We had the good fortune of connecting with Tara Cochran and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tara, what is the most important factor behind your success?
As an accountant turned brand designer, I would have to say the most important factor behind the success of my business is having a solid strategy. It’s so easy as an entrepreneur to get caught up in following the latest tactics and trends. Often times I see my small business clients being pulled off track or getting burnt out trying to follow the advice that is tactic or trend-based.
Unlike checking into a W-2 job, the amount of decisions for an entrepreneur is unlimited. A clear brand strategy provides the roadmap for all of the decisions in your business – and mine is no exception! I let my business purpose, vision, values, goals, story, SWOT assessment, and ideal audience be the guide so I feel confident in the direction my business is growing. My strategy is always there to serve as a check to see if I should offer a new design service or if I should focus my time on filming Reels or networking on LinkedIn. This clarity has enabled me to avoid burnout and stay on a business growth path I’m proud of!
TL;DR – A clear brand strategy
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I own Olive Fox Design and I work with ambitious entrepreneurs to create brand strategies and design. My signature services include a brand identity package – think classic logo and color palette deliverables but amped up with the backing of a well-researched plan. I also like to help my clients expand on their brand by designing websites, digital and print collateral.
A lot of other designers in my field do not have the extensive business background that I have. This gives me a unique edge because I have years of formal experience (as a former auditor) going in and getting a deep dive understanding of businesses. I have a deep respect for processes and a love for analytics. I’m able to combine all of this with creativity and design knowledge resulting in a wonderful customer experience.
It isn’t easy to build a business, a primary challenge was a shift in mindset from being a W-2 employee to my own boss. This was challenging because as an employee you primarily can stay within your zone of genius. However, as a small business owner, everything is your responsibility from finances to marketing ON TOP of serving clients. To overcome this challenge I surround myself with a good support system and utilize the resources around me. I also heavily rely on my brand strategy to keep me on track and not chasing after shiny objects!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I moved to Colorado Springs just a few months prior to the pandemic. So my experience in the area is certainly limited compared to your normal interviewees!
That being said, I have been able to find a few favorites. I would start the day by caffeinating at one of the local coffee shops. It is going to be a toss-up between Switchback Roasters, Building III, or Loyal Coffee. Actually, I’d probably save one of those for another day and visit Cafe Leo in Woodland Park as we head up towards the mountains for a hike. Using the CO Trex app I would make sure to preplan the hike and then triple-check the weather! After enjoying the outdoors, we would head back into town to grab dinner.
Sunday, we would eat brunch on the patio of the new downtown location of Garden of the Gods Cafe! Depending on the visitor we would go shopping in OCC or visit one of the many museums Colorado Springs has to offer.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shout out to other entrepreneurs!
I have loved forming connections with other small business owners. Sometimes that capacity is in a formal setting where I’ve hired out services or they have hired me as a brand designer. Other times it’s bouncing ideas in a mastermind or simply meeting up in a coffee shop for a co-working session. The entrepreneur (especially female entrepreneur) circle is such an important part of my support system that has led to my success!
Other: Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/olivefoxdesign/