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Our First Six Months Check-In

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“Danny, you’re never going to be truly happy, both designing and earning your worth, until you are on your own – running your own business.”

-The late Larry Shearer. My dad.

I had been professionally designing for a few years but was hitting a wall. From a young age, all I wanted to do was draw and create. And as an adult, I wanted to help reach people through design. But here I was, in my twenties, feeling like something was off. I felt like I wasn’t reaching my full potential through design.

After expressing some struggles to my dad, his response was simple but incredibly wise and powerful. “… You’re never going to be happy…until you are on your own – running your own business.”

At first, those words brought fear and self-doubt. “I can’t. Too many unknowns.”

I moved to Colorado and began experiencing more appreciation, respect, and the ability to live the life that I wanted to live. I was starting to feel alive. And I knew that the day was quickly approaching when I would step out on my own, ready to impact more people, more businesses, and make more dreams become a reality, including my own.

But then tragedy struck.

After working in a physically grueling occupation that he disliked for over 30 years, my dad fell at a job and tragically passed away. Through that incredibly difficult and challenging time in my life, I learned some powerful things:

  • 1. Nothing in life is guaranteed.
  • 2. Appreciate where you’ve been and what you have.
  • 3. Life is short, and we aren’t promised tomorrow.

After dealing with the heartache of dad’s death and processing through a great deal within my own heart, I remembered his words spoken to me years before and knew that it was time. Time to step out on my own and run my own business.

At the end of 2019, I took the leap: leaving the corporate world after being in the field of design for ten years. And I launched CreativCat Design, full time, on January 1, 2020.

I knew that, through my business, I wanted to reach people, and cultivate a love and passion for branding. I wanted people to be purrroud of their brand. To know what their vision and mission were and to build their own dreams.

By stepping outside of my comfort zone, building my mission around others and their dreams, and giving it everything I had to honor my dad, I’ve reached both incredible depths and heights: professionally and personally.

And I’ve learned even more about myself and the beautiful world around me.

It’s been six months since I’ve been running CreativCat full time. And here’s what I’ve learned.

1. Take time for yourself. I took about a month of leave when I left the corporate world to reset and figure out my business plan. Since running full force with my team, I’ve learned to take days off when I need a reset. I put my skis to good use, climbed, hiked, biked, and spent time with the Captain (my furry friend and inspiration of CreativCat) — unplugging to come back to work, ready to help more people.

2. Be patient. I’ve always been very impatient, and I’m still learning the art of slowing down and waiting. But if it’s meant to work out, it will. And often, it’s in the waiting that I learn, grow, and become an even better designer and business owner.

3. Be aggressive, but not too aggressive. Seems hard to do both, right? But I have found that there’s a delicate balance between the two. I utilize every resource that I have, work hard, and don’t give up on reaching out to people and connecting with them. Networking is key to helping more people. I’m continually engaging, striving, and searching for who it is out there that I can help next.

4. Be different. My sister always struggled with being different. But it was her difference that made her shine. And she taught me to embrace my own differences. Now, I lean into them and make them work for me because I have talents and perspectives to bring to the table that no one else has. And the same goes for you. We’re all unique. Let’s embrace it! Find what makes you different and use that as your foundation.

5. Be creative. As a designer, I’m creative, yes. But we all are creative in unique ways. By allowing ourselves to be creative, we can start pushing, changing, and growing.

6. Find what works best for you. After leaving the corporate world, it took some time to find my schedule and rhythm. I have discovered that I am most creative in the morning when I take that first sip of coffee. I often design in the mornings and schedule meetings in the afternoons. I’ll unplug when I need to on the weekends and schedule everything through my Google calendar. Everything. Ha! It works for me. Find what works for you.

7. Be afraid. I was scared when I took that leap six months ago. But I did it with fear. And something amazing happened: I entered into a world that I had only dreamed of before. I was able to reach people on my own schedule, from my own office, and on my terms. And throughout the process, I changed and I grew. Be afraid. You’ll grow from it, trust me.

8. Lastly, HAVE FUN! Life is short, and the years fly by. Embrace it, run with everything you have, chasing those dreams. And never look back!

I love what I do, and I’m so happy that I took the leap. I’ve had some amazing opportunities to work with incredible people that I look up to, and that share the same passions as me.

At the end of this month, I get to launch something big that my team and I have invested a remarkable amount of time in. And the best part? I’ve been able to work with someone who greatly inspires me.

Check back on June 30 to see what we are talking about!

I’m excited to see what the rest of 2020 will bring – and if it’s anything like these past few months, it will be nothing but an incredible, exciting, and fulfilling adventure.

Like dad would’ve wanted it.

Danielle with her family