In early February, I found out that I was selected by Graphic Design USA magazine as one of the “People to Watch in 2023.” I posted about it over on my Instagram page, which I’ll be honest, felt a little uncomfortable because I don’t want it to ever sound like I’m bragging.
But, part of being an entrepreneur is talking about yourself and your achievements because if you don’t do it, no one will! It doesn’t come easy, but it’s something I’m working on. 💞
My journey to full-time designer hasn’t been a straight line and I’ve had many moments of doubt. So, it feels surreal that a legitimate publication would choose me as one of their people to watch!
I know I’ve talked about this elsewhere, maybe on this blog, but moments like this help me feel more validated in my career choices. My mom and my dad were both engineers – two very analytical people who always seemed so sure of themselves and their purpose in life.
Then you had my brother who was always on the honor roll in school and my sister, who is also super smart and well, I felt a little bit like the odd one out. It wasn’t until I discovered the world of graphic design that I started to feel like I knew what I was good at.
It’s tough being a left-brained person in a family full of right-brainers! For a while, my parents didn’t even understand how someone could make money doing graphic design. 😄
I know for a fact that I would never have made the leap to go full-time with my design business or become a mentor for people who want to learn design if it weren’t for my dad. Watching him teach students and make a difference in their lives was transformative. When he passed in 2020, I knew it was time to really get serious and push myself to go after these bigger goals I had.
I am somewhat risk-averse by nature, so it wasn’t a comfortable experience in the least. I remember the first few times I got in front of a camera – even just to do an Instagram Story on behalf of my business – my voice would shake and I would rush to get through it. But I knew that I wanted to be proud of myself and I knew I trusted in my skills as a designer and as a mentor.
And you know what? Pushing myself and going through those uncomfortable moments paid off. It led to so many new opportunities, projects, and clients. And it also led to this amazing feature!
I know it sounds like I’m giving an acceptance speech, but it kind of feels that way to me! 💗 I never thought I would be chosen for something like this, and it’s a real “pinch me” experience.
I’ve hit the limits of my comfort zone in talking about myself, but the whole reason I wanted to write this post is to thank you for supporting my business and my design work. It means EVERYTHING to me and it’s the main reason I was even able to be considered for something like this.
As a designer, I can love everything I create. But if other people aren’t loving it, I’m not going to get very far as a business owner. Your support, encouragement, engagement, referrals, and just general cheerleading means more than you know.
Are there ways you’re holding yourself back because you’re scared of putting yourself out there? I know it’s way easier to stay in your comfortable lane, but going off the paved path can bring you to some pretty beautiful places. I’m always here to chat if you want, and you know I’m going to be 100% real with you. 🙂
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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.