This article is a part of our Founder Series, where female founders share their entrepreneurial journeys.
There has been a long journey behind the three of us starting The Creative Key, and there is a journey ahead of us. What do we do? We sell ideas and execute them for a living. So practically, we do everything from designing the campaign ideas to creating the content, design, graphics, giving your brand the identity it needs. So, you may ask, what is it that we do differently from the other “agencies” on the block? Honestly, NOTHING. We do the exact same thing. But how we do them is different! We don’t just think outside the box, but what to do with the box.
There have been challenges, just like there are for any startup. But if I were to talk about what has not been a challenge, then work in itself has never been a challenge. Working hard, working for late hours, working when it was taking a physical toll on us, were things that we never considered difficulties. Putting our minds to the projects we took and coming up with new thoughts and ideas as well as implementing them was never a challenge.
Finding clients or working in sync with them was never a challenge. Of course, there were struggles, but even at that moment, our passion for the work we did made them seem minuscule. When we began, we were working out of the hall of a two bedroom apartment because we simply did not have the funds for a proper office. It would be difficult for our employees to come work at what was basically a bachelor’s pad, and for us to invite clients to the office. As we got more clients and more employees, we did end up getting a bigger space.
Today, we have loads of clients who we love working for, and happy employees who love working with us. For me, it has been a journey that hasn’t stopped yet and I continue to be intrigued by the challenges I face every day. Have I learned something along the way? Hell, yeah!
- You never know who can turn out to be a brilliant employee
Most companies think of college students and freshers as just some additional baggage or a few extra helping hands to work the photocopy machine. I saw them as the backbone of my company, the minds that fuel ideas and work, delivering exactly what my company promises to deliver, that is, creativity! It doesn’t really matter if someone is 18 or 60, but whether they have the potential to offer fresh ideas. A productive conversation can be enough for me to hire someone. I have not looked at marks and awards and resumes but I do my fair share of background research, usually stalking them on social media. It’s my secret weapon, after all!
- Know who you’re working with
I’ve been working with my co-founder and core team for two and a half years now. I never learned about them from the very beginning and sometimes, even a year is not enough to get to know them. But eventually, you do. It could be over a dumb fight or a cup of chai or over a random conversation. But learn about them, in whatever way you can, because that makes all the difference in how you work with them and what they give back to you.
- Listen harder than you speak
Listen to your clients, listen to your employees, listen to every single bit of advice from every person who talks to you. But most importantly, listen to your instinct. It will tell you if you’re right or wrong and if it tells you that you’re wrong, you most probably are.
- Beginnings are small and just as great
We started off with less than 5 employees, working out of a small house with no fancy office and no fancy machines. It was not the glass and wood office that I had imagined and I wasn’t strutting around in heels like some boss lady that I would have liked to be. But it was our beginning. It was magical then, and it remains magical for me, till today.
- Don’t let your own definitions limit you
You might think that there are only a certain type of clients you are willing to work with, a certain kind of work you want to do and a certain amount of effort you are willing to put into it. It doesn’t matter what you think you can do. Throw all of that in the trash. Let the work guide you. Everything that The Creative Key is, has been built on learning and experimentation. We hardly ever say No to any sort of work, whether we know how to do it or not. You can always learn, right?
Have faith in your own voice and that, of the people you have chosen to work with. Everything after that comes easily, I promise. Here is what I have gained in two and a half years, and you bet that I am ready for so much more!