It’s Our 9th Anniversary!

  • by Shala Graham
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We usually write in third person but since it’s our anniversary I’m breaking my own rules! I found myself awake around 3am this morning thinking about how grateful I am to have been in business for 9 years today! I started looking up statistics on small businesses and found that only 38% of businesses make it to their 9th year with roughly half not surviving past year four. The stats from 2012 also showed that 93.1% of small businesses have annual revenues of less than $250K…well, we’re a part of the 6.9%! For the past 9 years not only have we increased revenues every year, we have turned a profit every single year (even despite the recession). I truly am humbled.

Prayer Time

I was only 22 when I started this company (it’s okay if you do the math) so I had no idea what I was doing! I had to learn from the school of hard knocks about proper accounting, billing, setting rates, hiring employees, and everything else that goes along with being an entrepreneur. I’m still learning as the company grows but it is so rewarding.

Some people ask me how I’ve done it and my answer is usually, “a lot of prayer.” You see, I didn’t start SW Creatives with a business plan or even a vision for growing a company with employees…I was quite content freelancing on the side while working for “the man.” I quickly found out “the man” was not who I thought he was, so we peacefully parted ways. And then I got engaged. That’s when the prayers started! “Dear Lord, just get me enough money for the next 3 months until my wedding day. Amen.” And for the next three months I consulted on Microsoft projects (thanks to Gayle Cruise), writing and developing online training curricula for small businesses, as well as developing websites. Then I got married and my prayer request ran out! So the next prayer a month later was for clients! The prayer went up on Friday and by Monday I had two new clients, one of which is still a great client to this day (big shout out to Carpenter & Associates)! Before I knew it I was really in business and when I wanted to quit, my husband was there to tell me, “No, you can do it!” Now my ongoing prayers have simply been, “Lord, please bless the work of my hands,” and “Please give me wisdom and discernment! Amen.”


Being grateful is an understatement. SW Creatives has worked with over 200 clients in the past 9 years! I can’t express how thankful I am that so many people and companies have entrusted my little company with their work. It’s an honor to fight homelessness and injustice or advocate for quality education and health as a part of our service to clients.

And boy did I strike gold with my team! The latest additions to the team, Tiffany Jones and Michael Hoang, are going to help us grow in new and exciting ways! But I must give extra special honor to Ryan Phillips and Christy Batta who have helped me transform this company over the past 2+ years. They have truly been my left and right hand; helping me stay focused, on brand, and producing the great creative work that you see in our portfolio that has helped us defy small business statistics! They also kept this firm rolling while I taught at universities two days a week and pursued the development of our new company, Creative Colony! Phew…I must be the luckiest girl in the world!

Looking Forward to Year 10

2014 is going to be a great year! Today, on our anniversary, we signed our first commercial lease for office space in downtown Silver Spring and officially graduated from the incubator space we have occupied since 2008. We are diversifying our creative offerings and expanding our reach across the globe! We’ll also officially launch our coworking space, Creative Colony, in the spring which we hope will be a beacon for the creative community in Silver Spring. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be able to support my fellow creative freelancers and entrepreneurs! I want to see them grow and do what I can to help them experience success.

Until next year, I’m going to keep on praying…it’s worked for me so far!