We had the good fortune of connecting with Derek Dugan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Derek, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur, even after finishing school and being in the corporate saddle. My background has always been on the creative side, so being a freelancer while working a full time job, afforded me plenty of opportunities to grow revenue and make the necessary connections to grow.
My father was always telling me, “Have a plan B-because nothing lasts forever”. I’ve always considered doing my own thing, yet planning how to build my own business through learning while on the road. While in corporate, this provided me a foundation of business ethics, and focus, while exercising my skills. The education and foundation this gave me prepared me to launch and actually build my own business with thought, rather the random path I was taking earlier… kinda like, if I want to achieve this, I’m going to have to plan, organize and execute to the best of my ability, preparing for the unknowns, and focusing on the needs and ambitions of my own clients.
It all comes down to these factors for me: What is the vision? What means do I currently have to support that vision? What will be the market I serve? What tools-further education will be required to support the vision? What will be the financial requirements as well as what efforts will be required to satisfy?
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
First of all, I still at 65 years of age, find the work I do more of a blessing than a job in and of itself. I create on a daily basis, if not my art, through gardening, through experiencing time with my family and especially my grandchildren. As far as art, each and every projects affords the opportunity to stretch the boundaries of my own skill set and talents.
I have to say there are times when I just feel the requirements might be beyond my abilities, yet over the years I’ve pushed myself to continue to step outside the box of what my current realties are into what the possibilities can be.
What sets me apart from others, I don’t know… I don’t compare notes. I’ve learned from years of development, practice and technology changes. I’ve admired those artists that contribute socially, digitally, and through various forms of media. I’ve never thought about myself as just an illustrator, because I’ve painted, I’ve composed, I’ve photographed, assembled, built, and more. I’d rather not think I’m one dimension, when there are so many opportunities to be creative.
The lessons I’ve learned are more about my own truth, and the expanding appreciation for others connected in my own field of study. I am inspired by others who create instead of thinking-“Wow, why couldn’t I do that”. Now the response or reaction I have is one of study and excitement, as in “Wow-How did they do that?” These kind of reactions now lead me to drive deeper and explore places I’ve never been in my own development and delivery.
I’ve never been to school for what I do. Everything I’ve learned is by osmosis, sharing and through the grace of the universe… I’ve always had a natural ability to draw, from that opportunities came throughout my life to develop these talents and expand. The pathway included introduction to a great many number of resources, people, technology and tools as well as personal experiences that contributed to this continual path I’ve been on for many years…. all in all, it’s more of an adventure, an exciting adventure.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m more into cooking and entertaining myself for the most part. I do have some favorite spots to visit and there are some culinary experiences that are better experienced with friends.
Apart from that, Going to see the Braves play, or a good band at a local pub.
I also love nature, and travel-so nearer to us are the mountains, streams, waterfalls, boating and hiking-so time spent on the lake, in the foothills of the smokies and a trip to Ashville, North Carolina. Not too far and certainly a change from the Atlanta area.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Success is built from failures and wins. From each you learn how to adapt, rebuild, and celebrate new discoveries. While most of this is on your own, it all involves clients served. Each project becomes a relation point. Without the energy and contribution fro the client, progress is challenged. So in part, my clients are all a part of my support network.
Secondly, my family, and most of all my wife. Without her encouragement and honestly-which at times can be brutally honest and hard to receive, balance is restored and a new perspective comes into view. Challenges from that perspective not only offer opportunity to grow, they provide the opportunity to be truthful, and real, like gravity.
Lastly, time. I know that might seem like a strange acknowledgement, yet time has afforded me the opportunity to reflect back and see growth over the years. Time has provided more knowledge and learning opportunities. Patience is gained, and understanding limits and challenges providing a clearer forecast for the future. Time has also provided me with an acceptance of change, when in my younger years I found myself pushing the proverbial boulder uphill, now more like an ocean with positive current and flow. Passion is still there which I feel blessed with, because I feel better about self, and confidence is no longer powered by ego, rather by spirit and soul.