April 1st is a significant date in my life and business.
For starters, my husband proposed to me on that day 15 years ago. We often joke that it is the longest running April Fools joke going. But seriously, we couldn’t be crazier about each other!
As for business, on April 1st, 2016, I officially launched Lab Creative and this past Sunday – 2 years to the day – I closed all the social media accounts for my previous business (Laura K Invitations).
As I close that chapter of my business life, I wanted to take a moment to share my journey to get here.
I started my business designing wedding invitations in 2004 and quickly made a name for myself in the industry. I won awards, was featured on blogs and in magazines – and I loved it for years. I loved the couples I got to work with, the friends I made in the industry and the role I had in transforming the invitation landscape.
But 10+ years in, I could see the shift to online platforms that produced beautiful mass-produced designs for a fraction of the cost of custom…and it was going to be very hard to compete. I had spent a lot of money on trade shows, advertising and photoshoots, but it was just never a great money-making business. Although, it was perfect for when I was having babies and my boys were young. But, as they got older and I became less interested in the wedding industry, I started thinking about what my next move was.
In October 2015, I had a big, exciting, 20 year in the making, life event happen. (You can read all about it here). And to be completely honest, I fell into a great funk afterwards.
I crashed hard.
It made me realise I had SO much more to offer and just how deeply unsatisfied I was with my business.
The start of my new adventure began after a retreat in San Diego in February of 2016. I felt excited again and had the start of a plan.
Following that, I worked with a business coach who challenged me to think bigger than I ever had before and from that I developed the idea for Lab Creative and Brand Camp.
I needed a business revolution!
I launched Lab Creative within 2 months of that retreat and hosted my first 2 day in-person session of Brand Camp that June.
Let’s just say that when I make up my mind to do something, I move quickly! I should add that I did all of this while dealing with a health issue that left me with debilitating back pain and fatigue. Looking back on that year, I’m quite amazed at what I was able to build.
Late in 2016 I made the decision to move Brand Camp into an online course. I got started building the course in January 2017 – scripting and filming videos, developing worksheet and doing a lot of digital marketing. My brain felt like it was going to explode on a daily basis with all the things I was learning how to do (webinars, automation, email marketing etc….) But I was invigorated and excited about the potential the course had for growing my business. I launched the course in March and had my first group go through in April and then another one in the summer.
I’m not going to lie – running a business and building an online course was a lot of work. And still is.
I’m starting to really see the fruits of my labour. I just ran my 3rd session and feel like I’m in my groove. I see the value the course offers and what my insights provide for my clients. Our design work has leveled up as a result as well. It’s a win-win.
We’ve also really honed-in on who we work with, and our process. And we don’t deviate.
For example, you can’t skip our Brand Science process (either through Brand Camp or One-on-One) and go right to logo design. We will no longer create a visual brand for a client, without first helping them get clear on their target audience, why, benefits, brand personality, position and essence. Period.
I’m busy working on lead generation this year, which I mentioned I let slip last year (7 Lessons from an entrepreneur.) I’m speaking at conferences, hosting webinars, going to networking events, writing blogs, posting on social media and getting on the phone with potential clients.
So far this year, we are fully booked with projects. Great projects. With great clients.
The lesson I learned last year and the changes I’ve made are paying off. I feel proud, optimistic and excited about what I have built and where I am taking Lab Creative. I hope you’ll come along for the ride!