This blog post series spotlights women entrepreneurs kicking butt in business. We all play so many roles in life that it can seem overwhelming to also run a business. I hope you find their success stories inspiring. Happy Marketing, Danielle
Danielle Talks With Designer Laura James
Laura James is a designer and photographer that works with entrepreneurs, freelancers, and family businesses to create strong brand identities that they can be proud of. Laura James Studio was founded on the belief that every brand needs a professional, and unique style that makes it stand out. Laura started photography and graphic design in her teens, and is a proud military wife and mom.
Laura, tell us about your business. What makes Laura James Studio unique?
- I love small business and entrepreneurs. I even have a minor in family business, and I’ve grown up surrounded by the lifestyle that comes with it. My parents opened their business on my first birthday! Thankfully, because of my unique upbringing and lifestyle, I am able to see a business from a wide variety of perspectives. I am the freelancer. I am the child of an entrepreneur. I am the wife, the mother, the friend, the mentor, the contractor, the employee, and the client. I have experienced each of these areas first hand and am excited to share my knowledge with the world!
At Miller Media, we believe in order to find solutions to business problems, sometimes we need to step away from business. Can you recall a time when taking time off helped your business?
- Just about three years ago I decided to split my business into two aspects. Design and Family Photography. I had the knowledge and equipment for both, and loved both concepts equally. I had already established myself as a brand specialist working in the corporate world, and planned to continue that while photographing locally. It didn’t take long for me to be completely burned out. My website and brand fit one side of my business, but not the other. I wasn’t being true to myself either. I found that I lost my love for photography entirely, and was starting to give up on designing as well. I decided that a vacation would help fix my problem and so off to Connecticut I went. During that time I was hit by not one but TWO blizzards, making it nearly impossible for me to do any work. Instead I was able to reflect on what I was doing, and what I really wanted to do. I completely restructured my business and ultimately my life. The result is a much more successful business and happier me.
What were two big investments you’ve made in your business? Were they worth it?
- My biggest investment in my business has been my time. I’d like to think I’m still pretty young (I’ll be 30 on April 15th.. so I’ll let the readers decide lol) and I have a young family. My time is insanely valuable to me. While I’ve got a series of workflows and systems that are now in place, it took a while for me to develop them. Still, by investing my time upfront, I’ve been able to minimize the amount of time I work now, so that was completely worth it.
- My second largest investment has been a fully decked out MacBook. Since I am constantly on the move bringing my son to Preschool, or waiting in the lobby for doctors, or for a 10 week period on bedrest and unable to get to my main computer, this has been a lifesaver for me. As a military spouse I move a LOT and I hope to get to a point where my business can be 100% mobile (meaning I have one bag that I need to encompass it all). The laptop is the first step to that, and a completely necessary one. Now all I need is the perfect bag to carry it in!
Laura, you’re a mom, an entrepreneur, and a designer. What brings you happiness?
- There are so many different answers for this I can’t even narrow it down. My family first and foremost of course always makes my heart swell. I couldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for their support and love. I also love Mingo, my business mascot. Mingo the flamingo is a stuffed animal that I picked out years ago on a trip to Flamingo Gardens in Miami. He’s got a bio on my about page if you want to read more about him too. I’ve had a lot of fun memories both personal and business that are tied to flamingoes, so when I see him sitting on my desk, I always smile!
Laura is an inspiring entrepreneur with years of experience in design and photography. Go meet Mingo and learn more about her. If you’d like to learn from Laura, make sure to check out her super-helpful blog. This article about Setting Up Your Custom Domain Email with Gmail is one of my favorites!
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