In today’s guest interview, I have the incredible and total high vibe, Hollie Arnett on the show. Hollie is a brand coach for creatives and is on a mission to help creative entrepreneurs to build their brand, grow their audience and share their work with the world so that they can live the creative life of their dreams through her membership, coaching, and strategy sessions.
Hollie shares her story in transitioning from freelance designer into the CEO role of her own business and the struggles and accomplishments that came with it along the way.
She is honestly so amazing and such a ball of energy. I’m so excited to be sharing her magic with you all. Enjoy the episode!
In this episode, we talk about:
- Going from freelancer to the CEO of your own business as a creative.
- How to create a stronger message to share with your audience.
- Having the confidence to be your own hype woman.
- How to turn your creative hobby into a career and life you LOVE!
Tune in to the episode here:
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The episode breakdown:
Elley: I really wanted to bring Hollie, my private coaching client, on the show today to share her journey and her passion with all the ladies listening. Hollie, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do in business?
Hollie: I’m 26 and I’m originally from England but now I live in Wellington, New Zealand. I’m a brand coach for creatives and I’m a creative myself. I studied graphic design and I have a degree in Visual Communication Design and since then I’ve been a freelance designer working in-house and in agencies as a designer. I started my own business three years ago as a hand lettering design studio. I’ve since grown and transitioned my business from there and now I am the branding coach for creatives.
Elley: So, you’ve been on both sides as being a creative and now you’re coaching other creatives to help them to be in the position where they want to create a successful business and get it out there. What made you want to get into business? What fuelled that fire?
Hollie: I’ve always wanted to run my own business even though I can’t pinpoint when that idea came to me, I think that entrepreneurial spirit has just always been there. The main reason I started my business is that I’ve never really understood the expectation that creatives should be creative from nine to five like a normal day job. I personally found it really difficult to be creative and churn out creative work for eight hours straight because to me, that’s not how creativity works. I could be super creative and have the most incredible idea at 10 pm at night when I’m in bed or when I’m in the shower. I could also be the most unproductive from nine to five.
It just really, really frustrated me that I was expected to do the same thing for eight hours every day, no matter what. No matter whether I was feeling creative and sadly, you get penalised for that. Healthwise, I have endometriosis and I’d have these really bad migraines and I would get told off if I had to have four days off work because I’m not showing up and I’m at home passing out instead. Now in my own business, I can take that time off and I don’t need to ask anybody.
Elley: That’s that thing when we go full time in business and become our own bosses. It’s not only about having financial freedom and time freedom (Obviously, we want that too) but we’re able to put our health first. You can take the week or month off if you need to.
It’s cool that you can really resonate with what your clients are going through because you’ve been there and done that. You’re really passionate about it, you’ve got a lot of experience, you’ve been through what your clients are going through in this journey of turning their creative passion into a business where they have financial and time freedom. Out of everyone in the world that you could work with, do you most enjoy working with creatives?
Hollie: Semi recently, as we all do, I fell down the path of accidentally attracting the wrong people. I felt like everybody wants to work with entrepreneurs and other coaches and that’s kind of the bubble that I was in and I without even thinking about it, I kind of went down that path. One day I realised that that’s not who my people are. My favourite clients that I’ve ever worked with have been writers, designers, podcasters and YouTubers. Creatives!
I realised that, hang on, I’m a creative and I’ve just always been drawn to creatives. I had this realisation of like, why am I not also doing that in my business? Kind of an obvious realisation. I love working with creators. I have that experience so they can relate to me and I can understand what they’ve been going through and I have coaching advice and teachings around those experiences.
Elley: What did it look like for you transitioning to becoming a business owner as a creative. I’m curious to know, where there lots of limiting beliefs coming up and was it a roller coaster of a journey?
Hollie: It definitely wasn’t an easy process.
I called myself a freelancer because that’s kind of what most people do when you are a creative providing services. I think that put me in the mindset of someone who has a fluctuating income that changes every month and is super stressful and someone that’s super dependent on clients. I didn’t really treat myself as a business.
