We recently got together with some awesome Moonlighters who wanted to share about their experiences as a small business. Meet Carly Gardner, one of the founders of Arya Creative!
Names: Carly Gardner and Greg Martin
Website: Arya Creative
Skills: Web Design, E-commerce, Email & Social Media Marketing, SEO
Location: Available Virtually
How did you get into your line of work?
A: I started my career merchandising for a blog box retailer. I eventually became a product manager and fully sourced and created a full line of clothing. When I left I had an idea for a product line but had to figure out how to sell it. I knew I wanted to sell only online so I dove in and ended up eventually taking classes to learn code. I partnered up with Greg Martin to create Arya Creative and with our combined skill sets we are able to not only help people create a strong brand presence online but we are able to build them the tools they need to work smarter, not harder.
What is your passion and drive?
A: There is absolutely nothing better than when a client says to us, “Wow!” We are able to make a major impact in their business and we are able to do it very quickly. While some may feel nervous or anxious, we are passionate about calming those fears and really digging in to make changes that make their lives easier. If I can help a client spend more time with their friends and families and less time “working,” I know that I have done my job well. And typically the work is more fun and less chore-like so it is a rewarding business to be in.
When did you decide that you wanted to do freelancing instead of (or in addition to) a traditional job?
A: I am not sure that I made a conscience decision! All along my career journey I have been open minded to what was next. I [mostly] always said yes to any opportunity. I was in the middle of a networking coffee meeting and it hit me that I was frustrated having the same meeting where I would tell them exactly what I would do to change their business and operations and then nothing would happen. It felt like a waste because I had proved if they did what I was advising things would improve. So I simply asked “If I did this for you would you pay me?” And next thing you know I have a book of clients with a variety of projects and goals and my focus changed.
What do you think about this growing gig economy?
A: I think it is an amazing thing to be a part of. Honing in on your skill sets and being introspective enough to say, “I am not an expert at this nor do I need to be therefore I need help, is smart business.” I am always going to be a proponent of outsourcing those things that cause you “pain,” equaling loss of productivity and loss of potential revenue. I am by no means good at accounting, nor do I need to be. I need to know just enough to be able to hire the right person to do it for me. I will happily support other small business and hope they would do the same. I see a huge potential and growth happening as long as we can keep the mentality of “we are better together.”
What is the best way that Moonlighting has helped you succeed?
A: We are fairly new on Moonlighting but so far we have seen an increase in exposure for our company. We are planting the seed and getting our name out there. We always look for ways to partner with a new and innovative companies. I see Moonlighting becoming an “Angie’s List” and trusted source to find someone to help you with whatever is causing you pain.
What challenges did you face in this arena?
A: We have been very lucky to work with start-ups that are small and in the infant stage, but also well established companies that are open minded to “is there a better way to do this”?! Our challenges are probably similar to most small businesses. Mainly balancing working diligently for our clients but also building our business at the same time. We do not want to be the shoe maker without shoes so it is important for us to build a strategy for Arya like we would one of our clients. Not enough time in the day is our biggest challenge!
What are some tips you would have for other people who are following in your footsteps?
A: Focus on what you are good at and what you enjoy doing the most. Outsource the rest. Then it will never feel like work!
The most memorable experience you’ve had?
A: Wow..great question! There are so many!
- Through one of our clients we were able to volunteer and be on the field for the Cam Newton Foundation Kick it with Cam kickball tournament. Being on a kickball field with 40+ NFL players is pretty AWESOME!
- Seeing a client’s products on the shelf of a big grocery and celebrated as Made in NC
- Celebrating because a client calls when they got their first sale online and they are so excited and thankful!
- Being able to spend time with our friends and family and live in those moments because we love what we do, we do it well and we are able to reward ourselves!
Carly and Greg are online branding strategists based out of Charlotte, NC. Their company Arya Creative provides web and graphic design services, specializing in WordPress and ecommerce sites through Shopify as well as logo design, branding and custom app development. If you need any or all the above, contact them today!
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