Hi Bhavini tell us about B81 Designs…
I’m a graphic designer and I specialise in branding and all things design for print. That ranges from logo designs through to full scale branding projects, and also includes advertising design, marketing collateral design, large format graphics and business stationery. Everything I create is completely bespoke to the individual client, so each project I take on is completely different!
When did you set up B81 Designs and what was your motivation to start up?
When I went on maternity leave I was working for a large agency in Liverpool Street. During my maternity leave, my role was made redundant and I was given two options. Take a new, completely different role, or take voluntary redundancy. I decided to take the redundancy and a few weeks later decided to try freelancing before looking for another job. That was in October 2011 and I never did end up looking for a job… I don’t think I’d ever want to be an employee again.
What are the best and worst things about running your own business?
The best thing about running my own business… for me it’s the flexibility I get from being self employed. I love being able to drop my children to school every morning without worrying I’m going to be late for work, and being able to go every assembly or school play they are taking part in. I also really love being able to take time off at the drop of a hat to go and catch up with a friend over coffee and cake, to go and see my parents, to have a date with hubby at the cinema in the middle of the day!! I also REALLY love the flexibility of being able to say no to work that I don’t want to take on!
As a mother in business, how do you balance work and family demands?
I do sometimes struggle with this and I feel like I never get it right…but I’m trying! I work only when the kids are at school which is really nice. My desk is at home, so I take regular breaks from working during the day so that I can do things like the laundry and cooking. I don’t work on weekends any more either and that’s really helped me feel a little more balanced!
How do you structure your days?
My day starts at 5.15 am with exercise and finishes any time between 9pm and 11pm. I don’t really have any set structure to my day apart from getting the kids up and to school each morning, and then doing the pick up every afternoon and having my mummy/family hat on until they go to bed at 7pm. Other than that, my days vary so much depending on what work I’ve got – sometimes I’ll work solidly from 9am -2.45pm and at other times, I’ll be out at networking events or client meetings.
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
I’ve learned that it’s ok to say no! No to clients you don’t want to work with, no to last minute urgent projects and no to giving discounts if you don’t want to!
What’s the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I’ve ever received is simply…be you and don’t compare yourself to others! It’s really easy to get caught up with what other business owners are doing and how well they are doing with their work (especially when they’re in the same industry as you). I’ve found that it’s so easy to fake a perfect life and business on social media, and making comparisons is really unhealthy!