biz ladiesLife & Business

Biz Ladies Profile: Bri Emery of DesignLoveFest & Blogshop

by Stephanie

Biz Ladies Profile, Bri Emery Photo by Angela Kohler

Today’s Biz Ladies Profile comes to us from Bri Emery of designlovefest and blogshop. (You can also check out her What’s in Your Toolbox feature.) Bri is a talented graphic designer turned full-time blogger and Photoshop educator. She now travels the globe teaching bloggers and creative business owners how to harness the power of Photoshop to help improve their websites and blogs, all while updating her fantasy-like lifestyle blog with fun DIY projects, style posts and much more. Thank you, Bri, for sharing your business success story with us! — Stephanie

Read the full profile after the jump . . .

Photos by Angela Kohler

Why did you decide to start your own business?

I had been doing freelance design while working a full-time job for years, and it finally got to a point where I just couldn’t do both anymore. I remember feeling like I was missing something BIG. I needed time to think, time to grow, time to explore. Quitting my job put some major pressure on me, and I had no choice but to get it together. Although my mom told me I’m always welcome back home.

When you first decided to start your own business, how did you define what your business would be?

I don’t think I really had a plan. I have always just done what has felt natural to me. For example, I only want to blog things I love, and I only want to tweet things I would actually say; for me that’s the only way to do it. If I can feel in my gut anything unnatural, it’s not happening. I wanted my business to be relatable and approachable and different. I wanted designlovefest to inspire, and I wanted blogshop to empower.

Biz Ladies Profile, Bri Emery What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting out?

BE SURE. Confidence says so much. If you’re not sure, no one else will be sure about you.

What was the most difficult part of starting your business?

For me, deciding to go freelance was the easy part. I knew I had the drive, the work ethic, the savings. But I learned very quickly that the creative part of the business is actually such a small portion. In the beginning everything felt like such a guessing game. Am I doing my taxes right? Do I need a business license? Do I really have to keep all of my receipts? I guess I need a frequent flyer number? Where do I file all my invoices? Can I write this off? How much do I charge for my services? Can I afford an employee? All trial and error on things I had little experience with. The left side of my brain was put to WORK more than ever this past two years.

Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned in running a business?

I think I have learned the most about my interactions with other people. There are so many times I find myself working with someone who doesn’t communicate the way that I do, and it was a lesson to not take things personally . . . it’s just business. I know this seems like a general life rule, but this definitely comes up the most when you are working on something you are passionate and opinionated about. I really had to learn to take a step back and not be oversensitive . . . I finally had to grow some thick skin (which sure doesn’t happen overnight).

Biz Ladies Profile, Bri Emery Can you name a moment of failure in your business experiences?

The list goes on and on here. I have the tendency to go into MAJOR overachiever mode and think that the possibilities are endless. This usually means I don’t think of the consequences that can cause. After a non-stop travel schedule, running two businesses and missing out on any sort of social life (which I take full responsibility for), I found myself feeling exhausted, irritated and uninspired. Those couple weeks taught me a lot about my boundaries, my capacity and being more realistic. As artists, we dream big . . . but it doesn’t have to happen overnight.

Can you name your greatest success in your business experiences?

I tried to talk myself into starting blogshop for months. I was afraid. I had never taught before, and although I felt confident in what I knew about Photoshop and blogging, I definitely had moments of worry, like what if everyone sits down, and I realize I am in WAY over my head? I asked my friend Angela to teach the class with me, and it was the boost I needed to finally make it happen. She came to my office late one night, and we decided we would write down an outline of the class, put the word out there and figure out the fine details later (scary!). That night I posted about the class, and all 25 seats were filled by the next day. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled more. I overcame the fear, and it totally paid off. Even after teaching 50 classes, I will never forget that moment.

Biz Ladies Profile, Bri Emery In your opinion, what are the top three things someone should consider before starting their own business?

1. Are you a multitasker? Running your own business usually means that you have to juggle 127 things at a time.

2. Do you know your own value, and are you prepared to assert that to others?

3. Are you prepared to hustle and forfeit your social life for quite a while? Just kidding . . . kind of.

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  • Bri is great! Her blog is an inspiration to all of us… who… hm… still trying to find the courage to take a leap and start our buisness “properly”! :-)

  • before, and although I felt confident in what I knew about Photoshop and blogging, I definitely had moments of worry, like what if everyone sits down, and I realize I am in WAY over my head? I asked my friend Angela to teach the class with me, and it was

  • Her blog is so great. I just visited for the first time because of this post. Also – I love the dress she’s wearing in the first picture – any idea where that’s from?

