I stumbled upon violetminded Design last week thanks to their interview with Tara Gentile and instantly I knew this was someone I had to share with you! I know you’re going to be blown away by the sheer passion and personality of Amanda. She dished on all the hard troubles her business went through and what she had to do to become the shining star she is today. You’re going to love it!!
In case people don’t know about you and your amazing business, would you mind sharing what you do?
I spin web dreams into reality. Or, in a less esoteric way, I build online spaces for creative entrepreneurs. I help them find their visually-charged voice with a lovingly ruthless vision and a gentle touch. We write love letters to their People and bask in brilliance. Beautiful design for beautiful people.
A certified, card-carrying code monkey from the trenches of computer science, I bootstrapped my way into business ownership with fifty bucks on my credit card and a head full of dreams.
Since launching violetminded Design in 2009, I’ve helped over a hundred gorgeoustacular people take a step towards their Big Dream through Bold Design that truly captures the essence of who they are, what they do, and why they do it.
I ruthlessly (and lovingly) get to the root of “why” in order to get to the very visual “what”. The violetminded process is a combination of psychology, science, and good ol’ intuition. Each step is designed to delight and dazzle as we dance our way into the history books.
You get to rock out with so many amazing ladies and gentlemen at violetminded Design! What has that opportunity allowed you to give to others and what has it given you?
My very first real paying client was Allissa Haines. She paid me the most money I’d ever received for a design and said to me, “Amanda, I think you’re brilliant. Now brilliant up my website.” She took a chance on me. It took one person to believe in me and my biz to bolster me from shoddy-broke-ass-n00b to brilliant-breeds-brilliance-biznez-owner.
Because of that investment, I’ve taken myself more seriously (in a non-serious kind of way) and been able to focus my fire on delivering a luxurious process alongside a beautiful end-product. All it took was one person. And now? I get to BE that one person to my clients. How awesome is that?
Did you ever imagine you would do so much in your creative business? From web design to biz advice, you seem to do it all!
If you sat down and had a conversation with nineteen-year-old Amanda, she would have laughed in your FACE if you told her everything twenty-something Amanda had been up to. She’d tell you, “I’m not biznez minded. No WAY I’d be working for myself. I don’t have the discipline…” Etc. Etc.
That said, no. I honestly didn’t see myself where I am today. Not only am I running an incredible location independent web studio, I’m doling out biznez advice about how not to suck in your first year. Because seriously? I SUPER SUCKED. You don’t even want to know. (Okay, maybe you do. More on that later.)
How long did it take you to embrace and rock your personal voice, which comes out shining on your site?
I struggled a lot with finding my biznez voice. If you look back at my Twitter feed over the last four years, I’ve remained fairly consistent in my conversational style of writing. But in biz? Oh, the biz writing kept faltering and failing and just… ugh. It was awful. I would try this crazy trick where I would mix corporate with conversational only to end up with a garbled mess of insanity at the end of the sales page.
Bad. News. Bears.
When I put violetminded’s site on hiatus in August, I took a full five months to figure out how to retool my writing and offerings. I was sick and tired of sounding disingenuous when I’m anything but. When it came time to restructure my site, I knew that it was time to go big or get gone. So… I did what any love-struck biznez owner would do: I wrote a love letter to my People. And then I turned it into a sales page.
Since relaunching in late January, I’ve made it my mission to let my voice shine through everything I do. From sales pages to writing articles to conducting interviews — if you can’t feel the love shining through my voice, I’m doing something wrong.
You and your business have evolved so much over the past few years. Was there ever a time where you worried about failing or met a hard obstacle? How did you overcome it and push forward?
OH GAWD YES. In my first year of biznez, I almost gave up entirely. I was fed up with terrible clients that didn’t respect me and wanted the cheap-o option. I wasn’t worried about failing anymore. I was ACTIVELY failing. It was in October of that year (around the same time I found out I was pregnant with my son) that I fell smack dab in the middle of a deep, dark place of sad-face-making.
I was ready to pull the plug on violetminded and head back to a life of being a Code Monkey.
It was around that time that I started to work with Molly Mahar at Stratejoy. She encouraged me to try out for her Season Four bloggers to help me work through this Quarter-Life Crisis. It was a combination of cathartic writing and fierce determination — no way in hell was I going to head back to the salt mines of software with a baby on the way — that helped me to claw my way to… today.
Along the way, I’ve had a lot of doubts — both about myself and about my abilities as a biznez owner and designer. I’m not a classically trained artist or graphic designer. Hell, I can’t draw and I taught myself design principles from books and designers I admire.
But what I discovered during a session of biznez coaching was that that’s not what my thing is anyway. I’m not just a web designer. I do more than move things around in HTML and CSS.
I’ve created an EXPERIENCE around a process that never stuck out as positive. People would come to me and say, “Okay, my last designer was a nightmare…” I didn’t want that anymore. I wanted people to come to me and say, “I want your process. I want to understand design. I want to collaborate.”
Since getting really, really clear on my Why, I’ve been able to take obstacles and sinking ships with a grain of salt. If it doesn’t serve my people, it doesn’t matter. I take mistakes and failures as opportunities (even if in the past, I would just curl up in a ball and cry for three days) for improvement and great (r)evolution.
Want to know more about the amazing advice Amanda shares on violetminded Design? Check out the site! You’ll find some great interviews with big business ladies.
And darlings, that’s pretty much all I could ever ask for.