I was recently chatting with someone who went through my Brand Design Love Academy course and she (gently) challenged me to talk more about me and my story.
This isn’t always the easiest thing for me as someone who is a little more introverted. But, she was absolutely right to push me on it because as humans, we want to connect with other humans, and that means being more vulnerable and open! I know when someone shares something personal with me, I feel an instant connection with them. That’s so important.
It’s Not All Sunshine and Rainbows
First off, let me just say that the story about how I ended up running a profitable design business is a pretty humbling one. Still, I know it’s important to share with you because I think there’s too many stories from entrepreneurs out there that paint the path to success as a fairy tale.
They’re leaving out all of the growing pains and the hard lessons and really only talking about their successes. This isn’t helpful for other people who are a little bit further behind them on the path. It sets them up for disappointment when their story doesn’t end up going the same way.
Starting a business, no matter what, comes with ups and downs. Many ups and downs.
So, needless to say, my story is NOT a fairy tale. It wasn’t always easy but you know what? That’s okay. It has led to some really great things and I have grown so much as a person and a designer since I started out all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
The Phone Call That Changed Everything
The story of my life as an entrepreneur all started with a phone call telling me that I was being laid off from my design agency job. This kind of call is crushing for anyone, but it felt especially crushing because it was the second time I had been laid off in two years.
Talk about a humbling moment. I’m not going to lie: this phone call really made me doubt myself and my skills. Who gets laid off twice? Maybe I just wasn’t good enough. Not to mention, I was feeling so much panic after losing what felt like a stable career while living through a global pandemic and everything felt uncertain. Not a great time, to say the least.
I had to figure out what to do, for myself and my family. I could jump back into a full-time role or I could finally decide to dive into the deep end of my dream to have my own design business. Both options seemed scary at this point. Was there really such a thing as a stable job? Could I really make it on my own? Both paths filled me with doubt, to be honest.
It was hard to ignore the little voice in the back of my head telling me to share everything I have learned about brand design. My dad was a teacher, and after he passed away in the fall of 2020, several of his students shared how he had touched their lives. I was so inspired by his legacy and impact and I felt a renewed sense of urgency about following in his path.
So, I did it, I went full force with my business. Don’t get me wrong: I was terrified. But I have zero regrets about my decision. Of course, there are days where I feel overwhelmed. In fact, when I launched my course early this year, I had a lot of “fraudy feelings” that made me doubt practically everything (you can read about that here).
But even with all that, I am SO glad I chose this option rather than going back to a full-time job at another agency. I feel grateful that my future is in my hands and no one else’s. And if you’ve been thinking about starting a business, let me just say: it’s worth it.
It’s hard for me sometimes to get super personal like this, but I believe it is SO important to connect with people, even if it’s “just” online. So, I would love to get to know more about you! Come follow me on Instagram and introduce yourself to me!
Karla is an award-winning designer, branding expert and mentor. She has designed for brands including BRIT+CO, Discovery, HGTV, Food Network, Facebook, and more.