Finding the right Identity

When I started my own business in the beginning of 2013 I presented myself as a small company instead of a single freelancer. How did that work out?

Starting a business

It all started about a year ago, in the beginning of 2013. After working for over 3 years as a jack of all trades in a small agency and studying web- and mediainformatics, the time felt right for a change. So I did what many people in my field do: Started my own small company. And called it mowe-design.

After everything was setup with the finance authority, which took quite a while, I had some time building the website. I struggled a lot on finding the right design and even wasn't sure about the name or logo anymore. The overall look changed quite a lot at the time. mowe-design or mowe.design or maybe even möwe-design, where only some of the names I thought of. Facebook Page, Twitter and even a linkedin page where created right at the start - so it was a mess changing every detail over and over again.

Time is ticking

Half a year later it was at a point where I was okay with the look and feel of the site. The first clients projects started, so there was pressure to finish the site and the overall cooperate identity to be able to print bills. Also it's definitely not a good sign if the company you hire is changing its logo 7 times. It wasn't that many times though. Time was running like crazy.

At the time I had another designer and the small agency - that I worked with in the last years - presented as cooperation partners under the 'about us' page. That way it seemed okay to use us instead of I on the whole site. It made everything more legitimate as a small company. But that was the point where it all got confusing. I had to explain my new clients, why I'm a single freelancer on the one hand, but have other people presented like they where my employees on the other. I didn't trick people though, it clearly said 'cooperation partners' above their names, so it never was my intention to present the listed persons as employees. However that wasn't so clear to other people viewing these information.

Making the jump

"Enough is enough", I said to myself at one point. I don't have the time and energy anymore to keep up with all those confusing things. I wanted to use my time much nicer: Building sites for clients instead of wasting it on explaining and changing my site over and over again.

"Enough is enough!"

Me

The result is what you are looking at right now: This page. It's simple, yet effective. It's only about me being a freelancer. Blogging. Some Clients work as portfolio, some in depth analysis of my work. Maybe some sort of 'this is what I can do for you' at some point. But I cut all the other 'this is a small company'-crap. And it was a relief - a big one - I can tell you that. Suddenly everything was much easier. No more trying to fix the us vs I fight on posts. No more extra work maintaining a twitter and facebook fanbase. Furthermore I switched the main language from German to English, to present myself worldwide instead of being limited to German-speaking people only.

I still do cooperate with other designers and developers, but they are clearly separate freelancers or running their own business and aren't a part of mowe-design in any way. Also mowe-design.de is still online - just for sake of the days I spend creating it. However there is the notice on top, that its only for historical reasons. The LinkedIn and Facebook Pages are however gone.

No - 'no way back'

Although it changed the way I present myself for now, it doesn't mean that someday the step to employees or some other cooperation business is gone forever. One day.. and this sounds always a bit strange, but one day: mowe-design will be back. Probably with another name, another design and ... not only me on it.

What I have learned

Never present yourself as something you clearly not are. Even if the business opportunities might shrink, if you're only a single freelancer and not a 'full company'. It's not worth the risk and time it consumes to maintain everything. Be proud of what you are and do it with passion - the rest will follow.

Just me

This might not be the case for everybody. I wouldn't be so cocky and tell anyone to stop doing what you are doing right now, just because it was a mess for me. But if you are in the same situation and struggle with finding the right identity - think of what you want to achieve first and then start to work on it.