We recently interviewed Worthing-based web designer Chris Blyth of Three Fishes Web Design, who started his business after being made redundant due to the pandemic. Read on to learn about what he’s currently working on, his thoughts on the Worthing creative scene, and his advice for people who want to start their own business.
Hi Chris. Please can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I’m a freelance web designer based here in Sunny Worthing. I create all sorts of sites, from eCommerce to portfolio, and everything in between.
In my free time, you can usually find me running along the promenade or co-hosting a weekly ice hockey podcast called “Across the Pond NHL” (shameless plug).
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on three different projects. One being a directory and membership site aimed at independent businesses within the area, one for a specialist Hi-Fi store, and finally one for a CGI production and design firm in Bath. I’ve recently completed an eCommerce site for Bottle & Jug Dept, and a fundraising site for Henry Ainsley aka The Bearded Runner.
How did you get into web design, and how did Three Fishes begin?
I named the business Three Fishes Web Design in tribute to the town’s Coat of arms – not after the Wetherspoons in town! Unfortunately (or fortunately) last year, I was made redundant due to the financial effects of the pandemic. It was a demanding job that involved a daily 3-hour commute. Needless to say, I didn’t want to jump into the first job that came along, so I took the opportunity to look at what I wanted from life and work backwards from there.
I was heavily involved in designing websites at previous jobs, and it’s something I have a passion for so coupled with wanting to be my own boss, turned a negative situation into a positive one.
The biggest learning curve for me is the idea of selling myself. It’s something that doesn’t come naturally to me, however something I have had to work on.
What’s something people might not know about your business?
Although the name tips it hat to Worthing, I work with people and companies from all over, and although talks are still in the early stages, I’ll hopefully soon be working on revamping a website for a sporting federation in the Caribbean. Unfortunately, the job doesn’t require me to work on-site.
What’s the most challenging part of your work?
Setting up a business during a Global pandemic hasn’t been exactly a picnic. Unsurprisingly, people and businesses were reticent in spending money during a period with so much in the air. That coupled with the fact that I’m a new business with a small portfolio has been challenging.
What’s your favourite part of what you do?
I love speaking to an eclectic mix of businesses and individuals, all with their own needs and requirements, and through that collaboration, producing the first draft and then building further on that.
What do you think of the Worthing creative scene?
I moved to Worthing in 2005, and as a resident, I can see it’s come on leaps and bounds. Back then, the scene was almost non-existent, and it’s fair to say the town deserved the “God’s waiting room” nickname it had.
What I love is the “scene” has grown organically, from different directions, and not falling to one main person to shoulder. From Horace and Two Faced Twins to Ed Watts with a brilliant photo exhibition, there are various pockets around town.
In terms of involvement, I’m probably not the person to ask, seeing as I started the business during a period of lockdown. However, from what I have seen in the past as well as from knowing what’s planned in the future, I can see there’s enough to get involved in……..and I certainly will be.
Do you have any advice for people who are just starting their own business, or who want to venture into web design?
Sounds straightforward to say, but I would say go for it. Sounds cliché, but it’s better to take a leap of faith in something than living your life wondering “what if”.
Once doing it, stay resilient, focused, and remember this isn’t a 9-5, Monday to Friday life you’re now living.
You’ll have quiet periods where your main job of the day will be uploading posts into Instagram or sorting out your Outlook folders, but then you’ll have other periods where you’ll worry you’ve taken too much on.
I would also say absorb everything and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Countless people have set themselves up and failed miserably. See if you can find out where they went wrong and avoid doing the same.
Alternatively, there are plenty who have set themselves up from scratch and made a success of things. Find out who those people are, drop them an email and ask for a quick chat over Zoom or Teams. People like talking about themselves, especially when positive and guaranteed you will learn something valuable to take forward and use yourself.