Inspiring Advice from 23 Business Women (+Fantastic Website Examples)
March is Women’s History Month – a time to celebrate, uplift, admire and pay tribute to the wonderful women that touch so many aspects of our lives. Photographers, videographers, designers, event planners, branding strategists, educators, florists – you name it!
As a company providing website designs, we have the honor to witness on a daily basis, how talented ladies from all around the world, launch, run, and push their businesses towards growth and triumph. It’s hard work, but they are absolutely rocking it!
To celebrate Women’s History Month, we decided to do something that we’re sure will fill your inspiration tank and keep it full for quite some time. We reached out to 23 wonderful women entrepreneurs and Flothemes clients, and asked them one simple question:
“If you could go back in time, what would you recommend to yourself 3-5 years ago?”
Their answers (just like their websites and businesses) are REMARKABLE! Read this if you’re feeling unmotivated or low today. Read it if you’re looking for a SIGN on what to do next in your life and work. Read it, if you simply want a kind reminder of simple truths that impact our everyday life and level of happiness.
Wedding & Portrait Photographer | Site built with Zephyr theme
“JUST SAY YES! Women are especially susceptible to imposter syndrome, which for the longest time led me to miss out or almost miss out on opportunities for which I didn’t think I was qualified. The groom from the first wedding I photographed was a friend who had to ask me 3 times (!!!) if I would do it before I finally said yes, and I’m so grateful that he was persistent and saw something in me I wasn’t yet able to see myself. I’ve been offered other opportunities since then that I almost turned down, but something within me was just curious and determined enough to overpower that sense of looming doubt. More often than not I’ve ended up being overly qualified for the work and feel a little silly that I ever doubted myself.
And: GO TO SLEEP, THE WORK CAN WAIT! Unless you’re working with a literal ticking time bomb, there’s no need to push yourself to complete work if it’s 3 am and you’re seeing double. I think women are extra prone to pushing themselves to the limit in order to prove we’re hardworking or talented or just as good as the guys. My mantra over all of the stress and uncertainty of the last year has been: go to sleep, take a moment to recognize that you’re just a normal human being and not Wonder Woman or Beyonce, and get the work done when you’re well-rested.”
Brand Photographer & Educator | Site built with June theme
“Trust the incredible journey you were meant to take and the magical unfolding of your inner well of abundance. You are right where you need to be in this moment and any other moment in your life. There is more than enough for you, and your people will be waiting when the time is right. Growth is a process. It takes time. Just like when you grow a plant, a garden, when you grow a child, a relationship, when you grow a business. It is all the same, and it is a marvelous personal growth adventure that brings so many opportunities for introspection, to dive deep, heal, and expand from there. Keep creating, don’t expect it to pay off. Create for the sake of creating. Have more fun and don’t take it too seriously.
All is good and all will be good. You don’t have to worry about anything, you don’t have to overthink. This is not what you came here to do. You were meant to change, day to day, so let yourself be whoever you want to be today. You were meant to shine like the Sun and to flow like water. Start meditating today, and every day, and take time to be with yourself alone. Let self-care be your number one priority, over family, over business, no matter how harsh it may sound. If you’re not good, nothing else can be good. Be the light you came here to be. Your purpose is to walk where your heart is leading you. I love you. You are doing amazing. In three years you will see the results.”
Natalie | Natalie J. Weddings
Wedding Photographer & Educator | Site built with Velvet theme
“Don’t compare yourself to anyone else – It only matters what YOU are doing and where YOU are heading, so focus ahead on your own lane and celebrate your own achievements.
Don’t spend so much on ALL the equipment! It’s not that new lens which will bring you new clients and help you raise your prices; it’s investing in business education and developing your mindset which will build a sustainable, fulfilling, and long-term business.
Believe in yourself more – you ARE worth being paid your rate, your work IS good enough, and so long as your clients and you are HAPPY that’s all that matters!”
