By Rob Garza, Digital Print Consultant at MEDiAHEAD
I would’ve never thought that watching my dad draw cartoon characters out of the newspaper when I was 5 years old (thinking that was really cool) that I would be where I’m at today. Growing up, that’s all I did. Whenever I had a chance, I would be drawing something. Countless awards and going to college with a fine arts degree, still loving to draw.
How things have changed the past 50 years.
From computers, applications, printing, and social media. Trying to keep up is endless, but it’s what I love to do. I’ve worked for a small amount of companies spread out over the Midwest for the past 25 years. I settled down in Kansas City and left the corporate world in 2012 to start my own design business.
I had always wanted to start my own business.
I come from a family owned Mexican restaurant franchise in Omaha with four restaurants and a factory serving most of the Omaha and Lincoln Metro area. Yes, that includes the Nebraska Cornhuskers football stadium for many years. My uncle was the cornerstone of Make-It, Take-It pizza. Like any food restaurant you see, design businesses are similar. “What makes your business different than others” is the tough question. And you’ve got to get your company name out there. And “tasting” your product is not always an easy task.
Running a business is a whole new can of worms.
On top of designing, you have sales, marketing, social media, networking, accounting, registering your business, and the list goes on if you want to make it. Countless hours and working the weekends never stops. Sales efforts never stop no matter where you’re going… with family, friends or a night out on the town. You’re constantly getting a feel for the water and prospecting in the back of your mind, even getting fresh ideas along the way.
Separating myself from other designers I had to be innovative, getting certified with City and State was a start. Meeting larger companies and corporations started consuming my daily routine. I was scheduling meetings and receiving contracts to teach clients how to use different applications. I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people. People tell me that I’m easy to talk to. I prefer to get to know clients as people first. The “business” can happen later.
Today’s designers, marketing agencies, and printers always have to be at the top of their game. To be competitive, we have to hire the best designers. We’ve got to bring fresh and innovative ideas. And we’ve got to invest in the latest equipment, up-to-date applications, faster services, faster printers, and everyone wants it right now! There’s no time to talk to another company or sales rep about new business opportunities. Even if that opportunity would help their business maintain a competitive advantage.
A few months ago, I met Kat at a city contract meeting we were both awarded. Kat’s an easy person to talk to about anything, and she knows a lot of people. We got along right off the bat.
A few months later, I had a company call me out of the blue wondering if I’d be interested in selling for them. This was a vendor of mine I’d used in the past. I had never really thought about going into sales, but I do like meeting new people. I was unsure where to start to see if that role would fit. I called Kat and met with her to get her thoughts over coffee. One week later, I started working for MEDiAHEAD. Interesting how things work out, right?
MEDiAHEAD’s office is up-to-date, clean, innovative, everyone is easy going, the equipment is state of the art, plus their vision is way ahead of other printers. And they’re a 100% minority owned business. Meetings were going to be once or twice a week to go over leads, new clients, and new ways for MEDiAHEAD to be seen. The decision was easy. We really do have a great team.
My first month was going well. Making calls, visiting clients and letting them know who I was. I started getting samples together and writing notes to leads in different cities and states. And I started getting on the road to visit potential clients. Some were expecting me, and some told me they were too busy to meet. I hear, “you drove all this way to see me?” It made an impression. Everyone wants to feel appreciated. I introduced myself, let them know a little about MEDiAHEAD and what we can do to help, gave them a gift, and always thanked them for their time. And two weeks later, COVID-19 hits us all.
Working from home
I’m currently working out of my house and have been for the past 3-4 weeks now. We still have weekly meetings. MEDiAHEAD is helping with donations of activity books we designed and printed for hospitals and anyone who was sick and just needed a little help. We’re also setting up to be a distributor of hand sanitizer to help larger companies and clients where they’re still mandated as a needed service. I’ve been contacting potential clients letting them know how we can help, letting them know about our custom portals and printing. Sometimes I’m just letting them know we’re here to help. Of course we hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.
I’ve started reading more during this time from “Success through Positive Mental Attitude”, “Bear Grylls-SOUL FUEL” to “Worth every Penny” and “You are a Badass” which is one of my favorites.
Here’s a quote that really resonates with me during this crisis: “Your job isn’t to know the how, it’s to know the what and to be open to discovering, and receiving, the how. Keep your thoughts directed at your goal, do everything that you DO know how to do to make it happen, and be on the lookout for opportunities. AND love yourself. Because we’re all in this together.”
And that’s it! I hope you know more about me after reading this spotlight. I hope we get a chance to talk soon. If you or someone you know needs on-demand digital printing, I know just the company that can help.