I came across Nicola Tweed on Instagram as I was drooling over Lauren Setterberg’s images. Nicola is also a resident of KwaZulu-Natal and in my mind belongs to the group of entrepreneur rockstars that includes Andrea Barras. As is obvious from the name of her business, Nicola works in web design and development – a kindred techie and design geek! So, naturally I had to get in contact. I love her web design work and hope that one day my work is half as good as hers is.
Nicola is generous with her time and super lovely, so I’m mega chuffed that she agreed to be featured – even though I know she has loads on her plate and recently celebrated her daughter’s 1st birthday! (All together: awwwwww so cute!)
Q: Briefly tell us about your business journey. (What helped you decide to start your own business? What did you do before working for yourself?)
My journey started many, many years ago, but at the time I just didn’t know it!
Around the age of 13 I discovered the internet and in one day maxed out my parents dial up allowance, ha, ha remember those days?! I was absolutely hooked but it took a year in Paris, several years in London, love and a little (but not so little now) shop in the Midlands (aka The Ruby Orchard) to make me realise that me and coding were meant to be!
Q: What was the process you followed when starting to set up your brand?
Flash back to 3 years ago, to when I first started and I really knew NOTHING about creating a brand. Okay, I lie, I knew a bit, but not nearly as much as I do now thanks to the talented Andrea Barras!
Something I’ve learnt in the last year is that branding doesn’t happen overnight and that revamping your branding should be something you carefully think about, plan and execute.
For my new branding, I worked with Ashley Knight over a period of 6 weeks to rediscover my business and what I wanted to stand for then Andrea helped me create my stunning new branding which will be launched in the New Year! Yay!
Q: How do you manage your branding and make sure everything you do (from business cards, to packaging, to branding collateral) keeps in line with your brand?
By having a stylesheet and reminding myself constantly of why I do what I do and who I do it for.
Q: How do you manage your social media commitments?
I’ll admit it’s one area I fail at, but again it’s another area I’ve learnt so much about this year and continuously learn about, so I try not to beat myself up about it if I get far too busy with client work to hop on Facebook or post on Instagram.
Q: How do you motivate yourself to keep going when your inner critic’s voice gets a bit too loud?
I find when my inner critic is getting too loud it’s probably because I’m comparing my chapter 2 to someone else’s chapter 10, oh yes and probably spending too much time on social media so I counter it by getting lost in something more positive like yoga, running or reading. Escapes that make me happy and that I love!
Q: What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned since you started your business?
So many! Here’s a few:
Know your business inside and out.
Learn to say “no”.
Communication is key, even if it’s a “thanks for your email, I’ll be in touch” (lesson learnt at the beginning of this year).
Pick a niche and stick with it. Before I’d do Blogger, WordPress.com and Shopify sites. Now I only do self-hosted WordPress sites built with the Genesis framework or Beaver Builder framework.
I love Nicola’s point about not feeling guilty if I’m unable to post content on social media. A girl is busy, yo! Deadlines ain’t gonna crush themselves.
Melissa De Klerk
Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi
Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.
You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.