considering someone who is a duplicate of yourself as this can leave holes in the business.  Thank you Samantha for reminding us that we are in business to grow, and that growth comes with being challenged by those a little less like ourselves.

Samantha believes courage and bravery play a huge role in entrepreneurship.  The risks involved in being an entrepreneur whether it be people you have to bring on board with your vision, or the risk involved in going after each and every client, the journey is ALL about having the courage to take risks. Building confidence in what you are doing is a good place to start to build courage.  She encourages us to build the aptitude to be open to failing, learning and pivoting. In her experience, the clients she has found that struggle the most are those who are unwilling to change, revealing that flexibility and adaptability is everything - it can truly make or break your business. 

“Solving niche challenges Founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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