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.
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).
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.
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.