I sat down with Courtney, designer and owner of From Out West, to talk about how we as entrepreneurs can create a strong, authentic presence online. Check out the video below to listen in as we discuss how you can implement several strategies to be brave online!
What do you do, who do you serve, and how did you get into design?
Courtney: I run From Out West which is a branding and creative studio. I work with mostly service-based providers, but also all types of businesses. I’m not a huge fan of niching; I know that’s an unpopular opinion in this industry, but I firmly believe in it! I left my corporate job in 2019 and have been running my business full-time ever since. I did go to school for design, I have my Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from San Diego State (go Aztecs!). I did change my major, full disclosure, like seven times! Then it just kind of hit me one day that, “Oh, this creativity thing that I do for fun is a whole degree and a job that people do!” So I changed my major and I never looked back, it just made perfect sense after that.
Leaving your 9-5 and taking your design business full-time: how do you know when it’s time?
Knowing the reason why you want to leave your corporate job is a really important part of knowing if it’s the right time for you to do so. Is it because you want to be self-employed? Is it because you are passionate about what you would be doing in your business?
Having a corporate job can have many positive aspects, so pinpointing the pros and cons for both corporate employment and self-employment will help you in determining when and if it’s the right time to take your design business full-time.
Quickly Scaling Your Business
Investing in yourself is one of the best things you can do to help you grow your business more quickly. Investing in coaching is something that Courtney has found extremely valuable for her own growth…both personally and professionally!
Showing Up & Being Brave Online
I majorly struggled with this last year and I know I’m not alone here. In the video, Courtney and I talk about this because she does this SO well and I respect her so much for that because it IS NOT easy. We will touch on each of the following points in the video:
Letting your audience in on your vulnerable moments and mistakes
Wanting to be seen as an expert in your industry
Sharing teachable moments
The (false) idea that owning and running a creative business is all beautiful and smooth sailing.
Sharing real-life, real-world application and personal stories
Managing and setting personal boundaries on your business Social media platforms
Courtney does something so interesting on her business platform that I absolutely LOVE. She blocks her personal contacts from her stories. Her decision to do this has helped her personal and business development immensely! Doing this can allow you to make decisions that you normally may not and help quiet the voice of “what will they think?” But it’s not for everyone.
Who am I to be sharing and educating on this topic?
A lot of women -myself included- have an internal dialogue of, “Who am I to be sharing and educating on this topic… or even run a business at all?” It’s almost easier to think things would be better for us if we didn’t even try to show up in this space because then nothing bad will happen and no one will have an opinion about us. On any given day, we as creatives teeter-totter between “If anyone can do it it’s me!” and “Who am I to be doing this?”
In the video, Courtney and I address how can we leave this thinking behind and show up as we truly are in our spaces online.
How to Have a Confident Presence Online…Even If It Doesn’t Come Naturally
Even if you’ve never done an Instagram Live, you can still find ways to show up brave online consistently and confidently as your true self! I like to think of it as a muscle that you flex… the more you flex it, the better -and stronger- you get! In the video, we’ll discuss:
How we can leave our insecurities behind and show up authentically in our spaces online
How we can get better at showing up brave online as our true selves and practice this both personally and professionally
talking about failures & growth
A lot of people want to be seen as an expert in the design world. What gets lost in the process are the teaching moments. We all know things are happening behind-the-scenes, but it’s so rare for people to open up about them…especially on social media. Something else that Courtney does so well is sharing those teachable moments with her followers, creating a space for learning and growth.
space for new business owners
This is a personal opinion of mine, but I believe that when teachable moments and failures aren’t shared with others in the design space, it can really hurt the growth of the designers earlier on in their careers. It gives them the unrealistic perception that running a creative business is all smooth-sailing. I would rather see people show up online through the difficulties and not hide that part of it. Social media needs more real-life and stories are the perfect place to share that!
Outsourcing In Your Life
As awesome as outsourcing in your business is, outsourcing in your personal life (housework, childcare, yard work, errands, chores, etc.) is just as liberating! Giving yourself the opportunity to focus on your business and be more successful by getting those responsibilities off of your plate benefits everyone involved!
Follow Courtney on Instagram here.
If you enjoyed this video, leave a comment below! Tell me your thoughts and what other topics you would enjoy hearing more about in the Build a Better Brand series!
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I’m Katie, the brand strategist, designer, dreamer, and entrepreneur behind Artful Brands. Dreamy typefaces, clean layouts, and soft color palettes are my love language— but more importantly designing strategic brands that book.