Toni Patterson is the Owner and Creative Director of Skye Media Group, a branding and design studio in Maryland. As a designer, she’s worked with a variety of businesses, non-profits and solopreneurs across various industries. For over 7 years, Toni has been committed to her dream of being (and staying) a full-time design entrepreneur. Her mission is to encourage other visionaries & entrepreneurs to live their dreams by crafting memorable, marketable and professional brands that lay the foundation for their businesses and future success. A Baltimore implant and DC native, she’s committed to helping small businesses and solopreneurs (what is a solopreneur?) uncover the potential in their business and vision through web design, visual branding, business strategy and social media.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
Over the years, I toiled with the idea of becoming a web designer, but talked myself out of it because of my lack of experience, design skills, time and responsibilities. The nagging feeling reached a feverish pitch three years ago when, after spending a decade and some change in Corporate America, I had the opportunity to finally pursue my passion… and have become obsessed with design, abstract patterns, coding and perfecting everything I touch. Since graduating from University of Maryland with Bachelors in Business Administration, I always wanted to somehow work for myself, and because I held onto that dream, I’ve been able to do so through Skye Media Group Design.
Tell us about your business.
Skye Media Group is a creative design studio where I help emerging and current business owners develop the potential in their business through web design, business strategy, social media and visual brand development.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I don’t usually have promos or specials. We will be giving away a ticket or two to our brand brunch in September though.
I’ve had features and segments on Studiopress, Blog Talk Radio, Revision Path, Real Brown Girls, Magic 95.9 Baltimore, and other media outlets.
Where is your business based?
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
A lot of trial and error. I taught myself how to design with Photoshop tutorials. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I got my first few paying clients from family and referrals through them. After that, I sought help to learn how to code and create marketable websites through a mentorship and Marie Forleo’s B School.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Being consistent and engaging on social media. I’m also proactive about searching for business owners who would greatly benefit from working with me.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenge is getting over the perfection bug.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I’ve just recently realized that being imperfect brings more of myself into my brand because it helps me be more authentic. So, gaining more self-awareness has helped me overcome my perfection bug.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I have to stay self-motivated as an entrepreneur, but not every day is a good day. So on those days, I #netflixandchill. Most times I pray to center myself and talk to my trusted circle for encouragement.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
By remaining true to my vision and remembering why I started my business. I also view web design as art and look at every website as a piece of artwork – that’s why no one website looks the same. I’m my own competition. I really don’t see competition. I serve my ideal client, not anyone else’s.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
When you’re a leader, you have a responsibility to remain positive and show up, even when you don’t want to.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t compare your definition of success to someone else’s. Do what you do well, and hire someone for everything else.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
I can’t live without Google Drive or Dropbox! Google Drive makes it easier to share documents, upload files, and stay on track with project folders. It’s my substitute Microsoft Word. I can also access Google Drive without logging on, and its connection to my phone is vital. I love Dropbox because I’ve connected it to my PC without logging in online. As a designer, Photoshop is also a must!
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Instagram @skyemediagroup, @skyesoiree
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