TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING EXACTLY?
I am a website and graphic designer. I specifically work with women business owners to help bring their brand and vision to life online. I do this both through designing their graphics and websites and also offering strategy sessions to the DIY business owner that just needs a little guidance and direction when it comes to branding or website design. Nothing is more rewarding than helping my clients take their dream and share it with the world.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?
I am very close with my older brother who also happens to be one of my biggest supporters. He was working in a similar industry and encouraged me to get involved and start my own business doing website design. Here I am five years later doing just that. I will always be immensely grateful to him for that support!
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS, AND IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS?
Yes, this is my first time owning my own business. Previously I was working in marketing. I quit my marketing 9-5 right before having my youngest daughter who is now five.
WHAT SPECIFIC ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Do it! Don’t let anything stop you. You have to be prepared to push through a lot of ups and downs. You WILL be discouraged more times than you count. You will question yourself and you will get overwhelmed by the endless to-do lists. If it was easy, everyone would do it. It’s not easy but it is so worth it. View every experience as an opportunity for learning regardless of whether it is positive or negative. I have learned the most from some of the hardest/most negative experiences I’ve had in my business.
More specific advice geared towards what I do….don’t skip the planning and branding of your business. I see this SO much. Branding is the foundation you lay for success in your marketing efforts. And by branding, I don’t just mean having a logo. Sit down and write about who your target customer is, what their needs and wants are, what you have to offer them and why they should purchase. Decide what your brand’s personality is and be sure to consistently show that on all platforms.
MY GREATEST OBSTACLE AND HOW DID YOU DEALT WITH IT:
A lot of challenges come and go within my business and personal life. Money stresses, difficult clients, etc. But the one challenge that is consistent is maintaining a positive mindset. This is something that is super important in both areas of my life (business and personal) and often I find if I’m struggling to have a positive mindset in one area than I will struggle in the other. It’s not something you can instantly overcome. It’s about perseverance and pushing through when you aren’t feeling successful or enthused.
I think what makes having a positive mindset particularly challenging for business owners is that we don’t get a lot of positive feedback from anyone. In a typical work environment, you get feedback from supervisors, bosses, etc. But as a business owner, you are really the only source of that feedback. There are two main ways I keep a positive mindset. I’ve found that having a few good friends/loved ones to provide support has been very helpful. Not everyone wants to hear about my business all the time which is completely understandable. But my husband and my closest friend from childhood are always willing to talk things through with me and encourage me when I’m feeling discouraged. They are the voices I need to hear when I am questioning myself or discouraged.
Another way I deal with mindset struggles is to listen/read a lot of other entrepreneurial experiences through podcasts or books. Even though they may not be in exactly the same situation as mine, there are usually similarities that make me realize I am not the only person struggling. They often have great advice as well that helps propel me forward even when I’m feeling weighed down or discouraged.
MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:
Although my business is a very proud accomplishment in my life, I would have to say my family is my proudest accomplishment. When my husband and I got married, we both brought young children from past relationships into our marriage. We later had a daughter together, so we have done a lot of blending within our family. It is incredibly challenging in ways I never could have predicted. We are seven years in and while our family is far from perfect, we all love and support each other which makes me incredibly happy and proud. I truly believe that families are made not through birth or legal documents, but in the heart. Seeing it actually play out in my life is incredibly inspiring and rewarding!
HOW I BLEND LIFE AND WORK TO CREATE THE LIFE I WANT:
I have to be very intentional about my work-life balance. I’m a mom and I handle most of my children’s day-to-day activities, so I really have to block out portions of my day that are dedicated to getting work done and then other periods dedicated to family.
I find that waking up early in the morning and taking a few hours to focus on my own marketing and administrative aspects of my business really help to keep me on track. Having the flexibility to control my hours, so I can also be present for my children is a huge benefit to having my own business.
I AM INSPIRED BY:
Other female entrepreneurs like Amy Porterfield (who has a fabulous podcast by the way) and a lot of female entrepreneurs I have met through a local women’s network that meets monthly. There aren’t a lot of women who own businesses within my own family, so I’ve really had to expand and network to find sources of inspiration and support.
WHY I CHOSE THIS CAREER:
I have a knack for design and had experience with marketing so web design seemed like a perfect fusion of the two. I wanted to create better opportunities for my family and have the flexibility to be home with my children while running my business. That would be why I chose it initially. Over the years my reasons for continuing in this career have actually evolved into something more than when I started. Now that I’ve had my own experience of building a business I know how much it takes and how overwhelming it can be. I also know how rewarding it is. I continue to do this day in and out because seeing other women empowered to go through the same process makes me so happy.
HOW I PREPARE FOR SUCCESS:
Plan. Plan. Plan. Did I say plan? The only way I can accomplish all the things that I need to for success is if I make a plan and stick to it. I use the Passion Planner and set goals/deadlines at the beginning of each week. Additionally, I prepare for success by believing in myself and my business. I know I have something important to offer and that keeps me working hard to grow my business.
DID YOU WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN? WAS IT AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR YOU?
I didn’t write a business plan although I probably should’ve. My business has very much evolved over the years as I’ve been listening to my target audience and trying to meet their needs by creating services/products for them. Any good business should adapt based on the demand that exists. That being said, a business plan is a great place to start and something to revisit periodically as your business evolves.
ARE THERE SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES, DISADVANTAGES TO BEING A WOMEN BUSINESS OWNER?
I think there are both advantages and disadvantages of being a female business owner. People generally don’t take me as seriously in my business. They think it’s a fun little side project I’m doing especially because I am also a mom. They definitely underestimate me. Advantages are that I have found a lot of support from other female business owners. The community is very tight-knit and empowering. I would encourage any female starting a business to reach out to communities locally and online for support because it is very important!
MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL IS…
Currently, probably Trello. It’s incredibly user-friendly and has helped me organize many aspects of my business. Anytime I get an email or call with something to do I immediately add it to my board. It’s also a great place to put all the content I receive from clients for their websites. There can be quite a lot from images to text to video so it’s a great way to avoid wasting time sifting through emails later on when I’m designing websites.
It’s a lifesaver for organization!
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN IS…
I know this sounds a little lame but the importance of being grateful. It’s not some amazing, earth-shattering concept. It’s a simple and well-known concept because it is incredibly impactful. Gratitude has really helped shift my attitude at times when I’ve felt close to quitting. If I find myself spiralling into negative thinking or listing off all the things I wish were different, I try to check myself, take a breath, and intentionally think through everything I’m grateful for. If I can do this, I almost always come out of it feeling like things will be okay. This simple shift in thinking gets me back on target for whatever I’m working on and in general, makes me a happier person!