Who or what inspired you to start your business?
I began Anchor Design Co. almost by accident. I was a Consultant in Direct Sales and found that there just weren’t a lot of high-quality resources to market my business, and so I started designing my own. As I did, word started to spread to other consultants. Friends started asking to either use the designs I had created, or asked if I could create a custom version for them, or bring an idea to life that they had been dreaming about but didn’t know how to execute.
Then, my husband and I were getting ready to move out of state and I was fired from my job.
Suddenly unemployed, I told myself that if I could replace my income within 6 months, I could keep my new business — but if I didn’t replace my income, I’d need to go out and get a job. I realize now that my circumstance was a clear-as-day sign that the universe was giving me the freedom I needed to take my hobby and turn it into a business, and so I went all in.
What was your biggest struggle when starting out?
My biggest struggle when I first started was not charging enough and saying YES to every one. This is a pretty deadly combination and creates a cycle that could easily put anyone out of business. What happens is, you aren’t paying yourself a reasonable wage and to make up for it, you have to take on more projects you can handle.
I was truly operating from a place of scarcity before I ever understood what scarcity and abundance meant. Finally, in November 2017, I stopped taking clients altogether and didn’t make any profit for about 3 months. During that time I raised my prices and restructured my services to include a subscription model with recurring revenue that would allow me to provide a higher quality of service to a smaller number of clients.
Those 3 months were incredibly hard — I received quite a few angry emails from former clients used to paying about $10 an hour for my work. I remember sobbing and wondering if I should look for a full-time job instead.
What’s the number one thing you attribute to growing your business?
I would say that my commitment to integrity and efficiency played the biggest role in growing my business.
I am 100% committed to only providing the best solution to my client’s needs. I’m not willing to settle, take shortcuts, or go the easy route if I know that there was a different solution that would better serve them. This allows me to create one-of-a-kind offerings that serve my clients in the best possible way.
At the same time, I am also committed to working efficiently and finding sustainable ways to grow my business. This means finding ways to save time and energy in my everyday tasks. For example, I automate as many of the “little things” as I can so that I can be more present for the big things.
It also means looking at the services I offer and structuring them in such a way that they are both sustainable for me and giving my clients the best solution to the problem they need to solve. This includes using a subscription model as well as working with a developer to actually create custom software to completely automate one of my services. Both of these choices have allowed me to provide higher quality solutions, faster, for my clients.
How do you decide on what images to use for your brand?
The most important thing for me is knowing my ideal customer inside and out and choosing images that speak to them. I also know that I want my brand to make my audience feel happy, organized, successful, trendy, understood, and empowered — and so I look for images that tell that story.
This means that I avoid cluttered images and opt for plenty of white space when possible. I choose photos where the models are smiling and in my own photos, I always smile. I always try to include a pop of pink and so I either search for photos that already include this, or I look for photos that include colors that I can easily edit in Photoshop. For example, red, purple, orange, and other warm colors can really easily be changed to pink with just a few clicks!
What’s your favorite Haute Stock collection?
From day one, the Brights and Bright Workday collections have been my go-to because they’re 100% on brand. I’ve also completely fallen in love with the Home Office collection. To make it more on-brand, I made the pinks a little brighter and more saturated than they probably were in real life so that I could get that nice bold “pop of pink”.
The Peony Workday collection also holds a special place in my heart because these were the first-ever images that were more “realistic” in their color scheme that I included as part of my brand.
How has Haute Stock helped you in your business?
I’m truly committed to bringing only the highest quality services to my clients. But, no one would have ever experienced those services if I couldn’t show them the quality they could expect before they made a purchase. As I grew my business early on, Haute Stock allowed me to present myself with gorgeous, professional images before I was ever able to financially prioritize a custom photoshoot. These images played a crucial role in showing the world what I had to offer.
Now, Haute Stock gives me diversity and variety in my brand. I mix my stock photos in with both my professional brand photos and photos I’ve taken on my cell phone which allows me to always keep my images fresh. There is also a certain level of confidence that comes with knowing I never have to worry about having the right image for a certain situation — whether it’s for social media, a product mockup, or my website. It’s just one less area of my business that I have to really worry or think about because I know that Haute stock always has exactly what I need!
What has been your biggest business lesson learned?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my business is that I am not a unicorn. That there is something for me to learn from every industry and every type of business out there, even if they don’t serve the same audience I do. The lesson is there whether I see it right away or not — my job is to be willing to open my eyes and find it.
is a New Jersey-based marketing strategist who helps women in direct sales make more money in their businesses so that they can have flexibility and freedom in their lives. Her business, Anchor Design Co., helps direct sellers simplify the tools in their business so that they can work more efficiently and sustainably.