*This blog was originally posted on 19 November, 2016.

At the start of 2015 I put the final touches on my vision board and stuck it above the desk I made out of a bookshelf in my partner’s already crowded, tiny office.

An A3 sheet of paper, covered in magazine cutouts and drawings, emblazoned with silver and gold glitter pens spelling out in the centre: make money from being creative. 

It was surrounded by other goals, like: study IT, produce a radio show, and read at least one book every month, but that was front and centre:

make money from being creative.

I’d been to so many job interviews trying to actually use my degree, most fizzling out to nothing with no explanation, and some being self-sabotaged by my own anxiety.

One, though, has stuck in my mind ever since, with the interviewer explaining some of the tasks they wanted done and then asking me whether I saw myself more on the technical side or the creative side.

Had she asked me a few months prior I would have immediately answered with ‘creative’, but I was a few months into my Info Tech diploma, and I was finding a lot of joy in being able to create the platforms for the creative things to live on, as well as creating the things.

And plus, I didn’t really see the two as mutually exclusive. There is a whole world of creativity in coding a website or programming an app.

I wasn’t able to verbalise it as eloquently as I wanted to at the time.

I was confused by the very notion, unable to answer… Only on reflection was I able to ask myself in response: “¿Porque no los dos?”

porque no los dos?

The interviewer looked at me like I was seriously misguided. And the interview seemed to wrap up pretty quickly after that!

I was shown the door and never heard from the company again.

So I was feeling disillusioned.

I knew I wanted to be paid for doing something I studied and enjoyed doing, as opposed to something that paid the bills and minimum wage.

So I put it in big letters, where I would look every day, multiple times a day: 

get paid for being creative.

By December I’d deferred my diploma, completed an internship, volunteered on a TV show, hosted a radio program… and MADE $50.

It was absolutely nothing, and it meant the whole world to me.

In January, we signed a contract for 180 times more than I’d made from Pickford in all of 2015.

Since then we’ve fallen and gotten back up about a thousand times more than I ever expected we’d have to in our first year.

But we survived.

Through it all, we’re still standing, and it’s a fact I’m immensely proud of, and which spurs me on.

It surprised me how much resistance we faced this year, when our goal is simple and positive:

to help other female entrepreneurs and female-led businesses use video to their advantage.

We’ve had clients worthy of Clients From Hell, and we’ve had consistent streams of criticism cutting extremely close to the bone on this very thin-skinned and sensitive business owner.

But what has surprised me even more is the kindness within this community.

On a particularly hard week for me work-wise, we were suddenly inundated with happy clients wanting to spread the word. I had voicemails full of ecstatic expletives and recommendations from acquaintances to other business owners on Facebook.

I’d worked with the League of Extraordinary Women and Business Chicks before starting Pickford in earnest, so I knew the female business owner community was strong, intelligent and passionate. But I didn’t know quite how collaborative and celebratory of each other we could be, and are.

I’m heading into the new year with a few focus words in mind; a big one is collaboration.

This has always been a meaningful word for me, and it’s included in the values of my blog Mortals (aka, the Mortal C’s): Creativity, Curiosity and Collaboration.

But the last few weeks the idea of collaboration has felt even more important to me. I’m erasing the idea of competitors from my brain, even in the very same field and doing similar things.

I know I have talents that people looking at Pickford wouldn’t realise. So, I also know that the people behind their businesses have skills I have no idea about. Instead of competing, or feeling jealous when I see something cool they’re working on, why can’t we work together to make something even bigger than each of us?

Why not collaborate and have epic wins together?

So watch out, year. I’m coming for you. I’m hanging my new vision board and ‘Collaborate’ is the word in the middle.

Oh, and I’ll be bringing my business mates with me.


PS – for more sharing the personal bits of business, you can download our ebook here.

tales from our first year of business zoe winther abramo peghini

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