Oh man, what a wild ride entrepreneurship has been! I’ve been playing boss for 15 years and don’t miss clocking into a “real job” one tiny bit!
I have spent many years in the arena of entrepreneurship, running a wedding and portrait studio and challenging myself with other business adventures. I’ve sold creations on Etsy, which made a nice little side hustle giving me seed money to play with passive income streams. My husband and I own half of Bleeding Heart Brewery. And today, I am sharing my most significant career shift yet. And probably more importantly, why!
I have hit the burn-out wall many times in my career and took necessary breaks along the way to recoup and return to work with passion and gusto. But something happened in the last two years that took me a bit to accept and quantify because I’ve been obsessed with portraits and weddings for as long as I can remember. Good imagery can take you to places words simply cannot. I am in awe at how small, fleeting moments can carry the most weight in our hearts, how we find the people we love and collide into them, and are forever changed by this. This is what I always aimed to give the people I photographed: small moments in time that say in a single second everything that’s important. That we were here, that we were together. And that it mattered. However, what took me a long while to accept was that my heart’s focus shifted massively. I have been a chapter leader for The Rising Tide Society for 5 years and it has had such a massive impact on me! I was experiencing the challenges of entrepreneurship myself but now I was hearing them from everyone around me. RTS is a community over competition movement founded on the JFK quote, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” We meet monthly to share business knowledge and grow together. What I love most about working with entrepreneurs is getting a close-up look at tenacity. What it really takes to run a small business requires more effort than most realize. It has been an honor to walk beside so many entrepreneurs and experiencing the struggles to bring dreams, visions and passions to market. These are the stories calling my name and I feel I can’t ignore them any longer.
It is hard to let go of what I built, but my body, mind and soul have been asking for more. I could tell I wasn’t challenged anymore and as my desires changed, I had to get reacquainted with my inner knowing and bring awareness to what my body was asking. Things that used to feed my soul and fill me up were not cutting it anymore, and it has been hard to accept. When I found myself avoiding paid work to go hang out with entrepreneurs, I started to clue in.
The biggest wake-up call was when I snagged a new Garmin watch that told me when I was stressed out ALWAYS. At first, I was pissed and probably stressed out more, knowing my watch would only confirm I was stressed out and all the usual things that would work to relax me were not doing so anymore. I decided to dig in anyways and experiment with what would bring me the coveted blue rest lines. After a week of basically nothing but stress, I got pretty worried! I googled everything I could to understand why my “body battery” wouldn’t go above 15 (out of 100). I went and saw a counselor and explained, “I believe my meat suit broke.” “Have you ever seen this thing go past 15? I mean, how am I alive!” and “HOW THE FUCK am I stressing when I SLEEP!” among many other questions…. He reminded me that stress is not inherently bad but helps us do many things and it’s about the balance of incorporating enough moments of rest in your day. Look below….I was totally unable to rest. After much experimentation and many failed attempts at “resting,” guess what gave me my first mostly restful day?! Designing a brand for a client! Reading through her heartfelt response to my intake questionnaire and compiling all her hopes and dreams into a clear brand! Say WHAAAAT, I can “work” and rest now?!!
With my own growth pursuits and hearing story after story of entrepreneurs around me being manipulated and taken advantage of, I began stirring up this idea. What if a branding agency could teach their clients to remain in control and keep their power. Understanding the intricacies of business is hard enough, but when people are just waiting to prey on your lack of knowledge, it’s intimidating to take the next business steps. So this is where Synergy was born, somewhere between learning what fills me up all over again to build the next phase of my career and wanting to simplify business for others. When it comes time to work ON the business, it can be difficult to step out of working IN the business and adjust your systems. You come to creatives, especially in the design field, to solve these problems for you like the intricacies of web design because you dont have time to deal with it. This is where my frustrations began. After many people overpromising and underdelivering, I decided to build a business for entrepreneurs that would help them understand these tricky parts of business. Were going to to do quite a bit together and I am going to share as much value as possible. I can’t wait to share more of this journey in posts to come, but I hope this inspires you to consider what brings you joy, balance and rest!