21 October 2013

Savvy Entrepreneur Interview: Allison Lehman, the Wonderjam // #31Days

Ok, kids.  I am so excited for today.  It is interview day.  And today we get to hear about entrepreneurial secrets from one of my VERY FAVORITE entrepreneurs.

Drumroll please… one of my favorite bloggers (her posts are quite literally one of the first I read each day), and for sure my graphic design hero (if you need a design - for anything - she's your first call)… help me welcome someone who's making the world a better place (go support what she's doing!). 

- Allie Lehman of The Wonderjam:

I own a business with my best friend + husband. It's called The Wonder Jam and we're still figuring out everything that we do! Lately we keep calling ourselves "The Defenders of Brands" because we're often brought in to do exactly that! We love working with businesses just starting (or existing, successful companies too) and making sure that they stay true to who they are. This is really broad so more specifically: we brand, we build websites, we help increase online sales and traffic and everything in between. Last week I ran around town creating a birthday present for a client's mom. We love being partners and allowing our clients to do what they're good at. 

Wow! You're asking the wrong person. I only say that because I have the worst memory. Ever. But I do remember going to Weapons of Mass Creation last year in Cleveland and I left so inspired. I saw and heard artists talk about their passion and we can't waste the time we have. We should be lucky that we get to do this! I quit my full-time job a couple months later to start my own business.

Hire an accountant, hire a lawyer and work to over-deliver with every client. Referrals are why we're successful. 

Don't let anyone convince you that you NEED to take out a loan or borrow money. There are definitely times when some startups will need to do...but most creative entrepreneurs don't need it. I also see a lot of entrepreneurs grow prematurely and hire employees or pay too much for an office. Overhead is not your friend! Try to keep those costs down and you'll be able to work with passionate people.

The Blowout Bar! We've worked with the owners since September 2012 and it's one of the most rewarding projects I've ever been a part of. I was able to design the logo, website, signage, windows, chalkboard menu, photography, paper goods + more. They opened October 12 and I basically felt like a proud mother. When you're dedicated to working with clients - they start to feel like family. 

I wouldn't have been able to do all of that if I had undersold my skills. Working with someone for over a year (and then on a retainer) can't be cheap. You can't always expect to do great work when the client or customer doesn't appreciate quality. We can now be picky about who we do business with and that's really important.  

I do believe that our clients (or potential clients) enjoy working with a husband-wife team. Adam and I love each other, respect each other and can tease the heck out of each other. We both have different strengths and because of that we're never really caught off guard. 

Make sure there is a need for what you're about to provide.

I wouldn't even say that you have to be 100% passionate about the business idea for it to be successful because "success" is different for everyone. My definition of success is having an enjoyable lifestyle. It's not to make a million dollars (although I wouldn't be opposed do that!). I just want to travel, live comfortably and give to others. 

Thanks Allie!  You are awesome and we love you. And your great work. Thank you for making the world a better place to be.

(now go support her!).

This post is part of a series called Savvy Business Secrets for Creative Entrepreneurs. You can read other posts in the series right here, or make a selection based on topic:

Day 7: Ask for Help
Day 9: Margin
Day 18: Make it Happen