We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Trevis Bailey a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Trevis, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. We’d love to hear how you think where to draw the line in terms of asking friends and family to support your business – what’s okay and what’s over the line?
Becoming an entrepreneur is super fun in the beginning. You get very excited about the possibilities and what could be. As you pull the plans together, you get your friends and family on board. When you finally launch, your social media goes wild with likes, comments, and shares… you can FEEL the support! But after a while, the support lessens more and more… and it’s not because your friends and family care any less, it’s generally because those lovely people aren’t your audience. So it’s hard for them to continually be excited about something that doesn’t directly involve them. So while the support of our friends and family feels amazing… I always encourage people to be okay without it. Being an entrepreneur or a business owner of any type can be lonely. But the reward of giving the people that pay for our services and products that end up making change in their lives is all the support we should ever seek.
Trevis, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I am a graphic designer who cares deeply about helping people communicate the goals of their business to help the communicate with their audiences. As a child development major in college, I realized quickly that it would be difficult to survive on the salaries for the field. Especially when I have a wife and 5 kids to support. So I made a list of the things I thought I may be good at. Once of those was photography. So when I learned of an opportunity via a friend that she knew someone getting married, I asked if I could shoot the wedding for free. This way, if they hated it, at least it was free. Upon getting the approval from the Bride, I remembered that I didn’t own a camera. A wonderful woman at my church let me borrow hers for the weekend. It went GREAT! I came home and tried to edit the pictures but I didn’t have any software. Someone let me borrow a [cracked] version of Photoshop and I made any edit I could find a tutorial on. That’s how my business took off. Since then, I began to find passion in helping people build and/or rebrand their businesses.
I’m most proud of the opportunity I get to provide for my family. Being able to secure them without worry of lack is the biggest blessing of my life. Outside of that, there’s a rush of joy that I get when I see my work in the real world. Lastly, I enjoy speaking to middle school, high school and college students about my journey from doing what everyone expects you to; Had I listened to myself at a younger age, I could’ve broken into my field a lot earlier and I’d have a bigger head start than I had 14 years ago.
What else should we know about how you took your side hustle and scaled it up into what it is today?
Toward the end of my career as a teacher, I started getting serious about my business. When the kids were doing group assignments or when they were napping, I was fielding calls from potential clients. It was a ruthless cycle; I would work from 9-6, come home and be Dad until 9p and husband until my wife fell asleep. From that time until about 2/3am, I was working on my business. Responding to emails and creating designs on limited sleep. Then I’d jump up at 7am to do it all over again.
The most encouraging part of my transition from side hustle to full time business owner was when I went to give a 3 months notice to my boss. She closed the door behind me, looked me in my eyes and said, “We (the office staff) have been taking bets on how much longer you would burn the candle from both ends.” That confirmed for me that it was time to make real change in my life and seize the opportunity!
For you, what’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative?
My most rewarding aspect of being a creative is when my clients come to me with ideas and I use my talents to help illustrate it. Especially when they show it off on social media and I get to look through the comments and see how it made others feel. I absolutely love the feeling I get from that.
Photographer of my photos: Gabrielle of Gabrielle’s Photography | @_gabriellesgallery All other photos. and designs were created by me and permissions to share have been contractually obtained.