In this week’s edition of Small Biz Chats, I’m chatting with Corina Nika of Cocorrina. She’s a fantastic designer and letterer, and her blog is full of inspiration on design, freelancing, and keeping perspective from where she lives on Kefalonia Island. I don’t think I’ve ever been on Pinterest and not seen one of her designs or blog posts pop up! She has an awesome story and advice to share – here we go:
What is your business, and why did you start it?
My business is about design. From creative direction, to graphic design and fashion design as well! Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been somehow creative. A few years back, studying interior architecture in college, I realized that my heart was in the graphics. Slowly, I followed my heart.
What were you doing before you launched your business?
I had just had gone through an eight hour operation in my sternum (at 21 years old) so as a result I wasn’t able to work or walk for a few months. Although a very tough period in my life, it gave me so much time to work on my business, brand it, work on my skills, learn a few things here and there and generally create a brand plan.
How did you find your first paying clients/customers, and what really helped you to grow your business?
To begin with, I started my blog. In order to stay connected and inspired, I had to kick myself to actually stay creative. All the creatives I looked up to had a blog, so it felt like the way to go and introduce my work to the world. The blog itself helped my work get a bit more recognized and that gave me the push to keep creating and sharing my work. At some point, I created a graphic design shop on Etsy, and although that did go fairly well, potential clients would email me directly, so I ended up closing the shop after three months or so.
What tools are most important to help you stay organized and on task?
My organizer…just that, I think! At some point I tried Apple’s calendar but I quickly realized I’m a traditional girl. If I don’t write everything down and see it at the same time, it’s just not for me. For three years in a row, I’ve been using the day planner by Paperblanks, and I’m so hooked that when this year I couldn’t find one anywhere (on this planet!) I ended up buying one from Australia and paying $100 for it. But it’s totally worth the money.
What aspect of your business is your absolute favorite thing that you do?
The creative life! Being able to live a life where I get to create, draw, design, and sketch on daily basis, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Feeling inspired, feeling that I do something beautiful, fills up my soul.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to launch his/her own dream business?
Don’t be afraid to take risks; they will end up being the best decisions you’ll make. Experiment all the time, never rest and be super passionate about what you do. With no passion, there’s no happiness and definitely no success.
Thanks to Corina for sharing her insights!
All images are property of Corina Nika.