We walk around acting like if only things were different all of our dreams would come true. If we had more money, more power, more recognition. Higher ranking jobs, bigger houses, more picturesque family situations.
Truthfully you can have whatever you want. It's just a matter of focusing, and streamlining your thought process.
We like to come up with excuses for why that's not true –– but in most situations it actually is. The only catch is that you have to decide what you want. You can be the world changer that advocates for justice, you can be the corporate executive that preaches innovation, the traditional stay-at-home parent with a house full of kids or the free-spirit writer that travels in search of inspiration. The truth is that life really does happen while you are busy making other plans. So if you spend your time worrying about the money or degree that you don't have, you'll likely continue to struggle -- and find yourself in the same spot months or years from now. Rather, spend your time actually DOING and working towards what you want and you'll be amazed by the change towards what you want that occurs.
So if you spend your time worrying about the money or degree that you don't have, you'll likely continue to struggle -- and find yourself in the same spot months or years from now.
Each role has its perks and disadvantages. Whether its high in fulfillment, but low in salary. High in salary, but painfully mind-numbing. Inspirational but never very stable…the list goes on. The goal is to find the sweet spot, but there will always be sacrifices. I was always very entrepreneurial even as a child (think lemonade stand, re-selling Avon products...). While I was working for a large, respected, global brand design firm, I decided it was time to act on my entrepreneurial spirit. It was truly the most scared I have ever been (this tops having a baby and getting married), but I pressed on towards having my own business. I took every opportunity (early morning breakfasts, lunch hours, after work time) to meet with people that could potentially help me get started. And that's how it began. Fast-Forward to today and I'm 20 years into my business.
In the end, the choice is truly yours–– and there's something empowering about free will. Do you write things down ? This sounds silly, but it's something that's always worked for me. You can think about things all you want, but the moment you write them down, you commit to them in some way. At the beginning of every year, for example, I sit down at my desk and think about what I want to focus on or accomplish in the coming year -- then I type out the goals and post that sheet of paper in my office where I can see them every day. I am constantly asking myself -- am I doing what I set out to do ? are some of these things no longer important ? do I need to shift anything ? This is a decisive move and one that truly matters.
You can think about things all you want, but the moment you write them down, you commit to them in some way.
You can be and do anything you want, but you can't be everything you want. And the longer it takes to decide, the more you become a little bit of everything instead of a heavyweight in anything. And that's not a bad thing, but not choosing is a choice in itself. Without any major goals, life will choose them for you. Life never stops based on your inability to decide what you want; it will simply keep going and your direction will become reactive instead of proactive. Remember, life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
I have always been in love with all things art- I was obsessed with drawing and painting before I was even walking. In high school, I started a career selling art through various gallery art shows and on Etsy. I then went on to study fine arts at the University of Southern California, with an emphasis in painting, but took classes in ceramics, printmaking, cinema and architecture to get a really well-rounded education on all sorts of art.
During my senior year of college, my career path went through a huge transition; I started my own temporary tattoo brand, INKED by Dani, which is a brand of temporary tattoos based on my hand-drawn fine art designs.
The idea for the brand came one night after a themed party at college. My friends, knowing how much I loved drawing, asked me to cover them in hand-drawn doodles using eyeliner. The feedback from that night was overwhelming, everyone my friends saw that night was obsessed with the designs. In that moment, a lightbulb went off in my head... I could do some completely unique here and create chic temporary tattoos with an art-driven aesthetic, unlike anything else on the market. Other temporary tattoo brands were targeted to kids or lacked a sleek and millennial-driven look. It was a perfect pivot; I could utilize my fine arts training and tattoos as a new art medium to create a completely innovative brand.
Using the money I made from selling my artwork throughout high school and college, I funded the launch of INKED by Dani. I had always loved the look of dainty tattoos, but knew I could never commit to the real thing, and I knew my parents would kill me if I got a tattoo (I also knew that so many girls must have that same conflict). Starting INKED by Dani was a no-brainer.
I started off with a collection of about only 10 designs and sold them at sorority houses around USC. Our unique concept for on-trend and fashion-forward tattoos was spreading through word of mouth, and we quickly started growing an Instagram following. I was hustling all day from my room, cold calling retailers, sending blind samples and tons of emails, and trying to open up as many opportunities as I could.
Now, we're sold at over 10,000 retail locations (retailers include Target, Walmart, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Hot Topic), and we've transformed temporary tattoos into a whole new form of wearable art.
My 4 best tips for starting your own business are:
- Just go with your gut! You'll never know what works until you try it. Go day by day and do everything in your power to work toward your goals. Be bold, but be sure to be thoughtful in your actions.
- Research your competitors and other successful brands in your category to determine how you can make your product stand out. Figure out where there is a need or hole in the market that your new offering or approach can fill.
- Don't spread yourself too thin. Delegate where possible, and stay focused each day on doing the best and most you can. Don't get too caught up in your end goal or the big picture to a point where it overwhelms or freezes you. You're already making a bold move to start something new, so try to prioritize what's important! I started off in the beginning hand packing every single tattoo pack that we sold and shipped. If I wanted to scale to align with the level of demand we were receiving, I needed to make the pivot to mass produce and relinquish the control of doing every step myself. I am a total perfectionist, so that was definitely hard! From that point on, overseeing production has been a huge part of my daily schedule, but by doing so I've been able to free up more time to focus on design, merchandising, and sales, allowing me to really focus on growing the business.
- Prioritize great product packaging and branding. It's so important to invest time in customer experience- how customers view and interact with your product. The packaging is just as important as the actual product inside! When we were starting off, we had high demand, and I definitely jumped the gun a bit on packaging so we could deliver product to the retailers when they wanted it. Since then, we've completely revamped the packaging into something upscale and unique that reflects what the brand is all about. Our product packaging is always called out as being one of our retailers' and customers' favorite part of our product!