Member Spotlight: Lilly Garcia, Wild Olive Branding

 

Welcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today!

Today’s Spotlight is on Lilly Garcia, brand strategist and owner of Wild Olive Branding.

Tell us about yourself and your business – what do you do + who do you serve?

I’m a brand strategist and designer who helps heart-centered, conscious business owners get clear about their brand and communicate it visually so they can take bold steps toward their goals.

I believe that brand graphics should be more than just pretty, and so I deep-dive with each of my clients to figure out what makes their business tick and find ways to translate those abstract concepts into visuals that actually work.

Are there any things commonly accepted as truths in the business world that you flat out
disagree with?

Oh, man! Where to start?

I think the biggest myth I disagree with is that we all have to chase the same definition of success. The 6-figure launch and expensive bag + stilettos and fancy home aren’t what success looks like for everyone. And that’s okay.

You have permission to create your own version of success! No matter what anyone says.

What’s one thing people might not know just from reading your website and following you on social media?

That I’ve struggled for most of my life with being the weird kid and feeling misunderstood. I suppressed the parts of myself that I thought would offend or be misunderstood for a long time, and I’m just now starting to uncover that part of myself again.

I’ve been working on refining my own definition of success and including a more whole version of myself in that picture.

How has running a business changed you?

It has made me braver about so many things! About communicating openly — with clients, with colleagues, with collaborators. I’ve learned to ask for what I want and need in business, and that has seeped over into every other area of my life.

And I’ve gotten braver about owning my own stuff — my version of success, my values, my background, my priorities. I feel like I’ve learned so much more about who I am and how to be fearless about it.

What’s your one piece of advice for new solo business owners?

To get clear on what they’re about and what they want. To invest time finding their brand so that they can build their business intentionally.

There is so much advice out there — not to mention the endless tools and marketing options and systems. It can easily become overwhelming. But if you start from a place of clarity, the path is smoother and everything is just easier.

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

I recently launched the Brand Clarity Quiz to help new and seasoned business owners figure out how well they know their brand. It can help you see how much clarity you have right now and what your next step should be!

That’s a wrap on this Member Spotlight — thanks, Lilly, for sharing so much insight!

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Member Spotlight: Lauren Pawell, Bixa Media

Welcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today!

Today’s Spotlight is on Lauren Pawell, marketing strategist + owner of Bixa Media, where she helps entrepreneurs and businesses perform better digitally.

Tell us about yourself and your business – what do you do + who do you serve?

My name is Lauren Pawell, and I’m the founder and owner of Bixa Media, a digital marketing agency focused on helping entrepreneurs generate (and nurture) more leads through their websites.

Are there any things commonly accepted as truths in the business world that you flat out disagree with?

Quite frankly, I’m not sure that any “truths” are universal!

That being said, I don’t believe there is one perfect online channel or one perfect tool for every business. Be wary of someone who says “This is THE tool (or channel) that everyone should be using.” All businesses have different needs; the perfect solution for one business will be very different than the perfect solution for another.

What’s one thing people might not know just from reading your website and following you on social media?

My fiance is a pilot and the current nature of his job means we have a few moves in our future. We recently relocated (temporarily) to Denver and will likely be relocating a couple more times over the next five years. From a business standpoint, this means you’ve got to have services + products that move with you. Fortunately, I’ve got that covered.

Being my own boss makes our uncertain future significantly more certain…at least from an income standpoint and the fact that I don’t have to keep finding new jobs frequently. I can’t imagine telling a future employer that I didn’t know how long I could stick around. Talk about unemployable!

What’s your favorite social media platform and why?

While most may not consider this a social media platform, I love email. It’s the ultimate 1:1 form of communication and allows you to forge a deep and personal relationship with your audience members that just isn’t always possible on the various 1:many platforms.

If you could do just one piece of your business forever, what would it be?

I LOVE writing marketing emails. Coming up with compelling copy, seeing instant feedback from your audience…I find it very addicting. So much so, it’s one of my favorite things to teach other entrepreneurs how to do! Most think writing emails is difficult; I promise it’s much easier than you think it is.

