FreshBooks loves self-employed professionals: they are a such passionate and creative bunch, each with a fascinating story to tell about how they started and grew their business. In 2016, we talked to many FreshBooks customers and small business owners to learn about their journey but also to learn from them and share their wonderful business tips and inspiration.
Let’s take a look back on some Customer Stories highlights and get to know the inspiring business owners using FreshBooks to help run their business.
Tyler Smith, SkySlope
SkySlope is a B2B SaaS platform that is focused on helping real estate agents manage their transactions online.
Tyler on hiring: “We are always looking to hire the bar raiser. As you keep finding the bar raisers, it makes everyone else want to be better. You can’t go wrong if you truly hire the best.”
Brendan Meganetty, Explorer’s Press
Explorer’s Press is a Vancouver-based apparel and accessories brand that focuses on creating cool and quirky designs that are accessible to everyone.
Brendan on passion: “I firmly believe being passionate and inspired is #1. Working in the creative industry is tricky because you can’t just put in 18 hour days and churn out awesome ideas all the time. You have to take time to relax and enjoy your life to feel inspired.”
Kerstin Auer, Freelance Writer & Coach
Kerstin Auer offers a holistic approach to consulting including social media management, content creation, copywriting and self-care aimed to integrate seamlessly with her clients’ lifestyle.
Kerstin on valuing your time: “Value your time and work. You don’t have to give everything away for free. Be very selective with doing pro-bono work. It has to be a good fit and a win-win.”
Chris Roy, Namaste Interactive
Namaste Interactive is a custom web design agency for emerging companies in the yoga, organic and healthy lifestyle space.
Chris on work/life balance: “The greatest secret for me has been waking up early. I wake up every morning at 3:30am and have a 2-3 hour morning ritual. It consists of yoga, meditation, walking our dog and making my famous coconut smoothie. The morning time is how I reset my focus and begin the day with ease. It’s my non-negotiable routine that happens before answering any emails or taking a call.”
Andrew Klotz, LaunchListings
Andrew is a Google Street View Trusted Photographer, proving the Business View Service, which allows people to take 360 degree virtual tours of restaurants, campuses, shops and more using their smartphones, tablets or desktops.
Andrew on owning your niche: “It’s depth over breadth–own your niche. Pick a specific area or industry to differentiate yourself from competitors. People want to hire those who understand their domain.”
Ilana Ben-Ari, Twenty One Toys
Twenty One Toys is a design company leading the toy revolution. The company lives at the intersection of design and social innovation and their first toy, The Empathy Toy, is used all over the world by adults and children of all ages and is helping change the way we collaborate and communicate.
Ilana on community: “Community is essential. Starting a business is incredibly difficult and all-consuming. It’s important to have a strong community of support both personally and professionally.”
Brent Galloway, Graphic Designer
Brent on taking the leap to freelance: “Transition slowly. Learn everything you can about running your business, refine your craft and start building an audience before making the full jump to freelancing.”
Rayna Yaker, RYE Consulting
RYE Consulting is a boutique education consulting firm based out of Chicago.
Rayna on perspiration: “I’m a big ‘hard work’ person. I have that quote from Abraham Lincoln above my desk that says: Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle. I’m always hustling … like I’m some 90s rapper.”
Pam Lau, Freelance Photographer
Pam is an independent commercial lifestyle photographer and videographer living at the sweet spot where commerce and technology intersect.
Pam on perspective: “I like to remove myself from my regular schedule and environment to see things from a different perspective. It’s so easy to get caught up in the mundane day-to-day. Taking a step back to see the bigger picture helps me answer the question ‘why am I doing this?’”
Brent Bamberger, Brandish Studio
Brandish Studio is a full service marketing agency, specializing in helping new and mid-stage companies build and improve their brand.
Brent on getting referrals: “You’re only as good as your last project. You want that project to be something your client can be evangelical about. How do you make someone really want to talk about your business?”
Toni Akam, Confetti + Bows
Confetti + Bows is an online party boutique specializing in paper flowers and drop-dead beautiful backdrops.
Toni on time management: “Don’t underestimate the time it takes to do everything. Set aside a big chunk of time to do everything you need to do, especially if you have a family. It’s important to budget time properly to keep some balance in life.”
Mat O’Flynn, Gilded Agency
Gilded Agency is a launch pad to help small businesses take off and grow their brand like never before.
Mat on staying active: “I religiously go to the gym every second day. On my day off from the gym I do what I call my ‘60 & 60’ (60 pushups and 60 v-sits). I have literally gone years without missing a single day of that routine and I believe it keeps me motivated and my head clear.”
Sean Meehan, Cross River Pictures
Cross River Pictures is a Brooklyn-based video production company that ‘makes cool stuff (mostly videos).’
Sean on his dad: “I hear anecdotally about how well my dad treats people at work and that’s had a huge impact on how I run my business. The way I treat people is incredibly important and I think I can attribute a lot of my success to it.”
Jessica Broome, Jessica Broome Research
Jessica Broome Research is a marketing and opinion research company that helps businesses run better by gaining a deeper understanding of their customers.
Jessica on luck: “The harder I work, the luckier I get. I think there’s an intersection of the two. I spend a lot of time reaching out to people and networking. Sometimes the immediate payoff is not obvious, but they might call me for a project 10 years later (it’s happened!)”
Sara Sull & Mallory Cheung, August in Bloom
August in Bloom is a design and event planning company with a fashion-centric and sophisticated twist.
Sara on asking for help: “As you grow and expand it will come the point where you need to reach out for help. You can’t always do it on your own — it’s not always the best way.”
Katherine Vega, Kataklizmic Design LLC
Kataklizmic Design LLC is a creative media production studio based in Arizona.
Kat on pricing your work: “Never sell yourself short. The pricing of your work has a lot to do with perceived value. If you do not stand firm on your pricing, you will not be respected and your business will not be able to sustain itself.”
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About the Author: Amanda is a content editor at FreshBooks, writing and producing blog content to help small business owners achieve their goals and enjoy (yes, actually enjoy!) running their business. Amanda’s background in education and customer support makes her a natural communicator who loves empowering others to succeed. When she’s not writing and editing content, Amanda takes her dog, Jonny, on adventures searching for the best coleslaw in Toronto.