Hello Lovelies! I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving, and if you decided to go black friday shopping, I hope you survived (ya’ll are crazy, just saying). I had a nice time at my parents house for thanksgiving, and Emma said, “This is the best thanksgiving ever!” So in my book, it was a good one! Plus I did a little bit of online shopping at home, feels good to get some Christmas shopping done.
My last post I shared with you my story of starting my Lovely You business and how I faced my fears. Today, I wanted to continue along the same topic by introducing to you some other women entrepreneurs who I have had the pleasure of getting to know. I met Brittany when we were bridesmaids in a friend’s wedding. I got to know Amy when my sister married her brother. Anja and I went to Bible school together in Oregon. Jennifer, I met by stumbling across her Instagram and found another blogger friend.
These women are definitely #bossbabes (ok sorry to be cheesy) and not just because they are all beautiful, ambitious women, but because their heart for the Lord and desire to serve others permeates in all they do. As you read a little bit about them and how they started their own businesses, I think you will be inspired and encouraged to pursue your dreams.
So grab a cup of coffee, put up your feet, and enjoy reading.
Brittany is the owner of Inner Core Fitness and Health, LLC, where she provides online personal training, nutrition, and wellness support. Her passion for what she does came from challenging herself though her own personal fitness adventures. Brittany believes, “Your body is capable of far more then your mind can comprehend. “
What inspired you to start your business?
Brittany: While going through my own struggles with weight and depression I used fitness and sound nutrition to pull me out of the darkest place I’d ever been. I reached my goals and transformed my life from the inside out. I knew that there were others out there that could relate to me and what I went through. I hired an online personal trainer to train me to compete in a fitness competition. The dedication and overall process changed how I saw myself and the world around me. That approach to personal training inspired me to go out on my own and do the same for others. I want the world to experience what I experienced through fitness and living a healthy lifestyle. Training others online I get to do just that, work with individuals all over the world.
How do you invite God into what you do as a personal trainer?
Brittany: I named my business Inner Core Fitness and Health because I believe it starts from deep inside of you, your inner core, your heart. Making God the center of your life has the potential to change the outcome of your life. Without strength from God, I would not be able to do what I do or have the success I have in my own fitness journey. I challenge my clients to dig deep and ask themselves why? Why are you making the decision to live a healthier life style? Your mind is very powerful and can be filled up with worldly inspiration that will only produce temporary results. But when you search your heart for honest truth, God will reveal things to you that can be life changing. Without God as my foundation, none of what I do is worth anything.
What would you say to someone wanting to start a business or a new endeavor but is afraid of failure?
Brittany: Failure is the foundation of growth! Ive learned the most about myself and the business through failures and set backs. Failure stretches you beyond what you think you are capable of. Embrace it, don’t be afraid of it because it will happen and you will grow from it.
Amy is the owner of Amy Tanton Designs, a full service wedding planning team. They take care of all the planning, styling, logistics, flowers, and set-up/tear-down for a wedding. Her business is considered to be multiple vendors under one roof and the best investment a bride and groom could choose.
What Inspired you to start your business?
Amy: I have always had a passion for making things look beautiful. After my own wedding and my experience in high-end residential interior design, I knew that opening a wedding planning business was in my future. I believe that every significant moment in life deserves to look beautiful. Whether that be a grand event or a small holiday meal, life is meant to be celebrated!
Who is your biggest supporter of your business?
Amy: My biggest supporter has definitely been my husband. He continues to push and encourage me to pursue my dreams. Even on the darkest of days he encourages me to push forward. Some days I feel like quitting… but he never lets me! I love him and I definitely would not be where I am today without his encouragement and guidance.
How has your business changed since it started?
Amy: Honestly, my business has changed drastically since I opened in 2013. I have added services that I never thought that I could… like floral design! It has been a fun journey that has definitely just begun. I look forward to the changes in the near future!
Anja is the owner of the etsy shop Peony And Thyme, selling knitted hats and scarfs that she has designed and created herself. Anja says, “I’ve always loved anything creative, but there’s something so special about seeing something beautiful coming to shape in front of your eyes one stitch at a time.”
What inspired you to start your business?
