3 Things I Needed to Go From Wannabe to Successful Entrepreneur

3 Things I Needed to Go From Wannabe to Successful Entrepreneur

3 Things I Needed to Go From Wannabe to Successful Entrepreneur

I should be on a plane right now. Heading back to Pennsylvania, ready to resume my 8-to-5 on Monday.

Instead, I’m sipping tea at my lovely house sit in Oxford, waiting for my clothes to air dry (because dryers aren’t really thing in Europe), deciding what I want for dinner, and strategizing about how to grow my business.

Location independence was a dream of mine for so long, but I always had this fear in the back of my head that it wouldn’t happen. I was smart, but not special. Creative, but lazy. Great with ideas, but not ambitious in the slightest.

So I maxed out my two-week vacations with trips to Europe and NYC and Chicago, gradually started investing in better courses online from people who were living the life I wanted, and began hanging out in communities online with people who were starting businesses.

But I still had no clients, and it felt like I would never have a successful business. Then 3 things changed.

These are the 3 things that changed for me between “wishing” for location independence and it actually becoming a possibility!

1. I found a tribe. The Bucketlist Bombshells were all about having location independence, but not having to work for years and years to get to that point. Through their courses I rediscovered my love for design and learned the best way to start earning a steady income while traveling – an ongoing service-based business.

2. I found a niche. I was completely intrigued by the idea of being a Pinterest manager, but it seemed almost too good to be true. So I signed up for a course, and then a few others. We’re still bit of a newer thing, so Pinterest management often gets grouped with social media, even though it’s not very social. What I really loved about focusing on Pinterest was a) it used my design skills, b) I could do the work whenever I wanted due to scheduling aka complete time freedom, and c) it provided a tangible result for clients – more traffic to their websites.

3. I found a mentor/client. After a little success with Pinterest design, I knew I would need to have some ongoing management clients to bring in steady income. The problem was, while I knew so much about Pinterest from the courses I’d taken, I had no experience actually managing a Pinterest account for someone else! Enter Susi. I shared in her group promo thread an offer I was trying out – 50% off my services for 3 months – and she took me up on it! And she has shared about my work in her group several times, leading to additional clients. I’ve also gained so much from what she shares, from improving my mindset to making travel more affordable with house sitting!

That’s it. Those are the 3 things that changed for me, between being a wannabe entrepreneur to the beginning of an actual business!

How long did it take? I found my tribe in April 2017, and it took a bit before I bought their courses and started doing them. I first heard about Pinterest management in November 2017, and bought my first course in January 2018. I had my first Pinterest design client within a month, while I was still finishing up the course, and Susi became my first management client in March 2018.

Want to know more about my journey? Join the Create Wherever Female Entrepreneur Facebook group!

Want to hire me as a Pinterest Designer and Manager to help you get more traffic, leads, and income for your blog or business? Check out this page to see what I can do to help you grow!

Interview With Digital Design Strategist Heather Brockell

Interview With Digital Design Strategist Heather Brockell

Interview With Digital Design Strategist Heather Brockell

1. Tell me a little about you!

Hello, my name is Heather! I am 25 years old and live in Minneapolis, MN. A brief overview of me: I grew up figure skating, was a hockey cheerleader in college and I now perform part-time as a figure skater and singer and I work full time as a Digital Design Strategist. I am currently training for my first triathlon, travel as frequently as my bank account allows and watch the sunset as often as possible.

2. What were you doing before you decided to pursue starting your own business/location independence?

I graduated from the University of Minnesota in July of 2016 and landed a job as a figure skater and singer in an ice show based out of Florida. I loved what I did but I came across 2 issues:

  1. 50% of my job was based on skill and being able to perform all day every day. (Side note, there are very few days off in show business. For this particular show, we had 0-2 days off a month). The other 50% was based on how good I looked in itty-bitty costumes under spotlights that showed no mercy. It bothered me that so much of my job was based on what I looked like when I had spent so many sleepless nights and anxiety-filled days working to earn a degree.
  2. Shows are not permanent and because of that, my income was inconsistent. I wanted something to bring in income all year round but still allowed me to pick up and go anytime I needed to leave for a show.

3. What changed?

When I returned from my third contract, I was determined to find a way to earn money between shows. I looked into anything and everything like whether or not I qualified for Uber, seasonal jobs that lasted only a month, etc. but I felt like these were all temporary solutions and I wanted something long-term. In the midst of my search for a solution,I came across a Bucketlist Bombshells ad for a course that taught women how to work online and be location independent. Bingo. A light from heaven may as well have been shining down on it; I had found my answer. I bought the course within minutes and I haven’t looked back since.

