Welcome to the second interview in my Building A Life You Love series, which is all about the talented women from around the web who have inspired me with how they have authentically pursued creative endeavours so that they can build a lifestyle and a career that feeds their soul as much as it pays the bills. For today's interview I have Kory Woodard, a freelance designer and blogger whose online presence is one I've loved keeping up with for quite a few months now.
Kory's story inspires me, and is one I'm super excited for her to share with you today, because she started her now successful branding and design business while in college and has a 'go for it' attitude that I can really relate to when it comes to starting a business so young. Her blog is one of my favourites to keep up with and I highly recommend checking it out and following along, but first up here is our recent interview where I picked Kory's brain about her story so far, her advice for recent and soon-to-be graduates who want to start their own creative business, and the biggest blogging lessons she's learned along the way so far.
Kory, tell us a little more about your story so far?
Although I had always been really into the Internet and such while I was growing up, it was when I started college that I really began getting more into it. I made a Tumblr account, interacted more on Twitter, and in my sophomore year was exposed to an online magazine that I applied for and ended up working at for just under a year.
Being exposed to that magazine was the best thing that could have happened to me because it got me deeper into the Internet. I started finding blogs, got interested in creating my own, and was developing my design skills through editorial work for the magazine.
That same year of college, I took the leap and started my blog after encouragement from a blogger I looked up to as well as my (now) husband. A year later I started doing some design work for people around the web, ultimately launching my design business.
Today I'm regularly blogging and working with passionate women around the globe to help them really kickstart following their dreams in one way or another.
We’d love to know more about your work and what drives you as a creative?
I'd say although I put myself out into the world primarily as a designer, I do so much more than that. Brand coaching and mentoring come in to play. Regardless of what I'm doing, though, I'm ultimately getting out of bed every day to help passionate women work towards following their dreams and cultivating the life they dream of. Seeing those women be successful as they move through their own journeys continues to drive me to keep pushing.
For you, what does building a life you love look like?
Building a life I love means creating a good balance between my work and my personal life. I absolutely love the work I do every day, but I passionately love my personal life - spending time with my husband and our new puppy. I know that if I'm not careful, too much work can set that balance off and ultimately leave me feeling frustrated and unhappy. So knowing that, I try to work hard during my office hours and play (and relax) hard during the rest of the time. If we don't carve out that personal time, whatever that means for us, for ourselves it can hurt us in so many ways, which is why I truly value it and the effect it has on cultivating this great life I get to live.
You started your branding and design business while you were still in college, do you have any advice for any soon-to-be or recent graduates hoping to do the same?
Oh, I'm sure I have tons! A simple piece of advice would be get yourself online, like now. I credit my thoughts of starting my business to already having a presence (be it small at the time) online. It absolutely helped me get started.
My more complicated advice is twofold: consider if this is what you really want to do, and if it is shut out the naysayers. That doesn't mean you can't be friends with them, but if you listen to their opinions on what you're doing you may find yourself giving up before you even get started. I had a few peers and professors in college that were apprehensive about what I was doing when they heard about it. The professors in my art department weren't actively pushing this as a doable goal for us after graduation. However, I knew what I wanted to do and worked my tail off to make it happen. It's all about going after what's right for you at full speed.
You run a fantastic blog alongside your business, what are the biggest blogging lessons you’ve learned along the way so far?
That it takes time to find our blogging sweet spot, and that it's constantly changing as we grow as people. It took me these last three years to get to my sweet spot, and I anticipate it changing as I go through life.
If you let it, your blog can introduce you to some of the most amazing people you will ever meet or be inspired by. I have made some truly amazing friends over the last few years of blogging, but it wasn't through just sitting back and letting them come to me. Through collaboration or something as simple as sharing someone's post on Twitter, you can meet some truly great people. That's one thing I'll always be happy that came from this experience.
Oh, and that your story is inspiring to someone. I don't necessarily think of myself as the most inspiring person out there. I trip up on things just like everyone else. I spend too much time deciding how much of my personal life to put online. However, all of that fades away when I get an email saying someone has been inspired by my honesty in my newsletter or by my work and started learning design. Every one of those emails literally makes my day.
What have been the biggest struggles you’ve faced while carving out a life you love, and how have you overcome them?
Balance and comparison, hands down. I already touched a bit on comparison, but I try to overcome that struggle by sticking to working hours and getting things done during that time so I can live this lovely life I'm creating the rest of the time.
Comparison is a tough one to overcome, but I think when I find myself going down that slippery slope, I try to remind myself that the Internet is such a big space, and there's enough room for all of us - even if we have similar goals. It's also important to remind yourself that people like you for YOU, and that's something no one else can offer.
Do you have any final words of wisdom for any fellow creatives who want to take a leap into doing more of what they love?
Honestly - just go for it. When I'm thinking of launching something new or trying a new blog series, I do a fair amount of second guessing myself. If I do too much, it keeps me from trying to do whatever I was thinking about. Instead of second guessing yourself and never following your dreams, whatever they may be, just go after it. Take one step towards your dreams and goals. Then take another. Confucius said it best when he said, "It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop."
I would love to know - what does building a life you love look like for you?
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