My Entrepreneurial Story So Far
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Hey! If we haven't met yet, my name is Louise and I teach talented creatives like you how to build a website that works. I've been building brands and websites for a long time but you can say that my path is a bit unique - so I thought I would share all of it with you today!
My entrepreneurial journey starts right out of university (side note: I studied International Development at McGill in Montreal though I wish I took marketing). I was determined to be an entrepreneur and there was no way I was going to get a standard 9-5. I had big dreams - I was going to create a big, successful brand and smile as I joyfully skipped down the entrepreneurial path. As I was about to find out, things usually don’t go this way…
Even though I had very little money (I was a recent grad after all), my impatient self dove straight in (I am still this impatient). Because I was new, I was convinced I had to come up with a completely brand new idea (heads up - this is not true!).
I finally came up with my first entrepreneurial endeavour - personalized necklaces designed to represent the meaning of names. Pretty unique idea, right? Here’s a few examples:
This was my first business, Nayme (pronounced "name"). What I now lovingly refer to as my real-life MBA.
Everything about running an online business was new to me - email marketing, design, manufacturing. There was so much to learn! So my first two years in business were spent staying up late researching and working around the clock to try and make it happen. Turns out we had selected a particularly difficult business model (there are a lot of names) and my partner Keriann and I ended up spending most of our time designing (up to 60 pendants!) when that time should have been spent marketing. And while we did have some fantastic months, it was much slower and more difficult than I had imagined.
After two years, I decided to step up and take it to the next level. I asked a successful entrepreneur I knew for coffee. Next thing I knew, I was flying to Hong Kong to attend a jewelry trade show with him and his business partner. An incredible life experience to say the least! But here’s where the story gets interesting - they suggested that we take a little holiday to Bali. Turns out that’s where I would find love! 3 months later I moved to Bali to be with my boyfriend, Nathan.
My plan was to continue to build Nayme - it was an online business after all! However, I had started to feel as though the product line was limiting and that unless I had big bucks to invest in it (to make the idea I had pictured in my head a reality) then we were going to continue to struggle. I finally understood online marketing and the power of branding and knew I should give it another try.
That leads to the second online business I co-founded with Nathan: See Ya Never, a streetwear brand designed to inspire an adventure. Things were so much easier this time. I knew we needed to be so much more than a clothing line and be a brand. And I loved the idea that the product range was so much more open! Things weren’t so specific as my jewelry line. We launched and things went great. We grew our Instagram following to over 10,000 in less than a year. We sold product around the world and had people identify with our brand message (saying, See Ya Never to the ordinary) so much that 20 people even tattooed our logo on their body. See Ya Never has been spotted on some of the world's biggest DJs and, thanks to our global team of brand ambassadors, we're growing more and more every day.
For the company we were trying to build, it was important to reinvest, so we didn’t want to pull a salary for ourselves right away. I had designed the website for Nayme, websites for a few friends and now the See Ya Never website, and I loved it. I realized, you know what? I could really help other entrepreneurs do this.
So, I launched Solopreneur Sidekick so that I could bring in an income while we built See Ya Never. And that’s when it all finally came together for me.
This time, I was my brand.
You know that feeling when you’re like, 'yup, this is what I was meant to do'. That’s what happened. I was helping other creatives build their brands, their websites and grow their online businesses. I realized I had a strong eye for a design, a love of blogging and a knack for teaching! Solopreneur Sidekick combined all my passions into one.
I realized I had come from a unique perspective because I came from the entrepreneur side vs. the designer side. I knew how to teach branding and web design in an easy-to-understand way because I knew how it felt to be overwhelmed, to have to juggle it all and to start with a low budget.
That's what led to the creation of my online course, Website that Wows. I've taken my unique step-by-step system for building a brand & website and turned it in an affordable, easy-to-follow solution for newbie entrepreneurs.
So, there you have it! That's my entrepreneurial story so far. If you would like to keep following my story, join me here:
Was your path unexpected too? Let me know in the comments!