Lydia Grossov is a branding innovator with 20+ years of experience and a passion for creating bold and impacting designs that position her clients as leaders. She has been in the design, web, and digital strategy trenches since 1995, working with corporations, retail packaging, pharmaceutical and healthcare organizations, magazines, direct mail agencies, small businesses, and entrepreneurs alike. Today she consults on brand, website, and digital strategy, leads all design projects, and specializes in print and digital design. She also leads training sessions and speaks at both virtual and live events.

Lydia and I were first introduced at a Women’s Business Forum meeting. A friend of ours, James Lucas (lovingly referred to by many as the only smart man in the room), insisted on introducing us when Lydia returned to the group as a new entrepreneur. James was familiar with Lydia’s work and her skills as a graphic designer and was excited to help her connect with other members. We hit it off immediately, so much so that we wound up spending more than a year together in a mastermind that catapulted our businesses and eventually led to Lydia redesigning my website that I love!

Spending time with Lydia allowed me to get a better understanding of her work, how she helps clients, and that she truly had a deep understanding of what I was struggling with and needed my website to do for me at the time and well into the future. She is absolutely right in saying that she builds a website that you will love and will translate and transmit who you are as a business owner and as a business. Having this understanding of her work and how she helps clients created a deep trust.

Realizing that Lydia is a great connector, that she loves to network and get to know people, I was able to see that she really understood my audience. Lydia shares that going into networking with helping others in mind brings about the know, like, and trust factor which leads to relationships and may or may not lead to business. Sometimes it just leads to great relationships that lead to other connections. She feels that it’s more about being helpful to other people and not being pushy about your services and worrying about the sale. She sees networking as a way to meet and connect people.

Stepping out of corporate and launching Expresso Design feeds her creative soul. She loves getting to know her clients, their products and services, and what they want to do. She always dabbled in freelance work, as many graphic designers do, but after being laid off she decided to turn her side gig into a full-time business. She even admits that the first two years were filled with doubt and concern, wondering if this was the right choice for her. She shares that many small business owners go through this but having the support of her network and connections helped her continue to move forward and stay motivated through the ups and downs in the beginning.

Defining who your target audience helps make better connections and ultimately leads to better referrals. Knowing who her ideal client is and bringing clarity to her message, conversations, and marketing has helped her stay focused on the growth goals she has established for her business. It has also helped her make the right decisions for networking based on who she is trying to serve and connect with. Knowing that everyone knows someone who needs her services is important. She shares that 90% of her clients have come from referrals.

Knowing that she wanted to connect with more people in pharma and healthcare, Lydia worked hard to figure out how to connect with people in the industries that she wanted to serve. She started to ask the following questions:

  • Where are my people?
  • Where’s my target audience?
  • Where are my future clients meeting?

What she did next was brilliant! Once she realized that her future clients were showing up at conferences, she started reaching out to conference organizers and began volunteering to help out wherever she could. This landed her a ticket to one of the biggest pharma conferences in our area where she was asked to be a panel moderator. Since that first event, she has been invited back as a panel moderator and round-table facilitator. This has given her opportunities to connect with the people she wanted to meet and has led to several new clients.

Lydia still stays connected with the marketing team from her former company. They have stayed pretty close because, after working together for more than 12 years as a team, they had a great deal of trust between them. After they were all laid off, they continued to support one another and help each other as they moved on to other companies. Many have become clients at their new companies, once again based on their familiarity with Lydia’s work and knowing they could trust her to do a good job.

I believe that, as professionals we have internal as well as external networks. Being purposeful to connect with others, support one another through change, and staying connected even after you’ve moved on matters. It really is about working together but remembering that life changes and people do move on. Sadly, some move on and leave you behind, cutting all ties. Lydia encourages us to remember, it’s business it’s nothing personal so don’t make it personal when someone doesn’t make the effort to stay connected.

Lydia shares that networking is something she keeps on her mental to do list. Being really busy, she still prides herself on staying connected and following up with people. Checking in on clients, prospects, and connections is always on her radar. She purposes to stay connected several ways:

  • A quick phone call to say hello and ask how you’re doing and to offer support
  • An email with a quick thinking about you message
  • A shared article relative to their interests
  • A notecard in the mail (branded of course)
  • And for people like me…check-ins to keep me on track

Purposing to stay connected with people in this way keeps her top of mind for projects, updates, and referrals. People appreciate hearing from you. Because of the volume of work that Lydia has now, she has reduced the amount of in-person networking she does and has moved to virtual networking. She shares that she is constantly networking, she has never stopped, she just does it different now. Virtual networking helps her stay on task with her work by reducing the amount of time she is away from her desk. While still connecting with a good number of people, drive-time can certainly be put to better use.

Lydia shares that she feels that all of the projects that she works on for clients are special. Her ultimate goal is to partner with her clients and continue to support them far into the future. Helping clients reach their goals, sticking with them as their businesses evolve, and being part of their success is super important to Lydia. She loves working with clients and her husband Mauro, a developer, works right alongside of her. Mauro is also a Farrier. (Fun fact…he put some pretty shoes on my daughter’s horse Penny before I even met Lydia.) Together, combining their talents as designer and developer, they have they have recently launched a scheduling and invoicing app specifically for Farriers. Seeing a need in the industry and understanding what Farriers need to help manage their time and money, led to this new venture.

Lydia truly understands how important it is to love on your clients and your network and it shows. In this interview we talked about understanding who your audience is, what they need, and where to find them. The fact that she not only identified where to find her “future clients” but went the extra step and volunteered to help with the events they attend sets her apart as a person who leads with her heart. She is all about partnering with her network and has a system that helps her stay connected all while running multiple successful businesses.

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