By Willo O'Brien (Co-Founder & VP of Marketing, Stitch Labs) This year has brought about some incredible developments... both personally, and in my career. One of my main goals has been to find my sweet spot:
Do what I love + Do what comes easily to me + Get paid well for it = My Sweet Spot
The awesome thing is, getting clear on my sweet spot over the last year, I transformed the clients I was attracting into exactly the kind of clients I want to have; doing the work I’m passionate about:
"My mission is to support small business owners and creative entrepreneurs to grow their businesses with ease and grace."
In September I started working with a new startup that hired me on for 15 hours a week. I know that may not sound like a lot to you, but I’m often juggling ~6 clients and ~4 other side projects. Quite frankly I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage it.
The great news was that it wasn’t difficult at all, because it was a pure JOY to be working with this team. Hello, sweet spot!
Solo Entrepreneur to Collaborative Entrepreneur
I often describe my Creative Business Consulting as the intersection where "Art meets Business meets Tech". Given my experience as an artist myself -- as well as my background in tech and entrepreneurship -- I love empowering creative small business owners with the systems and structure to optimize and catalyze success.
Last year I declared I wanted to stop working solo, and instead collaborate on a solution that’s disrupting/game-changing my industry. To this end, I’m proud to announce the grand-fantabulous news:
I’ve joined on as Co-Founder & VP of Marketing at Stitch Labs!
L to R: Andrew (Illustrator/Intern), Michelle (Co-Founder/Designer), Brandon (Founder/CEO/Developer), Jake (Co-Founder/Biz Dev), Willo (Co-Founder/Marketing)
Considering my first reaction after seeing Stitch was, “Why weren’t you around when I started my product line in 2007!?” it was only natural that I sign on to amplify their marketing efforts; shouting the good news from the rooftops, “Finally, there’s a better way!” In the first few months we tripled their traction, I traveled to Baltimore for the Summit of Awesome (a conference dedicated to the business side of craft), and we collaborated on two local speaking events focused on supporting small business owners [1, 2].
Some of you may have seen my posts about Stitch over the last few months. In particular, 5 Things I Learned the Hard Way: Tips on Inventory Management, and more recently our new animated overview video, How Stitch Works (yup, I dug into my old school Flash Animation skills to crank this out):
Note: While most of what you see in the overview video is my illustration and animation, the illustrations of John & Laura, from the Stitch website, are thanks to our talented artist/intern, Andrew.
Moving forward in my new role as Co-Founder & VP of Marketing, I’m excited for the opportunity to continue connecting authentically with our current customers, further develop our branding and communications, and partner with Jake to reach out to the millions of makers and sellers whose businesses can benefit from the unifying power of Stitch.
With my background in Design and UX/UI, I’m able to work with Brandon and our awesome designer, Michelle, to continually refine the usability and effectiveness of our web app.
I’m also really excited to help grow our team, and have a hand in cultivating our company culture. While we all wear many hats, it’s clear that we agree we’re most effective when we work within our strengths. A gospel I’ve been preaching for a while now.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work (Yes, I just used that)
Going back to the Sweet Spot, I realize this won’t always be easy, nor am I getting paid the big bucks -- because hello, it’s a startup -- but when I believe in something whole-heartedly, I’m willing to take risks. Dive in. Make it mine. Do whatever it takes. Additionally, I’ve come to realize how much I thrive on collaboration, and it’s been a priority above all else to find synergistic partners.
After being self-employed for so long, I didn’t make this decision lightly, but working with this rockstar team for the last 4 months has given us the opportunity to see how well we work together. It’s been heartwarming and inspiring to witness the level of humility, communication, and mutual respect; not to mention the wicked talent and ability to iterate fast–one of the keys to startup success!
I’m beyond thrilled to be a part of the Stitch Labs team, developing a solution that’s revolutionizing inventory management and helping so many awesome, independent creatives. And the best part is… this is only the beginning.
Thanks for reading, and for all of your awesome love and support.
UPDATE: Here’s Jake’s announcement post on the Stitch blog!
This post was originally posted at WilloToons.
Photo credit: Alexis on Flickr. About the guest blogger: Willo O'Brien is Co-Founder and VP of Marketing at Stitch Labs, a design-focused business tool for entrepreneurs who make and sell products. She has a passion for empowering fellow small business owners to optimize their systems so they can save time and sell more. Blogging for over a decade on WilloToon, this year she premiered WilloToons Connect, a video series featuring fellow successful artists whose craft has evolved into a business. Follow her on Twitter at @WilloToons.