If you had to describe yourself or your business in one word, what would it be?

Freedom.

Running my own business has given me a freedom that would not be possible otherwise.

I’ve been able to take significant time off to care for a sick family member, helped another family member create their own online business, been able to support my fiance’s career change, and travel the world….all while running Bixa Media.

More importantly, I’ve been able to help clients find their own entrepreneurial freedom. I believe that anyone who is willing to go out on their own and overcome all obstacles in order to do so deserves to take back their freedom, too.

What does community mean to you?

A like-minded group of people. In One Woman Shop’s case, it means women who are brave enough, and crazy enough, to go out on their own and pursue their version of entrepreneurial freedom.

What is the #1 lesson you’ve learned since being in business on your own?

Experiment and iterate.

When you’re creating something out of nothing, you have to get creative and experiment with things you’ve never done before.

And of course, not everything is a success right off the bat. But, with continued iteration and improvement, you can often turn so-so efforts into home runs.

What’s your one piece of advice for new solo business owners?

Want to go farther, faster? Hire help who’s accomplished what you want to, so you don’t waste time doing the “trial by fire” method.

Whether you want to implement Facebook Ads, build a lead-generating webinar funnel, require new contracts, or need to learn how to do bookkeeping…there are experts out there who can help you with all of that. And most of the time, they can teach you how to do it yourself, should you not want to outsource the process completely.

This approach will save you a ton of time and money long term, even if it requires some upfront investment.

How has running a business changed you?

Unlike my non-entrepreneurial friends, uncertainty no longer scares me. In fact, I’d say it fuels me! I like the challenge of creating something out of nothing…over and over and over again.

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

I’m currently teaching my audience how to build a site and create an audience from scratch, in a year-long, free experiment called the Transparent Marketing Project.

It’s a lot of fun (and also happens in my limited spare time), so it’s hyper-focused on marketing strategies that produce results.

Plus, you get to see when I try things that don’t work very well. If you’re new to the online marketing world, I highly recommend checking it out. I give away a ton of awesome freebies (think email scripts, website blueprints, etc.)

That’s a wrap on this Member Spotlight — thanks, Lauren, for sharing so much insight!

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Member Spotlight: Julienne DesJardins

Julienne DesJardinsWelcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today!

Today’s Spotlight is on Julienne DesJardins, a virtual assistant for entrepreneurs ready for major biz growth.

Tell us about yourself and your business – what do you do + who do you serve?

I offer digital marketing and virtual assistant services to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Most of my clients are women business owners who are passionate about what they do but need support. I usually spend my days doing email marketing and social media management.

What is the #1 lesson you’ve learned since being in business on your own?

I need to be the CEO I’d want to hire. In practice, that means that I need to investigate everything. I can’t wait for accountants or attorneys or business coaches to prompt me. I need to be clear on things like state and federal guidelines for businesses, and when taxes are due. At the end of the day, the responsibility lies with me. So I’ve focused on being really diligent in my business.

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

I’m often asked how to get started in business by aspiring virtual assistants, so I compiled all of my best tips into a brand new e-course! Launch Now is organized into eight lessons that share crucial small business info, like: how to price yourself; where to find clients; and what to do about taxes. (My favorite part was adding in audio recordings to each module where I share some biz lessons I’ve learned the hard way.)

And since I’m a lover of a good bargain, how about a discount?! Enter code ows30 to get 30% off the course!

What’s your favorite social media platform and why?

I’ve really fallen in love with Twitter, although I was not an early adopter, for sure. (Confession: I’ve created profiles twice that I deleted after only a few days!) I just love how accessible it makes me to other people. Plus, Twitter parties with other entrepreneurs are super fun!

Are there any things commonly accepted as truths in the business world that you flat out disagree with?

There are so many shoulds in business:

  • “You have to build your website on this platform.”
  • “You can’t make it without this tool.”
  • “Your launch will fail without this strategy.”


Those rules can become so exhausting. I’ve tried my best to build my business with a mix of best practices (not shoulds) and other strategies that feel true to me.

