It seems like not that long ago I had some pretty wild ideas about what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. Just over a year ago I took a huge leap of faith when I decided that I would not be going back to work. I don't want to get all cheesy here and I'm not comparing to any other mothers, I'm only speaking for myself when I say that after I had miss Riley it was like all the stars aligned and it was my calling to be with her all the time. Some women have their children and cannot wait to get back into the work life out of the house which I can completely understand. That just wasn't me. I wanted to be home with her and that was that. I'm so grateful to have a spouse who saw this in my eyes and in my heart and allowed me to do just that, to be with her.
It was at this moment I realized that I had to do something. I had been running my Etsy shop for a little over two years, filling orders now and then, but mainly doing it as a hobby. It wasn't until last summer that I realized in order to be successful I had to work a whole lot harder. So like any modern day American, I got on my computer and started my research. I googled everything from "stay at home mother work" to "running a successful business from home", and so on. What did I find with every search? Branding. The importance of a strong brand. This was my "ah - ha" moment. In order to set myself apart from others, I had to invest in my name and in my brand. The pieces fell into place from there when I found my designer, Rachel at Intentionally Designed. This was not something I took lightly, as I would be making a serious investment for my business. I was essentially putting every penny I made into this project. It was a risk, but a worth while one at that.
While working with Rachel I began to do some serious soul searching. Who am I? What services and products do I offer? Who is my target market? What is working and what is not working? What do I make that actually makes me happy? This has taken so much time, and is still a work in progress as I grow and figure out which direction my business is going to go. I used to make the most random things and put them on my shop. It wasn't until I took a few different training courses that helped me define my brand, myself, and my goals. The first course I took was an Etsy Training course by Danielle at The Merriweather Council. I honestly cannot even begin to tell you how many emails and Facebook messages I get from people wanting to "learn about Etsy". Well folks, here is my secret. Check her out, it is worth every penny. When I get these inquiries I do my best to give a general overview of Etsy and how to open up a shop, etc. but like so many other small business owners, I didn't know anything and had to learn myself, and pay for some knowledge. My friend and fellow creative entrepreneur introduced me to Danielle (virtually, of course) and for that I will always be grateful!
The second course I took was trying to get a grasp on social media. The woman I found is Caitlin Bacher, You can check her out here! Caitlin's course is one I actually need to go through the material again. That is the beauty of these courses, you can always go back to refresh on different sections. Both of these women are just like me, trying to make it in this world as a creative entrepreneur, and they are kicking some serious ass.
Anyway, back to the purpose of this post. Deciding to stay home with Riley was not easy, but it's what my heart told me I needed to do, not only for her, but for myself. There were days I questioned everything and if I made the right decision. Looking back on those days now I realize that it was the BEST decision, ever. I struggled with the "stay at home" mom mentality thing for awhile, especially for those around me who didn't, and still don't quite "get" what I do. I am okay with that because someday they will understand and see that what I am doing is actually pretty dang cool. There is a generational gap for sure when it comes to technology, empowering women to work from home and be successful, and social media in general. Times are changing and the grind of a 9-5 job is becoming less and less desirable. I can tell you right now if I had to go back to what I was doing before, I would be in a very sad and dark place.
So as we are talking about following your heart, my heart has led me in so many directions in the past year. I'm slowly figuring out what is working, and what is not. I'm following my dream of being a photographer, my shop is busier than it's ever been and I'm opening up a new branch of Emma Rose Designs to offer branding services for clients. I a m s o f r e a k i n g e x c i t e d . This is something that I'm not taking lightly, trust me. I'm asking potential clients to put their faith in me to create brand elements that will help them grow their business. Have faith in the fact that I get how scary this entire branding/design adventure can be. I've gone through it twice now with both my businesses. Would I change the path I've taken with my investments to my businesses? Absolutely not. It was the best business decision I've ever made. That, and purchasing my Canon 5D Mark iii! :) I'm investing more time and money on training so I can be the absolute best designer I can possibly be in the software I own. I still have so much to learn as I did not attend school specifically for graphic design, but I'm beyond capable to keep learning and growing every day. The power of the internet is pretty incredible and all the resources available to learn from home. This journey is just getting started and I'm already confident in this venture.
What I'm trying to say is that it's okay to follow your heart and let it guide you along the way. Sometimes my heart has steered me in a direction that I figured out just wasn't working, while others, like wanting to get into graphic design, is already telling me that I'm making the right choice for my growing business. I'm not only booking clients, b u t i t m a k e s m e s o h a p p y. As a woman who works from home trying to build her own little empire, I cannot wait to be the person to help others, like me, reach their goals. I'm wrapping up some final touches to my website so once we are live and ready to go I will be sure to share all the new information and services I'll be offering as well as project availability. I will only be taking a select amount of clients per month to ensure they have my complete attention to their special project.
I have many goals and dreams left on my list and I'll keep working my hardest every day to make my dreams a reality. Follow your heart people, it's a pretty good time.