Illustrator and entrepreneur Lize Meddings is the founder of the Sad Ghost Club, a small business that creates comics and products to help raise positive mental health awareness.
How did you start out in business?
I started out after graduating from university with an illustration degree. All that was available to me at the time was trying to make my own work to sell – so I did. It was a very slow process and as a poor post-grad I was saving up any money from sales to then buy new stock.
One of my ideas at the time was a comic about a sad ghost, and The Sad Ghost Club was born. I made a zine and ran a t-shirt pre-order that totally blew up and it took off from there.
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If you knew then what you know now, what mistakes might you have avoided?
My biggest mistake in the beginning was just being disorganised. When your focus, and the focus of your business, is something creative, the admin and extra stuff feel like they slow you down, but they don’t really. I would have tried to understand accounting as soon as possible and kept track of everything for future reference.
What advice would you have given yourself when starting out?
Don’t stop! That’s always my advice, things take a really long time to become what you had planned.
If you knew then what you know now, would you still be sitting there?
I would definitely be sitting here. After four years, the business has become exactly what I wanted it to be. I would have maybe gotten here a bit quicker and more efficiently had I known then what I know now but, the journey has been fun.
What do you know now that you didn’t know then?
I now know that keeping records is like the most important thing ever, businesses follow rhythms and patterns and that’s OK. And that you are way more capable than you think you are. The business has recently gone back to just me, which has taught me that I can get a lot more done than I had thought possible.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received so far?
To treat it exactly like a job. This was really hard for me in the beginning because it was such a risk and I felt like I had to be constantly working on something. Now I’m able to have time off, switch off at the end of the day and the business is a lot sturdier for it.
What is your business highlight?
I think the kickstarter we ran in 2018 was the highlight, it was a bit make or break and there was a team of three of us, we had to really pull our socks up to keep the business going and we did. It helped prove to all of us how much we cared.
What is your business low point?
My low point would probably be the end of 2017, I was going through a lot of personal stuff that meant I couldn’t give the business what it needed, but I couldn’t stop because there were people counting on me.
What keeps you awake?
Well, it used to be making sure we made enough money so everyone could get paid, but since becoming a one-woman business, it’s been a lot less stressful. Not making enough content keeps me up at night I’d say.
What’s changed from when you started out?
The landscape around what I do has changed the most. I’ve found that lots of similar ideas exist now, which is a good thing.
What’s still on your to-do list?
The number one goal is always more awareness around mental health and acceptance. I’d ideally like to bring back our workshops, make it as community-driven as possible and help as many people we can through the comics I make. Oh, and also make plush toys.
What’s next for you in business and personally?
The next step is pretty exciting, I’ve just accepted an offer for a two-book deal with a publisher! So, I’m currently planning out a story and the book should be out in 2021.
Main photo courtesy of Lize Meddings
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