I wanted to take a cute little minute to celebrate being in business for FIVE YEARS. WHAT?! Being self-employed is rarely easy, sometimes lonely, but it's always been creative. I started Wild Roots in 2018 when my partner Ben and I began our tiny living / travel chapter. It was partly out of necessity, work had to be mobile, but mostly because I've always wanted to work for myself. It was as good a time as any to try!
I'll be honest, it was terrifying.
I had been freelancing on the side for about two years by the time I quit my job and went out on my own. I had the benefit of absorbing skills, trial and error, testing out what services I wanted to offer, etc. before going all in.
Not so surprisingly, it was TOUGH for me to create efficient systems and establish consistency and connection with a community of clients while traveling full time from 2018-2020. "HOW do I best keep track of time, expenses, ongoing projects?! Am I working enough, too much, too little? What about internet out in the middle of the desert?!" Cue the self doubt. Sure, I wanted to be that carefree "digital nomad" type but let's be honest that's not real. The actual day-to day of it all did not work for me for so many reasons. And so began the quest for balance and growth!
Creativity and flexibility were always the goal, sure, but I found that direction, stability and consistency were equally as important when it comes to working for yourself. I did not have a financial safety net other than what my partner and I built ourselves, you know? We're often asked WHY we stopped traveling / bus living, well, this was a major aspect. I needed a dedicated space and better systems to serve clients (and my own health/happiness!) in the best way possible.
Where to start when you find yourself in a situation that you're unhappy with / is out of balance?! I forget where I heard about this self awareness exercise, probably Hidden Brain where I learn half of what I talk about on a daily basis. What I love about this tool is that it's a reflective process that builds on your self-awareness skills. Oh, something's challenging? Well, why? Let's break it down. Look within. Be willing to change in place, and also open to needing to adjust course.
Can you shift your internal mindset / perspective about the current situation?
Can you make external changes to the current situation?
If no, and no, adjust course.
It wasn't until 2020 when we established a BIT of roots in one geographic location that I really gained some much needed clarity and confidence. My how / why / what started to take shape.
I LOVE being the interpreter / translator of all things branding strategy / website design for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. I will teach, I will laugh, I will explain things in ways that we can all wrap our heads around. Because I care. That method means a lot to me. A lot of service providers don't let the client in or take the time to tailor proposals / recommendations / design elements / services to each client.
The human element is why I keep doing this work, not the time in front of a computer.
The pandemic was a wonky time of highs and lows, but it gave me an opportunity to build those administrative systems that were missing and establish some great working relationships in any way that I could. Having a bit more physical space to work helped too. Space is lovely. And an office. I BURST with appreciation for my flea market desk, chair and cozy office every day, still. Two and a half years later, it hasn't gotten old for me. I hope it never does.
I'm now wrapping up my fifth year in business. WHAT?!
This is wild because I feel like some of my family members still don't really know what I do because I never talk about it / still feel like it's a mirage. Uhh, I "do computer stuff."
Why do we do that to ourselves? I for one could certainly improve on being PROUD OF and CELEBRATING the messy, time consuming work of building the things, wherever you are at, knowing that it's an ever-evolving and imperfect process. Yup.
The Wild Roots day-to-day focus includes:
Website Design (Wordpress, Wix, etc.)
Brand Development (logo design, brand/style guides)
Consulting (guiding small businesses through brand-related strategy and ideas; what's the best way to achieve X, Y, Z within this budget, etc.)
AND NOW... Photography
You can browse more about the above on my Services page. I love when I can pepper in some business administration tips, e-commerce recommendations, point-of-sale research, etc. to help things run smoothly for clients. Every project is different! My only NOPE is social media. I leave that to those who enjoy it, and I stick to what I love! It's better for all.
I still feel like I'm just getting started with Wild Roots. There is a lot I want to explore and offer in the coming years. For now, I'll share a couple ah-ha moments from the last two years of imperfect building of the things.
You don't have to do everything on our own. I began collaborating with other talented people in the design / creative space over the last two years and it's added so much to my experience, happiness, and what I'm able to offer clients. Community is important. Part two to that is facetime. Just messaging / emailing through a screen isn't enough of a connection for me.
Stay open to new skills and directions based on what's needed and interesting to you. There are so many ways to go it can be overwhelming to know where to start. I'm asked OFTEN about what to start learning first in the digital / web design field. My answer is "whatever interests you and whatever people need!"
For me, it's important to work with small businesses or nonprofit organizations. I enjoy the diversity of needs, unique challenges and goals, and ability to choose their own trajectory, vs. being bound by corporate brand guides and standard operating procedures. Just real people trying to do awesome things. That's what I love.
SO! I guess it's not a mirage at all. Onto the next five years... 💚