Hi, Tell us your name, what you do with Shopify Services, and about your business while being a Shopify Expert.
My name is Emma Dolan.
I’m the founder of Untethered Collective, which is a collective of creatives who specialise in being Shopify expert in web design & development, shopify digital products, e-commerce strategy, and illustration & animation.
Just wanted to add that we’re certified ‘Shopify Experts’ and love working with business owners to help grow their online businesses.
What’s your own background. Were you always proficient in this business, or did it just strike your mind one fine day?
I studied English and Film at university and after completing a Masters degree in Electronic Publishing worked in web teams for organisations such as WaterAid and the National Portrait Gallery in London.
It was during this time that I taught myself design and code on the side. I then started working at web agencies, which I found really interesting now being on the other side of the web development process in that I was now producing work commissioned by organisations similar to what I was previously working for.
Talk us through the process of launch of your business
I was unhappy working at my current agency at the time and handed my notice in after a series of frustrating incidents.
I had no plan or savings to fall back on but knew that working for something that was making me miserable was a sure fire way of keeping me from reaching my potential.
I quit my job and within a couple of weeks had an email asking me to do some freelance work. It was the boost I needed and gave me the confidence to bet on myself instead of being reliant on others for my income and overall life!
A few weeks after that, I got to work on the Untethered Collective website and thankfully have had work ever since!
How is your repeat customer rate like? Can you take us through how you attract and retain customers?
A large part of my business is working with regular clients.
My clients and I have worked together for a couple of years now and have a great working relationship. Working at agencies often shields you from personal interaction and you’re encouraged to be ‘professional’.
Working for myself, I’ve since come to realise that you do business with people and not brands/faceless corporations. Having a transparent and honest relationship with clients has done wonders for my business and they really appreciate the work I do for them, which feels great!
What is the current situation. How do you see yourself in the next 12 months? Do you see yourself designing any Shopify Digital Products?
I’m moving into an office in the next few weeks in the heart of a buzzing community of new, hip and trendy businesses.
In the next 12 months, I would like to have produced some new and exciting work that I’m really proud of, re-designed my website, have an additional 1 or 2 new clients and perhaps hire another pair of hands to help me grow the business. Maybe build a few shopify digital products as well
As a woman founder, do you see this as only financially uplifting? Or otherwise too? If yes, then how?
It’s not very common to be a designer and a developer, especially a female designer and developer, so having both these skills and being a minority in the web industry is super empowering.
In my last agency, I was often overlooked and a part of me suspects this was because I was a female. However, in working for myself, this has been nothing but a strength and something that my clients are drawn to.
What tools or services did you use?
What are your key challenges today. How are you planning to tackle those?
My key challenge is time management.
I want to be able to deliver consistently excellent work for my clients, take on new and exciting projects, learn new skills, grow my business but also enjoy my life outside of work!
As a result, I’m getting better at prioritising, identifying and avoiding time sinks, and knowing my limits in terms of productivity and capacity.
Which are some resources, books, articles or podcasts that have been useful to you, and would share with your readers
I write a fortnightly newsletter for my clients and often feature a business-related book I’ve been reading. I love podcasts and books by Paul Jarvis, podcasts by Jason Resnick as well as most business/productivity books out there.
Many a times, women feel that businesses are for only for men. What’s your take?
When I was younger, I accepted this as a given.
I knew very few female founders/directors, let alone any I actually worked for.
I think this all stems from confidence – men tend to be more confident in going for/asking for what they want. This is often the case in salary/performance appraisals. Men almost always ask for more whereas women are a lot more cautious and underestimate their abilities.
It’s pretty alarming but the data backs this up. I think it starts in school and it’s something we collectively need to work on as a society.
Looking to kick start your own venture?
Hi ! This is Misha ?
I interview women founders building profitable businesses ??
My idea is for other women to get inspired by these actionable tell all stories and start their own profitable enterprises.
I am hugely inspired by inspirational interview series starters like IndieHackers, StarterStory by Pat Walls, Failory, SpaceBandits and have put significant efforts in reaching out to women founders in order to gt started.