my story in how i started my creative businesses


Since I am a triple business owner I have had many friends, family members, acquaintances and strangers ask me for business advice.  Usually it is "Where do I begin to start my business?" or "How did you start your businesses?".  The simplest way to answer this is JUST DO IT.  When I started my business I didn't really know what I was doing I just knew I had gifts and passions that would be great businesses.  If you don't start now you either wont or will later and you do not want to look back regret not starting it or saying "I really should have started this when I first thought of it".  

When I started my 1st business I was not what anyone would consider "ready or equipped".  I was a single mom with a newborn living at my parents house.  In my eyes it was the perfect time to start because I started to figure out the ratio between my income and what I would need to pay for childcare and help in order to still make that income.  Luckily I had parents that took me and my son in when my world got turned upside down so at the time I wasn't having to pay for much unless it had to do with my son. 

Rewind a couple years... I graduated with and Interior Design Degree in Winter of 2008.  I got an incredible job working with Stephen Patrick Design out of San Luis Obispo.  I was definitely where I was supposed to be then.  I learned so much from Stephen, from extended knowledge in design, working with clients and running a small creative business.  While working for Stephen I got to work with some incredible clients on some really awesome projects both residential and commercial.  But also, we got to design some really fun events partnering with The Downtown Association on The Taste of SLO and also some other Wine Tasting Events.  I quickly realized how much I loved events and knew that desire to become a Wedding Planner that's always been on the back of my mind since high school could actually become my reality.  I enrolled in an online course for Wedding Planning and slowly got through it while keeping steady hours at the design shop.  

January of 2011 is when I found out I was with child and at first it was scary but I felt like I was in a great place to become a mother.  I finished school, I had a great job and I was living in a condo in a dream location with my boyfriend and the time and his daughter.  I will spare details since I do not believe in public shaming but in June of 2011 I made the choice to continue on with this pregnancy and parenthood on my own.  Well, this is where I ended up back in my parents home that I had already been out of for 6 years.   I felt defeated, embarrassed, overwhelmed but mostly determined.  I worked with Stephen Patrick up until 5 days before I had my son on September 6th, 2011. 

My son was the light that I needed.  He turned my shame into motivation.  I knew  I wanted to do big things and I wanted to prove it to the world that I felt saw me as a let down.  I didn't want to be known as a let down and I wanted to raise my son in a world that he could be proud of.  I knew I couldn't go back to work with Stephen because of the lack of time I would have with my son and it just didn't pencil out.  So this is when the seed was planted.  I had the vision of starting a wedding planning business and I didn't stop nurturing the idea. 

My very first clients were friends of mine that hired me with trade.  I didn't even make any money but I was so excited to be given the opportunity to work on a real wedding and being trusted to do it.  They then told their friends about me.  They booked me and I made real money on my second wedding.  It wasn't a lot but for me it was like a million bucks.

When I started I didn't have a website, I had a personal Instagram but didn't know how to use it for business, I started a business Facebook page with no true branding or planning and I paid a ridiculous amount for a logo design that I lived with for the first 3 years of my business and never liked.  So let me tell you, you can start a business no matter where you are in life or what you have to put into it in the beginning.   

When my son was 6 months old I met the love of my life who I now call my husband.  He is also a business owner and was the perfect teacher, cheerleader and support I needed to boost my business.  He also had a son and fast forward 12 months we welcomed our youngest son into the world.  It all happened so fast but I knew right from the start that my family that I always longed for was now complete.  So for you weather you are married or not just surround yourself with those who inspire you and those that are going to encourage you to keep going forward to what it is you want to achieve. 

Where did photography come in?  I have always loved photography and used to play around with my canon power shot point and shoot camera since I was 17.  It wasn't until I met my husband when I realized that I actually have a great eye for photography when I started to play around with the camera gear that he had collected over the years.  This is what I call real professional equipment.  Let me tell you that when you have the correct tools you really can improve your craft in a huge way.  I started taking photos for friends and family and I realized after having a shoot scheduled at least once a week that I needed to turn this talent of mine into a business.  I know have shot portraits for so many families and have photographed a handful of wedding and I am ready to do more and grow in this industry.  I get excited to learn about new ways of photography and new tools to add to my(our) collection.  I am always excited to grow in the craft.  

Where did the bartending service come in?  I would say that I grew up in the restaurant world.  My mother was a GM at a very well known restaurant and the day I turned 16 is when i started working in a restaurant.  I went from hostess, to expo, to waitress, to bartender.  I loved working as a bartender because I felt like it was another avenue to create and entertain; which you all know I love those 2 things.  So an opportunity arose last year to take over bartending services from another local business and although I didn't jump on the idea instantly.  I took about a month to ponder the idea since I already had been running 2 businesses.  But, since I have made the choice to yes purchase this business I have never felt more sure that I made the right choice.  It is such a fun business and I still get to be apart of someone's special day and get creative with specialty drinks. I also love providing great work for my bartenders who seem to love to do it just as much as I do.

So I decided to write this blog to encourage others to just go for it!  Grow in your passions, do what you have always wanted to do and be proud of the things that you accomplish even if its a slow growth because believe me; I have had those moments in the first 2 years where I wondered "What am I doing wrong? Am I doing what im supposed to be doing?  Can I ever be successful?".  It takes time and your growth comes with failure and errors.  But don't give up!  You will get to a place where you want to be and you will be proud that you kept at it. 

If something is on your heart than God has already equipped you to achieve this thing.  Or else it wouldn't be on your heart.   God doesn't make mistakes. 

Love you all and comment bellow if you need more encouragement from me.  I love to uplift others in anyway I can. 

Samantha Ward2 Comments