Then one day I realised, okay, I’m not a freelancer but I’m a business owner and that took me to the next level. I started taking things a bit more seriously and I stopped calling myself a freelance designer. I was instead a business owner with a design studio (I used to call it my one-woman studio). Only in the last year have I started shifting my mindset towards the mindset of being a CEO. I now have contractors and a VA, and things like that. I’m still working on being the CEO and learning with Elley’s coaching but that’s kind of where I’m at right now.
Elley: It is a process and we’ve all still growing. If you say, I’m there now and I’m not growing anymore then that’s an issue. I truly think even the millionaires and billionaires in the world are still growing whether it’s externally, whether it’s in a business, it’s in a bank account or maybe it’s just in their fulfillment in life.
What’s a piece of advice that you would give to someone that’s in that freelancer stage and is unsure about how to get to the business owner stage?
Hollie: I think one of the best ways to get yourself into the new mindset is to shift how you describe yourself when people ask you what you do. It can be hard and you’ll probably fail a few times.. I know I definitely did. Instead of saying, I’m just a freelance designer, be confident in your answer. Over time I would go on and say I have a one-woman design studio or that I run my own design studio. It grew my confidence over time, and I was owning what I do. I used to worry about people’s responses and thoughts because in my mind I thought if I say I run my own business then they’re going to ask all of these questions and they’re going to doubt me. But when I told people that I run my own studio, they were like, Oh, that’s so cool and they loved it! It gave me confidence.
Elley: For anyone listening that’s a creative and really at that point where they’re like I’m becoming a business owner, I’m making this my full-time career, I want to be my own boss and do something that I’m 100% passionate about, what do you think are the key things that they need to be focusing on right now to make that happen for them sooner rather than later?
Hollie: Number one is to be super clear on who you are, what you do, and who you do it for because the earlier you can do that then the stronger your message is going to be, and the more you can push that out there to your audience and clients. Number two is to share that. Getting clear and then share that with everybody! You want to be sharing your story and connecting with your audience and talking to them. Sharing your mission, your vision, your values and letting people get to know you.
Elley: That is a key part of transitioning from being a creative into that business owner hat. Part of business is showing up. I always think of Coca Cola as the best example. I still get ads for Coca Cola on my TV. They’re one of the biggest brands in the world but they still advertise because they still have to be visible and it’s the same whether you have a billion different customers in the world, or you have just one.
Hollie: It’s hard but if you are hiding your work and quiet about sharing who you are, and what you’re about then no one’s going to hear you. But if you’re like, hey, here I am and this is my awesome work, this is what I do, and share your passion about your work then people are going to hear you and they’re going to love it, and they’re going to want to be a part of it.
Elley: I think a lot of what we talked about today such as dealing with the mindset issues goes across the board for a lot of people in different industries – creatives or not. Worrying about being visible and getting clear on their messaging.
I have one last question for you and I love asking this question to all of my guests on the podcast. I would love to know in your experience, what would you say is one to two habits or personality traits of an empowered CEO?
Hollie: I think number one which is one of my core values is to always be learning. If you get to a point where you think you’re finished and you’ve learned everything there is to learn then you’re just going to get stuck. To be an empowered CEO, you need to always feel like learning and that there’s always room to grow.
Another important thing is not knowing as well. I’m a big believer in not knowing what I’m doing and kind of being terrified by that but still doing it anyway. From the very beginning, I started my business because I quit my job and I was in shit tonnes of debt. I was so scared and I had no idea what I was doing or how to run a business but I was just like, screw it. I’m kind of just like that. I might not know how to do something but I’m going to freaking figure it out!
Elley: Trusting yourself is just so big! It just goes to show you that throughout your journey all the way from transitioning from freelancer to CEO, hiring team members, bringing on clients and hiring coaches like me, that everything we do in business relies very heavily on doing the thing and not knowing what’s going to happen.
Hollie, I’m sure there are a lot of creatives listening who need more of you in their life so can you please share with us how everyone can connect with you online?
Hollie: You can head to my website or you can join my Creators Brand Club, which is a bunch of amazing creators who all hang out together where we teach and learn stuff together every month. You can do a 1:1 strategy session with me which is super fun or you can find me on Instagram!
You can follow Katie here:
Hope you loved the episode and reach out to me on IG if you want to chat about the episode.
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