For instance, my website is built on Squarespace. Of course, a lot of people would say that you need to be on WordPress. I don’t have a problem with WordPress, but that should was stopping me from launching my business. I finally decided I was more interested in getting started than I was in waiting until I could afford all the “right” things – like the best web designer and hosting service. It was the right decision for me, for sure.

What does community mean to you?

Community is like-minded people with the same goal. I think having a sense of community and connection is crucial to feeling like you belong anywhere, and the business world is no exception. The connection I have with the other One Woman Shop ladies is so important to my business. This community, specifically, gives me a place to go for asking questions, sharing wins and busting through rough days. I definitely feel stronger with them beside me.

Thanks for taking the time to share with us, Julienne!

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Member Spotlight: Kerstin Auer

Member Spotlight Kerstin AuerWelcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today!

Today’s Spotlight is on Kerstin Auer, a freelancer writer, coach, and creator of the coach-yourself workbooks, tools for better.

Tell us about yourself and your business – what do you do + who do you serve?

My name is Kerstin Auer, I’m a freelance writer and coach, and I create coach-yourself workbooks called tools for better. I believe that being a life coach is not about telling others how to live their life, but rather providing the tools so they can make their life better.

The workbooks I create are for people who are willing to do the work to get to better — and it’s hard work! — and who want to opt into their best self.

What’s your favorite social media platform and why?

I love Instagram, because pictures tell a story — and storytelling is one of my favourite things. A close second is Twitter, because it provides a wealth of information and a chance to connect — and seems to be a lot less filled with trolls than Facebook.

If you had to describe yourself or your business in one word, what would it be?

Badass. No doubt about it! For me, badass means to live a life that’s true to yourself and your values, and to be “all in.”

What is the #1 lesson you’ve learned since being in business on your own?

It’s great to be able to access many different opinions and pieces of advice — but in the end, you have to be the biggest cheerleader for your business, and be comfortable with that. It does not matter if other people “get” it, but it really matters that you are wholeheartedly on board with your business.

What’s your one piece of advice for new solo business owners?

Be prepared and have a solid business plan. There are always unexpected expenses when starting up, and operating costs tend to add up, as well. It always costs more than you think! You might, for example, subscribe to an app that saves you time, or an awesome community like One Woman Shop, and while I think those expenses are essential to grow your business, they are often not budgeted for. Investing in yourself and your business starts on Day 1!

How has running a business changed you?

I have simultaneously become more and less willing to compromise: more willing to compromise on the things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things (and that may be caused by the fear of missing out), and a lot less willing to compromise on the things that matter, like my core values.

What is the #1 lesson you’ve learned since being in business on your own?

Cheesy as it may sound – I can do anything I put my mind to… if I want it badly enough! 😉

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

I recently opened my online shop, and I’m adding a new tools for better workbook each month. You can sign up to be notified when a new workbook is available, and receive a sweet freebie!

Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us, Kerstin!

solopreneur membership

One Woman Shop Member Spotlight: Joy Ycasiano-Dejos, The MommyProofing Coach

member spotlightWelcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today!

Today’s Spotlight is on Joy Ycasiano-Dejos, woman, wife, mom, friend, & the MommyProofing Coach.

Tell us about yourself and your business – what do you do + who do you serve?

My name is Coach Joy Dejos and I’m The MommyProofing Coach. I’m in the business of supporting mamas in kicking Mommy Guilt, Mommy Shame, and Mommy Judgment to the curb, so they can start saying YES to themselves more often, without feeling bad about it!

I serve driven, passionate, ambitious moms who may have strayed off the path because they are just so exhausted trying to balance the complexities of motherhood. They know they want to do more; they just need the support to get going!

Are there any things commonly accepted as truths in the business world that you flat out disagree with?

I flat out don’t accept that just because you’re passionate about your dreams, it will happen. The Law of Attraction is powerful, but success doesn’t materialize at the end of that sentence. You need to work hard, create structures, get stellar help, and put in the hours to make that vision into reality.

