Next up in my interview series with inspiring business women, is Liz Mosley. Liz is a graphic designer who helps small business owners nail their branding to make them stand out from the crowd.
What was your first job? Did you enjoy it?
My very first job when I was at school was as a receptionist in an optician. I did enjoy it because I’m an extrovert and love chatting to people. But my dad used to ring up pretending to be a disgruntled customer and play pranks on me!
My first proper job in the industry I now work in, was at a small agency in London which was really fun. I worked there for a year and got to work on all sorts of exciting projects including a promotional gift item for Regina Spektor.
I really love working with people and so that is a huge element of my job. Even now as I work for myself and don’t have colleagues as such, I love building relationships with my clients and other small business pals online or locally to me. It’s resulted in some exciting ideas and collaborations over the years.
What do you do now?
I’m still a graphic designer but I work for myself. It’s exactly what I trained to do but it’s not what I expected to be doing, as when I first left university, I was utterly convinced that I never wanted to work for myself. Now I can’t imagine going back and working for anyone else.
I really like the flexibility of working for myself and getting to decide which projects and I want to take on and which I don’t. And also being able to set my own hours. It’s definitely not easy and it can be very up and down emotionally – it’s really hard to switch off when it’s your own business.
On the whole though, the self-employed life is working well for me at the moment. I love that you never know what is around the corner and when the next exciting new opportunity might land in my inbox.
As a self-employed designer I focus on supporting small businesses with their branding. I offer done for you services but also have created a couple of courses to support those small business owners who aren’t quite at the point of being able to outsource it, or who enjoy being creative and so want to create their branding themselves but need support.
I also have a podcast which has so much free content that again supports small businesses in all things branding and marketing and it is one of the most fun aspects of my business – I love doing it.
How do your services help small business owners?
I think branding can often be a huge area that holds business owners back from really promoting what they do confidently. We live in such a visual world where people are bombarded with images, videos and adverts constantly and so we’re all trained to make snap decisions about whether something is relevant to us or not.
Branding is what helps you stand out from the crowd and also lets people know if you’re the right business for them or not. When your branding is strong and in place and you are confident using it, it can make such a difference to how you show up to promote your business.
You aren’t embarrassed about people visiting your website or your Instagram account. You know that you are communicating what you do really clearly and that how your branding looks is going to attract your ideal customers and hopefully repel the wrong ones.
So that is what I am hoping to do with my branding services. It’s all about helping small businesses communicate more effectively why they are so amazing.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given? How did it help you?
I think probably not to wait until something is perfect before starting. Showing up online and sharing your work can feel really scary and vulnerable and as a result I think we tend to want to protect ourselves and make sure that everything is perfect before we share it.
But I realised a while ago, thanks to a few people sharing this advice with me, that it is better to get used to showing up and sharing even if something isn’t perfect. Otherwise you can get stuck and don’t end up doing any of the things you want to. You can always work on something and improve it over time.
And I’ve learnt so much from sharing my work and getting feedback and then making tweaks and improving it as I go. If you can move past that discomfort of taking imperfect action, it can be a total game changer.
If you could give your 20-year-old self, one piece of career advice, what would it be?
Stop caring what other people think of you. Honestly this is still the advice I have to keep giving myself now nearly 20 years on.
A huge part of the way online businesses work now is marketing yourself (especially as a one person service based business). This involves being visible and letting people to get to know you. But it can be quite scary and vulnerable sharing a lot of yourself online. I often get self conscious about what I share because I start to wonder what certain people think about what I am doing.
Which do you prefer, tea or coffee? Beach or pool? Seaside or countryside?
I don’t really drink tea or coffee but one drink I do love is a Match Late with coconut milk which I guess is technically tea? So, Tea.
Urgh so hard to choose – I think probably the Beach – there is nothing quite like a swim in the sea
Hmm I think again I would go seaside – mainly because I love swimming in the sea
What’s your dream job or client?
There are so many people that I would love to work with and am very lucky that I have already worked with some of my favourite small businesses. A few that spring to mind – I would love to design branding for a super cool coffee shop that wanted, signage, merch and coffee packaging designed too!
I would also love to design more patterns for fabric for businesses who are making clothes. And finally, I dream of designing book covers. I am actually going to set myself a little personal project to start working on this as it’s an area I would love to develop my skills in.
Would you like to receive weekly tips to help you create brilliant content for your website? Subscribe to Wish Weekly to get help and advice direct to your inbox.
Click here if you’d like to read more interviews with inspiring business women.