Hello, Huffernickel — Designing and Writing for a Creative Small Business

Starting a new business can be scary, but it can also be incredibly freeing to set your own schedule. However, with any new venture there comes a lot of late nights researching, budget planning, and so much prep for the day you step out onto your own that the dream can quickly get devoured by the day-to-day of simply staying afloat. Don’t let that discourage you! Running a small business is not always going to be sunshine, though if you are dedicated and want to be a business owner, then there will be no description I can give at how amazing it will feel for you.

To be honest, most mornings involve planning out tasks, reading email, and then drinking a cup of coffee (or two). A good schedule and strategic planning has helped me avoid the internet death spiral of endlessly scrolling through websites for research and watching YouTube videos, because the title caught my eye.

The first part of making your dream a success involves pushing your thoughts of fear and failure aside to embrace the feelings of freedom and joy that come.
The first step towards starting a new business is always the hardest. https://www.instagram.com/p/BOTKXwlBLFj/

Make a Decision Already

More than a year ago we had a conversation about starting a small design business for my wife to sell her work through and so I started helping her get all the details in order so it would be a quick process once we decided to pull the trigger. As the year stretched on, my wife noticed that my drive and health were starting to go downhill. My wife, knowing all the reasons behind the decline, started getting an idea of her own. She started talking to me about being a full-time writer and doing something that I enjoyed, but had pushed onto the back-burner for years.

For the past 10 years, my career has been as a web developer working on sites and occasionally, apps. I don’t remember the exact day, but when she asked me, “Why not work together full-time and you can write?” I sort of laughed at the question. So many questions started swimming around in my head about paying the bills, health insurance, and other excuses not to start my own business. I was so fearful at the time that I didn’t truly except the idea as a possibility. It took me several more months and my wife researching/budgeting before she could convince me that starting a business was something we could do. I only needed the faith and drive to make it a reality.

So, it was the day after Thanksgiving, when we sat down together, that I didn’t need anymore convincing. I had seen all the research and numbers that she had crunched, so the only remaining question was “what will we call ourselves?”

We call ourselves Huffernickel.

The name Huffernickel wasn’t birthed in a brilliant brainstorm session with loads of empty coffee mugs sitting around a messy table of papers. It was, however, an endearing nickname that our friend, Elise from the Polka Dotted Blue Jay (as her fans know her), came up with to talk about her two friends that started dating. It is a fun combination of my last name and Leah’s maiden name. The nickname stuck for years. I bought a domain to use for a book that I was working on at the time that was never finished. So, when we needed a name for our business, I found this old domain and figured that it was quirky, fun, and sounded like us.

We had all the major pieces ready and that just left…quitting.

The Day Work Paused

The night my wife and I decided that I would leave my job, I sent a simple email to my boss asking him for some time the next day for a quick chat. The next morning when I talked with my boss, I could tell that he wasn’t truly excited, but that he understood as I explained why I was going to step out on my own.

It rained my last day at work and it felt refreshing. As I stood in the parking lot for a few minutes I felt the rain drip down my head and knew that it all felt different. I was no longer a numbered employee, but a business owner. I got into the car and watched the building I had worked in for the last 7 years shrink into the rearview mirror. A new chapter was beginning.

What’s next?

There are a few more hurdles to leap over in the next month or so to get everything for our business off the ground. We have launched a store on Spoonflower to sell our fabric, wall paper, and gift wrap designs. Our own custom website at huffernickel.com will feature one-of-a-kind designs and printables for a host of occasions and uses.

Also, keep an eye our for our first book in a series of children’s books about a lovable little character that will be available on our website soon.

The next few months will be amazing and packed full of goodies, so we encourage you to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to join us on the journey.