Women who run their own business is empowering and inspirational. Whenever I stumble across a new business, the first thing I do is click on their "About" page. I love to learn more about their business and why they started it and a peak more into their personal life. I am starting a new blog series call #BossBabeChats where you will get to learn more about a specific women run business! This week, we have Bonnie from B is for Bonnie Design. She is truly the sweetest and I am excited for you to learn more about her successful design studio.
My name is Bonnie – I’m a brand designer, strategist, writer, wife and pet parent to the most rambunctious golden retriever this side of the Mason-Dixon. I'm blessed to share life with my college sweetheart, and together, we're wholeheartedly pursuing a life filled with more joy and adventure in our renovated 1940's bungalow in Waco, Texas. I believe in giving others grace like it's going out of style, that handwritten thank you notes are always a good idea, and that loving people fiercely is what this little heart of mine was made for. I have a weakness for a good shade of blush, soy lattes and Tex-Mex, although preferably not together!
Why did you start your business?
I actually started my business the Spring semester of my graduating year during my undergrad in 2012. I was preparing to graduate from college, move halfway across the country to a new state, and marry my college sweetheart so I had a lot going on at the time! But I knew that in that season of so much joyful newness, I wanted to be able to pour into a passion project that was wholly mine no matter where life took me and my soon-to-be-husband. So with my college laptop in hand and a self-taught passion for graphic design, I launched a little website and a humble Etsy shop to sell printable wedding invitations and pre-made branding templates. It's been incredible to see how things have changed since then!
Is where your business is now, originally where you thought it would be? (example, did you always want to mentor other business owners)
Like I said, I actually started b is for bonnie design as an online storefront for printable wedding invitations. It wasn't until I was asked to create logos for industry friends that I realized how my degree in Journalism and my experience with PR & Marketing could marry with my graphic design skills to help creatives tell their stories well through strong brand identities. After launching in 2012, I quickly nixed wedding invitations from my line of services and I leaned full force into brand design and strategy. Since then, I've been able to add on services like one-on-one mentoring for fellow creatives and speaking. I'm passionate about equipping others in the industry to build intentional businesses, and whether that's through custom brand design or one-on-one education, it's a joy to be able to pour into others to watch their businesses flourish.
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I think my first dream was to be a princess (Disney style), but when I realized that glass slippers and fairy godmothers aren't exactly easy to find, I set my sights on journalism. I've been writing for as long as I can remember, and I loved the idea of telling others' stories with a commitment to truth and diligence. Once I found a way to marry my journalism experience with graphic design, I leapt at the chance to build my own career as a brand designer and strategist!
What was the best business advice you've received?
That's tough to answer! I've received some incredible advice over the years, but one truth that's been on my mind lately is "Action breeds clarity." Instead of sitting on the sidelines, analyzing what can be or which path to take, there comes a point where you must take action. Only when we choose to bravely put one foot in front of the other can we recognize what works, what doesn't work, and how we can continue to move forward with true clarity.
What is your advice for other women who are launching a business?
Be courageous! Starting a business takes gumption, hard work and a willingness to do the work. It can be terrifying to put it all out on the line and dive headfirst into making your dreams happen. But your dreams are absolutely worth the risk. Insecurity and fear will only keep you in the planning phase indefinitely, and the joy that comes from creating your life's best work far outweighs the temporary feelings of self-doubt or nervousness.
Is there anything you wish you would have done sooner in your business?
If I could go back in time, I’d let myself know that balance is key to running a healthy and sustainable business. I’d encourage myself to build a life, not an entrepreneurial legacy. Over the years that I've been in business, I've found that life is too short to chase after dollar bills and miss out on sharing your days with those you cherish. Creating realistic office hours, setting clear boundaries with client work, and protecting my personal time so I can recharge at the end of the workday were actionable strategies that transformed the way I worked. I implemented this approach in my second year of business, but if I could have built a business with this structure from the start, I can only imagine how much happier and healthier I would have been during my first year as an entrepreneur.
What other women in business do you admire & why?
I look up to my sweet friends Katie O. Selvidge, Shanna Skidmore, and Jenna Kutcher so much. They each navigate entrepreneurship with such determination, grace, and intentionality. After any conversation with one of these women, I feel like I walk away feeling more encouraged, capable, and just a little bit smarter, too!
Is there a business book (or any book!) that you have read that changed your outlook on things?
Start with Why by Simon Sinek is one of my all-time favorites! As a brand designer, I think of it as required reading for my clients who are ready to dig deep into the heart of their brands and operate their businesses from a clearly defined place of Why.