Carli Anna

"I'm convinced there is nobody's business that she can't help. Working with Emma has been the single best thing I have done for my business. I do not consider Emma an expense, but a huge investment."

case study

read her fascinating journey

When Carli began her business, she struggled to get clients to book her at just a $50 investment. Now, she has $100k+ product launches, a podcast with a loyal audience, regular $20k months, TikToks that go viral, plus, she books $10k client packages without breaking a sweat. But it didn't happen overnight...

The Climb Seemed Impossible

major achievements

Jan 2017-Apr 2018

Raised prices to $3000

On Carli’s first website, she took a merciless swing at anyone who dared judge her for getting married when she was 18 years old. On that first ever about page, she contended that (and still does, last time I checked) that it was the best decision she’s ever made. 

But the best decision Carli ever made had more impact on her future business than she ever planned. After looking through endless options of wedding invitations that were too expensive for their shoe-string budget, she decided to design them herself. But she didn’t expect that this one experience would nurture an unknown passion for design that would change the course of her life. One day she turned to her husband-to-be and said, “I wish I could do this for my job,” to which he informed her, laughing a little, that design was, in fact, a job. Elated, she began studies as a graphic design major in college. But she dropped out when she felt like the pacing and the materials weren’t taking her where she wanted to go. 

Tenacious as ever, she began studying how to make design her career on her own, designing logos and wedding invitations here and there for trade, for $50, $100 (but never anything over $300. No one, she figured, would pay her that much). She started to learn more about business. She’d watch free webinars and buy programs that promised her the clients she wanted if she could just make a perfect Instagram feed, or learn how to use Etsy better, but nothing seemed to get her the traction she was looking for. She’d go home to design after her two side jobs (one as a dental assistant and the other as a wedding blog assistant) and would regular clock 80 hour work weeks, and yet she hardly made anything. She could feel in her bones that she had the potential to be successful, if only she could figure out how to get traction. 

She was at the end of her rope when she saw a post Emma had written about how she thought she might be able to help people in their branding, inviting people to reach out. Carli had seen Emma create and launch a shop with beautiful cohesion and an impressive amount of sales, so she responded. 

Created 8 new beautiful invitation suites

Sold out of branding packages 

"I had no real direction to my brand. If it looked pretty and it pleased the client, then I was okay with it. But I was so sick of being price shopped. I felt like the only reason people wanted to hire me was because I was a newbie and would offer cheap prices. I wanted to reach my dream clients sooo badly but the climb seemed impossible."

Consistently booked 4 figure branding projects

Created an aligned design aesthetic rooted in her Heart Story

transformation: Carli's illustrations

AFTER INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: While the subject matter is still flowers, Carli used the feelings from her Heart Story to inspire this more organic, unique style. It felt more her. Plus, this better communicated the type of work she wanted to do, and attracted clients accordingly.

BEFORE INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: Instead of creating what she truly wanted to create, Carli was creating the type of thing she saw other people selling, and so she couldn't stand out. 

As they started working together, it was clear that Carli didn't need a new Instagram strategy, a better client process, or more website traffic to see traction. She needed to create a unique design aesthetic that people couldn't get from anyone else. Since she kept getting price shopped, it was clear that she needed to start there.

First, Carli discovered her Heart Story, which brought immediate clarity and alignment to her vision, although it would take time to work everything into her design work. Hers is one of moving from Utah to Idaho, feeling alone, and having a new friend show her the wonders the Idaho mountains. She felt a sense of belonging, and the aesthetic was adventurous, rugged, and awe-inspiring. Because she was so inspired by what she felt in her Heart Story, she could confidently say no to the aesthetic of her peers (something that's surprisingly hard for us creatives: wanting to both stand out and fit in at the same time), and design something only she could design. 

New brand imagery would be able to communicate the beauty, desirability, subtle nuances and depth of her new inspiration and her new design aesthetic. Emma envisioned, styled, and planned a collaborative branding shoot with talented artists in Carli's area, including Mandi Nelson, Nicole Land of Soil & Stem, and Abigail Dayton. She created more expensive-looking backdrops that aligned with Carli's Heart Story.

transformation: Carli's invitation suites

AFTER INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: Every illustration, typography and layout selection feels confident, precise, and cohesive. A white backdrop allows the paper to be highlighted better. 

