Welcome to the first in a long running series entitled ‘What I Wish I’d Known’ capturing some of the precious hindsight of seasoned creative professionals across the industry.

First up is Lucy Maddison, a designer who specialises in illustration, branding and web design.

She is the founder of Lucy Maddison Design which started over 15 years ago. Like many founders of small creative agencies she started in the freelance world and slowly made a name for herself. When she finally took the plunge into soley working for herself the main motivation was to have more direct control over the hours and the work she did.

Lucy, tell me what your biggest challenges were when you first started out on your own back in the early noughties?

It was hard, after leaving a friendly team I found the biggest challenges were isolation and having to learn everything with no support. I also struggled just practically because there were a lot of expensive overheads like computer equipment and programmes that took a while to offset, this meant I felt like I was working for nothing at the beginning.

And what do you wish you had known back then?

Three things, I guess, firstly to keep a foot in with my previous work this could have offered more opportunities for work to come my way, I find networking really hard. Secondly to not be so impatient when things don’t work out straight away and finally just to be better at saving money!

It’s brilliant to get Lucy’s insight into how it felt for her when she was just starting out and to get her perspective on things now. If you are just starting out and have been experiencing similar challenges or are already on the other side looking back at your early years in business please comment below with your experiences as I would be delighted to hear about them and feature them in this series.

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