It wasn’t until after we were done working together that Michelle texted me and told me that her dream had always been to be a graphic designer the way she is now…but she didn’t feel like she was good enough. Oh, and she launched without having worked with a single branding client, without having a single person on her list, and started with only 150 followers on Instagram. She made over 5k in said launch, booking 7 clients and selling out all of her spots for months.
Michelle didn’t originally reach out to me wanting to do graphic design. She wanted to be a wedding invitation designer, and I loved why. She had gone to school for textile design she wasn’t excited about the prospect of designing clothes for large box stores that would fill up landfills a few months later. She liked the idea of designing something that would be held onto, treasured, for decades and maybe even generations.
So we pulled together images for her aesthetic, drawing on her family’s land in Ireland and her love for Japanese minimalism. This idea of wild restraint. We were preparing for her new line of invitations. I saw them in person and fell in love. Here was a truly gifted designer, I told myself. I knew she wouldn’t need my help in creating beautiful design, although sometimes I do offer feedback to clients. All she needed was a kick-ass marketing plan.
And then we got on the phone one week and Michelle said, “Emma. We need money. Quickly. How can we do that?”
And I knew immediately that it takes time to build up a wedding brand unless you just happen to have a ton of people in your network already getting married. So I suggested that she launch her branding services first. I told her I knew how we could sell that. It wouldn’t be a hard sell. Businesses who needed branding were already in her network. Or would be soon. I told her we could craft an offer that people couldn’t resist. And she could work her way up from there.
And so we created that launch plan.
Every week Michelle was nervous about how it would go, if it would work.
I’m always curious to see how launches go too. But I’m never surprised that they work. It’s just like telling a story.
And Michelle worked her butt off to make it amazing.
After the last day of her launch, I texted her to ask how it went.
She had booked over 5k in client work.
Just a few months before, she’d had no network, no previous client work, no email list, and about a hundred and fifty people following her on Instagram. But more than that, she is now doing work she loves. She gets to stay home in her fluffy bathrobe and cat named Sushi and be her lovely introverted self and create beautiful things for people who become her friends. And she knows the direction she needs to take to make those trips to Japan, America, and Ireland happen (she lives in Australia).
Oh, and she just quit her day job this week.
photos by Charla Storey
Florals by Clementine Botanical Art
Emma Natter is a business coach and writer. Her work intersects entrepreneurial strategies with the creative process so career hopefuls can find success, impact, fulfillment, and confidence in going their own way.
I’m Emma Natter, a path-to-success paver and art-trained business coach who first shattered her own career expectations by selling out of handmade styling goods from her little NYC apartment. Now as a strategist to thousands of creatives, I teach you to harness your passion so you can do the same.