Name: Allyn Lewis
Creative Industry that you are in: Blogging/Storytelling
Years in Business: 5 years
Favorite Food: Ice cream
Favorite Color: plum
Favorite Drink: COFFEE
Best music (singer or group): Shaun Novak (because he's my boyfriend =P)
A pet peeve you have: When businesses don't share their story on their "about" page =)
Name something that brings you joy: Traveling and experiencing new things (except for food - I'm a picky eater, so I'm not very adventurous on that front, hahaha)
In 3 words, how would a friend describe you? resilient, vulnerable, benevolent
to the heart talk...
If you had to choose an animal to represent you, which would you choose and why?
A dolphin - they're both playful and elegant! Plus, they live near the beach, which is where I'd ideally like to be living as well.
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 spent so many years trying to be perfect, trying to look like I had it all together. It wasn't until I shared my story and opened up about my dad's suicide and my own mental health battles (I deal with both anxiety and depression regularly) that I felt like I was doing something that truly mattered. It was empowering to realize that I could be imperfect and still have a voice. Ever since, I've spent the time in my business encouraging others to share their stories and find that same power. Now I use my blog as a platform to share real moments of my life and share the imperfect stories of others so that people can see they aren't alone in the struggles and stresses they are facing. We're all human. We all make mistakes.
How do you measure your own success? When will you know when you have "made it"?
Oh jeez. I'm currently trying really hard to detach myself from this. I honestly feel like I've been chasing "success" for the past 5 years and I'm over it. I've spent all my energy worrying about financial stability and how to "make it" that I've really done little to no living during my mid twenties. I just can't do it anymore. Right now, success just means figuring out how to live with less stress. Measuring success for me personally at the moment simply means getting myself back to a place were I'm living out of fulfillment instead of scarcity.
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?
Sales conversations! I recently started challenging myself to get rejected and it's going very well actually. Instead of telling myself, "okay Allyn, you need to get 2 new brands signed on for features this week", I've switched it to, "Okay Allyn, your goal this week is to keep outreaching until you get rejected 20 times". I used to take "no's" really personally. I'd get into the head space of, "what if what I'm doing is stupid?", "what if no one is going to care about this?", "what if I put all my energy into this and don't make enough money to keep my business above water?" - and then I'd stop outreaching to people, which only dug myself further into the hold because no one is going to say yes if I don't ask, right? But now, I'm noticing that each "no" impacts me less and less. I'm able to keep my motivation up simplify from chasing my fear instead of running from it, which is pretty cool if I do say so myself!
What do you excel in as an introvert owning a business? When did you realize that this is a strength in your business?
I excel at relating to others. I have the massive amounts of discomfort and tension I constantly brewing inside of me to thank for that! The more I open up about raw, honest moments, the more I realize this is a strength. By looking inside of myself and pinpointing what takes me outside of that space of being "okay", I've figured out how to build deeper, more meaningful connections with others (which is something I've always struggled with). My favorite thing to do when I'm feeling a lot of uneasiness is to ask myself, "what do you need to hear today?". I then take that answer and post it on social media or my blog. It always amazes me how many other people say to me, "I needed this right now". It's tangible proof that other people can relate to whatever I'm feeling at the moment.
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?
Ummm a few minutes ago when I answered the above question about what creative industry I'm in, hahahaha. I always feel out of place. I think that's what adds to the reliability factor I mentioned. I'm not your typical blogger. I don't have a typical niche, I work with my clients on a much different level than just featuring their products, but I don't fit into another business category either. This is a theme I see all throughout my life. I'm outgoing, but I don't always have something to say so I'm like half introverted and half extroverted. I'm a part time yoga/barre teacher but I still have terrible road rage and I love junk food. I was never the popular girl in high school and I didn't really fit in with any particular group - I just kind of floated around as a friend to everyone. I feel like I always fall slightly outside of the categories. In my head, I know that's a good thing because I'm different, but there are a lot of situations where I feel like not being able to fall into a category (in business or otherwise) makes us, initially at least, second guess our value or worth. The other day someone asked me what I do and I said something like, "I help small business owners embrace and share their stories to build stronger businesses". They were just like, "oh, okay." I could tell by the look on their face that they were probably thinking, "well, that's not really a real job". Without even realizing it, their reaction made me feel inadequate and like what I do is stupid. I regretted not giving a simple answer like, "I own a marketing business" until my heart kicked in and was like, "no, what you do is really freaking cool and you do make a difference. You have proof of that". Running through the experience in my head made me think about how we worry about fitting into the categories for the convenience of others when all that really matters is how we feel about where we're at!
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 things will always be okay and I've found my resilience. There have been SO many times where I thought I wasn't going to be able to pay rent (and plenty of times where I paid it WAYYY too late). Times when I thought one person's negative comment or dissatisfaction with my work was going to be the end of me. Times when I thought no one would care about what I had to say (and there were times like that, where I would put things out there to the tune of crickets). But I'm still here. It always works out in one way or another. It's never as bad as I think it's going to be. In 5 years, I want to be able to say that I'm enjoying life. The stress of the last 5 years has left me in a place where I'm not sure how to be happy. I know that happiness is a choice and that I can find gratitude in anything, but I don't always know how to talk myself into that space mentally when I'm having an overwhelming day (which seems to be more often than not). I know stress isn't going to go anywhere, but I hope that in 5 years I have a better handle on managing it. I hope I'm allowing myself to live more. That's actually what I'm going to be talking a lot about on hitthegem.com because I always stay more accountable in my own goals when I'm letting other people in on them!
What tip would you give other introverted creatives who are looking to make meaningful connections with others? (Ya know, beyond the small talk) :)
Everyone wants to feel heard, everyone wants to feel important, and everyone wants to feel like they provide value. If you can make someone feel just one of these three things, you'll instantly create connection. Take more time to listen than you talk, speak up about the good things you need in someone, and ask others for insight (even if you don't use it).
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?
Listen, no one has it together, okay? Literally no one. I give you permission right now to stop trying to pull yourself together because it's simply not going to happen. Embrace the mess. Share your imperfections with others. Just be a human. That's the best way to find purpose and maybe even balance. I'm definitely not perfect at this by any means, but the more I learn to roll with the punches, the more energy I save for the things in life that really matter - like my family, friends, and cleaning my house (just kidding, that third one still doesn't happen!).
connect with allyn...
Facebook: Allyn Lewis