Name: Dana Nicole
Creative Industry that you are in: I am a branding strategist. I mostly help clients with graphic and web design, but I also educate them on SEO and online marketing.
Years in Business: Dana Nicole Designs Inc has officially been open for business for 6 months!
Favorite Food: Macaroni and cheese
Favorite Color: pink
Favorite Drink: For non-alcoholic: I drink tea all day long - there is nothing better than a cup of earl grey tea. My favourite alcoholic drink is ginger beer.
Best music (singer or group): I absolutely love country music so I would have to say either Carrie Underwood or Jason Aldean
A pet peeve you have: I can't stand not having socks on as I'm walking around my house. I need either socks or slippers on my feet at all times!
Name something that brings you joy: My family, close friends and my dog. I can't think of anything better than spending quality time with those who I love.
In 3 words, how would a friend describe you? Caring, trustworthy and easy-going
To the heart talk...
What is the passion behind your business? We know all businesses have heart behind them, but in what ways does your business give you purpose?
My husband's career requires us to live in Europe for 8 months of the year, and go back home to Canada for the summer months. We are back and forth a lot which means I can't hold down a normal job.
When it first hit me that I was going to need to give up my career for my husband's career, I felt so lost. Of course, living abroad is such an incredible opportunity! But deep down I knew that I craved some form of purpose, and that I needed to create something for myself in order to feel fulfilled.
Our first year abroad, I taught myself web and graphic design, so that I could start my own business. Having something that is my "own" has given me so much purpose and motivates me each and everyday.
How do you measure your own success? When will you know when you have "made it"?
I don't think I will ever feel like I have "made it" because as I grow, my goals are continually changing. For example, two years ago all I wanted was to have learned graphic & web design so that I could freelance. At that point, my idea of "making it" would have been me earning an income off of design! Now that I am there, I don't feel like I've made it quite yet. I still have so many more goals to achieve and accomplish!
As an introvert in the creative industry, what has been the most difficult for you in growing your business? Have you made any adjustments to work through this difficulty?
As an introvert, networking can feel super intimidating and draining, but is one of the best ways to get your name out there. As an introverted expat, networking suddenly feels impossible! There are no in-person networking events that I can go to, and so I really make it a point to find virtual ways to connect with others, whether that be attending a virtual conference or having virtual coffee dates.
Being introverted, having those virtual "meetups" has been great to help me meet others while not feeling so intimidating!
What do you excel in as an introvert owning a business? When did you realize that this is a strength in your business?
One of my strengths is listening. As a freelance designer, it's very important to listen to your clients and uncover things about them and their business in order to help create a design that they love.
I always thought of being the "quiet" one to be disadvantageous because I wasn't able to command attention like someone could who is loud and boisterous. After starting my own business, I quickly realized that listening was such a valuable skill to have. My clients (and probably most clients out there) want to be heard and I give them that opportunity!
What have you learned about yourself in this business process so far? What goals do you have for your personal growth in the next 5 years?
I've learned that I work incredibly well online, but also that hiding behind my computer won't get me too far. Video is super important to connect with your audience and is a great way to be more present, but doing video makes my stomach flip! To me, it's totally nerve-wracking, but I understand the importance of it, so I began implementing 5-10 minutes of video each week to ease myself into doing longer videos down the road.
I'm hoping that within 5 years, I'm not only more comfortable behind video but also able to do live presentations and workshops!
What tip would you give other introverted creatives who are looking to make meaningful connections with others? (Ya know, beyond the small talk) :)
The best thing to do is just to go for it! If you are super nervous, start by scheduling very casual one-on-one coffee dates with someone else in your industry.
What is one pieces of advice that you would give creatives in how to find purpose and balance in their life and business? How has this advice played out in your own life and business?
My biggest advice would be to set a schedule (with boundaries) and write it down if you know you aren't going to follow it. There has been too many times when I find myself working late into the night when I should be spending time with my husband.
On the other hand, some days I'll find myself at my computer for a full days of work only to discover that I actually didn't even complete a single task! Having my day mapped out entirely makes sure that I actually get stuff done rather than bounce from task to task.
Connect with Dana...
Facebook: Dana Nicole Designs