Welcome to a new series on the blog.
I’ve been wanting to do an interview series like this for a while. And the start of maternity leave seemed like a great time to get started.
The Creative Crush Interview series is where I take you behind-the-computer screen of my favorite online entrepreneurs. It also gives me a chance to be nosy and dig deeper into the fears of creative entrepreneurs and how they overcome their biggest challenges. Who doesn’t love to hear more about that?
For the first few interviews, I want to introduce you to people who are very important to my business. They’re either on my team or have had a huge impact in where my business is now.
First up – Val Geisler, my project manager/Client Happiness Specialist. If you’ve recently reached out about starting a new project, you’ve most likely been in touch with Val. She’s my front line — especially while I’m away on maternity leave. She holds down the fort and makes sure that everything is taken care of with current and future clients. She’s pretty dang vital to my biz.
So, let’s get to know her.
Val, take it away!
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1. Tell us about yourself.
I’m Val, owner of aspire&grow. I’m in love with my family, really good dark chocolate, and simplifying the back end of online businesses.
2. When + how did you start your business?
In February of 2012 I was fired from my event management job. At the time, aspire&grow was a side gig and I had just one client. At first I was scared out of my mind but now I can tell you it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I was fired on a Wednesday and by Friday I had a full client docket – clearly I was meant to do this.
3. What was one role you had in the past that prepared you for what you do now?
I went to school for Theatre Production and that experience serves me every day. I worked behind the scenes in theatre and opera companies across the country for 6 years and I quickly learned what it was like to get something off the ground and turn it into a real product in a short amount of time. I also got really good at working my connections to land my next gig and I use my “connector” skills every day with my 1 on 1 coaching clients.
4. I’m nosy… what does a “typical” day look like for you? How do you manage your time each week?
Ha! If I HAD a typical day I think I would be bored out of my mind. While every day has a rough outline – check in with clients in the morning via Skype, tackle the projects for the day via Basecamp mid-day, and tend to the daily needs of my own biz in the late afternoon – the schedule really varies based on what’s going on with each of my clients and in my own life. Time management is huge for me as a momma and business owner. I use Basecamp with my clients to stay organized and keep the lines of communication open.
For my own business I use Evernote to organize my emails into tasks and store all of my findings from my research. Since a huge part of my business is recommending the perfect product for task management, social media scheduling, etc., I am constantly researching and trying out new products and programs. I can’t tell you how many free trials of products I’ve done!
5. What’s the scariest thing you’ve done in your business, so far, that has paid off?
Just starting was scary. Knowing that I had a short period of time to fill my client roster and pay the bills was pretty fear inspiring. That said, I’m always moved into action by fear (instead of staying stagnant) so the scary stuff only helps move me forward.
6. Any failures that you’ve learned from?
I’ve worked with some clients that weren’t right for me – and I knew it right away but kept working with them. I thought that it would get better over time and it just didn’t. Now I know my red flags and I refer those peeps to the right person for them. I was always afraid to turn down work thinking that there wouldn’t be any more to come. Now I know that there is plenty of love and work to go around and that if I let go of clients who aren’t right for me, it opens up space for the perfect person to come sailing in!
7. What have been (or still are) your biggest fears and challenges, and how do you overcome them?
Money. Straight up, I’m always afraid that it will run out, that the IRS is going to send me a bill for giant unpaid taxes I didn’t know about, that the bottom is going to drop out. Even just saying that makes me realize that it’s fairly unfounded (I do a good job of balancing the books and saving for a rainy day) but it’s always been a huge fear since striking out on my own.
8. What 3 pieces of advice would you offer to fellow creative entrepreneurs?
- Just do it. Don’t get stuck in perfection. That goes for everything from your blog posts to your products to starting something new. Get out there and do it and learn along the way!
- Ask for support. We are each experts at something really unique and that’s such a gift. Get involved in a group of business owners (Facebook is full of these groups) and participate. Offer your expertise and ask for help when you need it. We are all here to support each other.
- Make time for fun. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of starting and running a business. All of a sudden your laptop is out while you are watching movies with the kids or you’re passing on brunch to spend time in your biz. It’s okay to do this every now and again but be sure to put it all away and have a little fun every now and again. After all, what’s the fun of being on this wild ride if you can’t enjoy the scenery along the way!
9. And just for fun — what have you been working on that we should keep an eye out for?
I just launched a fun and free quiz to help you figure out what kind of support you need in your biz. It’s called Support:Simplified and you can check it out right here.
Oh, and my mentorship program, Business Booster, is gearing up again and I have some really lovely business owners involved. A group component is coming soon, too. For now, my 1×1 spots are filling up so shoot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to jam on all things in the backend of your biz!
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Hope you enjoyed that interview. If you want to connect with her, head over to Twitter and say HI!