Please state your name, your position, and a bit of your Business.
My name is Adriannia Collins—Christian, wife, mother, and entrepreneur. Originally from Mississippi, I now live in Chicago with my husband, my soon-to-be two-year-old daughter, and my daughter-on-the-way (arriving February 2020).
Professionally, I am the creative powerhouse behind The Adriannia Company, which originally began as Designed By Adriannia back in 2016.
Today, The Adriannia Company operates nationally as a premium solutions-driven business that enables leaders, entrepreneurs, and business owners to turn their budding concepts into brilliant creations through full-service corporate, personal, and product branding; visual, digital, publication, and space design; and audio-visual production for the world to experience.
How did the business start?
The Adriannia Company originally started as Designed By Adriannia back in 2016 and provided some of the same services that make up my current operations, but they were offered in a way that “boxed up” both my own creativity and the creativity of my clients.
I also did not have a long-term strategy for my professional brand and professional goals.
The year before I launched my business, I was homeless and unemployed after getting fired from both of my jobs four months apart, so I started out with a hustle mentality.
I needed money, and FAST. Therefore, I took the creative skills that I already had as an interior design dropout and the resources that I already had (my Macbook, free social media, free wifi at Burger King) and literally just put myself out there as a graphic designer.
I took on any and every project that came my way and anything that I did not know how to do, I learned by watching YouTube videos. As a matter of fact, that is how I transitioned into a building and customizing websites as someone who had never done that until it was requested by a client.
The foundation of my business was built on “hustle” and even though it helped me get my foot in the door, I don’t really believe in that. Now, I can appreciate all of that previous way of working falling apart when I personally suffered from a major depressive episode in early Summer 2019.
When I had no other choice but to scrap Designed By Adriannia during my two-month long episode, I immediately had space, the time, and the opportunity to build a “new” business in its place that totally reflects my beliefs, goals, and values that I carry as an entrepreneur.
When I re-introduced myself to the professional creative world under The Adriannia Company around October 2019, I started by focusing on the foundational parts of my business first—how will I work in a way that makes it possible for me to fully invest in those who invest in me, what audience should I be intentional about showing up for consistently—so that I am flowing instead of hustling in what I have already decided to dedicate the rest of my professional life too.
I am so happy that how I started will not be how I will finish.
What are the challenges you met and how did you manage to cope up with these challenges and reach your current status?
When I originally started in 2016, I was met with the challenge of being really young and inexperienced, really broke and drowned in debt, and really doubtful of what I could actually do.
Having a hustler’s mentality worked to my advantage here because it was probably the only thing that helped me overcome these obstacles in the beginning stages of building my business until I worked with a business coach who helped me to get over those things that my clients didn’t even care about.
Most clients look at the business as a business and ultimately care about whether or not you can provide them with the solution that you promise, not so much about the “situations” of your personal life.
Getting that through my head was such as lifesaver for me.
Who influenced you in this industry and how did he/she influence you?
One thing that has stuck with me since I began my entrepreneurial journey is that I never want my whole identity as a person to be directly connected to what I do or have done for money so not-so-surprisingly, I am not and have not been influenced by any creatives as a career creative.
My biggest influence since I started my original business back in 2016 has been Dr. Eric Thomas, also known as ET The Hip-Hop Preacher because his content as a motivational speaker resonates with my personal and spiritual development goals in addition to my business goals as an entrepreneur.
Him sharing his story of how he went from a homeless high school dropout eating out of trash cans and sleeping in abandoned buildings to becoming one of the top motivational speakers in the world is the reason why I made it a priority to own and share my own story of adversity and allow the people who do care about what my story is to know me, to like me, and to trust me before I ask them to support my business.
How did you manage to market your business and compete with other agencies in your niche?
My marketing strategies are completely organic and even though it is a lot slower than paying for ads and generating hundreds and thousands of leads per month, organic marketing is what feels good to me as someone who wants to build and nurture real relationships.
I have nothing against paid marketing strategies and fully understand the benefits of them, but I just believe that my personal approach to initially getting seen and connecting with my clients is one of the things that differentiate me from the owners of agencies where no one even knows who owns the place.
Another brilliant way that The Adriannia Company competes with other agencies and entrepreneurs in my industry is that all of our solutions are completely custom down to the pricing.
Although we have a few pre-packaged services to help less imaginative clients better understand what some of their possibilities are, we do not run on having everything that we offer written in stone.
The Adriannia Company is truly the unboxed and unleashed version of Designed By Adriannia, and it serves my clients (and myself) well.
What Best Practice/s can you share to our startup readers?
My best practices are to always know what you want and to settle for nothing less, and to apply it to your life as a whole.
Your professional life influences your personal life if you don’t know how to set “work hours” for yourself that allows you to step back from clients to recharge with friends and family.
Your personal life influences your professional life when you are too undisciplined to do simple things like exercise and eat better to give you the stamina you need to grow your business for years to come.
Build the bigger picture while considering every area of your life: professional, personal, spiritual, financial and so on.
Having a clear vision will make all of the difference when you come to a crossroads and have to ask yourself whether or not a decision or an opportunity will ultimately be the right one for you beyond the here and now.
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