Living your dream? It’s one decision away.
Written by Alyssa J. Gavinski
18 months ago I never dreamed I was on the verge of launching a design company that’d gross just under $200,000 in sales in its first year. I had initially planned on a career in computer programming or medical research, and studied in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary. But when I became a Mom, my life took an unexpected change of course in more ways than one.
Over four years I had seven high-risk pregnancies. Three of my pregnancies ended in losses, but through the darkness I was blessed with the joy of four beautiful children. My difficult pregnancies tested my resolve, but nothing could have prepared me for what happened after the birth of my fourth child, who was born with a condition that is often fatal. My son beat the odds and survived, but I was never the same again.
Thinking my baby was going to die forever changed my outlook on life. Suddenly risks that once felt paralyzing and impossible weren’t such a big deal. That’s not to say the fear wasn’t there, but it was easier to face it head on. When the idea blossomed to start an online design business I was full of self-doubt and insecurity. I’d think to myself, “Who am I to be doing this work? I don’t have any training in design or business.” But I knew these beliefs weren’t serving me, so I decided to push them aside and go after my dream.
I setup a Facebook business page and started selling logo designs for $15/each. For the record, this isn’t a price point I’d recommend to my fellow aspiring designers. I took on 105 client projects in three weeks, but worked myself to near exhaustion trying to fill the orders. On the bright side I was able to quickly build a portfolio, improve my skills, and boost my confidence – all critical to move my business forward.
I knew to have the level of success I desired I’d have to invest in my business – massive growth won’t happen for any type of business without some smart investments. I invested in business coaching and online courses that helped me build the mindset and the marketing strategies I needed to take off online. As I shifted my mindset around money I increased the prices of my services to reflect the value they offered my customers. That’s when I started going from $800/month to $9,000K+/month. (On average I brought in $16,000/month in 2015).
Even with my new mindset and the strategies I needed to take me to the top, there was still speed bumps on the journey. My monthly revenues fluctuated from lows of $5000/month to highs of $41,000/month; and when revenues were down, so was my mindset. I quickly realized that having a positive mindset was always going to be something I needed to work on, because when I feel positive and abundance the money naturally flows to me. Sure, it may sound a bit “woo, woo”, but it’s absolutely what I attribute my success to above anything else.
If there’s one thing I would add about my success, it’s that I don’t do it alone. People often ask me with four kids, how can I manage running a business. The answer is simple: I don’t try and do everything myself. The good news is that I’m married to Superman (no joke). My husband is a huge help everyday with keeping our home functioning with minimal chaos – taking care of much of the daily household work so I can squeeze in a few more hours work here and there. Without him, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. I’ve also hired a team of designers, go-to copywriters, an assistant and a business manger to help keep pace with my business growth.
And my advice to Moms thinking about starting a business? Make the decision to start and then go for it. There’s never going to be a perfect time and there will always be a reason *not* to do it. So focus on how you can make it happen, rather than dwelling on why it’s impossible. This year I will continue to grow my six-figure design business while still being a Mom to four kids aged six and under. And as icing on the cake? I’m writing my first book about branding and design this year (debuting September 2016).
Only you have the power to change your life. So decide today that you’re not going to settle for anything less than what you truly want. Go out there and find a way to make your dreams happen. Remember, mindset is everything.
Alyssa J. Gavinski is an Elite+ Mompreneur Member from Calgary, Alberta who specializes in graphics and web design.