Jennifer Briggs is a member of our Creative Lady Directory and the owner and creative director of Nicole Designs a brand and web design studio focused on building stunning brand identities and websites to help female entrepreneurs launch their daydreams. We loved getting a chance to hear how her freelance journey has unfolded and how ultimately, her passions have inspired her business offerings.
Tell us about your path to becoming the creative director of your own brand and web design studio.
I started out working on designs for my friends. Once I realized I really enjoyed designing, I decided it may be time to start my business. At the beginning of my journey I offered wedding invitation design but realized I had more of a passion for branding and web design.
In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?
I used social media to attract my clients. I also joined a few different wedding groups and organizations to learn more about the wedding business. When my business began to focus more on branding and websites, I used social media faithfully to increase my reach and attract small businesses, mid-size businesses, and other creatives.
How has your offering grown and changed since you started Nicole Designs?
My offerings have definitely grown. I began to realize how much of a passion I had for creating cohesion across social media. I started to offer social media curation and content creation services to help others create a well thought out and planned Instagram feed.
It looks like you launched Milk Marketing relatively recently. Can you tell us a bit about your inspiration and motivation to create this offering?
Milk Marketing is actually owned by another entrepreneur who really loved my design style. She was looking for a graphic designer who was local to Dallas. We worked so well together with one of her clients, she asked if I would like to be the Creative Director for her brand.
You have such a strong vision for both Nicole Designs and Milk Marketing. Do you have any tips to help our readers step more strongly and confidently into their own visions?
I definitely agree that it is so important to have a business strategy and then a social media strategy. Social media is where you can reach most of your audience. They want to see what you’re doing, what you’re working on, and how you can help them. It’s the best way to showcase your work and your passion and let people know who you are and understand your vision.
You offer many different services, do you have any tips for balancing your offerings and being your most productive?
I think it’s always important to strategize about your bandwidth for service offerings per month. For example, can you complete two websites in a month or just one? Can you complete one website project and one branding project? Can you do one of each per month? Whichever works best for you is the best way to stay balanced and be the most productive.
What has been your greatest struggle as a creative business owner so far?
My biggest struggle has been trying to help everyone. Some clients are just not for my brand and that’s ok. There is someone out there for everyone.
Do you have any tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details?
I would say definitely have a CRM that can help you with bookkeeping and invoicing. Definitely hire an accountant for taxes and business filings, and a lawyer for contracts. Also, once your business grows, you may even have to hire an assistant. Don’t turn down help because you’ll never know when you’ll need an extra hand because being an entrepreneur is hard work.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were starting out?
When I first started out I wish I knew how important it is to make sure you have balance. It’s really easy to get excited once your clients discover you and you want to help everyone. However, your work can suffer when you have too many clients with different needs and expectations.
How do you stay creatively inspired?
I stay creatively inspired through other designers. I love seeing really good design and it inspires me to create more. I also scroll through Pinterest and Dribble often.
Any music, podcast, or book recommendations that you'd like to share?
I definitely love Fiona Humberstone, her dedication to making brand design easy has helped me to make sure I outline my processes for clients and help them to understand the importance of having a good brand.
Anything else that you'd like to share?
Just be you. People will find you!
The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:
Patience, empathy, and strategy.