Soul Talk Interview: Caitlin Thompson

Caitlin Thompson The Natural Wanderer Creative Business Introvert

Let's meet...

Name: Taylor Lee

Creative Industry that you are in: Graphic Design

Years in Business: Six months full-time with my own biz; seven years total, doing corporate work with my biz as a side hustle

Favorite Food: Ice cream! I'm all about Halo Top right now.

Favorite Color: Deep wine purple, or bright turquoise...depends on my mood!

Favorite Drink: A hot, steamy mocha with coconut milk

Best music (singer or group): Impossible to choose! Really into Lianne La Havas right now, though :)

A pet peeve you have: People who make blanket judgments of entire groups (i.e. all conservatives are _____ or all men just want ______"

Name something that brings you joy: A cozy, hygge evening

In 3 words, how would a friend describe you?  Gentle, optimistic, calming

to the heart talk...

If you had to choose an animal to represent you, which would you choose and why?

The first animal that comes to mind is the deer, which is related in many traditions with kindness, softness and gentleness and in one way or another, an animal that is connected to the gods and the sacred. While I haven't always been overtly religious in my life, I have always been drawn to spirituality and the sacredness of even the most ordinary of moments. I've always been seen as very nurturing and motherly in my personal life.

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?

I am very drawn to psychology and find a lot of it within design thinking and how I approach a logo or brand identity. I see so many small business owners doing AMAZING things, and they just don't have the time (or energy) to do a deep-dive into their branding and visual identity -- which is TOTALLY understandable. Every entrepreneur begins with a their little spark of genius, and I like to jump in alongside them as a partner in their business and fan that spark into flame through intentional brand design that really showcasing their unique superpowers. The world NEEDS what you offer and your dream clients are searching for you -- my goal is to help you connect with them and build trust through a professional brand that really speaks to who you are, in your best and most authentic light.

How do you measure your own success? When will you know when you have "made it"?

Success would look like living a life of "ease and grace," serving that's that I LOVE and relate to without falling into a scarcity mindset or feeling out of alignment with how I run my business. There are a million different gurus and "online business experts" out there telling us that they've hacked the system, can help you charge XX times what you are now, can help you work half days for the rest of forever, etc. Many of them have great tips, but I'm discover that my own success and joy in business will ultimately revolve around what feels best to me. That means that I will never make six-figures simply because I've tripled my prices without true merit or value-added, because even if I found clients who could bear the price, I would feel completely out of alignment and yucky about it. Sure, I'd love to make enough money that I'm not left stressing about it month-to-month, but ultimately, I just want to feel like I've made others' lives better through my work. I want to end each day knowing I've brought calm and joy to your life. This isn't just a business to me; it's a service of love.

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?

NETWORKING (in the traditional sense). I do not enjoy huge crowds of strangers and find it exhausted to have to "sell myself" constantly. Every time I have to schedule a call or meeting with a new client, my heart flutters and I get a new surge of nerves. I can also find it really awkward to talk about myself or to feel like I have to "convince" someone of my value. I recently put myself in a video challenge that REALLY helped me to get over my fear of visibility (The Ignite Video Challenge hosted by Niamh Arthur is AMAZING, y'all). It reminded me that it really is all about connection, and that allowing people to just see me for who I am will ultimately draw my ideal clients to my business. I have never had to "convince" a best friend that I was worthy of their friendship; we just had a genuine connection. I'm learning to view my conversations with prospective clients the same way.

What do you excel in as an introvert owning a business? When did you realize that this is a strength in your business?

I think I definitely excel at the self-reflection aspect of my business. I'm relatively aware of where I'm struggling and where I'm ahead of the curve, even if I'm not always ready to remedy the situation right away. I believe my greatest asset in business is my ability to connect with clients, though. Especially one-on-one. As an introvert, I LOVE "going deep," with those in my life and I've always been very empathic -- so I tend to connect with my clients and cheer them on in a much deeper and more authentic way that some businesses do. I become a true advocate and friend.

Can you talk about a time you felt out-of-place? What thoughts went through your mind and what was the outcome of the situation?

I think that I felt most out of place in business when I was working in the corporate world and had just gotten promoted to management. I had so many big dreams for what I could do in that role and had an amazing relationship with my employee -- but I quickly discovered that my extremely extroverted boss and CEO did not understand my natural strengths (servant leadership, one-on-one connection and mentorship of employees, ultra-dependability, etc) and instead just wanted to see me be a super extroverted, bravado-filled leader. My boss loved me and appreciated all that I did for him, but I felt like I was constantly going to be asked to be someone I wasn't if I wanted to succeed in that role. Six months in I stepped away and took my design business full-time. As difficult as the decision was at the time, I haven't looked back!

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?

Oh my goodness, SO much! I've learned more in the last six months that I did in the entire six months I was working for someone else. I've learned that I can be too perfectionistic, to the point that I can stunt forward progress. I've learned that I often short-sell myself and my abilities and desperately want to play it safe. More important, I've learned that I'm exceedingly capable, and that I am the only person that stands in the way of my "success" and joy in business. If something isn't working for me, it's up to me to fix it. It's been humbling at times, but also super empowering. Over the next five years, I'd really like to get more visable (YouTube, here I come!) and pursue more of my ideas that I have, so far, been too afraid/apprehensive to take seriously. I'd also like to organize my time/schedule a bit more so that I can focus and feel more accomplished at the end of each day.

What tip would you give other introverted creatives who are looking to make meaningful connections with others? (Ya know, beyond the small talk) :)

Just that, that it's all about meaningful connections with another human being. We often feel like we have to put on a show or be "ultra cool and professional," all of the time, but I've found that my BEST client/ biz partner relationships have come from authentic connection. It's also a whole lot less exhausting when you can lead your business from a place of authenticity. You are going to find others that resonate with that and THOSE are your people. You don't have to impress every single person or group that you encounter (the people-pleaser in me wants to contest that, but it's true). Take a deep breath and look for ways to relate to and connect with each person you meet. One person at a time. We are all starved for authentic connections these days. You (full of grace and ease and quiet confidence in who you are) will be a breath of fresh air :)

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?

Something that has been most transformational for me is connecting my business goals/offerings with my deepest personal values/goals -- and not worrying so much about what all of the business gurus (or even my own loved ones) tell me to do. Success looks different for all of us, and I don't have to make it to the top of the Forbe list or pull constant all-nighters or "hack the system" if I don't want to. Sure, we all have to #dothework, and sometimes that looks like a little extra hustle or wading into the deep end for a season. And that's okay. All I know is that I am a much better friend/partner/designer/human when what I'm doing in my business actually MATTERS to my heart/spirit, and not just to my bank account. Running your own business can be stressful, and when you're fighting to make ends meet it can completely consume you. It's totally okay to feel that way sometimes -- but don't live there :) Take things one step at a time, stay true to who YOU want to be, and you will get there -- I promise.

Connect with Caitlin...


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