June 16, 2024

Thrive Insider

Exclusive stories of successful entrepreneurs

Helen Wakefield, owner of Impressence Web Studios

What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I worked in the IT industry as a Support Manager and Business Analyst in Sydney for 8 years. Once I returned to my home town (a small town in regional NSW), there was no work in my field, so I had to create my own work. I also wanted something that would enable me to work around my family. I have been building websites since the late 90s, and have always loved the power of the internet so a Web Agency was a perfect solution. I’m able to run my business and have a remote (and local) team all from my little town. I have the “career” I want in the quiet location that we love raising our family in.

Describe the process of launching the business.

I had originally decided to retrain as a fiction editor, because I also love reading. My sister and I had been running a book review blog at the time, and this also propelled the decision. But very quickly my editing clients started asking me to build websites (because they knew of my IT background) and it snowballed from there. A year later I decided to close my editing business and officially launch Impressence Web Studios – just before my youngest son turned 1. I kept things fairly quiet for the first year, just maintaining existing clients since my son was still so young. But actually, having my son forced me to reach out and enlist some help in the business. And so my business and my team started to grow from there.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

A lot of hard work! Our number one aim has been to deliver high quality sites to my clients that help THEM attract clients. We help them succeed, and when they do, we also succeed. We also know that keeping in close communication with our clients helps them to feel secure and know that they’re in safe hands.

Honing in on a specific audience and being highly visible is really helping us attract new customers.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Just over 2 years since launching the business and things are really starting to take off. We currently have 3 staff, and adding another 2 in the next few weeks. We’re booked out for the year and already have bookings for new sites next year. We’ve found our niche and our message is really resonating with that audience so we’re attracting the right clients.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Keep going. Don’t lose sight of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Getting a business off the ground is hard work – the hardest part of that is not the actual work, but the persistence and not giving up hope. Also give yourself time and don’t expect big things immediately. Everything you do sows seeds. Those seeds may not grow immediately, but you’ll be surprised to find them suddenly growing some months, or even years down the track.

And don’t get distracted with side projects – my brain is overloaded with ideas, and I could be doing many things, but I have to keep focused on the core of my business.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

So many! We’ve recently started using ClickUp, and this has been a game changer for us. It’s so much more than a task manager. ClickUp replaced a couple of tools for us, helping us to keep things in the same place. We use Slack for discussions with the team, and of course, we’re on Zoom all the time both with our team and our clients.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Master of One, by Jordan Raynor. This is the book that helped me let go of other interests and possibilities so that I can focus. We only get one lifetime and we can’t master a whole heap of things in that one lifetime. This book helped me to choose what I wanted to focus on so that I can become excellent at one thing, rather than good at many.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Be sure of your why. Why are you starting your business or project? You’ll need to remind yourself of that through the challenges.

Where can we go to learn more?

https://impressence.com.au, or follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/impressencewebstudios)