I legitimately have THE best clients around -- seriously I love them so stinkin much because of how super amazing they are. It’s not easy to leave your j-o-b to follow your dream and build a business out of it but every single client I’ve had proves again and again that it is possible. I’ve coached hundreds of women of the years and I believe that by telling their stories of going from a frustrating work situation to building a body of work they can be proud of, helps each one of us see what is possible for ourselves. In the If She Can Do It, I Can Do It, I’m showcasing true client stories.
I was thrilled to work with Lauren Harvey as she navigated a truly toxic work situation and get the creative courage and inspiration to build and grow a thriving graphic design business where she gets to work with innovative, thought leading brands doing what she loves. Read on to learn how she did it and her best advice for those wanting to take the leap and create a thriving business. Enjoy!
1. Tell us a little bit about you and what you do.
I'm Lauren Harvey, a Visual Designer and Illustrator, located in New York City where I've been for the past 14 years. I help existing brands and brands just starting out find a voice and establish a unique and memorable visual identity that differentiates them from their competitors. New York City is a super special place for me, having witnessed the many different iterations of myself over the years. It's changing landscape is a mirror of where I was, and where I'm at now. Six years ago I was partying in some indistinct decrepit warehouse somewhere in Brooklyn not really knowing the people I was with, who I called my "friends". And today, I'm meeting a close pal to try out Tracey Anderson's studio, getting a nice bite to eat in Tribeca, then having an early night so I can wake up and get to the Farmer's Market before they sell out of eggs! Like what?
2. Tell us about the place you were work-wise when we started our work together.
I was working at a small creative agency and I was angry almost everyday. I was angry that I never had enough time to focus on one client. I was angry that it became normal to not take a lunch break. I was angry I was basically a robot churning out creative ideas like it was a factory. I was angry I knew this place wasn't for me but I just couldn't put in my two weeks, I was too scared.
3. Why did you decide to work with me?
A friend of mine showed up to one of your workshops and she couldn't stop talking about it and how it opened her eyes to possibilities she'd never thought of. She knew I was struggling to leave my job so she connected us. I guess I had that moment of willingness and I took it and ran with it.
4. What was the biggest shift you’ve seen in your life and work since we’ve worked together?
I'm way more willing to take a step into the unknown. The action of just having faith that everything will be OK and just doing it....the possibilities have been endless when you come out the other side. And now I know that because I've seen it.
5. Describe the person you are now that you are doing work that you love.
Today, I work in a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity. I trust that next new business inquiry is on the way. And it always is! The work with Ariane really allowed me to be more receptive to networking and just purely being "open". That attitude and the way I've poised myself just mysteriously attracts others to working with me. Don't get me wrong, action is involved. I have checklists of events I can benefit from, follow-up emails I need to draft, new portfolio of work I need to create; these are just admin stuff which I have to look at as "self-care" for my business. Do I love all the work I do? Not necessarily, but it's the choice in choosing who I work with that I love...being able to align myself with companies that I share values with.
6. What was your biggest fear in taking the leap to start your own business? What advice would you give someone who is currently struggling with that fear?
A lot of my fear was financial insecurity because when I'm stressed, my go-to solution is go shopping and buy a ton of stuff I don't need to make myself feel better! Unfortunately, that doesn't EVER work. Personally, I hit a bottom one day at the job I was currently at and had an outburst at my boss...this was two weeks before I had planned to take the leap...and I quit prematurely then and there. Instead of panicking, I felt this crazy sense of freedom. I had all the space I needed to seek out a path of work that I wanted.
One suggestion I would make is to at least have a few months of rent saved up for peace of mind. Another is, start going to networking events in your industry or industry you want to work in to see others thriving and passionate about what they do; it's such good inspiration. One specifically for creatives I love is Creative Mornings.
7. What is your most favorite thing about having your own business? Least favorite thing?
Having my own schedule...don't get me wrong I still work 8 hour days on average, but can I go do yoga in the middle of the day? Sure! Everyone's creative process is different and mine just was stifled in an office setting. Also, I've traveled to 9 countries in the last year and a half since I've quit my job...including going hiking in Machu Picchu, Peru something I've always wanted to do but never thought I would.
TBH, my least favorite thing is paying for my own health insurance - but having faith one day I'll be in acceptance of that and it won't be such a big part of my paycheck. And since I work from home, it sometimes can feel like my work day doesn't have to be over since my office is a few steps from my living room...but working towards renting an office space one day!
8. What resources or tools are you loving right now in your business?
For business, PayPal for Business has been really helpful, with analysis tools and payment and Chase has been helpful for merchant services.
For creative inspiration, I love the AIGA design archives.
9. What’s next for you and your business?
Working towards getting clients with suitable timelines, bigger budgets, so I can work on less for more and give them the attention and quality they deserve. And hopefully, hiring an admin to do my new business proposals.
10. Where can we find you and your work?