Happy Friday, boss! A day of lazily closing out the week, chatting with your co-workers (aka your pets) about your weekend plans, and hopefully closing up shop juuuust a little early. Each Friday, we'll be doing a feature on an amazing creative business owner in the Big Sky State, so that we can all learn a little bit more about the struggle and the awesomeness of being a business owner. Click here to read other interviews with amazing women from around the state!
Hey girl hey! Introduce yourself and tell us about your biz!
I'm Stacy Townsend of Townsend Collective. Townsend Collective is a three-part business offering branding & graphic design, professional photography and jewelry design.
How did you start your boss lady journey?
I have always felt that I would start my own company at some point, but I was never sure what it would be, or how it would come to fruition. A little over a year ago, I couldn't imagine continuing to work with my employer at the time, and beyond that, couldn't imagine what "real job" would leave me fulfilled. At that point, I decided to lean on my abilities as a graphic designer and photographer to fill my days and hopefully my bank account (with a little jewelry design added to the mix).
Have you gone full-time with your business?
Unfortunately, I was busy pouring 110% into every job I ever had, which never left the time (or the energy) to truly focus on a freelance career on the side. I quit working for "the man" last October, and have been full-time ever since.
Okay, let's talk about the DNA behind Townsend Collective. Were you one of those women with entrepreneurship basically in your blood that we always hear about?
Entrepreneurship is 100% in my DNA. I knew it would happen eventually, I just wasn't sure how.
How do you build an income and a life through Townsend Collective?
Graphic Design - 50%, Photography - 30%, Jewelry Design - 20%
What do you LOVE about being your own boss?
Well, that's an interesting question to answer after spending my Saturday in the office. But the answer? Everything. The good AND the bad, but mostly the freedom. Not in the "I take days off and hit happy hour whenever I want" sort of way (although, that's pretty great when it happens). The freedom that I appreciate most is getting to build my business the way I want. There's no blueprint. No protocol. Nobody else determining what fits in my job description, or what's above or below my pay grade. When I should work, and when I should go home. If it's worth it to put in a couple extra hours on a project or not.
The best part, is that every project is more than a "job." It's a new challenge, and there is always great purpose. As a designer, I feel lucky to help people bring their dreams to life. And as a photographer, to capture the monumental moments in life. The pressure is high, but it's also so incredibly rewarding. I struggle to find the words to describe what it feels like to hear a client squeal with delight when they see a design that perfectly fits their vision, or for someone see an image from their wedding day that takes their breath away and reminds them of just what it felt like to say "I do," or to see someone wear a piece of jewelry every single day because it's their favorite. I haven't found a lot of situations in life life that bring me that kind of joy, and now I get to experience it often.
So, the answer? Everything.
What was your most expensive mistake?
My most expensive mistake is a mistake I continue to make. I am constantly putting my own business development on hold while I focus on each of my clients' needs, and do myself a disservice by doing so.
What's the biggest misconception that women have around business ownership?
The sweatpants? Yes, the sweatpants. It's not all ankle boots & fancy business meetings. Sometimes it's long days, making it work, while somehow, you're still in sweatpants. The hustle is real.
Where would you like to be in the next year? The next five years?
In another year, I would love to be booked out at least two months. In five years, I would love to either have a well developed jewelry line with great retail channels deserving of my full-time attention - OR - to have a client list and active projects that allow more collaboration with (or possibly the hiring of) more designers.
How would you define a Boss Lady?
A creative and passionate ladypreneur who isn't afraid to collaborate with, support and motivate her tribe as she bosses her biz.
What one piece of advice would you give yourself in your first year as a biz owner?
You got this. (Editor's Note: PREACH!)
Want to get in touch with Stacy? Check her out on her website. Send her an email and tell her how you found out about her (*cough* The #MontanaBoss feature *cough*)
(P.S. Want to share your story with other Montana business owners? Click here.)