9.03.2012

{look at her: allie from be up & doing}

I’m really excited to announce a brand new feature series for all of you today! I used to do Happy Hour, but decided it was time to start something new.

There’s just something about the women in the blogging community that is so inspirational to me, and I always love reading stories about those working to reach their fullest potential. Some quit their jobs to find a career that is perfect for them, some just talk about living intentionally.

I knew that I wanted to share some of my favorite bloggers with you, those who are making that decision to live for themselves. And I’m starting with someone that I know you’re just going to love!

Look at Her

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Allie

What do you do for a living? What made you choose that career path? How does it reflect who you are as a person?

I am an independent designer and small business owner. I work with amazing companies, organizations and individual people to solve problems through design! I have always been an artist but it wasn't until AFTER college that I fell in love with the idea of solving problems and working with people. What I do, day-to-day, really reflects both my creative and analytical sides. I'm really blessed to be doing this.

You just went freelance full time. When did you know that you wanted to work for yourself full time? Can you tell us a little about what that journey has been like?

Yes! I was able to quit my full-time day job in early August and am now running my own business. It's pretty exhilarating and sometimes I can't believe it really happened. In college, I always thought I needed to work at an agency or firm and climb my way up the ladder of success but as I started working with my own clients…I realized that my goals were shifting. I didn't choose to become my own boss because I don't like being told what to do or working towards others' goals. As a full-time independent designer, that's pretty much all I do! It's easy, as an artist, to get into the mindset that your way is the best way. I love working with my clients and learning about their industry and listening to them (as I would a peer or a boss). 

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What advice do you have for those who want to work for themselves full time (like me)? What qualities do you need to succeed in this way? What qualities do you have that make it so you can work freelance full time?

If your goal is to work independently and freelance full-time, I would advise the following:

  1. Make sure that your personal finances are in order. Adam and I paid off our debt and found a cheap apartment in order to keep monthly costs low (which leads to less pressure on me to bring in an extraordinary amount of cash.)
  2. Love people. If you don't love working with people and taking criticism, then working independently isn't a solution to your issues. You're going to wear many different hats and business development is one of the most important things you'll need to do!
  3. Do good work but, most importantly, make deadlines. I remember one of my college professors saying that if you're an amazing designer, but you never make deadline, you won't get hired. You MUST follow through on your promises and do good work too.
  4. Keep it small. While I was attending WMC Fest (www.wmcfest.com) in Cleveland, Glen Infante of iLTHY said: "Keep quantities low and demand high." While I'm not selling product, the same can be said of any small business. It's really easy to upgrade all of your tools/software, buy the best desk and rent out a studio space but if you can keep those costs low upfront…it will free you up to take on projects that you're exited about.

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How do you deal with the self-consciousness and doubt that come with putting yourself out there like you do? Being creative can be terrifying. Any advice for getting over that fear?

Oh it's incredibly terrifying. I try to keep everything in perspective and remind myself that I still have lots to learn. When I'm working with a client on their project…I don't worry about others' opinions! They're not paying me or involved in our processes. Needless to say, I do try to put a certain amount of work out there for critique because, as a designer, I am a part of a community. I'm learning that if I don't put myself out there and fail…then I'll stay stagnant and who wants that? 

What other dreams and goals do you have for life and for your career? How are you working toward them?

Personally, Adam and I would love to buy a home sometime in the next year but instead of prioritizing that we decided to take a tropical vacation in October and really let my business take off without the pressures of a mortgage. It's still one of our biggest goals but we were okay with being flexible. Professionally, I would love to (someday way in the future) have my own studio to work but also use it as place to give back to Columbus. I dream of using it as a small gallery space, to host small seminars, or open the doors so other independent creatives can co-work! Small goals? Upgrade my iMac and sponsor WMC Fest next summer! 

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Can you see now why I love Allie so much? As someone who does want to work for herself full time, I think it’s really important that I learn as much as I can from those who’ve gone before me. Following along as she does it is really inspiring as well, and makes me feel that maybe, just maybe, I can do it someday too.

You should definitely go visit Be Up & Doing {she just changed her blog name and design} and get to know this awesome lady. I promise that you’ll be glad you did!

Do you know of someone I should feature for Look At Her? Email me and let me know!

13 comments:

Christianna said...

LOVE this feature! I have a feeling this is going to be inspiring and I LOVE all of Allie's tips! I work for myself, so I love reading stuff like this! Thanks for sharing girls!

Millie said...

This is so great Joelle. I love that Allie said that if we don't put ourselves out there, we will stay stagnant. This is something am learning to do more often. Thank you so much!

Kim said...

What a wonderful feature! Allie's blog is a daily read of mine and her tips on blogging and startup are so inspirational. Hearing from others that have already made that leap into working for themselves, makes you feel that anything is impossible and that you should never give up on your dreams.

I'm glad I stumbled across your blog, it'll be added to my list of daily reads! Really beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

alliepal said...

Yay for entrepreneurs! I agree with you - I love reading others' tips + advice. Nice to "meet" you, Christianna!

alliepal said...

And sadly something being stagnant is more comfortable than putting ourselves out there. I need to remember this more! Thanks for the comment, Millie. Nice to meet you!

alliepal said...

Glad you two got to connect :) I love that!! Nice to see you over here, Kim!

alliepal said...

Thanks for having me, Joelle! I'm excited to see this feature continue and evolve. xoxo

ashley nicole catherine said...

love this new feature!! so great to read about inspirational women! xo

Jess Rogers said...

This is a great interview with Allie - Thanks for sharing!

Rhiannon said...

What a fun new feature, Joelle! You go girl :)

Jillian Nicole said...

This is awesome, Joelle! I love reading about other women following their dreams into small business ownership! You + Allie are both such wonderful inspirations! Can't wait to read more from this series!:)

Kate said...

This is AWESOME! I love Allie's blog, and reading about her freelancing experience was extra helpful. Thanks you two!

Kristen @ KV's Confessions said...

I'm pretty sure me and Allie are supposed to be BFF's! I'm heading her way now- thanks for this beautiful intro!