BEFORE INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: Carli's beautiful illustrations, and hand-lettering skills are present, but not as intentionally created or as beautifully displayed as they had the potential to be.

First, Carli discovered her Heart Story, which brought immediate clarity and alignment to her vision, although it would take time to work everything into her design work. Hers is one of moving from Utah to Idaho, feeling alone, and having a new friend show her the wonders the Idaho mountains. She felt a sense of belonging, and the aesthetic was adventurous, rugged, and awe-inspiring. Because she was so inspired by what she felt in her Heart Story, she could confidently say no to the aesthetic of her peers (something that's surprisingly hard for us creatives: wanting to both stand out and fit in at the same time), and design something only she could design. 

New brand imagery would be able to communicate the beauty, desirability, subtle nuances and depth of her new inspiration and her new design aesthetic. Emma envisioned, styled, and planned a collaborative branding shoot with talented artists in Carli's area, including Mandi Nelson, Nicole Land of Soil & Stem, Claire La Faye, and April Benincosa. Meanwhile, Carli explored more deeply what inspires her. She looked in nature, typography, calligraphy, illustration, hand-made paper, natural tools, charcoal, graphite, and more to create the most beautiful invitation suites she'd ever seen.

AFTER INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: Mandi's photograph really spends time loving on Carli's process and all of the beautiful stationary she's created. 

BEFORE INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: Carli's styling of her design looks like she photographed it right next to her apartment. 

AFTER INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: Each prop and styling detail is chosen with care and the framing looks beautiful.

BEFORE INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: This image makes the brand feel like a hobby with the lower quality notebook, and placement on the stump.

AFTER INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: With the negative space and intentional styling, Carli's aesthetic looks more expensive.

AFTER INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: The texture in the styling and the framing of the photograph has a beautiful rhythm that up-levels the image.

AFTER INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: This stunning combination of high-level wedding vendors up-levels Carli's stationary.

transformation: Carli's stationer Brand Imagery

AFTER INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: Mandi Nelson photographs Carli with a look that shows off Carli as a visionary, and someone whose intentional style you can trust.

BEFORE INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: Carli looks cute and a little hippie/outdoorsy aesthetic but not super intentional. But for a stationer/designer, this was a tough look to pull off with expensive prices.

When the creation team shared her new images on Instagram, Carli started to receive followers, inquiries, and new clients. And while she'd expected people to contact her mostly for stationary, more and more creatives were so taken with her intentionality with typography, her fresh take on organics, and her bold confidence, that they wanted her to create their brand. 

So, typical to her tenacity, just a little over a month after her branding shoot, she more than doubled her prices for a logo and quickly launched a new branding service that sold out without much promotion. She quit both of her part-time jobs. She quickly learned that in order to deliver what the clients needed, and for her own well-being and happiness, she needed to understand the strategy behind branding and master it.

Her dedication to strategy, coupled with her breath-taking designs that people started taking real notice of allowed her to take on projects for dream clients in the creative industry like D'Arcy Benincosa, Nicole Land, and Emma Natter. 

transformation: Carli's Brand Design Work

AFTER INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: Carli showcases her very intentional designs in more professional ways

BEFORE INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: Carli's designs are beautiful but are hard to distinguish from competitors, and the styling/photography  looks amateur

AFTER INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: Carli creates some fake brands to up-level her portfolio

AFTER INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: Carli creates memorable logos for names in her industry that gain her more clout.

As Carli grew into her new identity as a brand strategist and designer, she was beginning to outgrow the stationary-focused images she had gotten so much traction from. She wanted imagery that would help future clients see her as a go-to designer. She worked with Erica Kopp from Stay Co, Heather Nan, and Samantha J to create incredible new imagery. Even with the shift in focus and a new team, you can still see pieces of Carli's Heart Story flowing through the images, including the adventure wardrobe, the natural fabrics, and her easy-going nature.


transformation: Carli's Brand Strategist & designer Imagery

AFTER INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: Heather Nan's photography helps clients trust Carli's vision and confidence in branding.