4. What are some of the first steps you took? Looking back, would you have done anything differently?

I went through the courses and launched my business within 2 months. I started out on PeoplePerHour to build my confidence and once I had a few small jobs under my belt, I moved back home to North Dakota with the goal of landing bigger clients. This strategy worked like gold and I landed various jobs during my time there.

Are there things I would have done differently? Yes and no. I learned so much from every poor decision I made, I feel like it was worth making them but I can think of two things I wish I had known before I started.

First, I never realized how difficult the “business” part of it would be. When I started out, I was 100% focused on developing the skills I was going to offer. I never realized that that was only half of it. For anyone just starting out, there are two things you will need to learn:

  1. An amazing, knock-your-socks-off, out of this world service
  2. How to run a business that does 3 things:
    a. Gets in front of the right people
    b. Communicates and connects with your target audience
    c. Runs efficiently and makes enough money to pay the bills

Second, I was surprised by the amount of guilt I felt when I started. The image of my friends who work hard and HATE their job was like a movie reel that played over and over in my head. Each time I thought about how much I loved my job and how miserable they were, my guilt increased. I started working 12+ hours a day to cope with it and let me tell ya, that ain’t healthy.

I started using a planner from a company called the Best Self Co. and it revolutionized the way I define a successful day. I stopped clocking my hours and focused only on getting 3 major tasks done each day. Once I completed them, I was able to enjoy the rest of my day. Between the planner and the book “The 4-Hour Work Week”, I have developed a much healthier working relationship. When you work for yourself, it’s very easy to become a workaholic if you don’t set boundaries.

5. Tell me about your business! What do you do, who do you do it for, and why do you love it?

I do 3 things in my business:

  • Web Design
  • Branding
  • Copywriting

Many of my clients are involved in figure skating or athletics since that’s a big part of my inner circle, but I have also worked with financial companies, online TV shows, floral companies, elementary schools, etc. so my clientele has been very diverse. My ideal client is anyone who is a great communicator, does what they say they’re going to do and gives me clear feedback. (And giving me artistic freedom is always a bonus!)

I could write a book on why I love what I do but I’ll try to keep it concise. From a selfish perspective, I love being able to plan my own schedule, take vacation days without asking permission, not be a slave to my alarm clock and have the freedom to work from anywhere. I’ve been able to go home for birthdays, attend graduations, travel for weddings, visit my parents for a month at a time and take a 3 month road trip. I am also in a long distance relationship and I was able to help my boyfriend move, attended his graduation and fly to watch some of his hockey games in person.

Aside from the fact that I enjoy not being chained to one location, I genuinely love what I do. My friends joke that I’m the “mom” of the group because I’m constantly taking care of everyone. I feel like I’ve been able to put that to good use by doing what I do. A lot of clients I work with are very lost when they first contact me and I LOVE helping them grow their business or organization through their branding or website. My job is very fulfilling and I’m so grateful I live in a time that this lifestyle is possible.

6. Where have you gone with your newfound location independence?

According to official documents, I still live in North Dakota but I spend a bulk of my time in Minneapolis living with my sister. However, while MN is my home base, I frequently visit other places. This past year, I spent time in:
• Italy
• The eastern USA on a road trip
• New Hampshire
• North Dakota
• Oregon

This summer, I have trips planned to California, Alaska and Iceland. I have found that while I love traveling, I like having my home base to be around the people I love.

In the future, I would love to buy a place along Costa Brava, Spain, but for right now, I’m content with my life and the way it is now.

7. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far on this journey?

ONE lesson? Oh my, this is asking a lot, but I’ll do my best!

There’s no do-overs in life. You get the time your given here on earth and that’s it. You don’t have time to play it safe. I also want to point out that a lot of fears that hold us back are unfounded. Some businesses thrive on fear-based marketing. They make money by successfully planting “what if?” ideas in your mind (of scenarios that, let’s be honest, won’t happen) that convince you to buy a product or take an action. Just something to keep in mind when building a pros and cons list of a career change.

P.S.
I want to add that taking a risk doesn’t mean you have to quit your job, sell your house and travel full time. A lot of people do that and love it, but maybe your dream is to start an online business so you can be a stay at home mom who spends her free time baking cookies and attending soccer games. If that’s your dream life, go for it! Don’t feel like you have to fit any kind of mold that isn’t you. I will say though, be sure to travel at least a little bit. It’s the best education you could ever give yourself!

