I was recently given the great chance to interview with Karen from Makinthebacon! A woman who regularly encourages and supports small business owners in their blogging journey! Check out the interview below and head over to read more great posts on her blog!
Growing up, were you always drawing/designing and did you know this was something you wanted to do as an adult?
When I was growing up I had so many different dream jobs, I wanted to be an actress, a vocalist, a paramedic, and in high school, I was sure I wanted to work with children. All throughout though, I always was artistic, taking drawing classes, writing poetry, taking years of fashion and sewing classes (I made a lot of my own clothing for a while) and working on my first website before I was 16 (THANK GOD IT DOESN’T EXIST ANYMORE, it was epically terrible).
What do you like the best about your job?
What gets me really fired up about my job is the people! I have never met more passionate people than the small business owners I work with and for good reason. It takes a crazy amount of drive and lust for what you do to make people take the leap of entrepreneurship. When I first meet them, a lot of them are just starting out and come to me with the “I have a dream” pitch, and I get to support them while they make that dream their livelihood. There really is no better high!
What do you like the least about your job?
Paperwork. I enjoy the creative side so much, that it makes the admin side seem exceedingly boring. BUT I know it is necessary (I don’t get paid if I don’t send the invoices). For me, I just have to carve out time each week to “Eat the Frog” and do the unenjoyable part first.
You recently made the jump from part-time entrepreneur to full-time entrepreneur. What made you decide to do so?
Honestly, I have been working the side hustle for so many years and teetering on that edge for so long, that it just had to happen. At one point I was planning on how I would find vacation time to spend with my kids while juggling a full-time job, a part-time hustle, and my family. My own business was starting to get busier, and I found out I wouldn’t have been able to take March Break with my kids. So while complaining to my husband, he said: “Well there’s a sign to quit your day job.” And then he said one thing he knew would fully get me to take the leap, he teased me by comparing me to my baby brother (who owns a successful home building company in Newcastle, ON) and said: “Your little brother is showing you up”. I am very competitive, and my brother and I are only 16 months apart, so I just had to make the leap (just in time to spend March Break home with my kids!)
Did you encounter any struggles when you first started your graphic design business on the side and when you went full-time?
Of course! I think running a business is always full of struggles you don’t expect. When I first started on the side, I had a huge scheduling issue. I would work a full day, come home and be mom and wife, and then work hours at night. The timing was ridiculous and eventually, it got to the point I had to reign it in a bit for the health of my relationships. When I went full-time, I pulled my son from daycare thinking I could easily work from home with him. I DRASTICALLY underestimated how energetic and distracting it is to work with a preschooler running around lol. The fact that I’m somehow making it work is one of my biggest accomplishments so far!
What is a typical day like for you?
I like to kick my day off in the gym, so after we get up, get dressed, drop everyone to their places, my son and I go to the Y. He does his preschool program, I get a workout in, and then I hide in the lobby and work away on the laptop (Honestly, I’m sitting here now). We get home, make lunch, and then I work away while he naps! The schedule changes a bit to accommodate special events and meetings and such, but luckily I am blessed with a great network of family and his daycare lady who are super flexible with taking him when I have things to do.
What/who are your sources of inspiration when you are feeling a creative block?
When I get stuck, I take a break. I like to go outside, play with my kids and just kind of reset my brain. I also adore getting inspiration and motivation ideas from the Small Business Owners of Southern Ontario Group. They are always so motivating and excited, and it’s contagious!
How would you describe your style when it comes to graphic design?
I like when things are clean and fresh, but I do love adding that pop of mischief and personality into the branding that really makes it it’s own!1
Not only do you have your own graphic design business, you run a very engaged FB group, are involved in the family business, organize/host monthly meetups and have children. How do you manage all this?
Blind faith, boatloads of caffeine, and designated off time. Honestly, it’s all a blur lol. I do have an impressive support network, from family to the admins in our group, and my Inner Circle of business women who are always there for backup. But honestly, the way I stay sane is a husband who tells me when I have to turn it off. We go to muay thai twice a week without the kids, and make sure to set boundaries for how much I can work. It helps me keep my priorities, scheduling, and fun all in balance.
What advice would you give to people who are looking to take the leap, but are afraid/hesitant to do so?
Start small. Make a business plan. Make a nest egg. When I first starting planning my leap, the big factor was, “What is the worst case scenario? What is the backup plan?”. If all goes to hell in a handbasket, I just go back to working in an office. I kept great contacts, I am very employable and I have ample amounts of confidence in interviews lol.
Don’t burn bridges, make sure you can financially float or make sacrifices that don’t harm your family and your life AND THEN LEAP!