Wedding Photographer | Site built with Elise theme
“If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to get support sooner, you don’t have to do this on your own. Getting a mentor got me out of my own head and gave me the support I needed to grow as a creative and as a business. I would also tell myself to unfollow people on IG that made me self-conscious or feel like my work was “less” than what it was. IG is great but it can be stifling as a creative.”
Maureen Du Preez
Elopement Photographer | Site built with Nomade theme
“I would tell my younger self – give yourself permission to rest. You don’t need to keep busy all the time, constantly hustling, saying yes to every opportunity. It’s more than ok to say no sometimes, stop worrying about letting people down down. Frequent quality downtime, away from work, is needed and will in turn help you grow as an artist. Burnout is a very real thing, work smart not hard. Love and look after yourself!”
Alison | The Princess of Cups
Maternity & Newborn Photographer | Site built with Nessa theme
“If I could go back in time, I would probably say this to my young self: Hi dear, don’t worry or stress so much, instead practice gratitude and focus on your faith in the universe and yourself. Everything will unfold just as it’s meant to, no need to try to force things, but don’t be afraid to take actions or risks if you don’t feel happy or if something doesn’t feel right. Also you should know that working non stop isn’t going to make you more successful, in fact, you should redefine success. Your journey of self growth is the best thing you can do for everything in your life, including your business. Lastly, don’t be afraid of following your heart and intuition, they will lead you to where you need to go.”
Kt Marie | Kt Marie Photo
Wedding & Lifestyle Photographer | Site built with Verso theme
“First, I would give myself a hug and then tell myself a quote I read recently, that I wish I had known and applied a long time ago. ‘Enjoy the space between where you are and where you want to be’ your happiness isn’t a destination, it’s in the journey. You will always be growing and evolving. And the journey of entrepreneurship will not always be pretty or easy or simple but it will be a fun ride. Connect with other creatives, support one another and community over competition always.”
Kiara Hancock | K. Hancock Events
Event & Floral Designer | Site built with Verso theme
“Listen carefully to what your gut is telling you, don’t try to drown it out with “I want”. Instead, ask in the quietest moments what “I need”. Everything you need to make the best decisions for yourself already lies within you, you just need to be courageous enough to listen to yourself. That can be hard in a world where women, especially women of colour and LGBTIA+ folks, are told daily that they don’t belong and they don’t know what they are talking about. Just know that you belong here, you have space here, and if you touch base with yourself you can be your own best guide. You got this.”
Marina Alió | 812 Studio
Graphic Designer | Site built with Verso theme
“The first thing I would tell myself is to trust myself more and believe in my instincts. When you start working on your own business, everything is FEAR and INEXPERIENCE, but over time you realize that you are capable of everything and much more. I would also give myself a good dose of patience (I’m still working on it hahaha): things work out better with time and dedication. Don’t be in a hurry, believe in yourself, look from all perspectives, listen more, talk less, invest in your business, and everything else will come.”
Wedding & Elopement Photographer | Site built with Velvet theme
“If I could go back in time, I’d encourage my past self to have more confidence in my abilities, and to be patient and persistent in my work. I’d tell myself to be resilient on my own, but to surround myself with kind, funny people so I have a support system when I need it.”
Sam | Samantha M. Photography
Wedding & Elopement Photographer | Site built with Nessa theme
“Gosh if I knew the options that were out there for me 3-5 years ago, life would have been much more different much sooner! I felt like our age group had a very traditional way about work – go to college, get a degree, and get into the corporate world. I never learned anything about starting my own business. I would have told myself to find mentors, those who did life a little differently and get immersed into everything. To not be afraid of taking a path that looked different from my friends and what others expected of me, and to have the courage to try new things at a young age!”
Natalie | Hello Nat
Designer & Creative Consultant | Site built with Zephyr theme
“If I could go back in time, I would recommend that I invest in myself and my career EARLIER. Don’t be afraid to spend money on education and connect with more creatives in the industry.”
Brand & Packaging Designer | Site built with Leon theme + FlexBlock
“If I could go back 5 years, I’d tell myself not to put too much emphasis on having a 5 year plan. The creative industry is constantly evolving, so it’s sometimes impossible to foresee how businesses will change and what new opportunities will be available. Always be open to new ideas, focus on adapting and welcome new business adventures. Enjoy the process and never stop learning!”