8. How have others reacted to this new direction for your life?

Very mixed but running off to join an ice show isn’t exactly the norm so I don’t think people were that surprised by it. I did get a few sassy comments like“it’s nice that you’re trying to start your own little business” but I just ignored them. Unless they were living a life that I wanted, I wasn’t interested in taking their advice. The people whose opinions I actually cared about were incredibly supportive and that is something I will forever be grateful for.

9. What people/resources have helped you the most?

First, I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t enrolled in the Bucketlist Bombshells course. It really did change my life and I’m so thankful I came across it. I also took a course called B-school which is rather expensive (not something I would take if you are just starting out) but has really been helping me refine my business.

As I said prior, surrounding myself with people that encourage me has also been invaluable. It is, hands-down, the most important thing to have when taking on a new challenge. I already mentioned a planner by “The Best Self Co.” and I also want to add three books that I have found to be very valuable:

• Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
o Perfect for any creative, especially if you feel guilty for pursuing a life you love.
• The 4-Hour Workweek – Timothy Ferriss
o For me, it started a little slow but it has a crazy amount of practical tips and tools once you get into it.
• Priceless – The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of it) – William Poundstone
o Uggghhh NUMBERS! This is any creatives nemesis when it comes to running a business but that’s not an excuse to ignore them. Again, this starts a little slow but push through it! You will learn a ton if you do.

10. Do you have any final tips for other aspiring digital nomads?

No one will ever give you permission to get started, you just have to do it. With that said, I would be wary about putting too much pressure on your business too early on. Starting a business is a lot of work and if you also have the pressure of paying your bills with it, it’s going to be stressful. My advice? If you’re working a full-time job that takes up most of your time, it will be difficult to build your business at the same time. Not impossible! Just hard.

If you are serious about quitting your corporate job, here’s what I would do: job hunt for a part-time job that will pay the bills and be easy to quit. Once you find it, quit the corporate job and work part-time until you feel confident your business can support you. Many people have not followed this and have still built incredibly successful businesses though, so take this with a grain of salt and do what’s best for you!

If you ever feel discouraged and want to quit, here’s my email: heatherbrockell@gmail.com. If you spend the time to reach out to me, I will return the favor and answer any questions you have for me. I can’t guarantee I will have all the answers, but maybe we can find a solution together. I have been blessed with an incredible support system in my life and I would love to return the favor and be that person to you if you need it.

 

Thanks so much for this interview, Heather! Be sure to stop by Heather’s site: Design by Heather Rae!

Want to hire me as a Pinterest Designer and Manager to help you get more traffic, leads, and income for your blog or business? Check out this page to see what I can do to help you grow!

Holidays Abroad

Holidays Abroad

Holidays Abroad

As I celebrate Memorial Day here in the United States, I cannot help but wonder what American holidays will look like for me in other countries. I’ve seen posts about expats trying to recreate their favorite holiday foods (to varying degrees of success) and feeling homesick on those days.

I’ll be spending this Labor Day in Paris, France. It will also be my brother’s birthday this year, so I will miss out on that. Strangely enough, this past year he missed my birthday – because he was in Paris, France. For both occasions, it was/will be our first visit to France, and both times we were/will be missing out on the other’s 33rd birthday.

I won’t be too disappointed to miss Labor Day, as it’s basically a day off work with a picnic to celebrate the end of summer. In my family’s case, we usually celebrate my brother’s birthday around that day as well. In the past, we would also celebrate my grandma’s birthday since hers was 2 days after my brother’s, but this will be the second Labor Day without her.

Most Americans celebrate Memorial Day the same way they celebrate Labor Day – in this instance, kicking off summer instead of ending it. As they bookend the season and both fall on Mondays, it’s easy to lump them together. But Memorial Day has a far more significant background – it remembers the sacrifice of all of those who have laid down their lives for this country. While I don’t know of any relatives who have died in combat, many of my relatives served and have since passed away.

My 5th great-grandfather, George Hart, was born in Germany, immigrated to the colonies, and fought in the American Revolution for independence from England. Both of my grandfathers fought in World War II for the Allies in Europe. My grandma’s cousin actually bombed their grandfather’s hometown in Germany during the war.

