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The Hustle

Name: Nicole Lytwyn (The Mug Creative Agency)

Posted By Keara McGraw

Clearwater native Nicole Lytwyn describes herself as "an optimist by nature and an entrepreneur by heart." She also confesses to be a computer nerd. With web design as her chosen career, she founded The Mug Creative Agency (branding, storytelling and website design) in 2015 while managing a corporate marketing team, and working on a master’s degree in digital journalism and design. "I love strong coffee, and intentional direction, and the ocean is my second home," says the resident of St. Petersburg.

Years in Tampa Bay

I’m a Tampa Bay lifer! I was born and raised in Clearwater and have lived in St. Pete for three years now.

Hustle (job)

Founder and Chief Designer

What do you do?  

We build exquisite brands and websites for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Why do you do it?

I do it because I love using my creative talents to help small businesses thrive. I do it because everyone deserves a team that they can trust and that really has their best interest at heart. I love turning a simple business name or idea into a brand, styling it so it shines, and watching it flourish in the community (on and offline).

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

I have ALWAYS wanted to work for a creative agency. I can remember sitting at my desk at my first marketing job and (pretty much) stalking all of the Tampa Bay creative agencies I could find online. I would imagine myself working at a unique studio in the heart of downtown, collaborating with a team of inspiring creatives and business owners. To this day, I truly believe that I manifested this career path into my life. In that very first marketing job, I honed in on my creative and design skills that I learned from college. I met with entrepreneurs in the digital space who inspired me and picked their brains until I felt comfortable pitching clients. Soon after I started my LLC and building websites for friends under The Mug as a side hustle. I hardly charged anything for services back then, it is crazy to look back and see how much we have grown! It wasn’t until January 2019 that I took a leap of faith, all of my savings, and quit my full-time marketing job to work for myself full time.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

We don’t just build quick-fix websites and logos. Come to The Mug if you want something creative, something different and something special for your business. Everything we do is custom and original so you can be proud of your brand and little home on the Internet.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

The most challenging part is trying to balance all of the hats I wear as a startup owner. I am the accountant, head of marketing, chief designer, team and project manager, head of sales, and everything else you can think of. Growth has been a challenge, but one that we are finally mastering!

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

The greatest piece of advice that has helped me is “do great work and the money will follow.” Oftentimes people spend too much time trying to “scale” that they cheapen their work. Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to telling others that you are doing the right thing. Put out quality work and people will see your value and want to hire you.

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