It's been two years - almost to the day - since I left my role as Brand Manager at an eco-fashion company. So to mark this crazy 2-year journey, I'm dedicating my first blog post to Dubsado — the company that completely transformed my business (in more ways than one).
As I embarked on this journey — one part fresh-faced enthusiasm and drive, one part naivety — I thought this road would be fairly smooth sailing for someone who'd been creating websites for 18 years.
I enrolled in courses like B School to learn more about business and I soon felt the weight of everything I didn't know. Overwhelm struck me as I tried to figure out how to find new leads, send proposals, create contracts and invoices, emails, social media, marketing etc. etc. — all on top of doing the actual job I thought I would be — creating beautiful websites for my clients.
Sprawled across numerous notebooks and spreadsheets, trying to manage my clients and business, it's no wonder I hit breaking point.
I started missing the perks of my waitressing days — being with a team, having a steady wage, time off when I wanted — mix this up with a quarter of self-doubt, and after a year, I soon started looking at the job boards for full-time employment again.
Having been a service provider since I was 13, I knew it was important to provide a professional and streamlined experience that made clients enjoy working with me. But instead of providing a premium service, I felt disorganised and a hot scrambled egg of a mess.
Through one of the hundreds of free webinars I had signed up for, I heard the mention of Dubsado and I instantly signed up for their forever trial and sent off my first Dubsado proposal the next day.
Within hours, I got the response:
"I thought your proposal was great!!"
That was the first time I'd ever been complimented on my proposal.
That same week - my client signed the contract and paid the invoice - all without the back-and-forth emails that I had grown so used to.
Clients finally felt cared for, their experience had structure — and the comments, just on my Dubsado onboarding experience alone — made me finally feel like a professional.
"I am already so blown away by your work and the overall communication/experience - You’ve already exceeded my every expectation!"
Now you'd probably think the story ends here - but really, this is just the beginning.
Although Dubsado proposals were better than anything I had seen on the market - I soon outgrew them.
As a natural-born perfectionist, I started to get bored of my proposals and wishing they could do more. I wanted my proposals to have that WOW feeling when prospective clients opened them.
"If she went to all this trouble for a proposal, you know she'll put as much care and attention into her websites" - that was the goal.
I wanted them to interact with them like they would with a website - after all, I was selling web design services.
And then I discovered the Code Block.
Yep, it took me a months of using Dubsado before I discovered that little gem. But once I did, I couldn't stop playing around with coding in Dubsado.
With a little customization, my conversion rate was the best it had ever been. No longer was I sending proposals and hearing crickets in response.
I started to share my proposal with other designers in the Dubsado Community and the reception was crazy.
One day, my partner turned around to me and asked "you love doing this, and it's clear people need this... why aren't you offering this?"
Instantly, butterflies took over my stomach and I welcomed that instinctual gut feeling.
That week, I took on new clients for Dubsado forms and I instantly knew I had found my "thing".
Something that allowed me to do my best work that would actually make a real difference to my client's business.
In all the hours I had devoured in marketing and business content, everything finally clicked together.
As Forbes puts it:
"In this zone, you capitalize on your natural abilities which are innate, rather than learned. This is the state in which you get into "flow," find ceaseless inspiration, and seem to not only come up with work that is distinguished and unique, but also do so in a way that excels far and beyond what anyone else is doing."Brianna Wiest, Senior Contributor at Forbes
In hindsight, everything started to make sense. Growing up, I struggled to box myself in as either a sciencey/techy person or a creative. I loved art and textiles, but also enjoyed maths and computers.
Throughout my life, I refused to give in to either one — always opting for a mixture of both, which is probably why I ended up graduating with a Psychology degree (after dropping out of Fashion and Law School) alongside making clothes and knitting for myself.
I fell in love with the challenge of being creative within confines — Ironic, since I left Fashion School to design and make clothes for myself, rather than be restricted to client briefs — but there's something about being playful and experimenting, pushing the limits of Dubsado in order to best present information.
For without you, I'd probably be back in a dead-end office job.
Now tell me, have you found your Zone of Genius? How did you discover yours? And if you haven't found yours yet — What could you be doing to find your genius? What comes naturally to you?