BEFORE INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: Carli looks cute and a little hippie/outdoorsy aesthetic but not super intentional. But for a stationer/designer, this was a tough look to pull off with expensive prices.

AFTER INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: Heather Nan and Erica Kopp showcase a more easy-going scene of Carli that feels natural and comfortable

AFTER INTRO TO CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS: Pulling from her Heart Story, Carli is out for an adventure in this beautiful image. 

With her newfound freedom in having a business that was bringing in the clients that had seemed impossible just months before, she was excited about what was coming next. There were mostly two things on her mind: 

1. She and her husband were ready to have a baby. How can you do that when you're working 80 hours a week in the business you love while your husband is a full-time student?

2. As she unraveled the mysteries of brand strategy for herself, she realized something: other designers didn't know this stuff, and they were trapped charging an unlivable wage. It was painful to remember her own experiences of that.

Unrelated as the two seemed, she had ideas. Ideas for how these two all-consuming thoughts would intersect in the future of her business. To learn what happened next, continue reading her journey in Chapter 2.

"Emma is an amazing teacher. She helped me understand concepts that the million of workshops that I bought couldn't, and then apply them into my own business. Her concepts are so adaptable and versatile. She's so ingeniously creative with her business concepts and ideas! She's helped turn my expensive hobby into a profitable business."

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Come on, now. Do we really need to answer this question? She is her and you are you and there is no possible way to repeat exact successes without doing severe damage to your creative calling. You are not meant to do what she's done. Not because of any silly idea about who is more talented or inherently more valuable, but because you are unique, and so is your destiny. So we won't be cookie-cutter-ing you. If you feel a desire to accomplish similar things, that's great. Most of all, take that as a sign that you desire to do something as big and grand as this wonderful person, not that you want to do exactly what she's done.

The current marketing ways teach us that if we buy the exact things we will get exact results. This leads to pain. Instead, pay attention to how you feel. How you feel inspired as you realize that success is possible. And this is what it's looked like for her. But yours? Oh, my dear. It's going to be so much more beautiful than what you're even imagining now. Promise.

Founder of the EN School of Creative Entrepreneurship

I've been working with creative entrepreneurs for four years, helping thousands of people get clarity on their purpose by finding their Heart Story, and helping hundreds of creatives launch their businesses with my unique, creative processes. It's still unbelievable to me sometimes that using these methods has helped people to do things like make hundreds of thousands of dollars, buy their home, become the breadwinners for their families, tell their story in their own voice, sell out painting collections, and so much more.

I started my business in a small New York City apartment after my husband and I were both unemployed. I took some Home Depot supplies and opened a photography styling shop online. That morphed into consulting and coaching, and I've been obsessed with the intersection of creativity and entrepreneurship ever since.

I created The EN School of Creative Entrepreneurship because I believe that you have something deep within you that you are meant to create. And yet, most of the help out there is either creativity focused and shirks business, or business focused and doesn't understand the creative heart. And you're left to do most of the translating between the two worlds alone.

Without the marriage of these two things, and without people around me to support me, my business progress failed over and over again. But once I figured out how to align creativity and business, and fostered relationships with kindred spirits, everything changed.

I am living a creative life, I am the breadwinner for my family, and I am so excited for what I am building. I feel deeply that I am creating what I'm meant to create, which is the short answer for why I created this school. She wanted to be created, and she chose me. 

In The EN School of Creative Entrepreneurship, I am not playing the mentor-who-knows-everything. Instead, I see myself as the gardener who nurtures the soil, turns on the sprinklers, checks on the plants, talks to them, closes the gates, prunes the fruit trees, researches and intuits obsessively about how to bring more abundance and joy into the garden, and shares her experience when it's relevant. I show up here for you because I believe in what you are creating. 

I can't wait to support you in your dreams.

Who's Emma Natter?

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