Did you choose print or did print choose you?
Print chose me! I was running a subsidiary for a holding company, my third startup in four years and I was TIRED. My printer called on me one day and asked if I wanted to buy his company. I was a 28-year-old single mom with barely two nickels to rub together, but I borrowed money and bought that company and started a wonderful journey into design-to-print and the best part was all the great people I met.
How do you establish credibility with customers, colleagues and bosses?
Honesty to the point of being painfully direct and saying no if necessary. My motto is “The difference between expectation and reality is stress” and I truly try to live by it even if that means saying no to a project, a design direction or a business plan.
What advice can you offer regarding negotiating salary raises/addressing fair pay issues?
As an employer, give employees raises before they ask with timely, objective reviews. If they aren’t doing work to merit a raise or promotion they should probably go. As a consultant/freelancer; work for free or work for what you are worth, don’t even mess around with working for less than you are worth. And never work on spec, never.
What advice did you receive early in your career that you wished you had followed?
“Cash is King!” was the best piece of advice I received and I didn’t really understand it until I was funding myself as a single woman with no business partner or life partner or line of credit. People told me going into business was going to be tough, but I did not understand that access to capital is critical, especially if you are doubling and tripling sales year over year. When I worked for the holding company, I would write a business plan, spell out cash requirements and the CFO would make it happen like the wizard of oz behind a screen. As a business owner, I funded growth from sales and when my CPA told me to slow down sales, I knew I had a problem called cash flow.