So I’m sure if I’m staying in the UK during the 4th of July or in Germany during Memorial Day (or Veteran’s Day), it will feel very weird to celebrate. But generally those are more family holidays, so without them around, I would be less likely to celebrate anyway.

Most of the countries I would want to visit for an extended period do celebrate Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter, so while I am sure the traditions are different, I will still be able to celebrate them easily within a different country. And I didn’t grow up celebrating Halloween, so I won’t miss it.

Thanksgiving will be a big one, and from what I’ve read, this is the one that often hits expats the hardest. It’s not only the homesickness and missing the great food – it’s also because this is the start of the Christmas season, and if they have no plans to go home for Christmas, the sadness spreads to this holiday as well.

Have you ever spent a holiday outside the country of your birth? How did you celebrate it?

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Choosing a City to Work from Remotely

Choosing a City to Work from Remotely

Choosing a City to Work from Remotely

One thing to consider when working remotely is where exactly you will be operating your business! If you’re wanting to work from home in your pajamas, the answer is easy, but if you want to use your new-found freedom to see the world, the possibilities are endless.

I’ll not be going into visa requirements, since that is different for every type of passport and every country, as well as constantly changing. It will also depend on how long you would want to stay in a country.

Most people have a vacation mindset when they travel. If they want to visit 10 countries in two weeks or go explore places without reliable internet, they can. But digital nomads need to be aware of how a change of location will affect their work and their clients. They can still go on a whirlwind tour or trek into the wilderness, but they do it within vacation time they’ve budgeted for themselves and build a more solid atmosphere for their daily lives.

But you can still build this solid atmosphere in amazingly cool places you’ve always wanted to visit!

There are certain variables you’ll want to consider when choosing where to go, and fortunately, a great site exists to help you gauge what cities are ideal for digital nomads! The Bucketlist Bombshells introduced me to Nomad List, a free site (though becoming a paid member has additional benefits) that presents many statistics to help you choose a city!

The main 4 variables the Nomad list looks at are cost of living, fun, safety, and internet. Each of these are further broken down into specific aspects, and they all add up to a Nomad Score.

You can then filter the results by your own preferences. Say you don’t really care where you go as long as you can live there cheaply – you can look for places under $1000 a month. Say you want to go somewhere in Europe – click on Europe. Say you only want places with very good internet – you can see the average bandwidth for the city, and find some coworking spaces with reliable speeds. Say you want to easily fly to surrounding areas – search for airport.

For myself, I’ll like to work from Europe and travel frequently to other countries. The cheapest places are in eastern Europe, but most cities I’d like to visit are in western Europe. Berlin is centrally located and a reasonable $2000/month, and has a very high Nomad Score (plus Germany has a freelancer one-year visa option for longer stays). I would prefer the UK, but prices range from $2500-3000, though that pales in comparison to Switzerland’s and Denmark’s $4000 a month!

And remember, as a digital nomad you’ll be able to change up where you live frequently – so you can balance out a more expensive location with a cheaper one part of the year.

Where would you like to base your business, at least for a few months?

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Digital Libraries

Digital Libraries

Digital Libraries

I grew up a bookworm. Books were my escape and I reread my favorites every year. As a result, I’ve amassed quite a collection – 35 boxes’ worth during my last move (and that was pared down a bit).

I do, of course, have additional books in my Kindle library, and even some duplicates. I haven’t been able to justify the cost of rebuying digital versions of books I already own, though I will snatch up free ones and some 99 cent favorites. I also don’t read as much as I used to, and prefer physical copies. I love staring at my bookshelves and remembering all ups and downs of emotions that came from reading those books.

It’s especially true on my classics and children’s books shelf, which is closest to me as I type. These are the books that I have loved for decades – books read to me by my parents, books I got lost in when I was lonely, books I read aloud to my younger siblings, and books I’d hoped to read to my own children one day.

As a future digital nomad, I know I will have to give up some of these books, and put all but a couple of the rest into storage. Fortunately, there has been no better time in history for taking your library with you – digitally!

And it’s not just books. All media is available for download or streaming. I uploaded my music library to Google Play Music and donated my CDs. I do still own a decent collection of TV shows and movies on DVD, but they are mostly just backup to Netflix and Hulu’s ever changing collection, and to lend to friends (but are used for those purposes less and less every year).

So someday, when I leave all this behind, I’ll be a little sad to say farewell to my books, but I won’t miss out on reading a single word, since I can take whatever I want with me.

Which of your possessions would be the hardest for you to give up as a digital nomad?

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