GUEST EXPERT INTERVIEW
October 2017 Sparkle Hustle Grow Expert
By: Courtney Poullas, SHG Blogger
In October, our tribe received training from not one, but TWO awesome female entrepreneurs. Carmen Vermillion, Graphic Designer with Brands for Bosses and Vermillion Creative, takes us through her business journey in the guest interview below.
Carmen is clearly a woman who values how her time is spent, so much so that she began her business journey during nighttime feedings: “I started teaching myself the basics of both Adobe Photoshop® and Illustrator® and quickly learned what it took to get the right look for my clients. I did all the things a seasoned designer would usually shy away from contests, youtube, working on trade.” While it may have been an unconventional route, it worked out wonderfully. Carmen stated, “In the end it paid off substantially, and five years later I am a small business owner working with major agencies as a white label designer and even have clients I work with directly as big as the Fox Networks Group.”
This successful small business owner didn’t always envision herself as a sought-out graphic designer. “I actually always dreamed of being a teacher, and after several years in sales, I was given the opportunity to teach pre-k at a classical school in Birmingham, AL. I loved every moment of my three years teaching and probably wouldn’t have left except for meeting my husband, getting married, and moving a few states away to Greenville, SC.” In the thick of Carmen’s life, the magic happened: “I realized how a hobby I loved could actually be a JOB I love.”
For Carmen, support is valued, but it took internal motivation to actually jump into her business. “I was fortunate to have a huge support system, but I was too much of a control freak to let any of my support system help me take the leap. It literally took me until my third child was born to decide it was time and take the biggest leap of faith in my life.” She also built her business in a way that was tiring but provided some safety. “One thing I made sure of was that I wasn’t jumping in and starting out with nothing. I had worked my butt off as an entrepreneur on my nights and weekends to build up a business that could replace my corporate income. That was the hardest part – the lack of sleep, and no life outside of family, work, and the hustle.”
Looking back on her journey, Carmen may have chosen to make some adjustments. “My self-care and friendships took a back burner which I regret now that I am in this 100%. My advice to someone looking to start a new journey is don’t make rash decisions, ease into the leap of entrepreneurship, and by all means make time for your friends and yourself because your new business plan is only successful if your health and sanity are in check.”
One of Carmen’s proudest achievements was gaining her first client. “Landing my first paying client was a major success in my book, and they are still my client five years later. BeadifulBaby was a small business like mine: a mom-and-pop shop that wanted to create an online presence that spoke to their client base. Being a mom of only a baby boy at the time without knowledge of the baby jewelry landscape, it took a lot of research and throwing a million options their way. Once I found the right look for their brand, it was a match made in heaven. I understood their brand and they catapulted my confidence. From that one client, I began a spree of landing clients big and small for the next year and a half without fail.” Confidence produces confidence, and Carmen is proof of that!
All of us have a defining moment in our business. For many, Carmen included, it’s when we pushed through a rough patch or hard time. “After baby number three, I was exhausted. I was on maternity leave and thought it was the best time to get my feet wet with how the entrepreneurial life would work. I kept up with my existing clients and worked hard to bring more on. It was hard. I tried not to be stressed so I could nurse my new baby, tried not to get irritated when my four and two yr old needed me when I was trying to wrap up a design project, and, then it just got to me.”
It was at this moment that Carmen found herself at the crossroad. “I told my husband I wasn’t sure I could do it. I knew I was going to go back to Corporate America for a short time and had to keep up my freelancing business and caring for my babies. I was already exhausted on maternity leave; how could I do everything AND go back to the grind of 8-5 Monday through Friday? But he knew me enough not to feed my fears and he just said ‘okay.’ ‘Okay?’ I thought…what do you mean okay?! I worked 5 years to get here and just said ‘ok’ like it was my decision. But it was. Ultimately, I just put on my big girl panties and decided that if I was going to do it, I had to determine inside myself that I was capable of doing it and nothing or no one was going to change that. So, by my husband reacting the way he did (which at the time I did NOT take well), he actually helped me realize the strength I had inside me to do what I love.”
Did we mention that Carmen is the genius behind the Sparkle Hustle Grow brand? YES!
Is it just me, or do you feel totally motivated now?! We thank Carmen for sharing her journey and her expertise! For more information about Carmen and her services, please visit her website: VermillionCA.com.
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