What’s one thing people might not know just from reading your website and following you on social media?

I’m a tropical island girl, hailing from the Philippines! 🙂 I love to travel; I love fashion; I love art!

Tell us a funny story about something related to your business.

Not so much a story, but the funny looks – I get them all the time when I say I’m the “MommyProofing Coach”… instant reaction is always: “Mommy what???” Yes ladies! Mamas need to proof themselves from the dangers of motherhood!

If you could do just one piece of your business forever, what would it be?

Definitely the actual coaching aspect! What many people don’t realize about solopreneurs is that we do so much “other” work – marketing, selling, branding, back-end tech stuff. I would love to just coach moms all day long without having to do all of the other stuff!

What does community mean to you?

Community means support, celebration, inspiration, motivation, challenge, openness, service. Community is FAMILY.

What is the #1 lesson you’ve learned since being in business on your own?

Cheesy as it may sound – I can do anything I put my mind to… if I want it badly enough! 😉

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

“I love my kids, but sometimes, I just want to escape… I catch myself thinking: what about me???” If you’ve had these thoughts once (or many times over!), it’s okay. It’s time we reconnect with YOU – because when you give YOU a chance, you allow yourself to be a happier woman and that means being a happier, better mom too! This September, I’m launching MommyChoosing: Saying Yes to Your Self and Your Life, a shared group coaching experience for Moms. I hope you’ll join!

Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us, Joy!

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One Woman Shop Member Spotlight: Brittany Stoess

Brittany Stoess

Welcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today!

Today’s Spotlight is on Brittany Stoess, graphic designer and store owner at Adventure & the Wild.

Tell us about yourself and your business – what do you do + who do you serve?

My name is Brittany Stoess. I run Adventure & the Wild, a graphic design and lettering service. My focus is on nonprofits, small businesses, and individuals who are taking risks and creating real change in the community around them. I offer several brand identity packages (logo, blog/website design, print materials, etc.) as well as custom work for individuals and special events. I also run a shop where I sell art prints of my designs!

What’s your favorite social media platform and why?

Instagram! My business is very visual, so Instagram is a perfect platform to showcase my work as well as my life, which has led me to several client opportunities. Plus, it makes me appreciate how insanely talented + creative people are! I am constantly inspired by the content I see in the Instagram community.

If you had to describe yourself or your business in one word, what would it be?

Adventurous. My business name is no accident 😉 Here’s the thing: I believe that everyone is living out their own adventure. Whether that is in business, a nonprofit, or a personal venture, we are all doing hard things. We’re taking risks, creating change, and exploring new territory. We’re all figuring this out as we go.

Adventure & the Wild is a design service, absolutely. That’s what I do. But more than that, I want it to be a place you can find encouragement and support for whatever adventure you’re on. I don’t want to just provide a one-time service; I want to develop a long-lasting relationship and work with you to create something incredible. You are doing amazing things; I’m here to provide the visuals to express that.

What is the #1 lesson you’ve learned since being in business on your own?

Doing the work takes time. I know that seems mind-numbingly obvious, but recognizing and accepting that has made all the difference for me. Design can be really, really tedious work. I tend to underestimate how long things will take to complete, so when what I assume will take 30 minutes ends up taking 2 hours, I start feeling very down on myself and overwhelmed, which in turn makes me want to shut down completely. When I finally realized that no, I’m not totally incompetent — that it’s normal to take this much time — it was like a breath of fresh air.

How has running a business changed you?

Starting a business is intimidating. It forces you to stretch yourself and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’ve learned to take a lot more risks. Pushing myself to go for it, even when I’m not feeling particularly brave, has made me much more confident. Instead of being overwhelmed by fear, I am now more likely to acknowledge the fear, and then keep pushing past it and doing the scary things anyway.

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

I recently revamped my brand identity packages, and am super excited about them! I love working with businesses/individuals to create a visual brand that accurately conveys their mission + who they are. I have several options + price points to choose from, so if your brand needs a little refreshing, let’s chat! Find out more info at adventureandthewild.com/services.

