Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in branding and marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alyssa Zwonok, Founder & CEO of Nomad Cre8tive Inc., located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Nomad Cre8tive is an entirely remote team of fearless creatives that brings unparalleled passion and drive to every project to help brands exceed industry standards. We bridge the gap between traditional creative agencies and freelancers through a win-win structure that combines the best of both worlds: the freedom of freelancing and the reliability of an agency. We value work-life balance, choosing when, where, and how much we work. With a vast and growing roster of clients who trust Nomad Cre8tive to bring their brands' vision to life, our reach goes from local to global and everything in between. We specialize in branding startups and re-branding small to mid-sized businesses.

Tell us about yourself

I started my career in 2011 as a Graphic Designer, and over the years expanded my knowledge and skill set in the creative and marketing industry. I've had the opportunity to collaborate with many talented individuals during my school years and through my employment with other companies and agencies while also building a reputation as a freelancer.

In 2015, I lived in Bordeaux, France studying design. While there, I continued to freelance and took my work with me as I traveled and visited new destinations regularly. I loved the flexibility freelancing provided me and naturally fell in love with travel too.

In 2016, my then boyfriend, now husband, joined the RCAF as a pilot, and I knew my dreams of building my way up in a big city agency were no longer realistic given the nomadic lifestyle that was ahead of us… but that didn't mean I still couldn't achieve similar goals. Queue the entrepreneurial spark.

I formally launched Nomad Cre8tive in 2018 from a side hustle I started while working as a flight attendant in 2016 to satisfy my intense desire to innovate, create, and work from anywhere. This deviation proved invaluable, as I collected further evidence that I could successfully work from anywhere as a designer, even soaring 30,000ft above the ground. The open skies created space for my idea for Nomad Cre8tive to come forth into life, and while the passengers slept, I laid the groundwork for the business plan that would change how agencies operate for the better.

Having always seen myself as a leader, I wanted to have a positive impact on the creative industry and drive change, so I decided to take my career's fate into my own hands, transforming my passion and creativity into a successful business. The concept of Nomad Cre8tive came from a personal desire of wanting to work from anywhere while combining my passions for design and travel. That quickly grew into so much more as I now have impacted over 50 freelancers' lives and an increasing number of businesses each year.

What started as a dream of mine while working on an aircraft as an airline attendant has turned into an incredibly humbling reality.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Doubling my business revenue year after year since launch while curating the most epic, talented, insightful, and humble team. Without the support and trust of my team, Nomad Cre8tive would not be where it is today. I am proud to have surrounded myself with go-getters, self-starters, and overall amazing human beings. I've always handled my business affairs with my core values on top of my mind.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Finding the balance between work and my personal life had been one of my biggest challenges. I had to learn to compartmentalize and learn completely disconnect from 'work mode' when it was time. Over the years, I've increasingly prioritized my downtime, as working with little energy or enthusiasm was not working for me. Knowing how my personal life and mental health had been affected by work in the past, it was important for me to create a business where my team had the freedom and flexibility to do the things they loved outside of work.

I am consistently striving to break the mold and change the agency culture. I wanted to rewrite the narrative of what an agency should look like and how it should work while forever empowering my diverse team of freelancers by giving them the freedom to do their best work. I believe that great work comes from passionate people, so as a leader, I felt it was important for me to create a workplace environment where people are excited to work on projects and not feel forced or unmotivated on assignments.

My efforts in improving the traditional agency structure start by providing flexible hours and realistic expectations to my team and clients. Having worked 9-5 at agencies earlier in my career, I quickly realized this structure was not for me, and I was not alone. As a creator, I felt unmotivated most days, forced to work excessively long hours on projects that didn't excite me whatsoever. Overtime was expected and not compensated for, and gratitude for a job well done was not common. I was easily burnt out and uninspired and knew there was a better approach to building an agency and leading a team
putting balanced workplace values and sound business practices at the forefront.

Prioritizing people's mental health and work-life balance has always been my #1 priority. Being mindful that rest and doing things we love outside of work are necessary. This has been proven to be more productive than overworking. I practice this myself and encourage my team to do the same.

Nomad Cre8tive is far more than a highly-professional remote design agency bringing to life the authentic branding visions of mission-based businesses - it is a beacon to the world of design agencies and everywhere that success comes when people come first.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Be kind and patient. You may think you know more than others, but truly you are always learning and can learn from anyone everywhere. Let others feel like an equal to you through your actions. Being positive and encouraging is important, but so is honesty, transparency, and authenticity during more difficult times.
  2. Leave your limiting beliefs behind. A lot of growth and success comes from a mindset, so be optimistic, set crazy goals, and work really hard.
  3. Become a good listener. Listen to what your clients, employees, and people around you are saying. There are always golden nuggets that could inspire your next move.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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