  • Love Bri and love to see her on here featured! It is so scary to think about one day making the jump – but it is people like Bri that continue to be hugely inspirational for those of us with those sky-is-the-limit goals.

  • Wise words- I think that being confident when speaking about my business is one of my weaker points and I appreciate Bri’s advice to “be sure”.

  • Great interview with the lovely and always inspiring Bri. I love following her blog and love to see that her choices to grow her own business have led her to happiness.

  • I needed to hear the bit about growing thicker skin when working with people that communicate differently than you do. It’s so easy to get insecure when someone doesn’t like what you are proud of! So it’s a nice reminder to hear that even the best of the best deal with that at times.

  • Bri is so inspiring! I absolutely love her. She really encourages me to keep at my blog and my creative life. Thanks for featuring her!

  • Took her class in NY last year and it was a revelation. I learned a ton, it was relatable (especially for someone who had zero photoshop skills) and I use the lessons I learned every day. She’s doing it right. I can’t wait to take a video class!

  • Awesome interview. Great information and inspiration for someone like myself who is starting out in this very large and extremely talented field of Designers and Bloggers. I’m taking Bri and Angela’s BlogShop class next week. I’m so excited. They inspire me. They make me see that it’s so possible and that I WILL get there. Just gotta keep on workin’. Stay focused and believe. Thanks for sharing this post Design Sponge!!!

  • bri has been such a huge inspiration to me personally. i will be taking the leap and starting my freelance career in just a few months! thanks bri!

  • Really needed this inspiration. Been toying with the blog for months now and all signs are screaming “LEAP”. Just another little shove in the right direction.

  • I’ve been following Bri’s blog designlovefest for ages and it’s one of my top faves! I am always setting her picture as my wallpaper on my phone to inspire me! (creepy?) Love this lady and her wicked blogging skills. I’m quitting architect’s job to go with my fiance to live in Bangkok in August and will be referring to her wisdom as I try to develop my own freelance work. Great to see Bri on Biz ladies.

  • The advice about confidence really hit home. It sounds so logical, yet I had never thought about quite like this: “If you’re not sure, no one else will be sure about you.”
    Bri is a huge inspiration, especially because she seems to enjoy life so much.

  • Thank you for the inspiration. I have all the same “starting a business” questions flowing through my mind everyday. I will Be Sure to Be confidant!

  • totally not the point of this profile, but oh my goodness that hair! my platinum blonde is currently shoulder-length, and Bri has the most aspirational hair i have EVER seen!

  • I love Bri! We love Bri! BRI FOR QUEEN OF THE WORLD :)! it would be fun, surely a lot of confetti and happiness for breakfast. I agree with what was said above, Bri is such an inspiration, she has just a good honest sparkling vibe, she is so authentic, I always make sure I’ve checked DESIGNLOVEFEST.

    And thank you so much for this: “BE SURE. Confidence says so much. If you’re not sure, no one else will be sure about you.”

  • You are so interesting! I don’t suppose I’ve read through a single thing like that before.

    So wonderful to find someone with a few genuine thoughts on this topic.
    Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is
    one thing that is required on the web, someone with a bit
    of originality!

  • Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this,
    like you wrote the e-book in it or something. I feel that you just can
    do with a few % to force the message home a bit, however instead of that, that is great blog. A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.

  • You are so absolutely right in everything you mention! I started my own business 2 years ago and yes creativity is only the small part of it. Mistakes happen but hey we learn from them, and as for the working hours, there is nothing such as 9-5. It is evenings, weekends and all the time. No I am not a workaholic, we are just laying down foundations right?

  • Fantastic blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers?

    I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost
    on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like
    Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many
    choices out there that I’m totally confused .. Any tips? Thanks!

  • I’m attending Blogshop NYC in just a few days and am counting down the moments to learn more from the talented and lovely Bri! Her notes here are a phenomenal reminder for those who run their own business or are starting their own…thanks!

  • This interview was really great – direct and honest and not sugar coated about what taking the freelance leap is like! Much appreciated. Looks like I’m in the same boat as several posters here, still just testing the waters with my toes. I especially need to work on my hustle! Thanks!

  • I seriously LOVE Bri and Design Love Fest. I especially appreciate her go get ’em build your wings on the way down kind of attitude she has. Only women with on a mission and with a vision can jot down an outline spread the word about their brilliant beautiful idea and worry about the details later. WOWSAH so inspiring!