Also! I launched a print shop last month, and am offering OWS readers a 10% discount through the end of May! Use code OWS10 at checkout.

Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us, Brittany!

One Woman Shop Member Spotlight: Robin Reetz

One Woman Shop Member Robin ReetzWelcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today!

Today’s Spotlight is on Robin Reetz, digital journalist and copywriter at Second Floor Flat.
 

Tell us about yourself and your business – what do you do + who do you serve?

I’m Robin Reetz – a freelance writer, content manager, social media manager, copywriter – the list goes on! I’m a content gal with a background in magazines and women’s media, and I have a particular interest in indie designers and makers. I come from a fashion background and once owned a small jewelry business, so I love finding new designers and supporting them in any way possible.

Are there any things commonly accepted as truths in the business world that you flat out disagree with?

This isn’t really a truth that I’d like to debunk but instead something that I very strongly believe in, which is to be nice and to be fair. The best jobs and professional relationships I’ve had are ones that are friendly. While I’m definitely not advocating that we turn all of our business relationships into personal ones, I do believe that playing nice with colleagues, clients, and partners usually leads to positive, long-lasting relationships. There is a line and it’s important not to cross it, but in my experience, being as nice and civil as appropriate in the workplace can take you a long way.

What’s your favorite social media platform and why?

Instagram, always and forever. Aside from the fact that it’s just plain fun, I love how easy it is to be open and share visual pieces of your life on Instagram. I’ve made genuine friends from my Instagram community, which is something I couldn’t see happening as easily on other social platforms. The only issue is avoiding what I call Insta-envy and not letting your feed rule your life. Instagram can be completely habit forming in a very bad way.

If you could do just one piece of your business forever, what would it be?

This answer feels narcissistic but here it goes – if I could do one piece of my business forever it would be writing personal narrative pieces. Technically that’s more part of my brand building rather than my business, but over the past 6-7 months I’ve begun writing personal pieces on my blog and found it’s helped me tremendously, personally and professionally. Aside from helping me develop my writing style and find my voice and style, I’ve also learned to express myself in ways I hadn’t before and have built a community. If anyone wants to pay me to express my feelings on a regular basis, well, you know where to find me! (A few favorites of mine: The Move, The Good Girl Syndrome, Losing Your Cool.)

What’s your one piece of advice for new solo business owners?

If you aren’t extremely disciplined and motivated by the work that you’re doing, don’t go out on your own. Whether you’re starting out as a freelancer or starting your own business, without those key qualities the work just won’t happen at the level it needs to. Not everyone has these qualities, so it’s important to know yourself, your work habits, and the atmosphere you work in before your start on any type of solo project.

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

As I mentioned above I’m very proud of my blog, Second Floor Flat, which I started when I was an expat in London. I’m in the process of moving back to the States and am continuing to use the blog as a platform to express my experiences and draw attention to some of my favorite independent designers. Follow me there, and let me know what you think!

Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us, Robin!

One Woman Shop Member Spotlight: Sara Moss

One Woman Shop member Sara MossWelcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today! Today’s Spotlight is on Sara Moss, editor for solopreneurs.

Tell us about yourself and your business – what do you do + who do you serve?

I’m the sort of deep-thinking introvert who takes great pleasure in solitary contemplation and creation (this surprises people sometimes) but when I’m with like minds — bam! — let’s talk and collaborate, baby! It helps that I’m a ‘scanner’, have travelled quite a bit and love to learn so I’m generally comfortable conversing with anyone.

My work is driven by my love of language and attention to detail. I’m an editor for solopreneurs — helping passionate people tell powerful stories in business. I give e-books, e-courses and email opt-ins the lustre they need to impress and build credibility with each business owner’s ideal clients.

I’ve been a professional writer for 15 years and editing is something I’ve always enjoyed. Good editing is invisible because it allows the writer to shine.

What’s one thing people might not know just from reading your website and following you on social media?

I can play one song on the piano and one on the flute. I learnt them both as a teenager. Can I play these instruments, per se? Nope. I daren’t mention these songs by name because my mum is likely to read this and I think she still has flashbacks!

