Several years ago, I realized the corporate world wasn’t for me. I wasn’t dreaming of sitting at a desk day in and day out, of deadlines or board meetings. I was dreaming of raising a family, building a small homestead, and having a design business where I controlled the projects and schedule.
When I tried to actually picture the design business, though, it was a bit blurry. Was it going to be a killer interior design studio, because that's the most closely related to my Masters in Architecture? An amazingly popular Etsy shop selling…what? Crafts? Photography? I quizzed my friends and family for opinions, and every single person gave me a different idea.
How would I ever choose just one?
I had to choose one of course. Everyone knows you must find your niche, your little segment of one industry where you do one thing that is different than everyone else.
Wait, what? Why?
I love DESIGN. All of it. I love starting with an idea, or a small sketch, and turning that into a final project. I had a professor in college who once handed me two small rocks and told me to go design a house from them. Brilliant. That was FUN.
I also love BRANDING. I love working with people and learning about who they are, what makes them unique, and then developing that into a marketable brand.
On the other hand, I love CREATING ART. Whenever I have trouble focusing and my brain gets that fuzzy feeling like it's gotten stuck in the clouds (you know what I'm talking about), pulling out my paints or a sketchbook helps me to refocus. I do some of my best thinking and come up with some of my best ideas while I am creating something rather than staring at a computer screen.
Isn’t creativity the point?
Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash
I decided not to listen to the “find your niche” people. After all, if I confined myself to one small area, I’d be stifling my own creativity. So, I formed Creative Mess Designs and started taking on clients; a logo for a new company, a postcard marketing campaign, a book layout for a family history album.
Then the logo client came back and asked if I could design a marketing flyer. YES! They came back again and asked for invitations to a corporate event they were putting together. YES!
Ok, hold the phone.
It quickly became clear that by not pigeonholing myself in one area, I accidentally created an environment where my clients could fulfill all their design needs in one place. I could manage all their projects, from start to finish, and ensure that all the final products fit under one cohesive brand. I could better serve my clients, while feeding my creative side’s need to work on different projects every day at the same time. That, is a really great feeling, and one that I am thankful for every. single. day.
Thanks to my inability to decide on one direction, I am now running Creative Mess Designs, working on growing my Etsy shop, CreativeMessDA, raising a precocious daughter (who loves to paint as much as I do, but only out of Mommy's tray!), and helping my husband transform our 1-acre of land into our ideal version of a homestead. My world is a mess, but it’s a beautiful, creative one. And I love every minute of it.