Starting a business from scratch is no easy task. But our great friend, Danielle, did just that. She launched Nova Strategics a little over a year ago and now it's her full-time job! So we asked her a bunch of questions about how tf she did it and where she sees her business going. If you're interested in starting your own business or just want to marvel at Danielle's badassery, read our interview below!
Sarah & Halle: So Danielle, tell us a little about yourself. What is it that you do?
Danielle: I run an online branding agency that helps online entrepreneurs transform their brands from basic to luxury through creative design and strategy.
S&H: Wow. Sounds fancy! Tell us a little bit about how you got to this point. What were you doing before this and how did you get inspired to start your own company?
Danielle: Before this I was in a job that I basically fell into as an assistant director of a daycare. It was where I had worked throughout college as a part time job and I just kept moving up the ladder. I knew from a young age I wanted to have my own business I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. I eventually reached a point in my career where I was extremely unhappy. My physical and mental health were affected. I knew I wanted to do something creative and something that would give me the freedom to create my own schedule and do more traveling before the typical “I’ll travel in my retirement”. I came across online courses for branding and website design and figured why not? I had done a little bit of both in high school and college but never considered making a career out of it. Now I’ve completely refined my business and made it my own, I offer services and packages that I truly believe I am an expert in and aid my clients to create their best businesses.
S&H: That’s amazing. What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
Danielle: I think being able to help people bring their create visions to life and delivering them something that goes beyond what they had even dreamt about.
S&H: How do you manage everything on your own?
Danielle: By staying super organized. I try to plan a skeleton of everything I have coming up for each month that goes for my client projects as well as any marketing I may be doing for my own business. Then week by week I plan everything out on Monday morning in more detail through Asana.
S&H: We use Asana now too, thanks to your suggestion. For the readers who don’t know it’s a great app/ website for task management. You can download it from the app store or use the website!
S&H: Did you find it difficult to get your company up and running? And what was your biggest challenge?
Danielle: It was flat out one of the hardest things I’ve done in my entire life. There were times I’ve questioned why I would do this. Why I would take this huge undertaking and leave a steady job with steady income. Thankfully now I have steady income coming in but that first year is a battle of ups and downs. I had to let go of a lot of fears that I wasn’t good enough or beliefs that people wouldn’t pay what I wanted to charge for my services. I needed to tell myself that I deserved what I desired. I needed to push forward and surround myself with a community that has been where I've been and on those days where I want to throw the towel in, I need to remind myself where I was and how far I’ve gone in such a short amount of time. The logistics of setting up the business is easy. It’s a headache but it’s easy. It’s following through on those tougher “I feel crazy” days that’s harder.
S&H: It kind of sounds like you’re a boss-ass business bitch. Would you say that’s accurate?
Danielle: I would say that’s pretty accurate! I think that’s something I also had to grow into. I wasn’t always as confident as I am now, but when your entire income relies just on yourself, you do anything you can to make it happen.
S&H: If you have any advice for your younger self, what would it be? I think so many young people, especially women, are incredibly apprehensive about starting their own businesses or they don’t think they know enough to do it. Knowing what you know now and how you’ve grown, what would you tell yourself when you were just starting to have the desire to work for yourself?
Danielle: Don’t wait until you feel perfect to start. The best time to start is when you feel one step under ready. You’d surprise yourself by how much you can learn as you go. Don’t let fear of not knowing how you’re going to make it happen hold you back, but instead let it be the thing that drives you forward. Decide on your end goal. Worry about the how as you go.
S&H: Great advice. What’s next for you and your business?
Danielle: This is my second year in business and I’m shifting my focus to just provide branding services rather than website services as well. I think it’s extremely important for business owners to take the time to understand why they are in business, what it is they are selling and who they are selling to. This makes figuring out the design elements that will naturally attract your ideal clients that much easier. Your branding is not just some colors and logos, it’s so much more than that and I’m on a mission to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses to incredible amounts through appropriately aligning their brand strategies.
S&H: Sometimes the fear that you don't have the proper education to start a business can keep people from pursuing it. Did your education prepare you for everything you’d need to handle not only the creative end but the business end, as well?
Danielle: It prepared me to an extent but I was not a business major. I learned how to communicate with people and understand the place they are coming from, but all the back works of running a business came through massive research and reaching out to entrepreneurs who were just a bit ahead of me and asking them what they were doing.
S&H: Okay, that about wraps up our questions! Thanks for hanging out with us. We know you’re a busy lady so we’ll let you get to your next meeting.
Danielle helped us get our blog up and running. Without her, we might not have even done it because everything seemed so daunting. But she broke it down and told us exactly what we needed to do. And she still gives us tips about how to build our blog and our brand. If you're a business owner and want to further build your brand, reach out to Danielle on Instagram!