As I take a few moments to review the many visions, logos, and site designs we have had over the past few years, I can’t help but giggle a bit. It’s been a crazy journey; one that began in Denver, Colorado as a daydream and divine conversation in a park one sunny afternoon with my husband. I’ll never forget what a simple dream it was. I wanted to encourage women through their engagement season and create beautiful weddings that guests enjoyed. I wanted the creative freedom to run my own business and flexibility to make my own hours as a future mom. I never imagined what was ahead for this small business. I never dreamed that I’d have several full-time planners on my team in several cities, or that I’d be able to help other women experience the same joy of having a creative career they love, while allowing them to focus on their families.
It’s been a wild ride, filled with highs and lows, often feeling defeated or on top of the world all in the same day. It’s been a constant push of letting go before I was comfortable with it. And, a lot of mistakes and hard lessons along the way, all of which have shaped me into the business owner I am today. It’s with these experiences that I launch my book, Creative Business Basics, for those seeking the same adventure, but with a proven launch process and marketing method. It’s filled with the questions and guidance I wish I had access to when I started this journey. It’s exactly what I’d share with someone starting their own creative business over a cup of coffee.
A bit about my journey–After about a year of planning in Denver, my husband and I moved back south to Atlanta. When I moved back, I was faced with such an identity crisis. Who was I in this big, bustling city? I was surrounded by so many talented event industry professionals and creatives. What did I have to give? What made me unique, noteworthy, and hirable? How would I be found by prospective clients?
It was around this time that I met Odalys of Odalys Mendez Photography. She is a super talented film photographer who over a cup of coffee, inspired me to get back to the basics of beautiful design through the use of a pure form of artistic expression. It didn’t take me long to realize the rendering and sketching skills I had developed in interior design school at the University of Georgia, along with my penchant for fabrics, lighting, and fabulous furnishings, needed to be my calling card. What I didn’t expect was how it would reignite my passion for incredible design and bring new life into my somewhat stagnant and draining business.
I think the biggest mistake most entrepreneurs make is looking around too much. In the age of such a social media frenzy, where access to everyone else’s successes, portfolios, and bios are so easily attained, it can be easy to find yourself spending hours pouring over the competition’s website, Facebook page, and Instagram feed. Trying to figure out what makes them successful is not going to necessarily make you successful. A vision based on what worked for someone else will never be sustainable for you.
I really encourage fellow entrepreneurs to take a step back from the computer and asses what makes them unique in their industry and move forward from there! I am forever grateful for Odalys’ mentorship, friendship, and that simple cup of coffee where I realized that it was time to stop looking around and start looking inward. Odalys continues to give me invaluable direction and inspiration in both my designs and career. I’m so happy to say that she has also become my go-to recommendation for the loveliest of clients. She is a cheerleader for my business and mentor in a hectic industry, where finding someone who can provide perspective on your identity and brand is so very important.
In my journey, I am so very thankful for ladies who saw me better than I saw myself. I am forever grateful for the vision, inspiration, and encouragement they gave me. If there is one piece of advice I can give to women looking to start their own creative business to help support their family, it would be to find other industry professionals that they can glean encouragement and perspective from on this journey. I hope and pray that by sharing my journey and best practices in my new book, Creative Business Basics, that I will be able to inspire and guide new creative professionals as they navigate the road ahead.