Belicia from Made By Bxlicia is a photographer and graphic designer with a fantastic eye. She was one of the first people who let me do a website assessment for them, and I’ve been excited to see the improvements she’s made to her site as a result of our consultation. If you’re looking for an amazing photographer in the greater Toronto area, she’s your gal. She’s also a rockstar graphic artist, so you can work with her remotely if you’re not in her area. You can see stunning examples of her work at www.madebybxlicia.com. You can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
When did you start your business, and why did you create it?
I registered my business in August 2020! I graduated in June 2020 with no job prospects. Like most recent grads, I applied to hundreds of jobs with either no response or generic rejection emails. My friends from university came up with this phrase, “Later is now” which I took and ran with. The idea is not to put off what can be done today and just do it now. I created a business account for all my photography work after a month of offering free photoshoots to build my portfolio. I started posting and I got a few people asking about photoshoots. After some encouragement from family and friends, I took the leap.
To be transparent, I didn’t have a clear goal or mission. I liked taking photos, it was fun. Perhaps that may be the wrong reason to start a business, it certainly was impulsive. However, I love doing it!
Did you create your own website or hire it out? Do you use WordPress?
I created it myself with a limited budget, a little web design knowledge from undergrad, and scouring YouTube university for ideas. I don’t use WordPress. I am familiar with its templates and the blogging side, but I wanted more customization and I haven’t messed around on WordPress enough to figure out how to do that yet.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own business?
Create a plan first. What do you need to run it successfully? How will you market? What will you do if things don’t work out? How will you track payments? What is your client workflow? Who are your ideal clients? You don’t want to go into your business unsure of these things. Ensure you have the essentials down first. Some things you can learn as you go, and other things you’ll realize you need immediately.
If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would you do and why?
I would figure out my workflow first, create contracts, and sit down and really think about my marketing strategy. I feel this would make the process smoother.
Do you have an email list? If so, did you start it when you launched?
I don’t have an email list yet! I am still working on organization. I want to ensure the process is seamless first. For me, I’d like to know exactly the kind of content I’d put out on my email list and how I would manage it.
Is this your only job? Did you launch your business while working another job?
This isn’t my only job! I do a lot of different stuff. I started freelancing as a graphic designer, and I also got into writing and social media management. I work with individuals and businesses on building their social media. Recently, I’ve started writing blog posts and website copy as well. I launched my photography business while freelancing as a graphic designer.
Who are your favorite bloggers or podcasts right now?
I just started listening to “Off-Air: The Juicy Designer Podcast” and it’s an amazing resource for upcoming graphic designers! They talk about getting started, professionalism, and marketing yourself using social media. It’s gold!