Do you ever feel like you are trying and failing, but never getting anywhere? Rebecca Marie of Graphic and Web Designer/Owner of Bex Marie has been through the ringer, but she never lets a failure get the best of her. She was born with an entrepreneurial spirit. In her middle school days her passion included teaching herself HTML and how to build websites in her spare time. When college rolled around she decided to give computer science a chance. After realizing you use letters and not numbers, Rebecca said to herself “this isn’t as fun as web design anyway”. After breaking her leg in roller derby, yes this girl does it all, she started a part time job in soapmaking. The more time she spent in the handmade/soapmaker community, the more she found a huge gap for entrepreneurs who couldn’t afford their own graphic design, but wanted help creating their own website. Officially now a “serial entrepreneur”, this became the inspiration behind her new business – to help teach others how to DIY their own websites. Even though Rebecca thinks she has a hard time implementing the “Launch and Learn” method into her lifestyle, we think she is a great example of how beneficial this strategy is! Keep reading to find out why:
1. Where do you think your entrepreneurial spirit comes from? Are your parents entrepreneurs?
Partially it comes from my own personality because I love learning and enjoy doing new and interesting work. I like keeping things fresh and always having things to work towards. Additionally, yes, my dad is an entrepreneur. He ran his own construction business before and after I was born. He worked for an employer during my childhood, but after being laid off during the recession, he became a certified home inspector and picked back up with his own business – home inspections and construction. Plus, I have been employed by an entrepreneur for most of my adult career after college. (I for a big corporate job for a while, and I knew quickly I could not work in that environment for the long haul.) So looking at my dad and my boss run their own micro-businesses has made me realize it is possible to be self employed.
2. What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
“Launch and Learn”
It’s still hard for me to completely embody this concept even though I know it is true. I easily get caught up in consuming and learning without implementing and putting myself out there. The best way to learn is by doing, and I’m working hard to take this advice.
3. Okay so give us the low-down, what’s the worst business advice you’ve ever received?
Anything along the lines of, ‘You have to work pro-bono or cheap to build a portfolio & for experience’/ ‘Do this job free – it’ll be great exposure’. You don’t HAVE to do anything you don’t want to. If you undercharge because you feel like you’re supposed to or because you don’t have a lot of experience, you will become burnt out or resentful. You will lack motivation if you’re not being compensated properly. Plus those customers will be the worst (nit-picky, micro-managing, discount-seeking, cheapskates!). Just don’t even!
4. How did your jobs in high school and college prepare you for where you are today, and how many jobs did you have before starting your own company?
I taught myself HTML when I was in middle school and always knew I wanted to be a web designer. I really didn’t have that many jobs in high school and college. I did work at Geek Squad for a few months though! I had the same job for all 4 years in college as a student technician for the Classroom Tech Dept. (installing projectors, running wiring, testing & troubleshooting A/V equipment). I’ve tried to be involved in tech or design in some capacity, which has given me a few different perspectives and unique experience. I’d say learning how to troubleshoot has been very useful to me.
Honestly, my current full time job (yep, I’m still in start up mode) has been a HUGE influence and preparation for me. It was my first job out of college. When I was in college, there was no web design program specifically, so I went with graphic design. Luckily my portfolio and couple freelance projects was enough to get the job. I’m a graphic and web designer for a small local company (literally it’s just the CEO and me). I’ve worked in this company for nearly 5 years (non-consecutively) and SO MUCH of my knowledge I completely attribute to on-the-job learning since 2010.
5. How do you conquer those moments of doubt that so often stifle, trip up, or stop many entrepreneurs with great ideas…what pushes you through?
Sometimes I don’t even know how I push through, and I haven’t been doing this very long. Currently the things that keep me going the most right now are my dreams. My why is my desperation to ‘quit the 9-5’ and have more freedom, inspiring business FB Groups (like this one) and podcasts, and my fiancé. Touching on FB groups specifically, every day I get to see other entrepreneurs who are struggling with the SAME things I am – I see this is NORMAL. Everyone goes through this, and if they can do it, so can I. And my fiancé because pretty much on a weekly basis he asks me, “so when are we going to be millionaires?” Ha ha… My reply is “We’re working on it babe, someday!”
6. How do you think being an entrepreneur has turned you into a better person?
It’s given me the ability to dream big. A tiny spark of an idea just grows and becomes these HUGE THINGS and huge opportunities. I follow lots of inspirational successful entrepreneurs and their accomplishments literally blow my mind. I had no idea any of this was even possible a few years ago and now I’ve been opened up to an entire world of possibility. I just feel like I have such a different perspective now. I also feel so grounded and feel wiser, I can see my true desires and goals for my life and I feel like it’s possible to break the 9-5 mold
. You know, the never ending rat race: you have to work all week to pay for the house you’re never in and for the car/gas you need to commute to said job. I feel so enlightened to realize how messed up that is.
7. Top 3 websites/blogs that you can’t imagine your day without? Give your reasons.
I have to say the Google Empire. I am totally hooked on it all: Analytics, Adsense, Keyword planner tool, the Search Engine, Google Drive & documents, Gmail, Google Calendar, Chrome browser, Android OS, Maps, Hangouts on Air, Youtube. I literally live on Google. Ok besides that… Facebook. I mean I’ve been on there for 10 years. What else survives the internet that long (besides Google)!?! But only recently have I managed to leverage FB and use it for my advantage rather than simply a time killer. There is so much business and networking possibility on FB with so many amazing groups full of entrepreneurs. Plus having a business page and the ability to run such incredibly targeted ads (for cheap) is a great tool. Lastpass
. I have about 400 saved passwords on there. (I just did a rough count….woah.) I can’t even remember what it was like to have to remember passwords to every website I go to. I’d never get anything done.
8. Who is one person that you look up to in the web design world, and what have you learned from their success story?
. I already followed Maya and knew about her (and liked her), but after I heard her interview on the She Percolates Podcast and heard her story I could relate to everything she said. Her experience as a web and graphic designer is relatable, and her success story is a complete confirmation that I can do this too. What I’ve learned from Maya is it’s is okay to step outside my comfort zone, and to stop doing work that is stressful or unfulfilling. She has been an example of breaking the mold and carving her own path. Maya often talks about ‘stepping into your purpose’, which I always find very inspiring.
What about you, Gem? Are you pro “Launch and Learn”? Tell us below!