Today I have the pleasure of featuring Tiffany Gouge, a graphic designer and the owner of Tab Graphics based in Orange, NSW Australia. As a mom who juggles work and business, I am always fascinated by how others juggle work or business with family and what they do to flourish. In our interview, Tiffany reveals how she makes her everyday work for her, her family and her clients.
1. Please tell me about your business – Tab Graphics! What motivated you to launch out and how did you know it was the right time?
After completing my Graphic Design studies in 2011, I moved from the busy gold coast to orange with my now husband and found it extremely difficult to find work as a designer. Being only a small town, there were very little job opportunities. I did manage to find work in a nearby town but I was employed as a printer/embroider so I started Tab Graphics so I could still have my hands in the design industry whilst in full time employment. Over the years, as my name and reputation grew and with the birth of my first child; I decided to quit my employment and launch as a full scale business which is now in its fourth successful year.
2. What was your first year of doing business like?
It was very slow. I had heavy support from my husband so I spent the time marketing and promoting rather than trying to make money straight up.
3. How do you successfully manage running a business, studying and raising kids? What do you find most challenging?
Since going back to University part-time to extend my current qualifications, I have dropped my business trading days from 5 down to 3 – that way I have 2 whole days dedicated to my studies. On these two days and a third day, my daughter is also in daycare. When she is home with me, I have an activity table set up in my office for her and I work when I can. Some nights I will work when she has gone to bed and on weekends when my husband is home to help!
Most challenging part is trying to keep my house in order! It looks like a bomb most days – still quite haven’t worked out how to fit that into my parent-work-Uni schedule!!
4. Drawing from your experience, what does it take to create a successful business and what is the biggest thing you have learned?
Effort. You need to consistently put in effort and be in people’s faces all the time or they will forget about you. Once you stop trying, your business will suffer. Even if you are in a comfortable place and reaching all of your business goals, keep trying!!
5. Tools of trade that you can’t survive without?
My Graphics tablet & my paint brush!
6. Where do you find inspiration for your business?
I have made many industry contacts over my career and we always chat about business, knowing people and talking to people is inspiration in its-self. I am also an avid user of Pinterest and follow a lot of art and design blogs and websites. I also talk to my clients about their businesses and what they are doing – once you start bouncing ideas of one another, the inspiration and limits are endless.
7. Which strategies do you employ to stay ahead of competition?
Always know what your competition is up too – Follow their Facebook pages/website, sign up to their newsletters etc.
Make friends with the competition – I have met all of my local competitors and I have collaborated with some on different projects. Being friends with the competition allows you to see and hear what they are up to but it also means they will know what you are up too as well.
Always offer something different based on knowledge and experience: Not only am I trained in graphic design, but I am also trained in printing and an assortment of other applications. Using this to my advantage, I have collaborated with some of my industry contacts to bring my clients more than just Graphic Design. So far, I am the only Graphic Designer in my area to offer my client’s such services.
8. Have you had any setbacks or disappointments in life or business? How did you work your way through this experience and stay positive?
Starting back at University has had a negative impact on my business as I can’t put as much effort into it as I did previously. Support from my loyal clients and my husband has been most helpful and supportive. I have lost a few clients due to my time restraints but I just have to keep myself thinking of the bigger picture as my extended studies with further my career and benefit my clients.
9. What are your fallback dinner recipes on a busy day?
Spaghetti Bolognaise, sausages and veg and toasted sandwiches!! I also can’t live without my slow cooker!
10. Three top things that make you feel beautiful?
1. Getting out of my pajamas and putting on something nice to wear
2. I love perfume! I always smelling nice makes me feel wonderful!
3. Compliments from my husband