Kimberly Burge Helps Small Businesses Grow With Beautiful Graphic Work
Kimberly Burge is the driving force behind End2End Media. An innovator with more than a decade of experience in graphic design, print, and web, she combines her fresh perspective with proven techniques to bring physical and digital mediums together. Kimberly’s main focus is helping local businesses grow and building up the small business economy. Throughout her career, Kimberly has focused on professional and personal development. This has resulted in her bringing new services to her clients which range from small local businesses to major brands worldwide. Kimberly lives in Vancouver with her husband and their two cats.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
When I finished my certificate to become a graphic designer, my first job was at a small mum and pop print shop. It didn’t take long before I became the hub for all printing needs for my friends and family, I also volunteered my services. As I grew to understand the industry, I saw how some communities, specifically nonprofit organizations, would spend more on their printing than they actually needed to.
As a Cub Scouter, I knew that every nickel I saved was a nickel I could spend on some other program element for the youth. I slowly shuffled into becoming a print broker who focused on servicing small groups or those looking to save on printing. It quickly snowballed into the start of End2End Media – a side hustle where I could help others source their media needs, save more than if they didn’t go with me and even increase their fundraising from those savings. I’ve since branched out to helping small businesses follow the same principles I did when I started out.
The feeling of helping my community has motivated me to develop my business where I can help other businesses improve, see results and grow.
Tell us about your business.
End2End Media is a branding and marketing agency formed around my passion for simplicity and results. One of my favourite things about it is just how much I can take my personality and start the process of forming culture. I hate being told things, so I advise. You come with a problem, I see 3 to 5 solutions. I share these ideas and see which one sounds best to my client. Just like when I was doing calculus in high school, there was always more than one way to get to the same answer. I bring all of that into End2End Media.
I’m also super flexible – if it’s something I don’t know, I will dive in, get a crash course and then contract an expert in the field to work beside me. These sorts of projects enable me to take on more of a project manager and quality control management position. I get to learn, translate what the client wants into what works for the contractor, and watch the magic unfold.
My current goal is to get a modest space for myself and a small team. I want to offer a lot of the services I provide with team members present so I don’t have to project manage as much and can focus more on collaborating and pushing the limits.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
As it’s almost the end of the first half of the year, we’ve revamped our 2017 inspiration calendar to feature more content for July – December to help everyone get a little bit of a head start to finish the last half of the year strong. You can go to e2e.promo/calendar to download your copy. I will only keep it up until the end of July.
I have completed a certificate of graphic design and small business management. I’ve also been awarded the Bar to the Medal of Good Service and a Long Service Medal for my volunteer work with Scouts Canada.
From 2014-2015, I ran a project called Rover Scout Merch – my first real attempt at running a business. In this project I designed different projects, marketed them, managed inventory, did all the shipping and the administration. Over the course of two years, I was able to make $1500 for the organizations No One Left Behind (funds youth to participate in Scouts Canada programs) and The Brotherhood Fund (helps support international youth initiatives).
Where is your business based?
Currently, I run End2End Media out of my home and in local coffee shops. I simply love it! When inspiration hits, I don’t feel that I need to rush somewhere to access a file or battle with traffic. I just get into it. If I have a client who is based in Australia, I can shift my time to accommodate working in their time zone.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
The first step I took was taking a deep breath and taking a nap. I kid you not. My friend (now husband) suggested I just go for it after a few months of doing odd projects. Once referrals started to roll in, he was very adamant in me making it an official side hustle. I quickly came up with End2End Media because I knew what I was doing – I was working with people from the beginning to the end of their projects. From one end to the other.
I whipped out the credit card, bought a domain and started to build myself a website. It was pretty straight forward at the time, nothing fancy. Having dabbled in html and tinkered with it non-stop since I was 14, I had it up and running in a weekend.
The hardest part was creating the content, describing what End2End was and having work to show. All of the work I did at the print shop was NDA, so I couldn’t showcase any of the work I had done with them online (physical copies, no problem). I went back into some of my horrible work at school and bit the bullet.
From there, it was all about continuing to improve, networking on the side, and letting the projects roll in.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Referrals and Facebook primarily. Outside of that, it’s hard to tell. With how quickly the marketing landscape has changed, it’s hard to recall what worked when. Recently, I’ve started to InMail potential clients on LinkedIn and am having moderate success.
I’ve recently started to run Google Adwords again, but haven’t really been getting the same return as I was a few years ago or as much as I see with my clients whose Adwords Campaigns I manage. It’s just further proving that picking the right channel is everything.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenge is time. I always find myself drawn to work when I should be having some time away from it all to recharge. Deadlines are always important to me, and I always want to show my best work. I know that time is my most precious commodity, so I try my best to not waste it and watch what commitments I have made. Any time I’m bored and can’t find any brain popcorn (book or television), I find myself coming up with a new project to fill the time, taking on another role somewhere or over extending myself socially.
I also find another one of my challenges is being more confident while networking. There are times when I go to an event specifically organized to find potential clients and I get intimidated to approach anyone. I remember the very first one I went to as End2End Media, an older lady took me under her wing and toured me around introducing me. It was super embarrassing, but I was grateful to her.
