Sunday, July 21, 2013
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
I am thrilled to be one of the bloggers handpicked to participate in the FIRST "OPERATION: Create Your Own Path" being promoted by Milspousebiz and Red, White and Blue Pages! This program involves a blog hop for 30 days featuring small business owners and covering topics such as starting your own business, managing finances, and more importantly how to capitalize social media in marketing your business. WOW! This is a powerhouse of information for anybody who may be contemplating of starting a business or those who are already in the business but needed some more guidance to bring their “A” game to the next level.
I recently became a military spouse entrepreneur when I opened up our preschool business, Early Learners International School, www.elisokinawa.com April 8th of 2013 here on Okinawa, Japan. Three months later, here I am about to launch my Fitness and Lifestyle Coaching business (stay tuned here on my blog where I will be dishing out clean eating tips, organizing ideas, budgeting, parenting, etc.). Personally, OPERATION; Create Your Own Path is something I need to guide me further in reaching my goals for our preschool and to make my coaching practice thrive while stationed overseas. As a military spouse, our circumstance should not be a hindrance for us to pursue our passion in life. I am glad that I have been assigned to interview Ms. Dawn Warnaar of Creative Type Designs to get to know her and trace the path to entrepreneurship.
In getting to know Dawn for this blog hop, I realized that she is an epitome that YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL! YES, a mobile career, quality time with family, and get paid for doing what you love. I am 100% sure that Ms. Rachel Luna (a fellow military spouse and Amazon bestselling author of Successful People Are Full of C.R.A.P) will agree that in order for us to achieve success we need COURAGE, RESILIENCE, AUTHENTICITY, and PERSEVERANCE.
So…drum roll please…here’s my interview with Dawn Warnaar of Creative Type Designs:
Rosette: Tell us a little about your background and how you got into your business today?
Dawn: My undergraduate degree is an English B.A. I went to college not really knowing what I wanted to do with my degree other than just the fact that I loved writing. I ended up in an admin job and was eventually promoted to Human Resources so I went back to school to get my MBA in HR Management. Then I met my husband and became a MilSpouse. I quickly learned that moving as often as we do makes it incredibly hard to have a traditional career, especially after you have children. I took a few years off while we had 3 kids but I missed the intellectual stimulation from working so I started my own company and wrote résumés for a year or so but didn't love it. So in 2011, I started the DIY blog DesignedbyDawnNicole.com and still run that site as well. As the blog grew, I began searching for affordable design services and I largely found two things: (1) I couldn’t find design services that were affordable, and (2) The ones that were affordable were booked for months. So I set out to design my site myself and found myself capable of doing much more than I expected…and really loving it. That’s when I started to think I could turn a hobby into a career that fits into our mobile lifestyle. Flash forward to about a year later with the full support from my husband (and using a portion of his Post 9/11 GI Bill to fund school since we didn't want to add to my student loans), I’m only a few classes away from the completion of my Graphic Design & Brand Identity degree.
Rosette: How long have you been in business?
Dawn: I just started the business a few months ago. Despite having a few classes left to complete my degree, I had clients contacting me to design their logos and business sets so I just went for it and obtained my business license and got my website up and running. I absolutely love what I do and I know this will be a great career since I can really work from just about anywhere that I can get an Internet connection.
Rosette: What has been the hardest part of working for yourself? What has been the best part?
Dawn: The hardest part is working from home. With three small kids, the distractions are many and it’s a major balancing act to meet my family’s needs, maintain the house, and get done all the work I need to everyday. I drink a lot of coffee and the hours I work are far from normal! The best part is also working from home. The flexibility is awesome. I can be home to raise my kids and I can work in my PJs if I really feel like it (although I do feel like I’m more productive when I actually get dressed and put on some makeup!)
Rosette: Do you have plans to include your spouse into your business after they separate or retire from the military?
Dawn: He has a good ten years left until that time rolls around. We talk a lot about what he’d like to do after he retires from the military. While I think we’d work well together, our artistic passions aren’t the same so I don’t imagine it is something he would want to do day in and day out.
Rosette: Have there been any specific challenges to running a business as a result of your life as a military spouse?
Dawn: Moving usually means changing your state and address so it can be a challenge to keep up with each state/county’s laws regarding running a business out of your home. Thank goodness for Google! I do think that overall the power of the Internet, Mobile Technology and Social Media have made it much easier to run a business as a MilSpouse.
Rosette: Could you please share your short term and long term goals for your business.
Dawn: My short-term goal is to finish my degree and work on getting a steady flow of client work. Long-term I hope to make a decent second income to contribute to my family financially and fill up my design portfolio with some great work along the way.
Rosette: What will be your "best business practices" advice for spouses who are contemplating to establish their own businesses?
Dawn: Figure out where your true passion lies and then figure out how to turn it into a business that’s moving-every-few-years-friendly. It’s as simple and as difficult as that. Running your own business is very time-consuming but it’s true what they say about it not feeling like work when you love it. I wake up everyday excited for my school and/or client design work! This time last year, I was asking friends and family if being in my 30s made it too late to go back to school and start a new career. I’m so glad I went for it. Come up with a good business plan, get your spouse on board (you’ll need their support and help) and then go for it!