If you could do just one piece of your business forever, what would it be?

At heart I’m a storyteller so I’d have to say crafting content. I adore the freedom of writing in my own style and using design elements in a way that engages people. It took me a long time to realise that’s why I’m deeply attached to my website; the making of it has been very deliberate — it’s my artwork (and has involved a crazy-steep learning curve!). It’s always thrilling when someone says, “I love your site.” In the same vein, creating e-books takes me to a sweet little pocket of paradise.

What does community mean to you?

The true reflection of a cohesive community, for me, is one where you are identifiable (no anonymity) and feel at home being you. There’s no pretence or façade and other community members will celebrate AND commiserate with you, whichever way your life is leaning at the time. It’s precisely why I sought out OWS, I knew there would be others who could relate to the beauty and the grind of being your own boss — being able to talk openly about both is important. While it can be rewarding, it ain’t all unicorns and rainbows.

What’s your one piece of advice for new solo business owners?

Following on from my comment about community — it’s important to find a supportive, knowledgeable entrepreneurial group where people are at a variety of stages in their business. You need the combination of beginners’ camaraderie and guidance from others a few steps ahead. Outside that group (which may take a while to find), be selective about who you ask for advice and be discriminating about which lot of unsolicited advice you’ll heed. Is the advisor doing (or have they previously done) what you’re seeking to emulate? Are you a similar personality type? There’s no magic formula or shortcut to actually putting in the work but there’s no shortage of people who want you to think otherwise.

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

Okay, if you’ve had ‘finish my e-book’ or ‘update my opt-in’ on your to-do list for ages, let’s get it spruced up and out into the world so you can impress your current and prospective clients. I’ve got your back. Check out my Work with Me page to see exactly how I can help. Overwhelm be gone! (Sign up to grab my free e-book, A Compass and a Quest: an adventurer’s guide to direction and focus while you’re there.)

Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us, Sara!

One Woman Shop Member Spotlight: Katie Radke

One Woman Shop member spotlight: Katie RadkeWelcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today! Today’s Spotlight is on graphic + web designer Katie Radke.

Tell us about yourself and your business – what do you do + who do you serve?

I am a graphic and website designer. I offer services to small business owners and creative entrepreneurs. Some of the services that I offer are logo design, business cards, brochures, postcards, stickers & labels, letterhead & envelopes, website design & development, blog makeovers, and so much more. I have just come out with some new website design packages and a branding package as well.

I started my business five years ago while working a full-time graphic design job. I continued to grow my business and then decided to get a new job closer to home that would allow me more time to work on my business. I worked at my corporate job during the day, came home and took care of my family, and then worked on my business at night. The summer of 2013 I asked my boss if I could cut my hours to part-time to accommodate my growing business and surprisingly she said yes! Last February I was able to go full-time at my own business and I got a storefront downtown. Dream. Come. True.

What is your favorite social media platform and why?

My favorite social media platform is Instagram because as an artist, I am a very visual person. I love to see beautiful artwork pop up in my feed and I have connected with so many awesome artists & designers there. I am also a mixed media artist and I like ATC (artist trading card) swaps. I have found some great swap partners on Instagram. I like to post photos of projects that I am working on and of course, I don’t forget the hashtag. #webdesign #vinyldecals #weddinginvitations

If you had to describe yourself or your business in one word, what would it be?

Determined. Because this is what I have wanted for so long. I have dreamed of being a graphic designer ever since I was in high school. I went to college for this. I worked in the field of graphic design and worked my way up from cutting film in pre-press to designing ads, to designing magazine covers and layouts, to owning my very own business. I have learned so much along the way and I will continue to stay determined and learn as years go by.

What does community mean to you?

In a professional sense, community means connecting with a group of like-minded people who share your interests and understand what it is that you are working towards because they are working towards the same thing. They are there to ask advice, cheer each other on, support and encourage and so much more. I have found a great community of freelancers online and they have been so amazing!

What is the #1 lesson you’ve learned since being in business on your own?

