Welcome to Week Three of my Free to be…inspired series! So far you guys have heard from Maegan and from Jhen; both amazing women with amazing talent. And this week’s guest is no different. I discovered Lauren from Restored 316 Designs sometime last year in my first search for a blog designer. I was blown away by her impeccable talent and creativity. She’s designed some of my favorite blogs, including: Theta Mom, The Mommyologist, and MckMama.
Aside from her talent as a blog designer, she’s also created one of my favorite iPod apps called Cuptakes…wallpaper for the girly girls. It’s only 99 cent and I switch mine out every few days cause they are too stinkin’ cute! She is a wonderful designer and such a sweet, sweet person. Her photography is also top notch. I’m still convinced that she should figure out a way to devote as much time to photography as she does to her design business…but I’ll leave that up to her. 🙂 Lauren answered some great questions for me to share with you guys, so enjoy! And make sure to go check out her work. You can find her personal blog here and on Twitter right here.
For those who don’t know you, tell us a little bit about yourself and your business
My name is Lauren, and I run a graphic design business called Restored 316.
How did you break into Graphic Design? Is it something you’ve always known you wanted to do or was it just a happy accident?
Finding my passion and gift in graphic design was an accident really. I have no formal training in graphic design or in coding. I used to work in the retail industry and after getting tired of dealing with angry customers and dealing with Corporate America, I decided to leave my job to stay home. At the time I quit, I had no idea what I would be doing. All I knew was that I was going to do whatever it took to start my own business… whatever that was. After my daughter was born, I started doing digital scrapbooking and that quickly grew into a passion for graphic design. I sat for a period of time studying code and learning design, and officially launched my design business.
Where do you draw your inspiration for your work?
Most of my inspiration is from photography and great products. The home page on my browser is where a lot of people have collections of things that inspire me. I also visit Artessen.com for more inspiration.
"Restored 316" is a unique name. What does it mean to you?
Well, 9 years ago I became a Christian and my life was completely restored. Before this, I had hit rock bottom in my life. Around the time I became a Christian, the Jeremy Camp song "Restored" was pretty popular and I just felt the word "Restored" perfectly described my life. The 316 part is because I wanted it to be very apparent that I was a Christian directly from my business name… and of course that comes from John 3:16.
When breaking into the business, what techniques and methods did you use to get yourself out there and make yourself known?
The first thing I did was offer my services for free, or at a discounted rate, to a couple people. I thought I could design for them so I could get the experience, have something to put on my portfolio, and they would blog about me and help get my name out. Aside from that, I got really involved with commenting on peoples blogs, and I offered several giveaways on my blog and that really helped me.
Was there ever a time when you thought about quitting? What stopped you?
I wouldn’t say ‘quit’ but I would say overwhelmed to the point where I need to get away! But that’s mainly when I’ve been overwhelmed with so many things to do, I didn’t know how I’d ever get them all done. But don’t we all have those days… with whatever we’re doing? What stops me is that I absolutely love what I do, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!!
How do you manage your workload, you family, and your faith?
Haha! Manage? I can’t say that I manage it all perfectly, but I do strive to live in balance!! I’ve recently completely restructured my schedule to allow more time with my husband first, my daughter second, and work last. This is probably one of the hardest things to do when you work for yourself and from home. It’s really difficult to separate your work and family life. faith always comes first and that’s an area I’m always trying to grow in. I can’t say I’ve mastered ‘balance’, but I’m learning every day!
Who do you creatively admire?
If you had to choose another career path, what would it be and why?
A photographer! Hands down! It’s just another creative outlet that is so fulfilling.
How important is social media to your business?
Not very much honestly. I’m so busy I can hardly find time to jump on Twitter and Facebook. However, I will say when I do jump on Twitter I do get more business for sure! So I certainly see where it helps people in business and I highly recommend it for all my clients starting businesses and blogs.
Thanks so much to Lauren for being willing to answer these questions and for allowing me to feature her and highlight her work! Make sure to come back next week, as I still have two more secret guests to reveal to you!
Hope you guys have a GREAT day!