Anja: I learned how to knit at around twelve years old and have loved it ever since. My little sister and I would go every Tuesday afternoon to the home of the sweetest, elderly British lady, and we’d sit around her fireplace and have knitting lessons. It was such a great experience! Now fast forward to me at almost thirty-one years old. I’d been watching these beautiful makers on Instagram (my favorite social media platform) creating and selling these gorgeous pieces of knitwear. It looked so beautiful-crafting things that were my hobby/passion and actually getting paid for it! I wanted so much to do something like that, but felt like my skills weren’t up to their level. And that leads right into the next question.
What has been your greatest obstacle in beginning your business?
Anja: I think I’d say my greatest obstacle has been fear and self-doubt that comes from comparison. I was so nervous that people wouldn’t think my products or my photos were good enough. It feels vulnerable to put your creativity out there for everyone to look at. This kept me from starting for a while. But after some talks with the Lord, I realized that if my goal was to just have people approve of the work I was doing, I’d never be satisfied or even feel free to just be creative. I made an agreement with myself that each time I put something out into the world for other people to see, I’d ask myself if I was pleased with it. If I was proud of the work I’d done, then that was what I would consider a success, and if other people liked it, then that would just be icing on the cake-but not the rudder controlling my feelings about it. I’ve slowly gained confidence as I’ve found my style and developed my products, and it’s been such a wonderful, exciting adventure so far!
What do you think are some qualities necessary to start a business?
Anja: If I were to try and pinpoint a few qualities that I think are important in trying to turn a small hobby into a (still very) small business (and I say that almost ironically, because I am still very much in the beginning stage of this myself!) I’d say these:
Stick-to-it-iveness: Things probably won’t start with a bang. Just keep creating. Keep networking. Keep working on better and better product/ branding photos for social media/website, etc. It may take a while, but be encouraged by the little things and have fun!
Define your goals clearly: If your goal is just vaguely “to be successful”, then you’re going to feel frustrated and like you’re not really getting anywhere. If your goal is to have other people notice and applaud you, then you are giving them way too much power over your life and feelings! (This is something that I have to remind myself of all the time) Have some introspective talks with the Lord about what you really want to accomplish. Then set manageable, measurable goals for yourself.
Be generous and make friends: none of us start off with a zillion followers. Encourage other people who are also working hard. Instead of just trying to build a customer base of people you hope will buy your product, build a community of friends and support each other. There are so many wonderful people out there, and I’ve made amazing friends from all over the world that I never would have had the chance to meet before!
Jennifer is a blogger sharing about her faith and lifestyle, as well as an etsy shop owner, selling printables for the home. She also has a full-time job as a graphic designer at a small creative agency.
How did you know that this was what you wanted to do?
Jennifer: It’s sort of funny how I got to be where I am today – it really was the Lord’s plan because there’s no other way of explaining it. After three years in college pursuing a degree in Journalism – I realized I had no desire to be a reporter or journalist of any kind. Sure, I loved to write, but I wanted to write on my own terms and not anyone else’s.
Being that I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, instead of trying to switch majors, I finished off my degree in December 2011 and started the job hunt (and I also started my blog around that time). In April 2012, after a disappointing rejection letter from what I thought could be a “dream job,” I found myself more determined than ever to get a job. That very day, I am sure I applied for nearly 50 jobs.
Just a week later, I finally got a call. Apparently, in my mad-dash to find a job, I had applied at a local real estate company for a job in marketing. I interviewed, I was offered the job and I accepted. Over the course of 3.5 years there, I was given the opportunity to learn graphic design. Needless to say, I quickly fell in love with design! My passion for it grew and grew, and it hasn’t stopped since.
Today, I am able to continue pursuing that passion in many different ways. I truly am blessed. I work full-time doing graphic design for a creative agency, I write about my faith and lifestyle on my blog, and I have an Etsy shop where I sell printable art for the home. I get to do both design and writing every single day!
How have you had to deal with criticism or setbacks and how did you handle them?
Jennifer: Being a designer can be really fun, but it is also challenging at times. Every client is different – everyone has different tastes and different expectations. There have been times when I have designed something and the client came back and said they didn’t like any of it – that they wanted something entirely different – and I had to start over from scratch. It can certainly be frustrating, but it’s a really good learning experience and it makes me a better designer. It’s also a lesson in humility because I don’t always know what’s best, and I’m certainly not the best designer that ever lived! I am always, always growing.
How do you invite God into what you do?
Jennifer: God is with me every single day and His name is written all over my story. Whether I am at work or at home, whether I am writing or designing, whether I am interacting with my husband or out with a friend, I constantly have to surrender the pen of my life’s story to the Lord and trust Him with every detail.