I have learned that there will be bumps along the road, but that is absolutely normal. What matters is how you handle it. Just keep moving forward and do not give up. Always remember that there will be better days.

How has running a business changed you?

Running a business has made me more confident. Believe it or not, years ago I was very shy. I am not shy anymore and I have learned that if you want to succeed, you have to go out there and get it. I am very proud of how far I have come and continue to dream big for the future.

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

I have just put together some brand new website design packages and I have a freebie that is available once you sign up for my newsletter. The freebie is my top 5 SEO (search engine optimization) tips.

Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us, Katie!

One Woman Shop Member Spotlight: Kendra Barnes

One Woman Shop member spotlight - Kendra BarnesWelcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today! Today’s Spotlight is on CUTEnCRAFTY founder, Kendra Barnes.

Hi there, Kendra! Tell us about yourself and your business.

Hi! My name is Kendra. I am a wife, daughter, avid thrifter, DIY project enthusiast, and self-proclaimed foodie. By day, I am an International Economist and in my spare time I run CUTEnCRAFTY, LLC.

My company specializes in wedding gifts for the groom, bride and bridal party. My main product is the “Cold Feet” label which is a cute gift that is usually delivered to the groom by the Maid of Honor on the morning of the wedding. It can really put a smile on a groom’s face – which is great to ease those pre-wedding jitters.

What led an International Economist to start a business that specializes in wedding socks? Though I realized during undergrad that I was not passionate about my career track, I continued my education and went on to earn my Master’s … because it seemed like the thing to do. I received a B.S. and M.S. in Agricultural Economics and started working full time for the government. Soon after, I met my husband and we got married two years later.

I made my first “Cold Feet” label ever for my husband for our wedding in April 2013. The morning of, I took my husband’s wedding socks and I made a label for them that read: “Just to make sure you don’t get Cold Feet. With love, from your bride”. I had the “Cold Feet” socks delivered to him by the Maid of Honor. It made for a great photo opportunity, put a smile on his face, AND ensured that he didn’t wear a pair of his holey socks to our wedding!

That fall, my husband was wrapped up in fantasy football three days per week. I started to get bored and wanted a hobby of my own. I had been encouraging my cousin to get on Etsy and sell her products and it hit me – now was the time to act on my craftiness and my desire to explore my entrepreneurial spirit! I spent an entire weekend getting my own Etsy shop up and running… and the rest is history! Since then I have sold over 3,500 pairs of “Cold Feet” socks and other items via Etsy and in three brick and mortar stores in D.C. and Pennsylvania.

I started this business on a whim, and instantly fell in love with entrepreneurship and the creativity it allows me to exercise (while making a little extra money!). I daydream about pursuing entrepreneurship full time but can’t help but wonder if that is the responsible thing to do. Should I leave the stability of a government job to pursue a passion? For now, I am making it work doing both but it may not be sustainable for long, especially since my business is growing so rapidly. Do any of my fellow OWS members have this issue? If so, how are you handling it?

What’s your favorite social media platform and why?

Instagram! Most of the business resources that I have come across (including One Woman Shop) have been found through Instagram! I truly believe that it is one of the most powerful forms of social media and has an extremely far reach and broad influence.

What is the #1 lesson you’ve learned since being in business on your own?

Accept failure, embrace the lessons learned, but don’t get discouraged… growth awaits.

What’s your one piece of advice for new solo business owners?

Just do it… take a leap of faith. If I hadn’t stepped out on faith and pursued my dream, the question of “What if?” would have been worse than trying and failing.

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

For the past year I’ve only featured gifts for the groom and groomsmen, but I am happy to announce I’ve recently added items for brides and bridesmaids! These champagne labels are such a cute way to ask your BFFs to be bridesmaids, and this coffee mug is great for brides and brides-to-be! More new items to come so stay tuned! I am so happy that you took the time to read my story.

In fact, One Woman Shop ladies, I’m so grateful, I’d like to give you 10% off your order if you shop with me! Just use the code THANKYOU at checkout.

Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us, Kendra!