Colorful Creatives: & She’s Brave / Brave Girl Club

Happy Friday! Only twelve days left till Christmas, and even through I’ve been swamped this week with work, I’m full of holiday spirit! I finally checked out Frosty’s Christmas Bar and wow that place really is a winter wonderland! I went to Frosty’s with my amazing and talented cousin Michelle to celebrate her graduating from Northeastern Illinois University and becoming an elementary school teacher. Proud cousin moment! It’s amazing to be around other strong, confidant women that have found their calling and that are pursuing their passions. Wishing you the best of luck on this new chapter of your life Michelle!

On that note of strong, confident women. Meet Lizzie, graphic designer, social media guru, and branding extraordinaire for & She’s Brave and the Brave Girl Club. Sometimes life puts you on a completely different path than you expected and while it may not always be great, there’s usually a reason and a silver lining. For me, this year had it’s ups and downs, but meeting Lizzie was a silver lining. Lizzie was an instrumental part in building my confidence to finally start my own business. Since we both went through the process of becoming entrepreneurs around the same time, it’s been awesome to reach out to each other for feedback and support. Her online community The Brave Creative | A Community for Brave Girls with Big Dreams actually inspired me to start Colorful Creatives, as I was connecting with other like minded creatives in her group. One of the best things about Lizzie is that she is so authentic. She knows who she is, what she likes and shes not ashamed to just be herself. I hope you enjoy reading about Lizzie’s journey to becoming her own boss and living her best life!


 
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Lizzie Benson | & She’s Brave / Brave Girl Club

IG andshesbrave

IG bravegirlclub

Pinterest bravegirlclub

FB andshesbrave

 

1. How did you get started with & She’s Brave and Brave Girl Club? Do you have an educational background in your field?

I started a blog my freshman year of college as a creative outlet. I quickly found a wonderful community online and started to get more serious about blogging, social media, etc. Over the years, I taught myself a ton about social media strategy, marketing, and graphic design as I worked on my own website and social channels. My junior year of college, I started marketing my services as a virtual assistant and social media manager. I found a couple wonderful clients quickly and worked with them for a number of years. I was earning a degree in Journalism, but had figured out through my side gig that I was much more interested in marketing, PR, and social media than I was traditional news journalism. My senior year I applied for a social media internship at my university’s communications department. I never heard back about it until I got a phone call like 3 months later from the head of the marketing department. She said that the person who was running the social media internship had passed along my info to her, and they wanted to meet with me to see if I’d be interested. Long story short, I got the internship in the marketing department and it turned into my first full time job after graduation. I worked there for a year and a half, then at the beginning of this year, I moved to Chicago for another job in social media. I was still working on design, blogging, and my own brand in my free time. The new job turned out not to be a good situation, and it gave me the push I needed to pursue my own business(es) full time as of October of this year!

 
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2. Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I never in a million years thought I would end up as an entrepreneur, mostly because I always thought it was at odds with my creative sensibilities. But I should have known, because as a child I was constantly making crafts or marketing services to my poor family members to make some extra pocket money. I used to paint shiny pennies with glittery clear nail polish and sell them as “lucky pennies” for 50 cents. Now that’s a good profit margin!

3. Do you work a day job or are you full time on your business? When did you know it was the right time to go full time on your business?

Just over a month ago I took my business full time. To be honest, I had no idea if it was the right time or not. It had been my side hustle for over 5 years and while I had a distant dream of someday being my own boss, I definitely didn’t think I’d paid enough dues to make that a reality as a 24 year old. However, I was working a job that made me miserable every single day and it was increasingly becoming a worse and worse situation. I knew I needed to change courses, but the idea of interviewing around and finding just another 9-5 job that I knew I wouldn’t be 100% passionate about bummed me out so much. I started saving up all my extra money (which was no easy feat, I’m a total shopaholic) and having long conversations about finances and plans with my boyfriend and with myself. I realized there would never be a time where it felt 100% right to take the leap, so I finally just had to do it. And I’ve been so blessed to have seen my hard work pay off in the past month.

 
 

4. What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome with owning your own business?

My main one right now is time management. Working from home every single day and setting your own schedule is wonderful, but it can be easy to lose focus and not know what to spend time and energy on. I remember waking up on my first day as a full time business owner and sitting down at my desk, ready to work - then having absolutely no idea what I was supposed to be doing. I had so many to do lists but all the things I wanted to accomplish turned into a spiraling black hole in my mind. Being organized and learning how to be a good time manager are invaluable skills as a business owner.

5. What is your favorite & least favorite “hat” to wear as a business owner?

My favorite hat to wear is probably that of the creator. As in, I love being able to sit down at my computer and work on creative things that fill up my soul and know that I’m helping other amazing business women build beautiful brands and pursue their own dreams and goals. My least favorite hat is definitely the accountant. I hate math and I hate thinking about taxes and cash flow. This is definitely the first thing I’m going to outsource when I get to that point.

 
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6. How do you stay motivated?

By reminding myself how incredibly lucky I am to be doing what I do now. Sometimes when I get bogged down or overwhelmed or frustrated it’s easy to fall into an ungrateful mindset. When that happens I take a second, take a breath, and tell myself that I get to wake up everyday and choose where I work and when and on what. And that is an amazing freedom to have, and I never want to take it for granted.

7. What are you working on right now?

I currently have three different clients who I am helping create a brand identity and logo for their businesses. That is my absolute FAVORITE thing to do. I love logos and wordmarks and designing them, but I also love digging in deep to other people’s businesses and learning what they’re passionate about and who they help and what makes them tick. It’s so fulfilling and so fun!

 
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8. Where is your favorite place to work?

Any coffee shop. I just love the hustle and bustle and being able to be part of a crowd while still keeping to yourself. It’s so comforting to me to set up shop in the corner of some cozy coffee shop and get to work.

9. Where do you look for inspiration?

I love reading other lifestyle and design blogs and scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest. There are so many incredible people in the world creating such beautiful things. The trick is to not get bogged down by the comparison game, especially on social media, which can be a fine line to walk sometimes!

 
 

10. How do you start your Monday?

I grab a cup of coffee, sit down at my desk, browse through my favorite blogs for inspiration, then spend a while answering emails and tending to whatever admin tasks I need for the day. I also like to take a look at my priorities and what I need to work on for the day and the week.

11. What are some colors you are connecting with right now?

Literally everything I create right now is either mustard gold, blush pink, or dusty blue. I don’t know what it is with the gold, but I’m so drawn to it. Everything I gravitate to is that color.

 
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12. What are some of your favorite textures/ materials?

I’m such a sucker for velvet anything, and I really love natural woven textures lately.

13. What is something you could not live without?

COFFEE.

 
 

14. Where is your favorite place to travel and with who?

Any place I haven’t been before. I love exploring new places with my best friends or my boyfriend.

15. What’s your favorite thing to do in Chicago?

I love exploring all the cool and quirky little neighborhoods that are all over the place in Chicago. But I also really love walking around Michigan Avenue. Yes it’s totally touristy and crowded and sometimes super overwhelming, but I’ve wanted to live in a big city since I was like 8 years old, so I love to take a moment, stare up at all the giant buildings and lights and people and remind myself how lucky I am to be here.

16. Any inspirational books you recommend?

          I love Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Yes Please by Amy Poehler and Bossy Pants by Tina Fey. Basically any inspirational book by an amazing woman is a gold star for me.