Event Planner & Designer | Site built with Elise theme
“Had I been able to go back 3 years, one of the things I would have certainly done differently would be to tend to my website needs better. I’d make certain it carried an updated, sleek look and therefore communicated my identity better to my clients, keeping things functional but at the same time neat and streamlined just like my brand does for people whose big moments I curate.
Nobody ever thought it would take a pandemic to keep everyone doing everything online, or spending such a significant amount of time to look at brands closer, and ultimately book the services and products they need so vicariously, many a time owing to the look and fresh feel of their websites. Therefore, I’m very glad I did it last year because many of my future global clients were instantly drawn to explore more about what I do thanks to the feel they got from my site.”
Annie Ryan & Jaycee Bramer | Grit Education
Photographers & Educators | Site built with Lyra theme
“If we could go back in time we would recommend to never play small. We’re all so much more capable than we could ever imagine and we’re only limited by our mindset. We truly believe you can accomplish anything and everything if you put in the time, energy and effort. So dream big and go do the dang thing.”
Federica Davoli | Rika Formica
Photographer & Graphic Designer | Site built with Mono theme
“If I could go back in time I would tell my younger self to create a precise plan of what she would like to achieve in the short and in the long run. A plan would have helped me to go through the changes with more confidence and less fear”
Branding Strategist | Site built with Mono theme
“Be open. Open to change, open to discomfort, open to vulnerability, open to pain, open to hardship. Because this is what will open you up to possibilities, happiness, and the kind of fulfillment you would’ve never known without going through a little rain. There’s so much beauty to be found in immersing yourself in all the things life has to offer – the bad, and the good. So be open to it.”
Yaz Ten Klooster | Labels Studio
Branding Expert & Web Designer | Site built with Verso theme
“Build yourself a web presence before you think you’re ready. And – every time in the design process that you think ‘Why is my client like this? Why can’t they understand?’ take notes, assess how you can fix it, and implement the change. Then write a juicy blog post or Instagram caption about that pain point because that advice is golden.
Don’t discount your prices for anyone – you’re not doing yourself any favors financially, it’s no guarantee of future work, and clients often respect you less for doing it. Just reduce down the scope of work to fit the budget if they can’t afford your market rates.
And last but not least, trust what you’re doing! And embrace the way you learn throughout this time in your life. You’re going to be making the best decisions you’ve ever made in your life and you will be the happiest you’ve ever been.”
Tamara | Adriatic Weddings Croatia
Wedding & Event Planner | Site built with Elise theme
“If I could go back in time, I would recommend to do something outside of my comfort zone on a regular basis. Take more risks and don’t be afraid of anything!”
Bridal Designer | Site built with Velvet theme
“Don’t be shy, you are on the right path and everything will come together.”
Laura Bravi | Laura Bravi Events
Destination Wedding Planner | Site built with Elise theme
“Work-wise, I’d tell myself not to be afraid to push, to be vocal about my value, my experience, and that it’s not too soon to aim high. I would encourage myself to stay open to new ideas and to try new things every day.
Especially with these times of isolation and stillness, the possibility to go out and explore what we once took for granted, is something that should be pursued whenever possible.
Personally, I’d remind my younger self to protect the time with my family. There can always be new chances to work, but the time your kids are young flies and doesn’t come back.”
Destination Wedding Photographer | Built with Velvet theme
“I’ve never regretted the money I’ve spent on travel, especially international. So just get out there and go with camera in hand! Do it more, 2020 is coming for you and it’ll knock you on your butt.”
Floral Designer | Site built with Mono theme
“I would have started doing what I have started doing now.”
We hope that these insightful and inspiring answers will live in your head rent-free and will be your reminder that you ROCK. That you should believe in yourself and trust your gut. That you need to give yourself enough time to rest and invest in yourself, your business, and your craft. And that your business deserves a splendid online presence, no matter what stage it’s on right now.