Last night Hollywood had it’s award ceremony and today we get to have a celebration of our very own! Dim the lights, pass out the popcorn, and get ready to witness an amazing transformation. Adriana Willsie entered our New Biz/New Year giveaway in December because she was ready to make 2012 her year and to build a business that would support her while she did the work of her dreams. We were won over by her contagious optimism, bright engaging smile, and the obvious joy she brings to her work. I dare you to watch her entry without smiling. After winning 3rd prize in our contest Aeolidia treated Adriana to a custom logo designed by the brilliant Sara Jensen. Arianne of Aeolidia and I got Adriana’s feedback on her extreme business makeover and if winning our giveaway really did end up changing everything. Watch Adriana’s reaction to winning our giveaway and sound the drum roll please…
Jessika: Hola colorful lady I am so happy to have you here. This is my absolute favorite part of our whole giveaway-the big reveal of your new look. Its like Extreme Makeover Business Edition! You entered our giveaway hoping to propel your new business to superstardom in 2012. Your entry and enthusiasm impressed all of us and we chose you for 2nd place! So, did winning our giveaway change everything? How?
Adriana: Well, let’s just say that in the 45 days since winning the contest, I’ve gotten a gorgeous new logo, redesigned my website, met a couple hundred new online buddies, and did my very first craft show! So, the short answer is: heck yes.
But winning the contest has given me so much more than just the rebranding, the books, and the new connections; I’ve come away from this experience with a whole new level of professionalism and confidence in what I do. I feel like I’ve gone from a girl with a paintbrush and a dream to a gal with a real business and a grown-up brand.
And you know what I’ve learned? Professionalism + confidence = hello, sales! This past month, I did double the sales that I would have previously expected. I don’t say this to brag, but rather to illustrate how making small tweaks and strategically investing in your business can get you big results
Arianne: What surprised you about working with a designer on your brand? Did the process go as you expected?
Adriana: The two things that surprised me the most about the rebranding process were: 1) how mind-bogglingly fun it was, and 2) how brain-twistingly hard it was to make a final choice. The process itself couldn’t have been easier, even if the decision-making was hard. Aeolidia had me start by filling out a detailed questionnaire about my business’s identity and my target market. After reading my preferences and checking out a sample of my handwriting, my uber-talented designer Sara mocked up the first set of logos in three different color palettes.
Let me tell you, looking at your name written in 7 different super-gorgeous and creative ways makes you feel like a kid in a very colorful candy store. I wanted to pick them all! The decision was so hard that I ended up mocking up my website with each different logo, making a PowerPoint presentation, and sending it to some of my friends and family for feedback (can you say, overkill?). I agonized over the decision, but ultimately went with the logo that had caught my eye from the moment I first saw it!
Now that my logo is done (and that I’ve slapped it on absolutely everything) I feel like there’s been a seismic shift in the level of professionalism in my business. I feel as though I’ve officially taken that step from hobbyist to creative entrepreneur.
Arianne: Was it hard to let go and have someone else create an identity for your business? What would you say to other small business owners who are thinking of doing the same?
Adriana: Before working with a real graphic designer, I was definitely guilty of sporting a “DIY or bust” mentality. When I first started my business on a shoestring budget, I had to do everything myself! And I got very used to that. When I won the logo design package, I figured it would be super fun to work with a designer, but I also thought of it more as a bonus than as a necessity. Now that I’m on the other side, and stamping my shiny, new logo on anything that moves, I can really see the benefit of having a professionally-designed brand. It was definitely hard to let go of the creative process. I mean, after all, I am an artist! But the result was so worth it. A painter doing graphic design is kind of like a dentist doing acupuncture. Yeah, you’re sorta in the same field, but you should probably leave that kind of work to the professionals! You’ll thank yourself later.
Jessika: Did this giveaway make your dreams seem more reachable? Of course you were already working hard to grow your business but do you feel having the support of our community and giveaway sponsors has helped you reach further, stretch higher or feel more confident in your work?
Adriana: Oh my gosh, my answer is a resounding yes! It’s been so wonderful to connect with such a talented and incredible group of creative people. As a community, OMHG folks have such a wealth of experience and knowledge, and it blows my mind how openly everyone shares it with one another. I’ve learned so much in the past month from e-books, blogs, and one-on-one conversations. I can only hope that I have the opportunity to contribute as much to this community as it has given to me (a tall order, for sure)!
You won some other fun goodies in addition to your new logo, what did you take away from your books by Erin Giles & Meagan Visser? Also I hope you are writing some handwritten letters with Moxie Pear’s package of sweetness!
Adriana: I’ve been having a grand old time drawing on, drawing with, and reading my package of prizes! The first thing I explored was the Cultivate Your Creativity e-book. It was such a refreshing way to jumpstart the creative process, and I found myself turning to it when my brain needed a break from number crunching. Next, I read through Meagan Visser’s e-book on SEO and search relevancy for Etsy shops. It’s packed with very clearly-explained and manageable tasks that help you pump up your Etsy store traffic! I’ve already implemented about 2/3rds of her tips, and I am seeing my traffic begin to rise. Then on to Erin Giles’ e-book Give It Away Now. I’d never really thought about how powerful a marketing tool giving stuff away could be! What I loved most about her book was that it explained how to market yourself without spending a dime. Yes, please! And I’m so excited to use my Moxie Pear goodies to write my first letter in years! I recently joined a pen pal project, and they will be the perfect set of tools.
Jessika: What is next in your plans for spreading your unapologetic enthusiasm in 2012 & where can we expect to see you taking your business this year?
Adriana: Well, I’m going to start by celebrating my little website’s big new look with a pet portrait giveaway on my blog this week! Be sure to stop by and check it out. And after that, well, I think it’s full steam ahead with reading, learning, writing, improving my marketing, blogging, and meeting new people — all while painting as many pet portraits as I can! Some of my big goals for this year include breaking into the craft show circuit (just had my first show last week!), building relationships with brick and mortar pet stores and groomers, and continuing to meet and collaborate with other businesses online. I cannot wait to see where I’ll stand one year from today with the help of the whole OMHG community!
Follow along Adriana’s journey by visiting her: