Richard Cross is a web designer and developer as well as a photographer and certified drone pilot based in Stanley.
He has run his own business for nearly 20 years and recently moved from Edinburgh to rural Perthshire, getting in touch with GrowBiz after finding out about the community-based enterprise support organisation on social media.
Since first contacting GrowBiz and signing up to their mailing lists, Richard has been to one of the networking events aimed at supporting creative entrepreneurs which he says is a great way to meet others facing similar challenges.
Richard is also keen to become part of GrowBiz’s award-winning mentoring programme – the first of its kind in Scotland to be accredited by the Scottish Mentoring Network - to be matched with a mentor to help him develop the drone photography side of his business.
Photographer Richard set up on his own as a freelance web designer and developer in 2002 after working in web agencies for six years during the boom and bust period of the dot com years.
In 2010 he turned his freelance practice into a limited company to help larger clients have the confidence that he was a reliable choice.
The enterprise journey
If you ask Richard how he got to where he is today, he would say that he likes to think it is by doing a good job.
But he says: “There’s more to it than just that.
“Running a small business myself, I appreciate the challenges other small and micro business owners face, so I try to build this understanding into my approach. Providing quality ongoing support is also vital. And while these aren’t unique traits, I’ve been in the sector a long time which I think helps a lot.”
Over the years, Richard has enjoyed support from a number of sources, citing everyone from his first boss to his partner Helen who he says “helps me on a daily basis, even if it’s to remind me to go for a walk”.
“The hardest thing about running your own business is that it never stops,” he says, adding: “Day and night there’s always something to think about or sort out. Over the years I’ve become very good at time management but thoughts of what’s next are always there.”
Richard relaxes by walking, cycling and foraging, saying that he loves being outside and surrounded by nature.
“Moving from Edinburgh to rural Perthshire means I now have the sort of work life balance that I’ve wanted for many years, which is a big achievement in itself for me.
“It is important not to burn out and having been close to that a couple of times I’m very keen not to put myself - or clients - in that position again.
“I think that surviving as a small company is a huge achievement, and GrowBiz and the support it gives its clients to not only survive but also to thrive is a fantastic resource for micro enterprises in rural areas. Their Smart Village project, which is just getting started, is a brilliant example of building community resilience.”
Looking to the future
Richard is keen to develop the drone photography side of his business, explaining: “Before the internet, I was a photographer and I have kept shooting landscapes and commercial work, mostly interiors and products, throughout my career.
“For the last 18 months I’ve been using a drone to capture previously unseen sides of the Scottish landscape and I’m looking to develop this project to help inform the discussion about how we use our environment.”
And he says he is interested in working with others in the future, commenting: “Collaborations and partnerships with other professionals and small and micro business owners, where people from other disciplines come together to create something that is greater than the individual parts.”
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