How did you overcome these challenges?
When it comes to time, I refuse to call it time management. I view it as a commodity, something I exchange for value. That small shift in perspective has made it more of a commitment management strategy. It’s been a delicate dance of balancing all my self-imposed commitments, and it’s hard to say no at times. Slowly, I’m making sure that, in my agenda, I’ve time blocked a minimum of 2 hours of self care every week. I know that you can always get more money, but you can never get more time.
I try to remind myself that behind the person standing there chatting up a storm is more than a business – it’s a human. I can walk into a room/field filled with Scouters and strike up a conversation about just shy of anything and have no issues. Scouters range from doctors and lawyers, to electricians and actors, professionals in their respective fields. Place me at a networking event with other business professionals, and I have to give myself a pep talk that I’m a business professional just like them. We are here to meet other awesome professionals and to help each other out. It doesn’t always work, especially when a conversation clearly has lost momentum I feel discouraged. But I keep smiling, doing my best and trying with the hopes I’ll improve.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I look back at why I started. Sometimes, it’s hard to stop when I reflect and see what’s important: why End2End Media brings me joy, what I’ve accomplished so far.
I will sit down with a cup of tea, breathe deep, and keep in mind that I’m doing this because I have a deep passion for everything creative, and I love seeing different projects from others’ visions come to life with my skills. I will pull out one of the custom badges I’ve done for my Cub Scouts and remember just how much they freaked out seeing it transformed from scribbles to a tangible thing they created. If I’m truly discouraged, I will head out to my local park and go for a walk, absorbing the simply beauty of the forest.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
By focusing on why you’re in business and what will work for your goals. I’m not a brand strategist, I’m not a brand designer – I’m a manager. I can manage any sort of project to help you see results. I refuse to try and sell you on something that you don’t need. That’s not how I work. I despise that method, ‘finding work’. That being said, I will make suggestions on different options to look into for the future.
I will also reject clients if they don’t align with what I believe in. If you’re just in business to make money, sorry! You’re not the type of person I want to work with. Again, just like time, money is nothing but a commodity. You exchange it for value. You can always get money. What makes you different? Why should I help you and your business? Is your mission to create a beautiful outdoor space for families to enjoy and relax after work on the weekend? Maybe you’re a personal injury lawyer who is more interested in making the lives easier for those who have been in a motor vehicle accident, so they can focus on what matters most: healing.
Aside from that, it’s just media matching. I have strong opinions on what makes sense for a company to invest in.
Free piece of advice: If you’re a strictly e-commerce store, don’t invest in any printing aside from the following:
- Product tags or packaging
- Thank You cards
- Trade show materials if you go to a trade show (brochure, business card, if you really want, a roll up stand – but there are WAY better things to do in a booth)
You don’t need to do more than that.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
My wonderful husband who is always there to listen and be a cheerleader (I mean, it was his brilliant idea for me to give End2End a shot) recently said that I need to have more time off and relax. It’s not profound, but it was probably the best thing I’ve heard in a long time. If I’m not at my best, I can’t give my best. I can have all the passion and drive in the world, but if I’m burnt out, those mean nothing. This doesn’t mean that you can’t wake up at 2am and work on that awesome idea. But it does mean you can stop feeling guilty at 8pm and watch your favorite show.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Never stop learning. If you have questions, research and get informed. It’s the age of information, you should have a basic knowledge base for everything in your business. Always look for ways to improve it – there are new platforms being launched daily, new apps. Constantly research and develop. Be bold. Be fearless.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
I have so many! Right off the bat is anything Google, from the data it has available to learn more about trends to the GSuite platform that has so many integrations.
For resources, I’d recommend If This Then That. Basically IFTTT is a platform that enables you to automate different applications and services. I think my top applet is “Add a reminder to Google Calendar when you miss a call on your Android”. Another great resource is Feedly. I’ve been able to narrow down my feed to key areas so I’m kept informed on what’s going on. One of the biggest things I care about currently is the changing landscape of SEO.
Probably the biggest resource that I adore is anything that integrates into other systems. There are several services I like individually, but because it won’t do integrations into systems I’m currently using, I won’t even bother. Integrations and automation.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I read about a book every two weeks – there have been so many great ones! I’d have to say the one I’ve enjoyed the most was Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done by Jocelyn K. Glei. Glei who goes into how email is killing our productivity with some startling statistics and different tactics on how to work it out. I implemented a few of her suggestions, and I actually enjoy email again! Having inbox pause and dedicated times to deal with my inbox has been a game changer.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I’m currently working on my biggest weakness: bookkeeping. I’ve recently switched to be with Quickbooks Online, and it’s a big learning curve. For the longest time, it was spreadsheets and manual inputs, but now I’m trying to automate as much of it as I can.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My biggest goal before the end of 2017 is to develop a new client funnel that will be more automated for leads, so I won’t have to spend so much time searching. If that works out, I’ll be able to focus on growing my business so I can hire my first team member!
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